Whether it is asthma, food or pollen allergies, type-1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? Science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff explains the latest thinking about this problem and explores the remarkable new treatments in the works.
In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance. The idea that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem.
This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy. In the future, preventive treatment—something as simple as a probiotic—will necessarily begin before birth.
An Epidemic of Absence asks what will happen in developing countries, which, as they become more affluent, have already seen an uptick in allergic disease: Will India end up more allergic than Europe? Velasquez-Manoff also details a controversial underground movement that has coalesced around the treatment of immune-mediated disorders with parasites. Against much of his better judgment, he joins these do-it-yourselfers and reports his surprising results.
An Epidemic of Absence considers the critical immune stimuli we inadvertently lost as we modernized, and the modern ills we may be able to correct by restoring them. At stake is nothing less than our health, and that of our loved ones. Researchers, meanwhile, have the good fortune of living through a paradigm shift, one of those occasional moments in the progress of science when a radically new way of thinking emerges, shakes things up, and suggests new avenues of treatment. You’ll discover that you’re not you at all, but a bustling collection of organisms, an ecosystem whose preservation and integrity require the utmost attention and care.
The Strange Order of Things is a pathbreaking investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only the survival but also the flourishing of life. Antonio Damasio makes clear that we descend biologically, psychologically, and even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds and cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways and means of ancient unicellular life and other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate and transmit life. In The Strange Order of Things, Damasio gives us a new way of comprehending the world and our place in it.
Throughout his distinguished and unconventional career, engineer-turned-molecular-biologist Douglas Axe has been asking the questions that much of the scientific community would rather silence. Now, he presents his conclusions in this brave and pioneering book. Axe argues that the key to understanding our origin is the “design intuition”—the innate belief held by all humans that tasks we would need knowledge to accomplish can only be accomplished by someone who has that knowledge. For the ingenious task of inventing life, this knower can only be God.
Starting with the hallowed halls of academic science, Axe dismantles the widespread belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is indisputably true, showing instead that a gaping hole has been at its center from the beginning. He then explains in plain English the science that proves our design intuition scientifically valid. Lastly, he uses everyday experience to empower ordinary people to defend their design intuition, giving them the confidence and courage to explain why it has to be true and the vision to imagine what biology will become when people stand up for this truth.
Armed with that confidence, readers will affirm what once seemed obvious to all of us—that living creatures, from single-celled cyanobacteria to orca whales and human beings, are brilliantly conceived, utterly beyond the reach of accident.
Our intuition was right all along.
Over a decade after Jurassic Park, Jack Horner and his colleagues in molecular biology labs are in the process of building the technology to create a real dinosaur.
Based on new research in evolutionary developmental biology on how a few select cells grow to create arms, legs, eyes, and brains that function together, Jack Horner takes the science a step further in a plan to "reverse evolution" and reveals the awesome, even frightening, power being acquired to recreate the prehistoric past. The key is the dinosaur's genetic code that lives on in modern birds- even chickens. From cutting-edge biology labs to field digs underneath the Montana sun, How to Build a Dinosaur explains and enlightens an awesome new science.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Whether it’s in a cockpit at takeoff or the planning of an offensive war, a romantic relationship or a dispute at the office, there are many opportunities to lie and self-deceive—but deceit and self-deception carry the costs of being alienated from reality and can lead to disaster. So why does deception play such a prominent role in our everyday lives? In short, why do we deceive?
In his bold new work, prominent biological theorist Robert Trivers unflinchingly argues that self-deception evolved in the service of deceit—the better to fool others. We do it for biological reasons—in order to help us survive and procreate. From viruses mimicking host behavior to humans misremembering (sometimes intentionally) the details of a quarrel, science has proven that the deceptive one can always outwit the masses. But we undertake this deception at our own peril.
Trivers has written an ambitious investigation into the evolutionary logic of lying and the costs of leaving it unchecked.
