6 Mind-Blowing Books for Fans of Medical Mysteries

The history of medicine is full of perplexing medical enigmas.

If you’re a fan of House, M.D. or if you’ve binge-watched every episode of documentary shows like OWN’s Mystery Diagnosis or Netflix’s Diagnosis, then you’re sure to enjoy these science books that delve into real-life medical enigmas.

By Brandon Miller

The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them

By Dr. Euan Angus Ashley

In The Genome Odyssey, Stanford professor Dr. Euan Angus Ashley explores the medicine behind genome sequencing, and how it can be used in the quest to prevent and beat disease. Packed with harrowing, real-life medical accounts — like a baby girl whose heart stopped five times on her first day of life — this new book will leave you feeling more informed, and also more human.

Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries

By Dr. Lisa Sanders

Dr. Lisa Sanders is the author behind the popular Diagnosis column in The New York Times Magazine. Her column served as the basis for Netflix’s Diagnosis — and Sanders herself served as an inspiration and adviser for the show House, M.D. In this collection, Dr. Sanders presents over fifty of the most perplexing medical mysteries originally covered in her Diagnosis column.

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine

By Thomas Morris

Equal parts weird and humorous, The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth is an illustrated guide to history’s most perplexing medical quandaries. Written by Thomas Morris, who also wrote The Matter of the Heart, Exploding Teeth explores a wide array of baffling ailments, unsettling operations, and curious medical cases — including, of course, a series of dental explosions in the 19th century.

The Lady’s Handbook for her Mysterious Illness

By Sarah Ramey

The lone memoir on our list, The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness is a detailed account of Sarah Ramey’s struggle to find answers for a mystery disease that plagued her for years. Despite doctors telling her that her symptoms were psychological and not physical, Ramey fought for the truth. Her book serves as a rallying call for all those suffering from undiagnosed conditions.

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We

By Gail Jarrow

This one might hit a bit too close to home, given the current pandemic. But if you can stomach it, Gail Jarrow’s Red Madness offers an arresting account of the little-known pellagra epidemic that struck America’s South in the early 20th century. Using over 100 archival photographs to illustrate her narrative, Jarrow examines the root cause of the disease, how it spread across the country and infected tens of thousands of victims, and how scientists and public health officials eventually beat it back.

Good Blood: A Doctor, a Donor, and the Incredible Breakthrough that Saved Millions of Babies

By Julian Guthrie

In Good Blood, New York Times bestselling author Julian Guthrie gives us everything we want in a medical marvel story. It has a terrible and mysterious disease at its core — Rh disease, which causes a pregnant woman’s immune system to attack her own unborn child. And it has a fantastic road to the cure, which was found by joining together a young American doctor and an Australian with near-magical blood.

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