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Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World

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Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:


Making Peace with Microbes

Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the “hygiene hypothesis”: an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. In telling the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs, Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes, which outnumber its human cells by a factor of nine to one! The book also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones; each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.

Review:

"'Science writer Sachs (Corpse) makes a strong case for a new paradigm for dealing with the microbial life that teems around and within us. Taking both evolutionary and ecological approaches, she explains why antibiotics work so well but are now losing their effectiveness. She notes that between agricultural antibiotic usage and needless prescriptions written for human use, antibiotic resistance has reached terrifying levels. A decade ago, resistant infections acquired in hospitals 'were killing an estimated eighty-eight thousand Americans each year... more than car accidents and homicides combined.' Our attempts to destroy microorganisms regularly upset useful microbial communities, often leading to serious medical consequences. Sachs also presents evidence suggesting that an epidemiclike rise in autoimmune diseases and allergies may be attributable to our misguided frontal assault on the bacterial world. The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves. Despite the frightening death toll, Sachs's summary of promising new avenues of research offers hope.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

A freelance popular science writer based in New Jersey, Sachs describes how humans fight against and learn to live with disease-causing bacteria. Her topics include the co-evolution of the human immune system and pathogens over the millennia, discoveries by people living close to the earth, and possible directions for laboratory research. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones.

Synopsis:

Making Peace with Microbes

 

Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the “hygiene hypothesis”—  an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. In telling the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs, Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes—which outnumber its human cells by a factor of nine to one! The book also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones—each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.

Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer. Her first book, Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death, was published in 2001. She lives in New Jersey.
Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times.
 
Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the “hygiene hypothesis”—an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes. She also looks into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones—each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.
"Jessica Snyder Sachs successfully weaves story–telling, history, microbiology and evolution into an exciting account of the two aspects of microbes for humankind—the good and the bad. Through direct interviews and other primary sources, she provides the reader with up-to-date reporting in the areas of drug resistance, infection and new therapeutics."—Stuart B. Levy, M.D., author of The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys their Curative Powers

"Sachs' fine book . . . begins with a real-life prologue about a college student who is well one day, and the next day rapidly goes into septic shock and dies. Throughout her narrative, Sachs interjects stories such as this, and herein lies much of the book's hold on the reader . . . In the chapter 'Life on Man,' Sachs provides a fascinating description of the bacterial colonization of the human landscape. Just 24 hours after birth, our skin sports one thousand bacteria per square centimeter. At 48 hours, the number jumps to ten thousand. We hit the hundred thousand mark by six weeks. It is this dense forest of one hundred billion friendly bacteria on our skin that guards us from the rare, unfriendly sorts. Fifteen trillion essential bacteria line and protect our empty digestive tracts. We learn that the type and count of bacteria are affected by emotional states and, even more intriguing, that the bacteria can, and do, signal our cells to enhance these symbiotic relationships. One of the book's strong points is its blend of the highly technical with the everyday. There is enough of the nonscientific to keep all but the most unrepentant technophobes slogging along. Hang on through some subjects that just cannot be made any simpler, and you will be rewarded with stories that no one taught us in med school . . . Good Germs, Bad Germs and books like it have something to teach a society dizzy with the hubris of science."—Matthew Sleeth, Books & Culture

"Jessica Snyder Sachs successfully weaves story–telling, history, microbiology and evolution into an exciting account of the two aspects of microbes for humankind—the good and the bad. Through direct interviews and other primary sources, she provides the reader with up-to-date reporting in the areas of drug resistance, infection and new therapeutics."—Stuart B. Levy, M.D., author of The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys their Curative Powers

"Jessica Snyder Sachs has a vital message about our future health: we have to get to know our microbes better. They are not simple germs to be wiped out with a magic drug, but complicated creatures whose existence is intimately intertwined with our own. In Good Germs, Bad Germs, Sachs delivers one of the best accounts of the cutting edge of microbiology I've read in recent years."—Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea

"If germs had hands you'd want to shake them—at least to thank them for the good work they do. That counterintuitive truth is just one of many in Jessica Snyder Sachss Good Germs, Bad Germs, an alternately illuminating, fascinating and even amusing look into the curious world of microbes and how our very struggle to keep ourselves safe from them has put us in danger we never imagined. Sachs displays a rare gift for shining light into places you thought youd never want to explore and then making you glad you had the courage to peek."—Jeffrey Kluger, Science Editor, Time, and author of  Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio

"Good Germs, Bad Germs is incredibly well researched and contains a wealth of fascinating information.  It is completely up to date, integrating science and health with the newest ideas on how microbes beneficially affect and even protect humans from disease."—Dale Umetsu, Professor of Immunology, Harvard Medical School

"Jessica Snyder Sachss Good Germs Bad Germs is an outstanding introduction to a complex scientific topic, presented in extremely clear and vivid language. Her approach outlines not only the deleterious effects of microbes, with which we are all too familiar, but also the beneficial side to this vast array of organisms, without which human life would be impossible. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to get 'the big picture' of the microbial world."—Garland E. Allen, Professor of Biology, Washington University