While many members of the scientific community have long held that the growing pains of adolescence are primarily psychological, Barbara Strauch highlights the physical nature of the transformation, offering parents and educators a new perspective on erratic teenage behavior. Using plain language, Strauch draws upon the latest scientific discoveries to make the case that the changes the brain goes through during adolescence are as dramatic and crucial as those that take place in the first two years of life, and that teenagers are not entirely responsible for their sullen, rebellious, and moody ways. Featuring interviews with scientists, teenagers, parents, and teachers, The Primal Teen explores common challenges–why teens go from articulate and mature one day to morose and unreachable the next, why they engage in risky behavior–and offers practical strategies to help manage these formative and often difficult years.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In one corner: Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Jerry Coyne. They insist evolution happens by blind random accident. Their devout adherence to Neo-Darwinism omits the latest science, glossing over crucial questions and fascinating details.
In the other corner: Intelligent Design advocates like William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, and Michael Behe. Many defy scientific consensus, maintaining that evolution is a fraud and rejecting common ancestry outright.
There is a third way. Evolution 2.0 proves that, while evolution is not a hoax, neither is it random nor accidental. Changes are targeted, adaptive, and aware. You’ll discover:
How organisms re-engineer their genetic destiny in real time
Amazing systems living things use to re-design themselves
Every cell is armed with machinery for editing its own DNA
The five amazing tools organisms use to alter their genetics
70 years of scientific discoveries—of which the public has heard virtually nothing!
Perry Marshall approached evolution with skepticism for religious reasons. As an engineer, he rejected the concept of organisms randomly evolving. But an epiphany—that DNA is code, much like data in our digital age—sparked a 10-year journey of in-depth research into more than 70 years of under-reported evolutionary science. This led to a new understanding of evolution—an evolution 2.0 that not only furthers technology and medicine, but fuels our sense of wonder at life itself.
This book will open your eyes and transform your thinking about evolution and God. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for our place in the universe. You’ll see the world around you as you’ve never seen it before.
Evolution 2.0 pinpoints the central mystery of biology, offering a multimillion dollar technology prize at naturalcode.org to the first person who can solve it.
Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.
Or did we? Portions of the human brain are also devoted to reading. Children learn to read at a very young age and can seamlessly absorb information even more quickly through reading than through hearing. We know that we didn’t evolve to read because reading is only a few thousand years old.
In "Harnessed," cognitive scientist Mark Changizi demonstrates that human speech has been very specifically “designed” to harness the sounds of nature, sounds we’ve evolved over millions of years to readily understand. Long before humans evolved, mammals have learned to interpret the sounds of nature to understand both threats and opportunities. Our speech—regardless of language—is very clearly based on the sounds of nature.
Even more fascinating, Changizi shows that music itself is based on natural sounds. Music—seemingly one of the most human of inventions—is literally built on sounds and patterns of sound that have existed since the beginning of time.
The authors begin with a survey of the fundamental scientific developments that led to our current understanding of the regenerative mind, elucidating some of the breakthrough neurobiological studies that paved the way for our present understanding of the brain's plasticity and regenerative capabilities. They then discuss the application of these findings to such issues as depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia, and cognitive therapy, incorporating the latest technologies in neuroimaging, optogenetics, and nanotechnology. Their work shows the brain is anything but a static organ, ceasing to grow as human beings become adults. Rather, the brain is dynamic, evolving organically in relation to physical, cultural, historical, and affective stimuli, a plasticity that provides great hope to survivors of trauma and degenerative disorders.
Born Anxious introduces a new word into our lexicon: “methylated.” It’s short for “epigenetic methylation,” and it offers insight into behaviors we have all observed but never understood—the boss who goes ballistic at the slightest error; the infant who can’t be calmed; the husband who can’t fall asleep at night. In each case, because of an exposure to environmental adversity in utero or during the first year of life, a key stress system has been welded into the “on” position by the methylation process, predisposing the child’s body to excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The effect: lifelong, unrelenting stress and its consequences–from school failure to nerve-wracking relationships to early death.
Early adversity happens in all levels of society but as income gaps widen, social inequality and fear of the future have become the new predators; in Born Anxious, Daniel P. Keating demonstrates how we can finally break the cycle.
To be more precise, although there is clearly some physical basis for the variations that underlie perceptions of race, clear boundaries among “races” remain highly elusive from a purely biological standpoint. Differences among human populations that people intuitively view as “racial” are not only superficial but are also of astonishingly recent origin.
