Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

This is certainly a new one on me: Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or BIID, a psychological condition in which the sufferer feels compelled to remove one or more healthy limbs from his body. It sounds crazy, but there are people out there who feel that a part of their body is completely alien to them and, as such, desperately long for it to be removed. There's no question about their sincerity, as some go so far as to attempt self-amputation. Anil Ananthaswamy does a wonderful job of describing this condition with both scientific objectivity and sincere compassion for those with this strange condition. It should be noted that this is not a book; it's a Kindle single - and the first publication of "serious, in-depth, long-form online journalism" from the publisher Matter. I'm not sure how well this approach to publishing will succeed in the future, but Do No Harm certainly gets things off to a rousing start.

While BIID is not a medically recognized disorder - not yet anyway - the author makes a compelling case for its consideration. The fact that the right superior parietal lobe is thinner than normal in those with BIID suggests something medical rather than psychological is going on here - even though it's unclear if this is a cause or effect of the condition. As Ananthaswamy describes it, BIID is sort of the flip side of phantom limb sensations - in this case, something has caused the brain's internal map of the body to exclude a part that really is there.

The author doesn't delve too deeply into the ethics of doctors removing healthy limbs for those with BIID, but he does discuss an underground network linking patients with an Asian doctor willing to perform such surgeries - under false pretenses, of course. The most interesting thing to me, though, is the fact that those who do have the amputation - usually a leg - have no regrets after the fact. They happily don crutches, finally feeling as if their bodies are whole.

Exceedingly well-written, Do No Harm: The People Who Amputate Their Perfectly Healthy Limbs, and the Doctors Who Help Them proves just as fascinating as the title suggests.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 July 2013
This was an interesting book to read as I had heard of people having this urge but not really thinking much about it. For a little understanding into their lives, it is worth a moment to read but perhaps not for the 'ba humbug' dis-believers out there.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 November 2013
Well written article on a largely unheard of condition, BIID, similar to BDD, where the individual doesn't recognise their limbs as part if their body . The story follows one man seeking amputation of a healthy limb and the people who help and support those who this are afflicted by this psychiatric condition. Interesting subject, I did find myself sympathetic to David and Patrick's cause, however it's not something that I could personally relate to...
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 May 2013
What an insight into something i've never even considered before.
I truly felt for the people who suffer from this 'syndrome'
The research so far I think has proved these people are honest and truthful in the trauma of this condition.
Just wish it had been longer.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 April 2013
A very interesting read and a good overview of a topic I'm not at all familiar with. It's hard to imagine what it must feel like to be this kind of unhappy - hard to relate to, hard to understand, but I found the book to balance very well the human interest angle with the neurological one. Fascinating.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 January 2013
I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED ABOUT THIS TYPE OF PERSON AND FOUND THE MEDICS OPINION ABOUT THE BRAIN NOT BEING CONNECTED TO A PARTICULAR LIMB VERY INTERESTING AND MADE ME THINK QUITE DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THESE POOR PEOPLE AND THEIR MENTAL SUFFERING. AN ENLIGHTENING READ.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 2013
This book is really interesting. its amazing how the brain can "disown" a part of your body due to an imbalance
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.