TITLE: The World of the Newborn
AUTHORS: D & C Maurer
After voluminous research, the authors, one a science writer, the other a prominent psychologist, have attempted to answer the question posed by any parent: what does my baby really see and understand?
Recently out in paperback, their book is a vivid study into the five senses of the newborn before and after birth, and also its first feelings.
Most fascinating is an infant's sense of hearing. According to the authors, this sensitive little being hasn't learned to cut out certain aural stimuli, as adults have. 'When you talk to him, he hears your voice reverberating like a train announcer's echoing through a cavernous railroad station,' they write.
This inability to filter explains why many babies will simply 'tune out' and fall asleep in the middle of a traffic jam or noisy restaurant: they simply cannot cope with all the stimulation.
Perhaps most important for new parents, the authors go into some detail as to how prenatal care and drugs during birth affect their child.
This book is a must for any would-be or recent parent in order to help them become more sensitive to what exactly has made junior cry.
TITLE: Understanding Doctors
AUTHOR: Dr Gillian Rice
PUBLISHER Michael Joseph
Former BBC presenter of Bodymatters and Woman magazine's medical columnist, Dr Gillian Rice is still reeling from the degrading treatment she received as a dogsbody house officer while studying medicine.
The purpose of this book apparently is an apology to patients - ie, if your doctor spends so little time explaining things to you or making his diagnosis, this, by God, is why.
Dr Rice interviews many junior doctors who describe how any altruism or empathy has been beaten out of them by bonecrushing hours and the pitiless and sneering machismo adopted by their elders. By the time they are ready to practice, they have become either so indifferent to suffering because of what they themselves have suffered or downright vengeful toward those sick people who had the nerve to keep them from a good night's sleep.
Although Dr Rice's stated purpose is to aid the doctor-patient relationship, by the time you read through this catalogue of mistreatment, it will either reaffirm all your prejudices against doctors or convince you that they are the ones who really need a bit of bedside manner.