This book provides an accessible and authoritative guide to the fundamental principles of microbiome science, an exciting and fast-emerging new discipline that is reshaping many aspects of the life sciences. Resident microbes in healthy animals--including humans—can dictate many traits of the animal host. This animal microbiome is a second immune system conferring protection against pathogens; it can structure host metabolism in animals as diverse as reef corals and hibernating mammals; and it may influence animal behavior, from social recognition to emotional states. These microbial partners can also drive ecologically important traits, from thermal tolerance to diet, and have contributed to animal diversification over long evolutionary timescales.
Drawing on concepts and data across a broad range of disciplines and systems, Angela Douglas provides a conceptual framework for understanding these animal-microbe interactions while shedding critical light on the scientific challenges that lie ahead. Douglas explains why microbiome science demands creative and interdisciplinary thinking—the capacity to combine microbiology with animal physiology, ecological theory with immunology, and evolutionary perspectives with metabolic science.
An essential introduction to a cutting-edge field that is revolutionizing the life sciences, this book explains why microbiome science presents a more complete picture of the biology of humans and other animals, and how it can deliver novel therapies for many medical conditions and new strategies for pest control.
All animals and plants harbor abundant and diverse microbiota, including viruses. Often the amount of symbiotic microorganisms and their combined genetic information far exceed that of their host. The microbiota with its microbiome, together with the host genome, can be transmitted from one generation to the next and thus propagate the unique properties of the holobiont. The microbial symbionts and the host interact in a cooperative way that affects the health of the holobiont within its environment. Beneficial microbiota protects against pathogens, provides essential nutrients, catabolizes complex polysaccharides, renders harmful chemicals inert, and contributes to the performance of the immune system. In humans and animals, the microbiota also plays a role in behavior. The sum of these cooperative interactions characterizes the holobiont as a unique biological entity. Genetic variation in the hologenome can be brought about by changes in either the host genome or the microbial population genomes (microbiome). Evolution by cooperation can occur by amplifying existing microbes, gaining novel microbiota and by acquiring microbial and viral genes. Under environmental stress, the microbiome can change more rapidly and in response to more processes than the host organism alone and thus influences the evolution of the holobiont. Prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics and phage therapy are discussed as applied aspects of the hologenome concept.
What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge’s inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.
This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.
Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.
Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.