In this intriguing and highly accessible book, physical anthropologist Ian Tattersall and geneticist Rob DeSalle, both senior scholars from the American Museum of Natural History, explain what human races actually are—and are not—and place them within the wider perspective of natural diversity. They explain that the relative isolation of local populations of the newly evolved human species during the last Ice Age—when Homo sapiens was spreading across the world from an African point of origin—has now begun to reverse itself, as differentiated human populations come back into contact and interbreed. Indeed, the authors suggest that all of the variety seen outside of Africa seems to have both accumulated and started reintegrating within only the last 50,000 or 60,000 years—the blink of an eye, from an evolutionary perspective.
The overarching message of Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth is that scientifically speaking, there is nothing special about racial variation within the human species. These distinctions result from the working of entirely mundane evolutionary processes, such as those encountered in other organisms.
The book first covers the most recent and well-grounded scientific conclusions about fertilization and early human embryology. It then discusses the reasons why some of the major forms of assisted reproductive technologies were invented, how they are used, and what they can and cannot accomplish. Most important, the authors explore the emotional side of using these technologies to become pregnant, focusing on those who have emptied their emotions and bank accounts in a valiant effort to get pregnant. This work of science and human biology is informed by a moral concern for our common humanity.
Focusing on some of the best-known social and economic experiments, including games such as the Prisoner's Dilemma, Trust, Ultimatum, Snowdrift, and Public Good, Sigmund explores the conditions leading to cooperative strategies. His approach is based on evolutionary game dynamics, applied to deterministic and probabilistic models of economic interactions.
Exploring basic strategic interactions among individuals guided by self-interest and caught in social traps, The Calculus of Selfishness analyzes to what extent one key facet of human nature--selfishness--can lead to cooperation.
In this engaging book, a distinguished geneticist offers a clear, jargon-free overview of the field of developmental biology. Benny Shilo transforms complicated scientific paradigms into understandable ideas, employing an array of photographic images to demonstrate analogies between the cells of an embryo and human society. Shilo’s innovative approach highlights important concepts in a way that will be intuitive and resonant with readers’ own experiences.
The author explains what is now known about the mechanisms of embryonic development and the commanding role of genes. For each paradigm under discussion, he provides both a scientific image and a photograph he has taken in the human world. These pairs of images imply powerful metaphors, such as the similarities between communication among cells and among human beings, or between rules embedded in the genome and laws that govern human society. The book concludes with a glimpse of promising future possibilities, including the generation of tissues and organs for use as “spare parts.”
The book focuses on gamete quality and management, exploring new objectives and areas of application and research, and new tools to deal with some aspects in reproduction of aquatic species. It begins with an examination of basic methods and techniques for gamete extraction, mainly sperm collection and egg stripping in different species, then describes techniques of spawning stimulation in males and females. The volume then highlights sperm and egg quality evaluation and considers sperm analysis from a practical broodstock management point of view and in the selection of appropriate breeders. The book goes on to discuss techniques used for artificial fertilization and the procedures for obtaining modified offspring. It introduces cryopreservation procedures for sperm, oocytes, and embryos, then discusses the materials and facilities required for gamete preparation and freezing-thawing procedures. The book concludes with an extensive section detailing sperm cryopreservation protocols for fifty-six marine and freshwater species.
Unique in its focus on both marine and freshwater aquaculture of fishes, the book provides information on endangered, highly profitable species for aquaculture or fisheries and species with high potential in laboratory research. Presenting the available information in an easily understandable way, this is not merely a techniques book, but also a complete guide to fish reproduction, gamete quality, and management.
Comprised of 13 chapters, this book begins with an analysis of the metabolic effects of insulin and glucagon in fetal and newborn rats, as well as their physiologic significance during the perinatal period in rat and other species. The next chapter deals with sexual differentiation in the rat fetus; how hormones regulate sexual development and disrupt sexual differentiation; the role of progesterone and estrone in pregnant rats fed a protein-free diet; and effects of brain implants of testosterone propionate in newborn hamsters on sexual differentiation. The link between diethylstilbestrol ingestion during pregnancy and development of clear-cell adenocarcinoma in the vagina and cervix of the female offspring is also examined.
This monograph will be of interest to biologists, bioscientists, physiologists, and pharmacologists.
Originally published in 1988.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
While in the past scientists have refused to acknowledge that animals have anything like human intelligence, a growing body of research reveals otherwise. We’ve discovered ants that use leaves as tools to cross bodies of water, woodpecker finches that hold twigs in their beaks to dig for grubs, and bonobo apes that can use sticks to knock down fruit or pole-vault over water. Not only do animals use tools–some also display an ability to learn and problem-solve.
