Marcia Angell is a member of the faculty of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine.

 
(November 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Why Be a Parent?

‘La Famille’; photograph by Alain Laboile from Family Photography Now, a collection of work by forty contemporary photographers. It includes essays by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, and is published by Thames and Hudson.

The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children

by Alison Gopnik
Probably most of us love our children even more than ourselves, and we do what we can to provide for their futures. In theory, this should make us more cognizant of the state of the world and our particular part of it. We should want to make every effort, for example, to mitigate global warming, conserve natural resources, maintain infrastructure, and do our part toward creating a more decent and sustainable society. But in this time of grotesque inequality in the US, that is not what’s happening.

Medical Research on Humans: Making It Ethical

Tony, a seven-year-old boy with artificial limbs, July 1963. He was born without arms as a result of the drug thalidomide.

The Nuremberg Code

issued by the Nuremberg tribunal in 1947

The Declaration of Helsinki

issued by the World Medical Association in 1964 and revised most recently in 2013
In the first part of this review, I discussed principles and codes of ethics concerning human experimentation, including the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki.1 But principles and codes are not the same as laws and regulations, even though they might inspire them. The first US statute dealing …

Medical Research: The Dangers to the Human Subjects

Dr. Herta Oberheuser, whose war crimes included conducting medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, being sentenced to twenty years in prison at the Nazi Doctors’ Trial, Nuremberg, August 1947

The Nuremberg Code

issued by the Nuremberg tribunal in 1947

The Declaration of Helsinki

issued by the World Medical Association in 1964 and revised most recently in 2013
Given the American faith in medical advances, it is easy to forget that clinical trials can be risky business. They raise formidable ethical problems since researchers are responsible both for protecting human subjects and for advancing the interests of science. It would be good if those dual responsibilities coincided, but often they don’t.

Health: The Right Diagnosis and the Wrong Treatment

President Obama with Senators Max Baucus and Christopher Dodd at the White House after making a statement on Medicare prescription drugs, June 2009

America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System

by Steven Brill
Steven Brill has achieved the seemingly impossible—written an exciting book about the American health system. In his account of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he manages to transform a subject that usually befuddles and bores into a political thriller. And his description of our dysfunctional health system is dead-on. But he is misguided in his recommendation for reform by turning over the administration of the system to hospitals.

A Better Way Out

Georges Seurat: Anaïs Faivre Haumonté on Her Deathbed, 1887

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

by Atul Gawande
In his newest and best book, the surgeon Atul Gawande lets us have it right between the eyes: no matter how careful we are or healthful our habits, like everyone else, we will die, and probably after a long period of decline and debility.

The Women at the Top

A woman at work, from the ‘Lean In Collection’ presented by a new partnership between Getty Images and LeanIn.org, intended to promote ‘images of female leadership in contemporary work and life’

The XX Factor: How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal World

by Alison Wolf
In just the past two or three decades, women in more than token numbers have taken their place alongside men at the upper levels of government, the professions, and business. They now earn more than half of all college degrees, and they will shortly make up a majority of lawyers, doctors, and college faculty. While they still account for only a small minority of political and business leaders, that, too, is changing. The rapid ascension of women to the most influential sectors of society—occurring in all advanced Western countries—is likely to have profound implications for public policy, and perhaps even more for the way families construct their lives and raise their children.