Diving Physiology in Plain English by Jolie Bookspan PhD.

Why do divers so often want to urinate in their suits during a dive? The answer to this all-important question can be found in Chapter 2 of Diving Physiology in Plain English by Jolie Bookspan PhD.
At 230 pages it may look like a dry medical tome, but the contents will interest anyone who wonders what happens to their bodies under water. The author's aim is to present diving physiology in an understandable and enjoyable way. The list of contributing reviewers is comprehensive, and includes a comment from the BSAC's own Dr Peter Wilmshurst (on the unlikely risks to women of pressure damage to silicone breast implants).
Chapter 1 delves into the mysteries of decompression tables and computers, explaining things like M-values, half-times, and non-Haldanean decompression models like the Slab, Varying Permeability and Reduced Gradient Bubble.
Not tempted? How about the next chapter, which deals with immersion effects like the 'dive reflex' and the aforementioned 'P-phenomenon'?
In Britain we have to take some interest in what happens when we dive in the cold. The next chapter explains the why and how of diving in chilly waters. The problems of diving in the heat are also covered.
Gender facts and folklore deserve their own chapter. This includes a section on issues specific to men, including penile implants (surely rare among BSAC members!).
Of more common appeal, I suspect, is the subject of hair restoration. Unfortunately, this section deals with hair-growth stimulators, surgical hair restoration and their relationship to diving health, rather than a promise that time spent under water will stimulate balding pates to resprout.
Issues specific to women are touched on: what is known medically about diving while pregnant, and oral contraception. The shortness of the chapter higlights the lack of medical knowledge on the subject.
More comprehensive are areas such as cardiovascular health, diver's acne, joint structure and injury, eating disorders, air consumption and obesity.
Chapter 5 considers diving injuries and the more real dangers of poisonous stings from marine animals, decompression illnesses, lung injuries, oxygen toxicity, headaches (more than four pages on this subject) and swimmer's ear.
'Fat's Not All Bad' leads off the exercise chapter, which takes in nutrition, losing weight without diets, bone health and fluid replacement. John Bantin

Diving Physiology in Plain English by Jolie Bookspan PhD, published by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society Inc, 10531 Metropolitan Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895, USA (tel. 001 301 942 2980; fax. 001 301 942 7804) It costs US$30.