Cover image for Red madness : how a medical mystery changed what we eat
Title:
Red madness : how a medical mystery changed what we eat
Author:
Jarrow, Gail, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Calkins Creek, 2014.
Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 26 cm
Summary:
One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America's South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. People were left weak, disfigured, insane, and in some cases, dead. Award winning science and history writer Gail Jarrow tracks this disease, commonly known as pellagra, and highlights how doctors, scientists, and public health officials finally defeated it. Illustrated with 100 archival photographs, includes stories about real life pellagra victims and accounts of scientific investigations.
Language:
English
Contents:
Glove, boot, necklace, and butterfly -- Baffled by pellagra -- Tackling the mystery -- Infection! -- Goldberger on the case -- The 3-M diet -- The filth parties -- The hidden factor -- Conquered -- Pellagra frequently asked questions.
Reading Level:
990 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 7.6 5.0 166188.
ISBN:
9781590787328
Format :
Book

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RA645.P4 J3 2014B Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

A National Science Teachers Association, Best STEM Book

One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America's South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. People were left weak, disfigured, insane, and in some cases, dead. Award-winning science and history writer Gail Jarrow tracks this disease, commonly known as pellagra, and highlights how doctors, scientists, and public health officials finally defeated it. Illustrated with 100 archival photographs, Red Madness includes stories about real-life pellagra victims and accounts of scientific investigations. It concludes with a glossary, timeline, further resources, author's note, bibliography, and index.


Author Notes

Gail Jarrow's nonfiction books have received numerous awards and distinctions, including a YALSA Award Nomination, Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and a VOYA Honor Book. Red Madness is her fifth book for Calkins Creek. A graduate of Duke University and Dartmouth College, Gail has a degree in zoology and has taught science in grades four through eight. She lives in Ithaca, New York. Visit gailjarrow.com.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Jarrow delves into the debilitating and oft-forgotten disease that became a public health crisis in the U.S. early in the twentieth century. Pellagra, an illness that causes a menacing red rash, gastrointestinal issues, and eventual delirium and death, was unheard of in America when cases began to surface in the South, especially in orphanages and sanitariums, in 1902. Scientists and physicians raced to find an explanation for its accelerated virulence, in the process exploring new ideas about germ theory, food safety, and cleanliness. It was not until a young epidemiologist named Joseph Goldberger began to analyze data regarding nutrition did people begin to understand the cause as being a simple vitamin deficiency. While the book's main subject is epidemiological, it is also a case study on innumerable social issues of the day, such as the industrialization of the American food supply, the rise of sensational journalism, and the treatment of the poor, the ill, and the elderly. A visually dramatic medical mystery, this is cross-curricular and of high interest.--Anderson, Erin Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Jarrow (The Amazing Harry Kellar: Great American Magician) takes readers on a medical detective journey full of dead ends, twists, politics, and culture as she details the story of pellagra, a deadly disease caused by niacin deficiency. Prevalent in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, it primarily struck the impoverished in the South (where cotton had displaced nutritious food crops). The disease causes a patterned red rash, intestinal distress, dementia, and eventually death. The author's extensive research turns up personal stories within the story; interspersed throughout are brief vignettes of "pellagrins" like Mrs. A. Sallie Graham, a 55-year-old Virginia woman whose "health had been good until she developed a skin irritation that wouldn't go away.... After six months, she began to forget things and wondered if she might be going insane." These individual accounts create an urgent backdrop of suffering and death for the story of the epidemiological quest to find a cause and cure. Archival photos of sufferers of all ages are poignant and graphic. A FAQ, timeline and glossary conclude the captivating tale, which pinpoints the reason bread is enriched today. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This haunting insight into a little known epidemic from the early 20th century provides statistics, firsthand accounts, pictures, and an easy-to-follow narrative of the pellagra outbreak in the United States. The book details the baffling uprise of pellagra, a life-threatening disease characterized by weakness, rash, and insanity; the medical investigation that ensued; and the eventual changes that were made in America's diet to combat both this sickness and other maladies caused by nutritional deficiencies. This title is descriptive and well researched, with a striking bold-red color scheme. Though the images are graphic and potentially disturbing, they are not sensationalized, and enhance the narrative. This is an excellent addition to nonfiction collections in school and public libraries. [Ed note: See author Q&A, p. 16.]-Tammy Turner, Centennial High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.