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The Health of Populations - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128028124, 9780128028131

The Health of Populations

1st Edition

Beyond Medicine

5.0 star rating 1 Review
Author: Jack James
Paperback ISBN: 9780128028124
eBook ISBN: 9780128028131
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th October 2015
Page Count: 526
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The Health of Populations: Beyond Medicine uses current research and in-depth analysis to provide insights into the issues and challenges of population health; a subject of increasing concern, due largely to rapid population growth, population aging, rising costs and diminishing resources, health inequality, and the global rise in noncommunicable diseases. Reducing the global burden of disease requires prevention of disease incidence, which is achievable through reduction of exposure to primary (behavioral) and secondary (biomedical) risk factors. The 15 chapters of the book are divided into three sections that focus on the science of health, the harm of medicine, and how to achieve optimal health. By highlighting the benefits of preventing incidence of disease, this book illustrates how biomedicine needs to be repositioned form being the dominant approach in healthcare to being an adjunct to behavioral, legislative, social, and other preventive means for optimizing population health.

Key Features

  • Heavily evidence-based and thoroughly referenced with hundreds of scientific citations
  • Contains a glossary, as well as valuable tables, illustrations, and information boxes to further explain core content
  • Provides fresh perspectives on issues related to rapid population growth, population aging, rising costs, diminishing resources, health inequality, and more
  • Carefully distils extensive tracts of information, clarifies misunderstandings, and rebuts myths with the ultimate goal of encouraging better understanding of the action needed to promote optimal health for all


Professionals and graduate students in public health, epidemiology, sociology, health science, health promotion, health education, preventative medicine, health policy and planning, health sociology and health psychology. In addition, this book will be greatly welcomed by the interested general reader

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • About the Author
  • Preface

Part 1: The Science of Health

  • Chapter 1: The Origins of Health
    • 1.1 What is Health?
    • 1.2 What Makes Humans Healthy?
    • 1.3 Historical Causes of Increased Life Expectancy
  • Chapter 2: Current Patterns of Death and Disease
    • 2.1 Current Main Causes of Death
    • 2.2 Habits and Habitats Ancient and Modern
    • 2.3 Discordance Between Paleolithic and Modern Habits and Habitats
    • 2.4 What Is Healthcare For? The Preeminence of Behavioral Outcomes
  • Chapter 3: Twelve Millennia of Changing Human Habits and Habitats
    • 3.1 Epidemiologic Transition
    • 3.2 Demographic Transition
    • 3.3 Transitions in Transition
    • 3.4 What Longevity Revolution?
    • 3.5 Are Populations Healthier Now As Well As Longer Lived?
    • 3.6 Morbidity: Compression, Expansion, or Equilibrium?
  • Chapter 4: Biomedicine and Common Causes of Mortality and Morbidity
    • 4.1 Road Traffic Injury and Biomedicine: The Relevance of Policy
    • 4.2 Cardiovascular Disease: The Leading Global Cause of Mortality and Morbidity

Part 2: The Harm of Medicine

  • Chapter 5: Medical Harm: What Is It and What Is the Extent?
    • 5.1 Medical Harm: What Is It?
    • 5.2 Serial Harm: Wayward Doctors and Malfunctioning Systems
    • 5.3 To Err Is Human: Harm Caused in the Routine Practice of Medicine
    • 5.4 To Err Is Human, but to Repeat the Error Is…Inevitable!
    • 5.5 Is Medicine Safe? Is It Getting Safer? The Evidence Says “No” to Both Questions
    • 5.6 Can Biomedical Healthcare Be Made Safe?
  • Chapter 6: Sources of Harm: Prescription Drugs, Surgery, and Infections
    • 6.1 Harm from Prescription Drugs
    • 6.2 Harm from Surgery
    • 6.3 Healthcare-Associated Infection
    • 6.4 Multiple Drug Resistance
    • 6.5 Limiting Harm Due to Antibiotic Resistance
  • Chapter 7: The Commercial Culture of Medicine
    • 7.1 The Myth of Safe and Effective Prescription Drugs
    • 7.2 Has Medicine Sold Out to Big Pharma?
    • 7.3 What Doctors Do (and Don’t Do) to Limit Harmful Commercialism in Clinical Practice
  • Chapter 8: Big Pharma Entanglement with Biomedical Science
    • 8.1 Science in the Service of Industry: The Loss of Scientific Integrity in Biomedical Research
    • 8.2 Partners in Crime
    • 8.3 Manufacturing Bias in Scientific Research
    • 8.4 Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research
  • Chapter 9: The Charms and Harms of Personalized Medicine
    • 9.1 Why Is Genomic Medicine Said to Be Personalized?
    • 9.2 What Is the Efficacy of Personalized Medicine Now and What Is It Likely to Be?
    • 9.3 To Screen or Not to Screen? Why Is That a Question?
    • 9.4 The Genome Is but One Piece of the Heterogeneous Mosaic of Life
    • 9.5 Genomic Personalized Medicine: Future Prospects and Legacy