"The amazing thing about this book is that it unites in a remarkable way the particular—otherwise known as everyday life—with the sweepingly general—the historical perspective.  It is educational, amusing, thought–provoking, and quirky by turns. It brings to life not only the individual scientists who shaped the modern era of microbiology but also the equally important lives of modern parents with critically ill children." —Abigail Salyers, Professor of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and co-author of Revenge Of The Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance Is Undermining The Antibiotic Miracle

"The human body, science writer Sachs makes clear, hosts a teeming ecosystem of microorganisms, which, like a terrestrial ecosystem, owes its survival to the balanced interrelationships of its inhabitants. The ecosystem of Homo sapiens has evolved over millennia to optimize our species' healthy development. Sachs reports, however, that scientists increasingly suspect that 19th-century advances in sanitation and the 20th-century advent of antibiotics have inadvertently disrupted these ancient symbioses. Increasingly, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and widespread drug-resistant bacteria are the unintended consequences of the modern world's dramatic medical progress. Fortunately, Sachs softens her bad news with stories of promising research, including new vaccines that may prevent diseases requiring antibiotic treatment, 'probiotic' cultures that restore internal microflora balance, and, more controversially, genetic manipulation of bacteria to improve the virus-fighting qualities of friendly bacteria or to hinder the reproduction of those causing disease. The paradigm shift of working with instead of against bacteria has the potential to revolutionize 21st-century medicine; Sachs's book is a . . . guide to this emerging field."—Kathy Arsenault, Library Journal

"Science writer Sachs makes a strong case for a new paradigm for dealing with the microbial life that teems around and within us. Taking both evolutionary and ecological approaches, she explains why antibiotics work so well but are now losing their effectiveness. She notes that between agricultural antibiotic usage and needless prescriptions written for human use, antibiotic resistance has reached terrifying levels. A decade ago, resistant infections acquired in hospitals were killing an estimated eighty-eight thousand Americans each year . . . more than car accidents and homicides combined. Our attempts to destroy microorganisms regularly upset useful microbial communities, often leading to serious medical consequences. Sachs also presents evidence suggesting that an epidemiclike rise in autoimmune diseases and allergies may be attributable to our misguided frontal assault on the bacterial world. The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves. Despite the frightening death toll, Sachs's summary of promising new avenues of research offers hope."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer. Her first book, Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death, was published in 2001. She lives in New Jersey.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780809050635
Subtitle:
Health and Survival in a Bacterial World
Author:
Sachs, Jessica Snyder
Publisher:
Hill and Wang
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Microbiology
Subject:
Bacteria
Subject:
Infectious Diseases
Subject:
Diseases - General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - Microbiology
Subject:
Communicable diseases
Subject:
Health Care Issues
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
October 2007
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 3 Black-and-White Illustrations
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.06 in

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Microbiology

Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Hill & Wang - English 9780809050635 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Science writer Sachs (Corpse) makes a strong case for a new paradigm for dealing with the microbial life that teems around and within us. Taking both evolutionary and ecological approaches, she explains why antibiotics work so well but are now losing their effectiveness. She notes that between agricultural antibiotic usage and needless prescriptions written for human use, antibiotic resistance has reached terrifying levels. A decade ago, resistant infections acquired in hospitals 'were killing an estimated eighty-eight thousand Americans each year... more than car accidents and homicides combined.' Our attempts to destroy microorganisms regularly upset useful microbial communities, often leading to serious medical consequences. Sachs also presents evidence suggesting that an epidemiclike rise in autoimmune diseases and allergies may be attributable to our misguided frontal assault on the bacterial world. The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves. Despite the frightening death toll, Sachs's summary of promising new avenues of research offers hope.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones.
"Synopsis" by ,
Making Peace with Microbes

 

Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the “hygiene hypothesis”—  an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. In telling the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs, Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes—which outnumber its human cells by a factor of nine to one! The book also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones—each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.

Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer. Her first book, Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death, was published in 2001. She lives in New Jersey.
Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times.
 
Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the “hygiene hypothesis”—an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes. She also looks into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones—each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.
"Jessica Snyder Sachs successfully weaves story–telling, history, microbiology and evolution into an exciting account of the two aspects of microbes for humankind—the good and the bad. Through direct interviews and other primary sources, she provides the reader with up-to-date reporting in the areas of drug resistance, infection and new therapeutics."—Stuart B. Levy, M.D., author of The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys their Curative Powers

