Bones: Inside and Out

Bones: Inside and Out

by Roy A. Meals MD
Bones: Inside and Out

Bones: Inside and Out

by Roy A. Meals MD


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A lively, illustrated exploration of the 500-million-year history of bone, a touchstone for understanding vertebrate life and human culture.

Human bone is versatile and entirely unique: it repairs itself without scarring, it’s lightweight but responds to stresses, and it’s durable enough to survive for millennia. In Bones, orthopedic surgeon Roy A. Meals explores and extols this amazing material that both supports and records vertebrate life.

Inside the body, bone proves itself the world’s best building material. Meals examines the biological makeup of bones; demystifies how they grow, break, and heal; and compares the particulars of human bone to variations throughout the animal kingdom. In engaging and clear prose, he debunks familiar myths—humans don’t have exactly 206 bones—and illustrates common bone diseases, like osteoporosis and arthritis, and their treatments. Along the way, he highlights the medical innovations—from the first X-rays to advanced operative techniques—that enhance our lives and introduces the giants of orthopedic surgery who developed them.

After it has supported vertebrate life, bone reveals itself in surprising ways—sometimes hundreds of millions of years later. With enthusiasm and humor, Meals investigates the diverse roles bone has played in human culture throughout history. He highlights allusions to bone in religion and literature, from Adam’s rib to Hamlet’s skull, and uncovers its enduring presence as fossils, technological tools, and musical instruments ranging from the Tibetan thighbone kangling horn to everyday drumsticks. From the dawn of civilization through to the present day, humankind has repurposed bone to serve and protect, and even to teach, amuse, and inspire.

Approachable and entertaining, Bones richly illuminates our bodies’ essential framework.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393868258
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/26/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 256,328
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Roy A. Meals, MD, is a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at UCLA and the author of Bones: Inside and Out, a Barnes & Noble Best Science Book of 2020. The author of several medical books, he has practiced, researched, and taught hand surgery for forty years. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 Bone Concealed

Chapter 1 Bone's Unique Composition and Varied Structure 3

Chapter 2 Bone's Life and Relatives 23

Chapter 3 When Bones Break 41

Chapter 4 Bone's Other Failings and Who Can Help 53

Chapter 5 Bone Surgery Through The Ages 67

Chapter 6 Six Orthopedic Giants 82

Chapter 7 Orthopedic Innovations 100

Chapter 8 Picturing Bone 115

Chapter 9 The Future of Concealed Bone 133

Part 2 Bone Revealed

Chapter 10 Bone Left Alone 149

Chapter 11 Deference to Bone 159

Chapter 12 Bones that Teach 182

Chapter 13 The Business of Bones 199

Chapter 14 Domestic Bones 216

Chapter 15 Beguiling Bones 232

Chapter 16 The Future of Revealed Bone 254

Acknowledgments 260

Bibliography 262

Index 284

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