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Other Books

Dr. Cauwels' work includes one professional medical book as well as one used and recommended as a textbook.

Bulimia: The Binge-Purge Compulsion (Doubleday, 1983)

Having learned about bulimia nervosa from a campus newspaper article, Dr. Cauwels introduced the subject to a wider audience.

"Cauwels' book on bulimia is the best volume for the layman that is available."
C. Philip Wilson, M.D.
Psychoanalytic Quarterly

Excerpt from Chapter 3, "Bulimia's Family"

As a satisfier of hunger, a provider of body energy and nutrients, and a medicinal agent, food means health and growth. The weight changes that ready us for birth also propel us into the traumas of puberty. The body shapes resulting from our food habits carry sexual and even moral connotations. Through its nourishing effects on our physiology, food determines our psychology as well, and most of us would admit that our thoughts and feelings about food are often more overpowering than its biochemical role in life would imply.

The sensation of being fed is our earliest perception of nurturance. Food later helps define our understanding of family, home, and all their warm connotations. It is a chameleon of pleasure and sociability—a festive holiday dinner with all its fixings and fragrances, a cozy breakfast in bed or quiet candlelight supper for two, a potluck picnic seasoned with fresh summer air. We organize its delicious tastes into favorite menus and special memories of meals enjoyed with family and friends. Our food habits in part define our nationality, our religious beliefs, our notions of prestige, our systems of reward and punishment, our values. Food never stands alone—we always see it amid an entourage of implied meanings.

These associations help explain why some people become addicted to abusing food. It serves as a concrete substitute for evanescent pleasures or basic needs that are missing from their lives. It offers them a means of coping with stress, for a single binge can obliterate, for the time being, all their problems of living. Used in this way, food remains a daily necessity, but paradoxically it also threatens health and drastically impairs everyday life.

The psychiatric eating disorders are extreme examples of this problem. They may start with an adult's conscious decision to abuse food, or they may appear in children too young to know that they are ill. In either case, eating behavior becomes dangerous and unnatural, and the food itself becomes an addictive substance stripped of its positive symbolism.

The Body Shop: Bionic Revolutions in Medicine (C.V. Mosby, 1986)

Like Bulimia, The Body Shop was the first to present its subject to general readers; the book was cross-marketed to health care professionals.

In Fall 2004, an excerpt was used in the Honors 4353 course at Villanova University: Medical Machines: Ethical Issues in Medicine, Technology, and Public Policy.

"You have undertaken an enormous job in your book The Body Shop. You have done it extremely well. There is an amazing amount of material in your book, and from the way that you dealt with it, you have studied long and hard and with great success."
From a personal letter by Willem J. Kolff, M.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Surgery
University of Utah

"Dr. Cauwels writes in terms a candidate for an unorthodox form of treatment can understand and relate to, yet the up-to-date accuracy of her account recommends it to medical professionals as well."
From the Preface by Pierre M. Galletti, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Biology and Medicine
Brown University

Illustrations from The Body Shop: an implantable defibrillator, a right and a left ventricular assist device, and the Jarvik-7 artificial heart

Excerpt from Chapter 20, “Contacting the Muscles”

Sam Khawam has taken his show on the road. At professional meetings across the country, Sam climbs a few steps to a stage, walks to a podium, speaks briefly, descends from the stage, and returns to his seat—a wheelchair. Sam is paralyzed from the chest down.

In the gait laboratory at the VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Sam demonstrates his ability. In his right hand are two switches attached to a finger cuff. These are wired to a black box hanging from his belt that has an alphanumeric display across the top. Expertly tapping the switches while the crystal flashes in response, Sam lurches to his feet and grasps a nearby stair railing for balance. Supporting himself with his arms, he climbs three steps, walks across a small platform, and descends the steps at the other end, in front of which stands his wheeled walker. Sam leans on it and strolls across the laboratory with Rudi Kobetic, M.S., the chief biomedical engineer, wheeling his chair behind him. He moves through a doorway into a small office and clunks to a stop at an unoccupied desk. Maneuvering around him in his own wheelchair, Dennis Johnson arrives at another desk and shakes his head in mock irritation. "Sam," he says, "You're always cramping my style."

Excerpt from Chapter 27, “Conservatism or Exploitation?”

It would seem from our discussion thus far that the most crucial aspect of getting a bionic part to the public is that of arousing the interest of a manufacturer, that once on an assembly line, an implant or prosthesis would reach patients automatically and with comparatively little difficulty. Actually bionic parts being produced by private companies need promotion just like any other new products and may require marketing and distribution strategies uniquely suited to their unprecedented medical purposes. Successful bionic parts can create significant cost and marketing problems, as anyone familiar with the pacemaker industry or dialysis treatments can attest. The Jarvik-7 artificial heart in particular has raised two issues: the possibility of conflict of interest among some of its proponents and the nature of for-profit medical treatment. These issues are especially tricky because it is not always easy to define the point at which determination to save or improve lives ends and commercial exploitation begins.

Illustrations from The Body Shop: artificial joints and limb prostheses along with a vision substitution system and a cochlear implant

Errors of the Heart: Effective and Iatrogenic Treatment of a Borderline Case

Due to a third-party violation of source confidentiality, Dr. Cauwels canceled Norton's production of this edition in 1991.

"Gripping, moving, terribly sobering and humbling."
Ann Appelbaum, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University


More samples of medical writing appear on the Medical Communications and Other Instructional Design pages. Or return to the Top.