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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease » User review


2007 non-fiction book by Dr. Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince

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

  • Mar 22, 2009
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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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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


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 age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on -- or off?

Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria.

Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. When the option is a long life with a disease or a short one without it, evolution opts for disease almost every time.

Everything from the climate our ancestors lived in to the crops they planted and ate to their beverage of choice can be seen in our genetic inheritance. But Survival of the Sickest doesn't stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.

Survival of the Sickest is filled with fascinating insights and cutting-edge research, presented in a way that is both accessible and...

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ISBN-10: 0060889659
ISBN-13: 978-0060889654
Author: Dr Sharon Moalem w/ Jonathan Prince
Genre: Social Sciences
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Published: February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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