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SPECIAL ISSUE: GIFT GUIDE

3 books on health and illness worth giving, or reading

December 17, 2007|Shari Roan

Bookworms can be healthy too. Here are three books for people who want a more complete understanding of health and illness.

-- Shari Roan

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Body: The Complete Human, How It Grows, How It Works, and How to Keep It Healthy and Strong

416 pages, 300 color photos and diagrams, $40

This is a coffee-table book meant to be read. "Body" is beautifully designed but also informational, with enough quirky trivia that it's fun to read. The book is best suited for people who want to better understand their bodies but don't want to be overwhelmed with details and controversies in medicine. Organized by body system, each chapter has an overview of how the system works from the cellular level to outward appearance. The interactive website is a nice companion, allowing a visual exploration of various body parts as well as interactive activities to enhance kids' understanding.

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Don't Bet Against Me! Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life

By Deanna Favre with Angela Hunt

244 pages, $22.99

Last week, her husband was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, selected as the magazine's sportsman of the year. But Deanna Favre, wife of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, has learned that wealth, fame, beauty and career success are no barriers against suffering and grief.

In her new book, Favre writes about the serious illnesses she and her husband have overcome. Brett Favre sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers in 1996. Deanna Favre was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, only days after her brother was killed in an accident. She writes about being a single parent (before they married, the couple dated on and off for 11 years while she cared for their daughter), the family's struggles, how the couple grew closer because of their trials and how her faith in God sustained her. Women with breast cancer will find her journey particularly inspiring.

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New Medicine: Complete Family Health Guide: Integrating Complementary, Alternative, and Conventional Medicine for the Safest and Most Effective Treatment

By Dr. David Peters, editor-in-chief; Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, contributing editor

512 pages, $35

This is a guide for people who are interested in mind-body medicine and the integration of other cultures' medicinal traditions into Western medicine. The editors, well-known medical doctors with expertise in integrative healing, don't reject traditional medicine. But the book aims to move past the Western idea that the body can be understood solely by analyzing its parts. Instead, the authors propose thinking of the body as having three "realms:" structural, biochemical and psychological. The book is organized by chapters explaining alternative therapies, such as homeopathy and acupuncture, followed by chapters on common ailments with information on the various ways these disorders can be treated, including conventional medicine, herbal remedies, complementary therapies and self-help.

Though each entry is fairly brief, the authors have tried to cite pertinent scientific studies that bolster support for specific alternative therapies.

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