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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking look at the connection between germs and mental illness and how we can protect ourselves.
Is it possible to catch autism or OCD the same way we catch the flu? Can a child's contact with cat litter lead to schizophrenia? In her eye-opening new audiobook, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Harriet Washington reveals that we can in fact "catch" mental illness. In Infectious Madness, Washington presents the new germ theory, which posits not only that many instances of Alzheimer's, OCD, and schizophrenia are caused by viruses, prions, and bacteria but also that with antibiotics, vaccinations, and other strategies, these cases can be easily prevented or treated. Packed with cutting-edge research and tantalizing mysteries, Infectious Madness is rich in science, characters, and practical advice on how to protect yourself and your children from exposure to infectious threats that could sabotage your mental and physical health.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Harriet A. Washington (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

" Infectious Madness is a fascinating book about the role of infectious diseases in mental illness. Washington challenges us to expand our view of the causes, prevention, and treatment of emotional disorders. I highly recommend it!" (Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School)
"This superb book reviews the novel realization that infectious pathogens, and the immune system's response to them, can be risk factors for mental illness as well. The book has a broad, exciting range, considering 'contagion' in both the reductive sense, as well as an in the expansive societal manner. This is fascinating material and Harriet Washington is a great writer - clear and accessible, witty, probing, and able to dissect the controversies in this field with great objectivity." (Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers)
"Your views on the causes of mental illness will be forever altered when you read this profoundly humane and transformative book." (Carl Hart, PhD, associate professor of psychology, Columbia University)
"Quiet wonder and intellectual security dominate Robert Petkoff's narration of this engaging audiobook.... Petkoff's pleasing voice and conversational phrasing lighten the book's subject matter and give the narrative verve.... This is a fascinating, mind-broadening audio." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By R M on 08-06-18

NOT Medical Apartheid

I thought Medical Apartheid was just fantastic, so I was excited to read something new by Washington. This is a strange, strange book though, that plays into our contemporary desire to attribute mental illness to wholly biomedical causes and sidestep the social and cultural contexts in which they emerge. It does not ask the hard questions about mental illness that sociologists and historians of medicine have been decades, but instead treats many disease categories (like Schizophrenia) as biologically distinct and discrete. It raises interesting questions for sure, but not of the sort I expected from this author.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Ginger on 05-31-18

Very Interesting

This was the most interesting book I've listened too. Very informative and the narrater really kept me wanting to hear it all. 😊

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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