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Books, Journals, New Media
October 15, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(15):2067-2068. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.2067

A Map of the Child is an exploration of pediatric medicine written for a general audience by a pediatrician. Each chapter, on a different body system, contains several clinical vignettes interlaced with medical history and descriptions of the body. Explaining children's bodies is Dr Sanghavi's stated goal, and he pursues it using metaphors rather than pictures or diagrams. "The brain controls body temperature," Dr Sanghavi suggests in one example,

much like a thermostat regulates a house's temperature. Small nerves in skin measure temperature and transmit this information to the thermoregulation center in the brain. There, the skin temperature is compared to the brain's desired temperature, or setpoint. If the skin temperature is too high, then the body's cooling system is activated. Blood vessels on the skin dilate, so the body loses heat like a car dissipates heat through the radiator. Sweat glands release up to a liter of coolant onto the skin. Finally a person breathes faster, which chills the body since the inhaled air is colder than body temperature.