- Unknown Binding
- ASIN: B00427ZZUM
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,008,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Survival of the Sickest: The Surprising Connections Between Disease and Longevity (P.S.) [Paperback] Unknown Binding – 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
For example, today we consider diabetes mellitus a serious disease because it raises human blood sugars to dangerous levels that can result in loss of limbs and sight, among other problems. However, in an ice age, when temperatures were significantly lower than they are now, having extra sugar in the blood may have enabled our ancestors to survive the cold because sugar lowers the temperature at which we freeze to death. Similarly, Sickle Cell Anemia may have evolved to help people resist malaria.
What's especially interesting is that this theory would explain why ethnic groups that are prone to diabetes -- Scandinavians and people from the British Isles, for instance -- originally came from northern areas that were at one time covered by glaciers. And the ancestors of those groups that tend to carry the genes for Sickle Cell generally originated from climates in which malaria was prevalent.
Another intriguing idea is that some "sicknesses" only become serious problems when an individual is older and past his or her prime reproductive years.Read more ›
Dr. Moalem elegantly explains why medical conditions that are deemed to be diseases today often helped our ancestors survive and reproduce in difficult environments. Take hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition that causes iron to accumulate in a person's internal organs, eventually leading to death. Although the gene that causes hemochromatosis was once thought to be rare, research completed in 1996 found that it's actually surprisingly common. Why wouldn't such a terrible disease have been "bred out" of our species long ago? The answer is that hemochromatosis reduces the amount of iron available to iron-loving bacteria, such as the bubonic plague that depopulated Europe in the mid-1300s. A person living in the Middle Ages with the hemochromatosis gene would have eventually died from iron build up, but in the meantime would have have had a smaller chance of dying from the plague and other iron-loving infections--in an age when few people lived past the age of 50, the disease resistance conferred by hemochromatosis far outweighed the disadvantage that would have materialized if the person carrying the gene had lived to old age. People with hemochromatosis reproduced and passed the gene one to their heirs; those without it died of the plague, without children.
"Survival of the Sickest" is filled with similarly surprising observations.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've never been one for reading fiction, that is to say I'm not a book worm. But, I am a science nerd. Read morePublished 11 days ago by caitlin s.
I really enjoyed this book reading all about the connections between viruses, bacteria, and the human body and how we humans have adapted.Published 24 days ago by Camille R. Maier
Very informative and interesting. Sometimes very academic, but it is a difficult topic.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book thoroughly! Review of some basic biology, and catch up on what new discoveries have been made since I last struggled through a text book. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Jennifer B.
This is going into my list of favorite books. Sharon does an amazing job of cutting through eons of science narratives to give practical insight into what "we" really are... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nick Wright
Fascinating accounts of varies maladies and why they exist. The writing style is generally entertaining and flows well (only once or twice did I feel a chapter was a little too... Read morePublished 2 months ago by William Tell