People, Parasites, and Plowshares: Learning From Our Body's Most Terrifying Invadersby Dickson D. Despommier
Dickson D. Despommier’s vivid, visceral account of the biology, behavior, and history of parasites follows the interplay between these fascinating life forms and human society over thousands of years. He focuses on long-term host-parasite associations, which have evolved to avoid or even subvert the human immune system. Some do great damage to their hosts, while… See more details below
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Dickson D. Despommier’s vivid, visceral account of the biology, behavior, and history of parasites follows the interplay between these fascinating life forms and human society over thousands of years. He focuses on long-term host-parasite associations, which have evolved to avoid or even subvert the human immune system. Some do great damage to their hosts, while others have signed a kind of peace treaty” in exchange for their long lives within them. They also, Despommier shows as he discusses these organisms with the reader, practice clever survival strategies that doctors hope to mimic as they undertake treatments for Crohns disease, food allergies, type 1 diabetes, organ transplantation, and other as yet unsolved medical challenges.
Despommier concentrates on particularly remarkable and often highly pathogenic organisms, describing their life-cycles and the mechanisms they use to avoid elimination. He details their attack and survival plans and the nature of the illnesses they cause in general terms, enabling readers of all backgrounds to steal a glimpse into the secret work of such effective invaders. He also points to the cultural contexts in which these parasites thrive and reviews the current treatments available to defeat them. Encouraging scientists to continue to study these organisms even if their threat is largely contained, Despommier shows how closer dissection of the substances parasites produce to alter our response to them could help unravel some of our most complex medical conundrums.
- Columbia University Press
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Meet the Author
Dickson D. Despommier is emeritus professor of public health and microbiology at Columbia University. For thirty-eight years, he taught parasitic diseases to second year medical students at Columbia’s medical school. He has won numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious Golden Apple Award For Teaching Excellence from the American Medical Students Association. He is the author of more than seventy peer-reviewed research articles, numerous reviews, and three books. He is currently engaged in promoting the idea of growing food crops in tall buildings inside city limits (vertical farming). His book, The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, was highly received. William C. Campbell is a retired senior research scientist at Merck, Inc., Rahway, New Jersey. He discovered and helped develop the drugs thiabendazole, ivermectin, and related derivatives. Both parent compounds have helped to reduce or eliminate certain parasitic worm infections in cattle and humans. He is a world renowned expert on drug discovery, a former president of the American Society for Parasitologists, and is currently a RISE associate at Drew University.
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