"Sachs' fine book . . . begins with a real-life prologue about a college student who is well one day, and the next day rapidly goes into septic shock and dies. Throughout her narrative, Sachs interjects stories such as this, and herein lies much of the book's hold on the reader . . . In the chapter 'Life on Man,' Sachs provides a fascinating description of the bacterial colonization of the human landscape. Just 24 hours after birth, our skin sports one thousand bacteria per square centimeter. At 48 hours, the number jumps to ten thousand. We hit the hundred thousand mark by six weeks. It is this dense forest of one hundred billion friendly bacteria on our skin that guards us from the rare, unfriendly sorts. Fifteen trillion essential bacteria line and protect our empty digestive tracts. We learn that the type and count of bacteria are affected by emotional states and, even more intriguing, that the bacteria can, and do, signal our cells to enhance these symbiotic relationships. One of the book's strong points is its blend of the highly technical with the everyday. There is enough of the nonscientific to keep all but the most unrepentant technophobes slogging along. Hang on through some subjects that just cannot be made any simpler, and you will be rewarded with stories that no one taught us in med school . . . Good Germs, Bad Germs and books like it have something to teach a society dizzy with the hubris of science."—Matthew Sleeth, Books & Culture

"Jessica Snyder Sachs successfully weaves story–telling, history, microbiology and evolution into an exciting account of the two aspects of microbes for humankind—the good and the bad. Through direct interviews and other primary sources, she provides the reader with up-to-date reporting in the areas of drug resistance, infection and new therapeutics."—Stuart B. Levy, M.D., author of The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys their Curative Powers

"Jessica Snyder Sachs has a vital message about our future health: we have to get to know our microbes better. They are not simple germs to be wiped out with a magic drug, but complicated creatures whose existence is intimately intertwined with our own. In Good Germs, Bad Germs, Sachs delivers one of the best accounts of the cutting edge of microbiology I've read in recent years."—Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea

"If germs had hands you'd want to shake them—at least to thank them for the good work they do. That counterintuitive truth is just one of many in Jessica Snyder Sachss Good Germs, Bad Germs, an alternately illuminating, fascinating and even amusing look into the curious world of microbes and how our very struggle to keep ourselves safe from them has put us in danger we never imagined. Sachs displays a rare gift for shining light into places you thought youd never want to explore and then making you glad you had the courage to peek."—Jeffrey Kluger, Science Editor, Time, and author of  Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio

"Good Germs, Bad Germs is incredibly well researched and contains a wealth of fascinating information.  It is completely up to date, integrating science and health with the newest ideas on how microbes beneficially affect and even protect humans from disease."—Dale Umetsu, Professor of Immunology, Harvard Medical School

"Jessica Snyder Sachss Good Germs Bad Germs is an outstanding introduction to a complex scientific topic, presented in extremely clear and vivid language. Her approach outlines not only the deleterious effects of microbes, with which we are all too familiar, but also the beneficial side to this vast array of organisms, without which human life would be impossible. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to get 'the big picture' of the microbial world."—Garland E. Allen, Professor of Biology, Washington University

"The amazing thing about this book is that it unites in a remarkable way the particular—otherwise known as everyday life—with the sweepingly general—the historical perspective.  It is educational, amusing, thought–provoking, and quirky by turns. It brings to life not only the individual scientists who shaped the modern era of microbiology but also the equally important lives of modern parents with critically ill children." —Abigail Salyers, Professor of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and co-author of Revenge Of The Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance Is Undermining The Antibiotic Miracle

"The human body, science writer Sachs makes clear, hosts a teeming ecosystem of microorganisms, which, like a terrestrial ecosystem, owes its survival to the balanced interrelationships of its inhabitants. The ecosystem of Homo sapiens has evolved over millennia to optimize our species' healthy development. Sachs reports, however, that scientists increasingly suspect that 19th-century advances in sanitation and the 20th-century advent of antibiotics have inadvertently disrupted these ancient symbioses. Increasingly, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and widespread drug-resistant bacteria are the unintended consequences of the modern world's dramatic medical progress. Fortunately, Sachs softens her bad news with stories of promising research, including new vaccines that may prevent diseases requiring antibiotic treatment, 'probiotic' cultures that restore internal microflora balance, and, more controversially, genetic manipulation of bacteria to improve the virus-fighting qualities of friendly bacteria or to hinder the reproduction of those causing disease. The paradigm shift of working with instead of against bacteria has the potential to revolutionize 21st-century medicine; Sachs's book is a . . . guide to this emerging field."—Kathy Arsenault, Library Journal

"Science writer Sachs makes a strong case for a new paradigm for dealing with the microbial life that teems around and within us. Taking both evolutionary and ecological approaches, she explains why antibiotics work so well but are now losing their effectiveness. She notes that between agricultural antibiotic usage and needless prescriptions written for human use, antibiotic resistance has reached terrifying levels. A decade ago, resistant infections acquired in hospitals were killing an estimated eighty-eight thousand Americans each year . . . more than car accidents and homicides combined. Our attempts to destroy microorganisms regularly upset useful microbial communities, often leading to serious medical consequences. Sachs also presents evidence suggesting that an epidemiclike rise in autoimmune diseases and allergies may be attributable to our misguided frontal assault on the bacterial world. The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves. Despite the frightening death toll, Sachs's summary of promising new avenues of research offers hope."—Publishers Weekly

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