Discover Magazine's Vital Signs

Discover Magazine's Vital Signs

True Tales of Medical Mysteries, Obscure Diseases, and Life-Saving Diagnoses

Robert A. Norman


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“Vital Signs,” a popular column featured in Discover Magazine, has long been a favorite of readers, showcasing, each month, fascinating new tales of strange illnesses and diseases that baffle doctors and elude diagnosis. Each tale is true and borders on the unbelievable. It’s no wonder that throughout the years the column has become an unofficial textbook for medical students, interns, doctors, and anyone interested in human illness and staying healthy. Now, physician and “Vital Signs” editor Robert Norman has compiled the very best of the series into an intriguing and suspenseful collection for fans and new readers alike. A young woman carries a baby that wasn’t her own—and wasn’t even a human; Aretha Franklin gives a physician the insight needed to save a life; a modern gynecologist faces an ancient disease. These cases and more, representing a wide variety of unique medical anomalies and life-or-death situations, bring readers to the front lines of the medical fray.

Fans of hit medical dramas such as House MD will savor the opportunity to read of the real-life cases that puzzled doctors, the gripping detective work that ensued, and the completely unexpected, often life-saving diagnoses. Discover Magazine’s Vital Signs is a glimpse into the exciting work of real medical professionals, told from their perspective, and revealing that anything can happen in medicine. Readers will never look at a “routine check-up” the same again.


Robert A. Norman:
Dr. Robert A. Norman is a board-certified dermatologist and an award-winning faculty member at five different medical schools, and he has been a contributor to the “Vital Signs” section of Discover for the past twelve years. He has written over twenty books including The Woman Who Lost Her Skin (and Other Dermatological Tales) and 100 Questions and Answers on Aging Skin. His popular weekly radio show “Doc Talk” has provided expert advice and compelling medical stories for more than two years. Dr. Norman lives in Hillsborough County, Florida.