Extremes: Life, Death and the Limits of the Human Body
By Kevin Fong
In anaesthetist Dr Kevin Fong's television programmes he has often demonstrated the impact of extremes on the human body by using his own body as a 'guinea pig'. So Dr Fong is well placed to share his experience of the sheer audacity of medical practice at extreme physiological limits, where human life is balanced on a knife edge.
Through gripping accounts of extraordinary events and pioneering medicine, Dr Fong explores how our body responds when tested by the extremes of heat and cold, vacuum and altitude, age and disease. He shows how science, technology and medicine have taken what was once lethal in the world and made it survivable.
This is not only a book about medicine, but also about exploration in its broadest sense - and about how, by probing the very limits of our biology, we may ultimately return with a better appreciation of how our bodies work, of what life is, and what it means to be human.
Dr Kevin Fong is a doctor of medicine with a special interest in human space exploration and extreme environment physiology. He holds degrees in medicine, astrophysics and engineering, and is an honorary senior lecturer in physiology at University College London. He has completed specialist training in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, has worked with NASA's Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston and the medical operations group at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. He currently works as a consultant anaesthetist at University College London Hospital, is founder and associate director of the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine. He is a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow.
His broadcasting career includes the acclaimed television documentaries How to Mend a Broken Heart,, Back from the Dead and To Boldly Go, while he regularly presents programmes on BBC Radio 4 and writes for the Guardian.
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- Publication date:
14 Mar 2013
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It would be hard to find anyone better qualified to write a book on the limits of human physiology than Dr Kevin Fong. His experiences in human spaceflight at NASA, in frontline medicine, and his deep scientific knowledge, shine through. If you want to know what the human body can take, and why we must continue to push ourselves beyond the limit in the name of exploration, then read this book. — Professor Brian Cox