Human Body Composition: Growth, Aging, Nutrition, and Activity

Springer Science & Business Media
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Man has always been curious about himself, a curiosity that began centuries ago with an examination of the soul, and that extended in the period of the Renaissance to his anatomy and certain functions such as the circulation of the blood. Chemical science entered the scene in the 18th century, and burst into prominence in the 19th century. As the various chemical elements were discovered, many were found to be present in body fluids and tissues. Organic compounds were recognized; it became known that body heat was produced by the combustion of food; chemical transformations such as the production of fat from carbohydrate were recognized; and in the 1850s it was determined that young animals differed from adults in certain aspects of body composition. As methods for chemical analysis evolved, they were applied to samples of body fluids and tissues, and it became apparent that life depended on chemical normality; and most importantly it was realized that given the necessary amount of food and water the body had the ability to maintain a degree of constancy of what Claude Bernard called the milieu interieur, in other words its interior chemical en vironment.
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 6, 2012
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Pages
350
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ISBN
9781461246541
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / General
Medical / Internal Medicine
Medical / Physiology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This book is the compilation of papers presented at the International Symposium on in vivo Body Composition Studies, held at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 20 - 23, 1989. The purpose of this conference was to report on advances in techniques for the in vivo measurement of body composition and to present recent data on normal body composition and changes during disease. This conference was the most recent of several meetings on body composition studies, and follows two successful such meetings, one at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1986, and at Edinburgh in 1988. The large number of excellent research papers and posters presented at these conferences demonstrates the rapid growth of the field and the broad interest in the subject of in vivo body composition studies. The proceedings of the Brookhaven meeting "In Vivo Body Composition Studies", is published by The Institute of Physical Sciences in Medicine, London. Both the Brookhaven and the current Toronto meeting emphasized the clinical applications, together with the techniques employed. The Edinburgh meeting placed more emphasis on the methodological problems and design of instrumentation. Because of the number of papers presented at the meeting it was necessary to ask the authors from the same institution to combine their presentations into a single paper where appropriate. The editors wish to thank the authors for their cooperation and for graciously accepting the minor revisions made to each manuscript.
Oxygen has had extraordinary effects on life. Three hundred million years ago, in Carboniferous times, dragonflies grew as big as seagulls, with wingspans of nearly a metre. Researchers claim they could have flown only if the air had contained more oxygen than today - probably as much as 35 per cent. Giant spiders, tree-ferns, marine rock formations and fossil charcoals all tell the same story. High oxygen levels may also explain the global firestorm that contributed to the demise of the dinosaurs after the asteroid impact. The strange and profound effects that oxygen has had on the evolution of life pose a riddle, which this book sets out to answer. Oxygen is a toxic gas. Divers breathing pure oxygen at depth suffer from convulsions and lung injury. Fruit flies raised at twice normal atmospheric levels of oxygen live half as long as their siblings. Reactive forms of oxygen, known as free radicals, are thought to cause ageing in people. Yet if atmospheric oxygen reached 35 per cent in the Carboniferous, why did it promote exuberant growth, instead of rapid ageing and death? Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains far more than the size of ancient insects: it shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. Drawing on this grand evolutionary canvas, Oxygen offers fresh perspectives on our own lives and deaths, explaining modern killer diseases, why we age, and what we can do about it. Advancing revelatory new ideas, following chains of evidence, the book ranges through many disciplines, from environmental sciences to molecular medicine. The result is a captivating vision of contemporary science and a humane synthesis of our place in nature. This remarkable book will redefine the way we think about the world.
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