1. Section Editor(s): Carroll, V. Susan

Article Content

TheNew York Times began publishing in 1851, a decade before the American Civil War. Life in the United States was decidedly different from that today, including individual and public health. The New York Times editors have made a deliberate choice to include reports on health and illness since the paper's founding. In this collection of articles, the reader has the opportunity to explore seminal articles published in the last 160+ years.


Although the collection includes reports on a wide variety of diseases and their evolution over time, neurologic disorders are well represented. The chapter related to Alzheimer disease examines genetic mutations, drug treatments, promising means of early detection, and changing diagnostic guidelines. "Diagnostics" is a chapter that moves the reader from Dr. Rontgen's x-rays in 1896 to the use of MRI and other full-body scans today. Much of the care we provide as neuroscience nurses today is built on discoveries described in this chapter and the evidence they provide related to neurologic illnesses. A chapter focused on mental health describes early "soul surgery" (aka lobotomy) with a shift in the perceived benefit versus harm of this treatment approach taking place over the course of about 2 decades. This chapter also examines electric shock, insulin therapy, and antidepressants as treatment options. The editor includes a fair, balanced look at autism and some of the controversies that surround its diagnosis and treatment and the "vaccine wars" that continue today in this and one other chapter.


This is a terrific book for practitioners interested in how healthcare has changed and evolved (or, in some cases, has not). It provides context and meaning for our practice and, perhaps most importantly, supports the idea that health and healthcare are never static. The individual articles that comprise each chapter are not lengthy so the reader can indulge briefly or generously in one sitting. For those of us who teach and mentor new practitioners, the book is a way to provide some all-important perspective on our professional practice.