From Library Journal
Today the news informs us that our collective health is under attack. Tuberculosis is on the resurgence, AIDS continues its onslaught, and allergies plague many people. Clark, who teaches immunology at UCLA, unites these subjects and others in a lucid discussion of our body's immune system. Devoting each chapter to a unique malady or condition, he provides the details needed to understand our immune structure, particularly when it unravels and turns on itself. These details do not overwhelm the general reader's grasp of the topic; instead they support it. Clark's presentation is straightforward, arranged well, and includes historical background. Highly recommended for all collections.?Michael David Cramer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Libs., Blacksburg
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The immune system is a lifesaver, but it can overkill--that is, attack its possessor's friends as well as its enemies. Clark explains this highly technical subject clearly; nevertheless, readers will have to actively cogitate as they read. The brain and the immune system are the only parts of the body that have memory, and the immune system's can become confused if the signals it receives are unclear or if it misinterprets them. In such situations, autoimmune diseases occur, also the assaults on the body related to AIDS as well as to other infections. The immune system is basically bipartite, consisting of B cells and antibodies on the one hand, of T cells and lymphokines on the other; as knowledge of these two systems has grown, theories about them have changed accordingly. Although microbial pathogens can mutate incredibly quickly, immunologic diversity enables speedy response to virtually any form of attacker. Clark sees communication between the brain and the immune system as the most fascinating aspect of the complex, vitally important part of our being that the immune system is. William Beatty