Going beyond conventions

Dr Rajeev Jayadevan's book, Think Like Your Doctor, answers questions on a safe

The title of Dr Rajeev Jayadevan's new book, Think Like Your Doctor, would make anyone curious. It suggests that the reader think like a doctor. But, the book is more of an attempt to go beyond conventional medical literature, to talk about the worries and answer the queries of the common man regarding a safe, healthy life.

The lucidly written book is a compilation of 21 articles based on Jayadevan's popular online column “Everyday Health”. The book covers a wide range of topics: It starts with a light read on health tips for a hot summer and then proceeds to topics like fatty liver, jaundice, cholesterol, functioning of pancreas, myths about cooking oil and psychiatric illnesses. There on, it moves on to topics like road and fire safety.

Jayadevan has avoided medical jargon as far as possible. And, each topic is embellished with interesting metaphors or anecdotes that connect with readers. For example, in the chapter about fatty liver, Jayadevan describes the liver cells as “reminiscent of some varieties of mosaic flooring of past.”

The book has got a chapter about information overload—a situation when the brain is fed with massive information, but becomes unable to process it any more. But, the book takes extra care not to do that with readers. In Jayadevan's own words, “this book is like a pond with steps”. Those who are familiar with medical literature may take a dip, or even go further deep. Those who do not want that have the option to read it from the steps at different levels, according to their interests and capacity.

The book discusses several topics on which there are misleading articles on the internet. There is an effort to bridge these gaps and simplify the complex health topics for a delightful read. 'The Truth about Cooking Oils: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', is one such chapter which filters out commercially-biased and promotional information about the health impact of cooking oils.

The chapter on cholesterol, too, serves a similar purpose. Jayadevan observes that the internet and media are flooded with advertisements that promise to reduce cholesterol. The book provides a clearer picture about the cholesterol family.

The book has a few not-widely-discussed topics of medical literature, too. The chapter on road accidents, 'Staying Alive on our Roads', is an example. It makes an important observation that death and disability from road accidents are not yet regarded as a public health problem in India. The human behavioural element behind the accidents is the pivotal point of discussion in the chapter.

The book dedicates one of its chapters to talk about fire accidents. It presents the shocking fact that in India most of the fire accidents occur at home, and 65 per cent of the victims are women. The book says that most fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation rather than burns. And, it suggests specific solutions.

Jayadevan himself did the cover painting, The Fallen Leaf, for the book. It is a representation of premature death. Avoiding situations of premature and untimely death by being more responsible is exactly what the writer is trying to convey to his readers. And, he succeeds in that.

Think Like Your Doctor

Publisher: Manorama Books

Price: Rs170

Pages: 191