They’re such buzzwords: inflammation, anti-inflammatory…and yet few lay people know what they mean, even the millions suffering from arthritis, colitis, gingivitis, gastritis, and the numerous other conditions of obvious inflammation, not to mention the pathologies attributed to hidden inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, and abdominal obesity. Gastroenterologist and Columbia University Medical School instructor Shilpa Ravella, MD, seeks to change that with her new book The Silent Fire. A gifted storyteller, Ravella takes us on the journey that began for her when a healthy young friend was quickly rendered profoundly disabled by an autoimmune disease, all of which are believed to be inflammatory in origin. She then introduces us to the brilliant, often quirky, characters who first came to understand the confounding role inflammation plays in health — for which it’s vital — and disease — which it can incite or exacerbate. And she leaves us with delicious bits of information to take away and use today about food choices (there is a science-based anti-inflammatory diet, not necessarily the one we might find in a Google search), exercise (think more “I’m alive; I’m supposed to move” than “Sign me up for the ultra-marathon”), and how peace, happiness, saying no, and turning off the computer when we’ve worked enough just might be medical miracles.
About the Guest
Dr. Ravella is a gastroenterologist and author with expertise in nutrition. A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet & Disease (October 11, 2022, W.W. Norton) is her first book. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Slate, Discover and USA Today, among other publications, and she has appeared as an expert on ABC’s Good Morning America and in print media outlets including Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Food and Wine, Glamour and Women’s Health. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.
Book: A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease