How the Immune System Works, Includes FREE Desktop Edition / Edition 4

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How the Immune System Works is not a comprehensive textbook. It's the book thousands of students have used to help them understand what's in their big, thick, immunology texts. In this book, Dr. Sompayrac cuts through the jargon and details to reveal, in simple language, the essence of this complex subject. Fifteen easy to follow lectures, featuring the uniquely popular humorous style and engaging analogies developed by Dr Sompayrac, provide an introduction to the 'bigger picture', followed by practical discussion on how each of the components interacts with one another. Now featuring full-color diagrams, this book has been rigorously updated for its fourth edition to reflect today's immunology teaching and includes updated discussion of B and T cell memory, T cell activation, vaccines, immunodeficiency, and cancer. Whether you are completely new to immunology, or require a refresher, How the Immune System Works is an enjoyable way of engaging with the key concepts - you need know nothing of the workings of the immune system to benefit from this book! How the Immune System Works is now accompanied by a FREE enhanced Wiley Desktop Edition - the interactive, digital version of the book - featuring downloadable text and images, highlighting and note taking facilities, book-marking, cross-referencing, in-text searching, and linking to references and glossary terms. It is also available from CourseSmart for instant, online and offline access for studying anytime, anywhere.

The book contains predominantly two-color illustrations, with some black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This edition is well justified since immunology is a constantly evolving field.”  (Doody’s, 12 July 2013)

What users of the previous edition said:

"The voice of the author is one of a true teacher whose enthusiasm for the subject is contagious. There are far too many dry, "academic," or "scientific" textbooks around and this book felt very fresh in comparison." Medical Student, University of Texas, South Western Medical Center at Dallas

"As if immersed in a conversation, this book is able to balance the line between facts, humor and history. The analogies and metaphors allow such a notorious subject to be leisurely digested over a couple days. From references to the Pillsbury Doughboy, Grace Kelly, quarterbacks and the Bubble Boy, this is an entertaining read as well as an informational read." Medical Student, Eastern Virginia Medical School

"Best textbook I have ever had! I am a first-year veterinary student. This book was a required text and I am SO glad I bought it! Very thin book, super easy to read. It is like reading a good story. This is a must for anyone taking immunology." reviewer

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the fourth edition of a book first published in 1999 that has become a must have for students who are confused by the details they find in assigned immunology textbooks. Dr. Sompayrac cuts through the details to describe the big picture concepts. This is not meant to be a review book to prepare for exams, but rather a description of how the immune system is put together. The previous edition was published in 2008.
Purpose: The author makes it clear from the beginning that this is not a traditional textbook crammed with facts. Its purpose is to present concepts that show how the parts of the immune system work together and how they protect us. The author considers this to be a concept-driven analysis presented in an easy-to-read style. Judging by the rapid acceptance of this book and the number of students who have purchased it, there is a definite need for this book. It most assuredly meets the author's objectives.
Audience: It is written for students who are about to take a course in immunology and who have a negligible amount of experience with the subject. Many of these students are overwhelmed by the standard (well-written) textbooks. It also would be suitable for residents, physicians who have not updated their knowledge of the immune system from their student days, and other health professionals, as the book is very readable. The author is an authority in the subject matter as well as in teaching it and has succeeded in these goals.
Features: The book uses the same chapter headings that one would find in any basic textbook of immunology. The author suggests that students read lectures 1-10 quickly, without paying attention to the thought questions at the end of each chapter. These chapters describe the normal functions of the immune system. Then he suggests starting all over again to gain a better understanding of the system. From there, students should go on to the remaining chapters in which specific diseases are discussed. No doubt every instructor will find something that he or she feels has been given little or no attention. Nonetheless, the book is not meant to replace traditional textbooks nor instructors' lectures and, therefore, details are unnecessary (although a bit more on the importance of GALT would have been nice). Of special interest is the writing style. This book is a pleasure to read. Particularly important concepts are in blue print. At the beginning of some of the chapters there are helpful summaries. Thought questions help readers focus on important review points.
Assessment: Surprisingly, there are no other books quite like this one. There are fact-based review books, there are large detailed textbooks, and there are small textbooks. While these all have their uses, none of them is likely to inspire students to simply read it from cover to cover. Dr. Sompayrac has written an accessible description of the immune system that provides the basis for more detailed learning. This edition is well justified since immunology is a constantly evolving field. As it evolves, the details increase, but they are not necessary for beginning students to gain a general idea of how the immune system works.
Marion C. Cohen
This book is a description of the overall basic rules by which the immune system protects us from disease. It attempts to put rather complicated concepts into a simple—but not simplistic—""big picture"" and is intended to be used either as a freestanding introduction to immunology or as a companion to other texts. The purpose is to provide students with an overall view of the immune system. The author felt that a short book that tells how the various parts of the immune system fit together in a style free of jargon and details was needed. Many students who have taken immunology would agree that their texts generally do not fit this description and that most books do not take such a determined integrated approach. For some students this is an excellent introduction to a very complicated topic. The author suggests that this book could be useful for both undergraduate and graduate students who are being introduced to immunology. Another audience could be medical and dental students who are studying immunology for the first time and need an uncomplicated approach by which they can assimilate a lot of data very quickly. This latter group of students is usually being deluged with a lot of information by different instructors, and a significant number of these neophytes are confused. The author has presented the ""big picture"" for students who may need some extra help in focusing on basic concepts. He is a retired professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This book suggests that he has had considerable experience in teaching. This short book is written as if the author is talking personally to each student. About 80 percent of it is focused on basic immunologicalconcepts. The remaining 20 percent deals with immunopathology. This section provides only a very bare outline of the role of the immune system in disease. There is a glossary of important terms presented in a nontechnical manner. The primary shortcoming is the lack of detail that would make it a suitable text for a basic course in immunology. However, this lack of detail is also its major strength, since it provides a context in which students can add more of the specific details of the immune system after they have become comfortable with the elementary information. There is a lack of textbooks that provide an easily understood overview of the very complicated field of immunology. For those students who are lost in confusing theories and arcane terminology, this book may provide comforting assistance. Students are often unable to articulate their problems with immunological concepts. Although this text does not provide sufficient data for a student to become familiar with many important—and still basic—details, it does provide a starting point for understanding as well as for asking meaningful questions.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470657294
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Series: How it Works Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 115,734
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Lauren Sompayrac is formerly of the University of Colorado at Boulder

