A UCLA public health scholar has written a book examining fatigue as a hugely important factor in human health — and a condition relevant to those with “long-haul” COVID-19 symptoms.

“Sick and Tired – An Intimate History of Fatigue,” authored by Dr. Emily K. Abel, a prize-winning historian of medicine and public health at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, was published this week in hardcover and paperback by the University of North Carolina Press.

“Medicine finally has discovered fatigue,” said Abel, a professor emeritus at FSPH. “Recent research into various diseases conclude that fatigue has been under-recognized, underdiagnosed and undertreated, while scholars in the social sciences and humanities have also ignored the phenomenon. As a result, we know little about what it means to live with this condition, especially given its diverse symptoms and causes.”

The work is the first history of fatigue, informed by Abel’s own experiences as a cancer survivor, according to the Fielding School. The book illustrates how fatigue has been ignored or misunderstood, not only by medical professionals but also by American society as a whole.

“This is quintessential Emily Abel: concise, deeply researched, thoughtful and nuanced in illuminating a long-misunderstood problem,” said Dr. Janet Farrell Brodie, a professor emeritus of history at Claremont Graduate University. “It is also a thoroughly compelling read.”

Abel is the author of 10 books, including “Hearts of Wisdom: American Women Caring for Kin, 1850-1940,” which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2000, and “Tuberculosis and the Politics of Exclusion: A History of Public Health and Migration to Los Angeles,” which won the Viseltear Prize of the Medical Section of the American Public Health Association for an outstanding book in the history of public health.

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