Based on the latest scientific and anecdotal evidence culled from animal experts in the labs and the field, Inside the Animal Mind is an engrossing look at animal intelligence, cognitive ability, problem solving, and emotion. George Page, originator and host of the long-running PBS series Nature, offers us an informed, entertaining, and humanistic investigation of the minds of predators and scavengers, birds and primates, rodents and other species. Illustrated with twenty-four black-and-white photographs, the book is the companion to the three-part, hour-long show of the same name, hosted by Page.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
After a misdirected football left new father Liam Drew clutching a uniquely mammalian part of his anatomy, he decided to find out more. Considering himself as a mammal first and a human second, Liam delves into ancient biological history to understand what it means to be mammalian.
In his humorous and engaging style, Liam explores the different characteristics that distinguish mammals from other types of animals. He charts the evolution of milk, warm blood and burgeoning brains, and examines the emergence of sophisticated teeth, exquisite ears, and elaborate reproductive biology, plus a host of other mammalian innovations. Entwined are tales of zoological peculiarities and reflections on how being a mammal has shaped the author's life.
I, Mammal is a history of mammals and their ancestors and of how science came to grasp mammalian evolution. And in celebrating our mammalian-ness, Liam Drew binds us a little more tightly to the five and a half thousand other species of mammal on this planet and reveals the deep roots of many traits humans hold dear.
Wagner shows how evolution by natural selection preferentially finds and favors robust solutions to the problems organisms face in surviving and reproducing. Such robustness, he argues, also enhances the potential for future evolutionary innovation. Wagner also argues that robustness has less to do with organisms having plenty of spare parts (the redundancy theory that has been popular) and more to do with the reality that mutations can change organisms in ways that do not substantively affect their fitness.
Unparalleled in its field, this book offers the most detailed analysis available of all facets of robustness within organisms. It will appeal not only to biologists but also to engineers interested in the design of robust systems and to social scientists concerned with robustness in human communities and populations.
Each chapter of the book investigates a facet of the physical world, including the drag on small projectiles; the importance of diffusion and convection; the size-dependence of acceleration; the storage, conduction, and dissipation of heat; the relationship among pressure, flow, and choice in biological pumps; and how elongate structures tune their relative twistiness and bendiness. Vogel considers design-determining factors all too commonly ignored, and builds a bridge between the world described by physics books and the reality experienced by all creatures. Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds contains a wealth of accessible information related to functional biology, and requires little more than a basic background in secondary-school science and mathematics.
Drawing examples from creatures of land, air, and water, the book demonstrates the many uses of biological diversity and how physical forces impact biological organisms.
Contributions come from leading voices in the field, including: - Shinya Yamanaka, Recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, Recipient of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize, Professor and Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, L.K. Whittier Foundation Investigator in Stem Cell Biology and Professor at the University of California, San Francisco - George Q. Daley, Samuel E. Lux IV Professor of Hematology/Oncology at Harvard Medical School and Director for the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital - Irving Weissman, Member of National Academy of Sciences, Virgina & D.K Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research, and Director for Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University of Medicine
Cell Press Reviews: Stem Cells to Model and Treat Disease is part of the Cell Press Reviews series, which features reviews published in Cell Press primary research and Trends reviews journals.Provides timely overviews on a wide range of stem cell applicationsOffers insight from experts on the key opportunities and challenges facing the fieldFeatures reviews on genetic, cellular, and molecular aspects of stem-cell-based applicationsIncludes articles originally published in Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Neuron, Trends in Molecular Medicine, and Trends in Biotechnology
Coen tells a story rich with genes, embryos, neurons, and fascinating discoveries. He examines the development of the zebra, the adaptations of seaweed, the cave paintings of Lascaux, and the formulations of Alan Turing. He explores how dogs make predictions, how weeds tell the time of day, and how our brains distinguish a Modigliani from a Rembrandt. Locating commonalities in important findings, Coen gives readers a deeper understanding of key transformations and provides a bold portrait for how science both frames and is framed by human culture.
A compelling investigation into the relationships between our biological past and cultural progress, Cells to Civilizations presents a remarkable story of living change.