In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
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Dr. Tiffany Chow is Senior Clinician-Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, staff Behavioural Neurologist at Baycrest’s Brain Health Centre Memory Disorders Clinic and holds a dual appointment as Assistant Professor of Neurology and Geriatric Psychiatry with the University of Toronto.
She studied or trained variously at Stanford, Rush Medical College, UCLA, and was Clinical Core Director at the University of Southern California Alzheimer’s Research Center with a research program for frontotemporal dementia.
Her current research focuses on behavioural disturbances brought on by dementia as well as their apparent opposite, apathy, and how these symptoms relate to brain chemistry as seen with functional neuroimaging.
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“This book is the wise and compassionate friend you desperately want when you discover that you or someone you love has dementia. As a daughter and primary caretaker of a mother with Alzheimer’s, I deeply appreciate Tiffany Chow’s thoughtful and practical help. She distils the best from Western neurological sciences and Eastern wisdom traditions into a sane, grounded, practical and deeply empathetic book. Dr. Chow models a response to the disaster and heartbreak of this disease that is both fearless and joyful, and in so doing, helps us call these qualities forth in ourselves.”
–Ruth Ozeki Author of Booker long-listed novel A Tale for the Time Being
Penguin Canada, 2013
The Memory Clinic
“Unless you are planning to die before age 65, you too are at risk for dementia, regardless of family history.” This is the sobering observation of Dr. Tiffany Chow, a prominent clinician and researcher in dementia.
Yet Dr. Chow also offers knowledge and hope for an illness where there is, as yet, no cure. “This book is a summary of what I’ve learned through my research or from my colleagues about prevention and management of dementia,” she says. “Despite facing a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, there are things that those at risk can do to prevent its onset or progression.”
Through her grandmother Ah Quan, born in 1906 in Hawaii of Chinese ancestry, she too, has a genetic legacy for Alzheimer’ s disease. Comparing her life to grandmother’s life, Tiffany probes what she and other women can do mitigate the impact of genetics, through nutrition, exercise, and the concepts of cerebral reserve and brain plasticity.
But it is in her front-line role managing the suffering caused by dementia and aiding caregivers where Tiffany’s compassionate voice soars. She notes four goals for caregivers to address each day with the afflicted. Do I feel safe? Do I feel healthy? Do I feel happy? Do I feel loved?
Taking action if at least one answer is “no” requires honesty and a higher integration with others. To answer yes to all four questions demonstrates skill at balancing life and is itself part of the protective shield against dementia’s effects.
Tiffany Chow, an empathic physician and an accomplished scientist is a reassuring guide through the mysterious twists of the brain and the grace of loving relationships flowering in adversity.