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BREATH-TAKING: What Our Most Powerful Organ Teaches Us About Our Origins, Ourselves and Our Future
We take an average of 8 million breaths a year, and almost 700 million over the course of our lifetime. Most of us don’t give a thought to our lungs until we’re incapacitated—by disease or environmental factors—and are suddenly confronted with the vital importance of this powerful organ. One and a half million people, a quarter of the world’s population, are currently afflicted with tuberculosis, and each year lung cancer kills more patients than colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer combined. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of infantile death in developing countries. And currently COVID-19, a new respiratory disease has become a global pandemic. Why is this global health crisis understudied, underfunded, and overlooked? We ignore our lungs at great peril.
Dr. Michael J. Stephen’s BREATH-TAKING: What Our Most Powerful Organ Teaches Us About Our Origins, Ourselves and Our Future sheds much-needed light on this neglected, miraculous organ, examining the power of the breath from a medical, historical, and spiritual perspective. BREATH-TAKING explores the evolutionary origins of breathing, old and new pulmonary discoveries, and patient stories of resilience and recovery. With the increasingly devastating effects of outdoor and indoor pollution and the sweep of COVID-19 across the world, we’ve reached an alarming worldwide explosion of lung diseases. There is urgency to Dr. Stephen’s narrative.
About the author: A graduate of Brown University and Boston University Medical School, Dr. Michael Stephen is an accomplished academic, researcher, and clinician in pulmonary medicine. Over the past two decades he has studied advanced end-stage lung diseases and worked with patients at diverse locales, including a Massachusetts prison hospital and a pediatric HIV clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. An associate professor at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, he is also director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis program, one of approximately one hundred specialized accredited centers in the country.
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