Part 3: Achieving Optimal Health Sustainably

  • Chapter 10: Healing Practices and Evidence-Based Medicine
    • 10.1 The Nature of Healing
    • 10.2 Evidence-Based Medicine
    • 10.3 Unwelcome Discoveries: Established Interventions That Don’t Work
  • Chapter 11: Placebo and the Therapeutic Process
    • 11.1 The Placebo: Powerful, Powerless, or Passé?
    • 11.2 The Therapeutic Process
    • 11.3 Why Do Practitioners Use Interventions That Have No Specific Benefit?
  • Chapter 12: Prevention and Control of Disease
    • 12.1 The Power of Prevention: Reorienting Healthcare
  • Chapter 13: Associated Prevention Concepts and Models
    • 13.1 Ecological Models of Health and the Emergence of Health Activism
    • 13.2 Health Inequality and the Social Determinants of Health
    • 13.3 Health in All Policies
    • 13.4 Welfare Provision and the “Nanny” State: Nudge, Fudge, Smudge, Grudge, or Budge
    • 13.5 Why Do Successes in Prevention Not Attract the Accolades They Deserve?
    • 13.6 Why Has Healthcare Not Adopted Prevention as the Predominant Approach?
    • 13.7 What About the Ethical Imperative of Providing Help for Suffering Individuals?
    • 13.8 The Ethical Foundations of Prevention Over Cure
  • Chapter 14: Optimal Healthcare: Risk Factor Reduction and Adjunctive Biomedical Intervention
    • 14.1 Program for Prevention and Control of Common Complex Diseases Incorporating Risk Factor Reduction and Adjunctive Biomedical Care
    • 14.2 Prevention of Disease Through Risk Factor Reduction to Reduce Disease Incidence
    • 14.3 Biomedical Intervention to Control Disease Progression
  • Chapter 15: Mental Health
    • 15.1 Mental Disorder: The Triple Yoke of Big Pharma, Psychiatry, and the Biomedical Model
    • 15.2 Psychosocial Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention
  • Epilogue
  • List of Acronyms
  • Glossary
  • Subject Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2016
28th October 2015
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
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About the Author

Jack James

Jack James

Jack James was educated in Sydney, where he completed university studies in psychology, biology, social science, and the humanities. He trained as a clinical psychologist, and completed a PhD in experimental clinical psychology. Shortly thereafter, he was drawn to the new field of health psychology, which became the mainstay of his subsequent professional and academic career. He has been on the faculty of several universities in Australia and Europe, and has been principal investigator and recipient of health-related research grants from major granting bodies in Australia, Ireland, Iceland, and the European Union. In the 1990s, he was Foundation Professor of Behavioural Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Founding National Chair of the Australian College of Health Psychologists. In the 2000s, he was Professor and Head of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway. He now lives and works in Iceland, where he is Professor of Psychology, Reykjavík University.

Affiliations and Expertise

PhD, Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland


"...a masterpiece...Everyone interested in health should buy and read this book...this book will be ranked in the top 10 best books written in the 21st century in the field of health sciences." --Psychology Today

"…focuses the power of scientific analysis to demonstrate with devastating force that prevention is vastly superior to cure, yet we frequently behave as if we did not believe that to be so, both as individuals and as societies, and that we do so at our peril…This book should be on the must-read list of politicians and policy planners as well as those of academics and senior tertiary students in public health, health promotion and medicine in general. The author’s highly accessible language and careful attention to definition of jargon terms makes the book very accessible to the non-specialist reader as well as students. The work could act as a wonderful core text for a series of seminars or tutorial debates in these fields…a text that should prove to be a powerful motivator…" --Thomas A. Matyas, PhD, Adjunct Professor, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Honorary Professorial Fellow, Stroke Division, Florey Institute of Neurosciece and Mental Health

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