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January 9, 2007 > Mavericks of Medicine

Mavericks of Medicine

Submitted By Rachel Damien

Conversations with creative and controversial thinkers who are changing the
future of medicine

When Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis started making the claim that poor sanitation was responsible for spreading illness from one patient to another, people laughed. After enduring the mockery of his fellow physicians, Semmelweis' controversial idea that washing one's hands helps to prevent the spread of disease was eventually vindicated by science. Despite the often strong resistance and ridicule that physicians like Semmelweis encounter throughout history, these courageous mavericks are largely responsible for the greatest advances in medicine.

From his own interviews with 22 modern-day eminent physicians and cutting-edge researchers, David Jay Brown, in his book, Mavericks of Medicine: Conversations on the Frontiers of Medical Research, sheds light on where modern medicine may be evolving.

Risk-takers and rebels, these "Mavericks of Medicine" frequently challenge conventional wisdom and stir firestorms of controversy. Some are ridiculed, even reviled. Yet these same people are discovering some of history's greatest medical breakthroughs, changing the path of medicine, and opening up the prospect for further lifesaving advances.

In interviews with brilliant and controversial medical researchers and practitioners like Jack Kevorkian, Andrew Weil, Bernie Siegel and Barry Sears, and stem cell pioneer Michael West, Brown reveals "proposed solutions for what's wrong with modern medicine, ideas about reversing the aging process and suggestions that can lead to a future in which all diseases are easily curable."

"We are living in truly astonishing times," Brown says. "Technology theorist and inventor Dr. Ray Kurzweil told me that nanobots, blood cell-size devices that could go inside the body and keep us healthy from the inside, will be commonplace in about two decades."

Just 20 years ago, depression went largely untreated and the U.S. death rate from heart disease was a third higher than it is today. Forward-thinking mavericks sparked transformations in each of those realms and now stand on the verge of even greater ones.

As science reveals more about the chemistry of mental function, diseases ranging from addiction to Alzheimer's could become as manageable as high blood pressure. With luck, several drugs that target the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease could reach the clinic before the first Baby Boomer turns 70.

The in-depth interviews in "Mavericks of Medicine" provide a treasure-trove of practical suggestions that anyone can use to improve their health today and they offer an exciting vision of what's to come. "When we look at the future of medicine," Brown says, "We see incredible possibilities that border on the miraculous."

Mavericks of Medicine: Conversations on the Frontiers of Medical Research
About the Author:
David Jay Brown is the author of three previous volumes of interviews with leading-edge thinkers, Mavericks of the Mind, Voices from the Edge, and Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse. He is also the author of two science fiction novels, Brainchild and Virus. To learn more about David Jay Brown, visit

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