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The Autoimmune Epidemic Paperback – February 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis—all these increasingly common illnesses are autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues or nervous system. Equally alarming, as journalist Nakazawa tells us, is researchers' growing suspicion that autism may be an autoimmune disease, brought on in part by genetic predisposition, exposure of young bodies to man-made chemicals and perhaps viral triggers. Nakazawa (Does Anybody Else Look like Me?), who herself has been diagnosed with the autoimmune Guillain-Barré syndrome, tells of a lower-income Buffalo, N.Y., neighborhood where the growing number of relatively young residents with lupus led one persistent woman to discover that a lot where children played had been a dumping ground for industrial chemicals. She also chronicles the work of researchers at Johns Hopkins and other medical centers who have been able to regrow nerves using embryonic stem cells and destroy errant T cells of the immune system that have run amok. Included are suggestions for foods that may promote healthy immune response and consumer body care products to avoid. Everyone with a friend or family member with an autoimmune disease will find this a must read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"In this important book, Donna Jackson Nakazawa sounds the alarm about the rise of autoimmune disorders, and the too-often unexamined evidence of linkages to the environmental contaminants we encounter on a daily basis in our homes, schools and workplaces. I encourage every American to read this book and learn about the choices you can make to reduce the spread and impact of this growing epidemic." --Senator John Kerry
"For the first time sufferers from the epidemic of autoimmune disease are offered a ray of hope and understanding about why their bodies have rebelled against themselves. Seriously asking the question "why", Donna Jackson Nakazawa provides answers and a roadmap for recovery which just doesn't exist with conventional medicine." -- Mark Hyman, MD, Founder and Medical Director of The UltraWellness Center; Author of the New York Times bestselling UltraMetabolism, The UltraSimpleDiet, and UltraPrevention; and Editor in Chief, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
"An insightful exploration of one of the greatest medical mysteries of our time." --Frederick W. Miller, MD, PhD, Chief, Environmental Autoimmunity Group, National Institutes of Health
"Autoimmune diseases touch millions of Americans. Most of these diseases seem to be increasing in frequency. It is most likely that the environment is a major contributor to this increase. Ms. Nakazawa deserves credit for putting this important issue before the public". --Noel R. Rose, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Autoimmune Disease Research
"Donna brilliantly blends personal stories with pure science highlighting the severity of autoimmunine disorders and the role everyday environmental toxins play in triggering onset of a myriad of diseases. As patients and policymakers, we must heed her warnings and demand attention to the causes and potential cures for this growing autoimmunine epidemic." --Congressman Fortney H. "Pete" Stark (California)
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The average reader saves more than just time scouring journals or the Internet. As a journalist with access to good sources, Nakazawa also interviewed proeminent authorities at the forefront of their science circa 2007-9, thereby collecting some of the latest informed intuitions that had not appeared in journals or books yet. This would have taken a L O N G time for the "average Joe" to accomplish, contrary to what some overly dismissive reviews would lead you to believe.
For years, I have read about ubiquitous air, water, and soil pollution. For years I have also read about the suboptimal nature of processed food. Yet this read fostered a sharper awareness about autoimmunity disorders together with the role that the modern world plays in causing such diseases. For instance, when I studied about T-cells years ago in elective biology, I don't think there was any knowledge differentiating ordinary T-cells from supervisory T-cells. Now I am aware of events that can lessen the numbers of those supervisors, causing ordinary T-cells to do a less good job at distinguishing actual antigens from host tissues. Nor was I aware of the ability of some industrial substances to occupy -- or partly occupy -- hormone receptors if those foreign bodies have enough of a chemical resemblence to the particular hormone. When this happens, the flow of normal hormonal signals is distorted. If so, it then becomes plausible that hormonal mis-sgnaling may derail the immune system.
Neither up-to-date T-cell understanding nor endocrine disruption are a revelation to whomever keeps current on immunity, but they were new to me. Not too long ago, plenty else in this book was new even to the specialists, for science upturns things continuously. In fact, she explains how the specialists themselves labored for at least 50 years under the theory that the immune system could not turn against its host -- a theory called "horror autotoxicus". She recounts that a serendipitous discovery in the 1950s began to contradict the established assumption. She got the story firsthand from the scientist who made the initial discovery. It took another 15 years to convince the medical community that its learned belief, horror autotoxicus, was wrong.
All of that package of discoveries plus historical context were quite exciting. So, after reading a few chapters from a public library copy, I decided to buy. There were many useful things to highlight and to return to later for memory refreshment.
However, Kindle readers should know that the endnotes section was mangled.
In the hardback, the endnotes are presented in the following way:
page number on the left, [space], a short italicized verbatim blurb from that page, [space], then the note itself concerning the part of the main text around that blurb.
But the Kindle edition (as of 2013/08) omits the page number, the space, and obscures the first character (or first two characters) of every endnote. This degrades the usefulness of the Kindle endnotes section, especially due to the absence of the page number.
[By the way, that way of presenting endnotes is inefficient, even though it's well executed in the hardback. Researching information under that method takes more time than under the traditional numbered-note method. That ill-inspired method is even worse in electronic books. A well designed e-book allows the user to move at once from main text to note by just clicking on or touching the note number from the main text. Then, as quickly, the user can then fling back to the main text. **Again, this is the traditional mumbering system at work in well designed e-book,** However, in e-books that follow the traditional numbering system, the note number may not be LINKED to the corresponding endnote at the end of the book, making quick and precise back-and-forth movements impossible. The endnote referencing flaws that I described in The Autoimmune Epidemic, Kindle edition, thwart movement even more.]
I got this book because my wife has hemolytic anemia. The antigens are attacking the red blood cells. Where do these antigens come from? The hemotologist doesn't have a clue. Not surprising. But with The Autoimmune Epidemic we have more than a clue, we have a direction, and good reason to be very careful about what we allow in our homes, what we wear, and what we eat. The jungle has morphed, but it's as deadly as ever. This book is explosive and should be mandatory reading for politicians, the law makers who've been doing a pretty poor job regulating the chemical industries happy go lucky attitude.
Donna Jackson Nabakazawa does a very nice job describing the autoimmune diseases and what they can do to us. It's an eye opener for one who thought his eyes were open. I highly recommend this book.