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Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Diseaseby Sharon Moalem and Jonathan Prince
Synopses & Reviews
You're already living it.
Was diabetes evolution's response to the last Ice Age? Did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Will a visit to the tanning salon help lower your cholesterol? Why do we age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on, or off?
Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria.
Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. When the option is a long life with a disease or a short one without it, evolution opts for disease almost every time.
Everything from the climate our ancestors lived in to the crops they planted and ate to their beverage of choice can be seen in our genetic inheritance. But Survival of the Sickest doesn't stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.
Survival of the Sickest is filled with fascinating insights and cutting-edge research, presented in a way that is both accessible and utterly absorbing. This is a book about the interconnectedness of all life on earth and, especially, what that means for us.
"Moalem, a medical student with a Ph.D. in neurogenetics, asks a number of provocative questions, such as why debilitating hereditary diseases persist in humans and why we suffer from the consequences of aging. His approach to these questions is solidly rooted in evolutionary theory, and he capably demonstrates that each disease confers a selective advantage to individuals who carry either one or two alleles for inherited diseases. But very little is new; the principles, if not every particular, that Moalem addresses have been covered in Randolph Nesse and George Williams's Why We Get Sick, among others. Whether he is discussing hemochromatosis (a disorder that causes massive amounts of iron to accumulate in individuals), diabetes or sickle cell anemia, his conclusion is always the same: each condition offers enough positive evolutionary advantages to offset the negative consequences, and this message is repeated over and over. Additionally, Moalem's endless puns and simple jokes wear thin, but his light style makes for easy reading for readers new to this subject." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In "Survival of the Sickest," medical wunderkind Dr. Moalem delves back into the evolution of man to reveal the heretofore unknown and astonishing ways the human body is built to survive.
About the Author
Sharon Moalem has a Ph.D. in human physiology and in the emerging fields of neurogenetics and evolutionary medicine. His research discovered a new genetic association for familial Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Moalem has also published papers in a wide variety of fields, from honeybee immunology to the evolutionary advantages of disease. He continues to work as a researcher while finishing his medical training at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Moalem lives in New York City.
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