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, vii

How to Use This Book, viii

This book is neither a comprehensive text nor an exam-review tool. It is an overview of the immune system designed to give anyone who is learning immunology a feel for how the system all fits together.

The Anytime, Anywhere Textbook, ix

LECTURE 1 An Overview, 1

The immune system is a “team effort,” involving many different players who work together to provide a powerful defense against invaders. Focusing in on one player at a time makes it hard to understand the game. Here we view the action from the grandstands to get a wide-angle picture of what the immune system is all about.

LECTURE 2 The Innate Immune System, 13

The innate immune system is a “hard-wired” defense that has evolved over millions of years to recognize pathogens that commonly infect humans. It provides a rapid and powerful defense against “everyday” invaders.

LECTURE 3 B Cells and Antibodies, 24

B cells and the antibodies they produce are part of the adaptive immune system. This defense evolves during our own lifetime to protect us against invaders that we, personally, have never encountered before.

LECTURE 4 The Magic of Antigen Presentation, 38

T cells, another weapon of the adaptive immune system, only recognize invaders which are “properly presented” by specialized antigen presenting cells. This feature keeps these important cells focused on the particular attackers which they are able to defend against.

LECTURE 5 T Cell Activation, 52

Before they can spring into action, T cells must be activated. This requirement helps ensure that only useful weapons will be mobilized.

LECTURE 6 T Cells at Work, 60

Once they have been activated, helper T cells orchestrate the immune response, and killer T cells destroy infected cells.

LECTURE 7 Secondary Lymphoid Organs and Lymphocyte Trafficking, 70

B and T lymphocytes travel through secondary lymphoid organs looking for the invaders they can defend against. Once activated, B and T cells are dispatched to those areas of the body in which they can be most useful.

LECTURE 8 Restraining the Immune System, 81

The powerful weapons of the immune system must be restrained lest they become “overexuberant.” In addition, once an invader has been defeated, the immune system must be “reset” to prepare for future attacks.

LECTURE 9 Tolerance Induction and MHC Restriction, 86

T cells must be trained to focus on appropriately presented invaders, and B and T lymphocytes must learn not to attack our own bodies.

LECTURE 10 Immunological Memory, 96

B and T cells remember invaders we have previously encountered, and respond much more quickly and effectively to a subsequent attack by the same invader.

LECTURE 11 Vaccines, 102

Vaccines are used to safely mimic the attack of an invader so that our immune system will be primed and ready for a real attack.

LECTURE 12 The Immune System Gone Wrong, 107

The immune system generally does a good job of defending us while infl icting minimal “collateral damage.” Sometimes, however, mistakes are made.

LECTURE 13 Immunodeficiency, 116

Serious disease may result when our immune system does not operate at full strength.

LECTURE 14 Cancer and the Immune System, 121

Because the immune system is set up to minimize the chance that its weapons will attack our own bodies, it is not very good at defending us against cells that have become cancerous.

LECTURE 15 A Critique of the Immune System, 128

The immune system has many strengths – and a few weaknesses.

Glossary, 133

Index, 136

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I wrote How the Immune System Works because I couldn't find a book that would give my students an overall view of the immune system. Sure, there are as many good, thick textbooks as a person might have money to buy, but these are crammed with every possible detail. There are also lots of 'review books' that are great if you want a summary of what you've already learned -- but they won't teach you immunology. What was missing was a short book that tells, in simple language, how the immune system fits together -- a book that presents the big picture of the immune system without the jargon and the details.

How the Immune System Works is written in the form of 'lectures,' because I want to talk to you directly, just as if we were together in the classroom. This book is short, so you should be able to finish it in a few days. In fact, I strongly suggest that you sit down with this little book and read it from start to finish. The whole idea is to get an overall view of the subject, and if you read one lecture a week, that won't happen. Don't 'study' the book the first time through -- just read it and enjoy. Later you can go back and re-read the appropriate lectures as your immunology course progresses -- to keep you from losing sight of the big picture as the details get filled in.

Although the first lecture is a light-hearted overview meant to give you a running start at the subject, you'll soon discover that this is not 'baby immunology.' How the Immune System Works is a concept-driven analysis of how the immune system players work together to protect us from disease -- and why they do it this way.

In some settings, How the Immune System Works will serve as the main text for the immunology section of a larger course. In a semester-long undergraduate or graduate immunology course, your professor may use this book either as a companion to a detailed text or as the central text, supplemented by additional readings.

No matter how your professor may choose to use this book, however, you should keep one important point in mind: I didn't write How the Immune System Works for your professor. This book's for you!

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