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Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

2 Ratings: 4.5
2007 non-fiction book by Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince

Read it. You're already living it. Was diabetes evolution's response to the last Ice Age? Did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Will a visit to the tanning salon help lower your cholesterol? Why do we … see full wiki

Author: Dr Sharon Moalem w/ Jonathan Prince
Genre: Social Sciences
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Published: February 6, 2007
1 review about Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick...

Somewhat difficult subject matter for those lacking a background in science or medicine..,

  • Mar 22, 2009
  • by
From time to time I pick up a book on a subject I know virtually nothing about. Ordinarily I devour books about history or politics or current events. These are topics I am well versed in and comfortable with.  Dr. Sharon Moalem's "The Survival of the Sickest: sounded like a fascinating departure from my ordinary fare.  So I thought I would give it a whirl.  Unfortunately for me the results were somewhat mixed.  Although Dr. Moalem and his co-author have written this book in fairly simple language that most should be able to follow pretty easily I found myself overwhelmed at times by the number of terms I was simply not familiar with at all.  I'm afraid my lack of education in the sciences was showing.  Blame me not the good doctor.  Yet in spite of these difficulties I was still able to glean some important information from this book.  I now have a somewhat better understanding of the whole business of why disease exists in the first place. I also discovered the important role viruses play in our ability to survive and reproduce.  I also found out that the development of diabetes in human beings probably emerged as natures response to people having to cope with conditions in regions with extremely cold temperatures. T his makes perfect sense and was interesting to me because a number of people in my family have battled this disease.  Perhaps the most fascinating thing I learned in "Survival of the Sickest" is that exposure to the sunshine actually helps to convert the cholestorol in our bodies into the vitamin D we all need to ensure strong bones and help avoid osteoperosis.  I had never heard this before and found this revelation to be quite interesting indeed!
For me, attempting to read "Survival of the Sickest" was a little like visiting a foreign country and not knowing the language.  I was simply unprepared to get the most out of this book.   Other reviews I have read by people who appear to be much more knowledgeable in this area heap praise on Dr. Sharon Moalem for his book.  I suspect their evaluation of this book is right on the money.  In the end I found that reading "Survival of the Sickest" was time well spent anyway.  After all, it is impossible to expand your horizons if you never make the attempt.

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