How to Remove a Brain by David Haviland

How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical Practices and Procedures is a collection of fascinating medical facts that might amuse and disgust you at the same time. I wouldn’t say that this book is only for doctors because I am not one and yet I enjoyed reading the book.

A couple of weird facts from the book :

  • Did you know that doctors used urine to diagnose a lot many diseases. What is so great about it you ask? Unlike the plethora of testing devices available in modern times, the doctors back then had to taste the urine. Ugh!!! The diagnosis (after tasting the urine) ranged from diabetes to infections.


  • Speaking of tasting urine, there was a time when people thought that drinking urine was beneficial. Reading more about this fact reminded me of the 5th Indian Prime Minister Moraji Desai. He too followed urine therapy. How beneficial is urine therapy? Well, what nutrients would one get from the waste that the body expels?


  • Vesalius is the founder of human anatomy. In olden days, before Vesalius’ discovery that is, no human dissection was carried out. Anatomy classes included reading books by Galen and Aristotle. Vesalius managed to break the curfew and steal the body of an executed criminal. After dissecting the body, he found a number of discrepancies in Galen’s findings. It doesn’t end there. Vesalius was known to be absent-minded. He once almost dissected a body when the man was still alive!


  • We all know about Arthur Conan Doyle, don’t we? The author and creator of one of the greatest fictional detectives of all times. But what if I tell you that the character of Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person? Yes, you read it right! Conan Doyle characterized Holmes based on someone whom he knew. Who was it? I am not going to reveal the secret. Read the book to find out.


I am going to include some more facts, taken from the Goodreads Blurb :

  • How was the history changed by a single Soho water pump?
  • Which condition was treated by trapping a child inside a tree trunk?
  • Where is the soul found?
  • How long does it take to digest chewing gum?
  • What are hiccups for?
  • Did the Gauls brush their teeth with urine?
  • Does organ theft actually happen?
  • Is it safe to fly with breast implants?
  • Did Christopher Columbus import syphilis to Europe?
  • Was King George V killed by his doctor, in order to meet the Times’ deadline?


Each and every fact in the book is fascinating. David Haviland has done a lot of research to bring all these interesting and hilarious facts together in the form of a book. Haviland has approached the topics with a quirky note making the book an enjoyable read. If you are looking for a unique read and you love to read interesting facts, do not miss to check How to Remove a Brain by David Haviland. By the way, as the title suggests, How to Remove a Brain is also discussed in the book.




Writing: 4.5/5

Subject Matter: 4.5/5


Overall Rating: 4.5/5




Title: How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical Procedures and Practices

Author: David Haviland

Published on: 1st June 2012 (first published)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Medical



Thank you, David Haviland and Thistle Publishing for the ARC.


Purchase Links: Book Depository |

10 thoughts on “How to Remove a Brain by David Haviland

      1. This was in news pretty recently. A cockroach had gone in through a woman’s nose and it was still alive when they scanned her brain. They removed it through her nose (the cockroach, not her brain). πŸ˜€

      2. Haan ☹️ I had read that too. Made me wanna sleep with my face all covered πŸ™ˆ Riddikulus! 😹

      3. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ what if, you cover your face, and it goes through your ear? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Wear earmuffs?

    1. It’s a fun and interesting read, Debjani. Some facts are gross – like tasting urine to diagnose diseases. If you like to read facts, then you will find this interesting. πŸ™‚

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