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Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility
Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility
by Robert A. Freitas
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $129.96

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely contribution to nanotechnology literature., October 14, 2003
Once again Robert A. Freitas, Jr. has turned out a remarkable volume of information (similar to Nanomedicine Volume 1). It is probably useful to have read Nanomedicine Volume 1 before reading Volume IIA, but Volume IIA can be read on its own particularly if one has a biological or medical education. Its emphasis is on whether we can expect nanotechnology based devices to be able to operate within the human body but it also deals with whether or not certain aspects of nanotechnology might be dangerous to biological life in general. I thought the aspects of the book that identified the areas where we lack knowledge at this time to be particularly useful. They pointed out topics that still need to be researched. The book is excellent in suggesting solutions for problems we can anticipate at this time in the area of biocompatibility.
This work is particularly timely because groups such as the ETC Group and Greenpeace have recently released reports that might reflect negatively on nanotechnology. This book provides a partial basis for informed debate on the risks vs. the benefits of nanotechnology. Since medical applications of nanotechnology may save 10's of millions of lives annually -- arguing against it requires very strong arguments. Anyone who has not read this book and attempts to criticize the development of nanotechnology for biological applications can probably be considered poorly informed.
The only criticism that I might list is that the publication may have been somewhat accelerated, perhaps in response to rising criticisms by luddites with respect to nanotechnology, and as a result very interesting information that was intended to be in Volume II, may only appear in Volume IIB. (So I'd perhaps only give the work 4.5 stars due to disappointment over not having more information included -- though if IIA and what I anticipate will be in IIB were combined it would be a very large book).
Disclaimer: My reading of this volume was in a pre-press version.

A Means to an End: The Biological Basis of Aging and Death
A Means to an End: The Biological Basis of Aging and Death
by William R. Clark
Edition: Hardcover
104 used & new from $0.01

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good review with some problems, February 4, 2002
Dr. Clark provides a good review of the field but fails, in my opinion, to provide a clear explanation for "The biological basis of aging and death". The theories of the evolutionary biology of aging clearly argue that "aging" cannot be "genetically programmed" or that "We are programmed to grow old and die" as other reviewers have concluded from reading this work. That points out the weakness in this book -- a failure to clearly differentiate between senescence, aging and death. There are two primary theories for why we age -- "the declining force of natural selection" (i.e. it is difficult to optimize a genetic program to produce non-aging organisms) and "antagonistic plieotropy" (i.e. the genetic program is optimized for reproduction at the expense of non-aging longevity). Dr. Clark seems to suggest that the genetic program for senescence is what causes aging and death. In fact the genetic program for senescence is largely an anti-cancer program. It may as a side effect contribute to aging and eventually death but its primary purpose is to prevent cancer. There is a very big difference between saying that aging and death result from an "incomplete" program and saying that aging and death result from a pre-programmed senescence program. One of my primary criticisms is Dr. Clark's pseudo-deathist philosophy. The tone of the book seems to suggest that aging is pre-programmed and cannot be changed. He says, on pg 218, "Will we want to go this far in our search for the fountain of youth? It is unlikely even to be proposed in the lifetime of anyone reading this book, but it is not at all beyond the realm of possibility." (He is speaking of the application of gene therapies to lifespan extension.) I have been proposing such methods for lifespan extension for most of the past decade and have conducted research and founded companies to forward these goals. The human genome is a program. It has bugs in it that result in aging. We can comprehend those bugs and apply patches to fix them allowing the extension of human longevity to the accident-rate limits which will be thousands of years. Individuals who really want to understand aging should read books by people who have studied the field for many years. The best authors, in my opinion, would be Steve Austad, Tom Kirkwood and Caleb Finch. While many of their works may be older than this book, they have a greater depth of understanding of the subtleties of the study of aging that this book fails to discuss.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2015 6:09 PM PST

Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities
Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities
by Robert A. Freitas
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $54.91

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Bible" for 21st Century Bioengineering, June 9, 1999
Serving as a reviewer for this book has been one of the most enjoyable and self-educating activities I've had over the last year. It takes a lot to stretch my imagination and this book certainly accomplished that. I have read the pre-press version of 8 of the 10 chapters in Volume I (1: The Prospect of Nanomedicine, 3: Molecular Transport and Sortation, 4: Nanosensors and Nanoscale Scanning, 6: Power, 7: Communication, 8: Navigation, 9: Manipulation & Locomotion, and 10: Other Basic Capabilities). The basic impression I am left with after reading this material is "wow, now here is a book that turns science fiction into reality".
This book serves to introduce and lay the foundation for nanomedicine - the use, in medicine, of bacteria sized programmable machines, constructed using molecular nanotechnology. It is a highly readable exploration of a field that will play an important role in the evolution of our species. It is also a technical reference with hundreds of equations and thousands of citations. The material covers the possibilities and limits of how nanoscale robots (nanobots) may function in the repair, maintenance and eventual augmentation of the human body.
Nanomedicine will be of interest to physicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, bioengineers as well as nonscientists who wonder how advanced technology may be used to solve currently unsolved problems in medicine. Anyone who considers themselves a "futurist" or who is interested in aspects of nanotechnology should consider the book "required reading". Even individuals who doubt the possibility of molecular nanoassembly will find this series useful due to the quantity and diversity of material relating to computing, human physiology, molecular biology and nanoscale physics that are brought together.
This books stands in a class with Moravec's "Mind Children", Drexler's "Nanosystems" and Finch's "Longevity, Senescence and the Genome" and such classic textbooks as "Molecular Biology of the Gene" and "Molecular Biology of the Cell". I highly recomend Nanomedicine.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2014 7:43 PM PDT

Immortality:: How Science Is Extending Your Life Span--and Changing The World
Immortality:: How Science Is Extending Your Life Span--and Changing The World
by Ben Bova
Edition: Hardcover
74 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good overview with a poor treatment of the details, April 13, 1999
This book offers a simple discussion for some of the causes of aging and the medical treatments which may be used to intervene in them. Bova does a very good job looking at how society will have to deal with the trends in medicine.
If you are do not have a science background, Part I (Chapters 1-15): "The Scientific Evidence" provides a good background for the biology & medicine. If you have a good background in these areas, you may want to skip to Part II: (Chapters 16-21) "The Impact of Immortality", which is much more interesting.
My background includes microbiology, biochemistry, several years of research into the causes of aging and 2 years as the president of Aeiveos Sciences Group where we studied the molecular biology of aging. I found misinterpretations or errors every few pages in the biology discussions. This is probably more the fault of the publisher who should have had the book reviewed by an expert in the field before publication. The treatment of nanotechnology (Chapter 15) is very simplistic.
Forthcoming books such as Nanomedicine by Robert Freitas will be much better in discussing the nuts & bolts of how you solve the problems of aging. Books such as Caleb Finch's "Longevity, Senescense and the Genome" and Steve Austad's "Why We Age" provide a much better background on the biology of aging.

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