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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 utterly absorbing. This is a book about the interconnectedness of all life on earth -- and, especially, what that means for us.

Topics: Disease and DNA

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061842245
List price: $6.99
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Intriguing thoughts on why certain diseases need to exist.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Easy reading, somewhat repetitive. As someone in a health professional school I was familiar with much of the ideas in the book and predicted the hypotheses I was not familiar with, but this is still an interesting book worth reading, especially as an introduction to current ideas on how our genetic makeup affects our health.Warning: the metaphors in this book are clunky and frequently inappropriate.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The book started out with a bang...but dwindled significantly by the end. The information was interesting, but the book didn't seem to answer many of my questions. I would recommend individuals check it out from the library - don't waste your money.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Intriguing thoughts on why certain diseases need to exist.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Easy reading, somewhat repetitive. As someone in a health professional school I was familiar with much of the ideas in the book and predicted the hypotheses I was not familiar with, but this is still an interesting book worth reading, especially as an introduction to current ideas on how our genetic makeup affects our health.Warning: the metaphors in this book are clunky and frequently inappropriate.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The book started out with a bang...but dwindled significantly by the end. The information was interesting, but the book didn't seem to answer many of my questions. I would recommend individuals check it out from the library - don't waste your money.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The only word to describe this book is “breezy” perhaps because of the collaboration or ghost writing by a former speechwriter for Clinton, Johnathan Pierce. The individual ideas in biology are very intriguing, but the chapters are fleshed out with a lot of gee-whiz. Dr. Moalem is a biochemistry PhD studying medicine, discusses the evolutionary benefit that leads to persistence of genes for hemochromatosis, G6PD deficiency, and branches into primate evolution and aquatic birth, into cancer and transposons, and methylation of genes. It is a very stimulating book but each chapter seems based on one or two scientific articles, and it is not tied together in one theme.
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Gripping and educational
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
More about why disease needs us than "..Why We Need Disease," this book starts the reader on a journey that follows the co-evolution, and integration, of the human species and disease. While this book is mainly focused on the relationship humans have with disease, there are several examples of how disease is just as manipulating in the rest of the animal kingdom. Anyone interested in human evolution, or at the very least the modern health of the species, will find this book interesting. The writing is a bit jumpy and sums up ideas after extended side notes. This is an easy book to read in small sittings or all at once.
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