The Language of Life:: How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease

The Language of Life:: How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease

by Debra Niehoff
     
 

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The Language of Life reveals the private conversations of cells. In place of words, however, cells use chemicals, linking molecule to molecule to construct sentences that obey formal rules of grammar and syntax as binding as those that govern our own spoken and written language. Through the exchange and interpretation of chemical signals, they report every

Overview

The Language of Life reveals the private conversations of cells. In place of words, however, cells use chemicals, linking molecule to molecule to construct sentences that obey formal rules of grammar and syntax as binding as those that govern our own spoken and written language. Through the exchange and interpretation of chemical signals, they report every newsworthy event, record every memory, respond to every bodily injury." "If you ever wondered how your body copes with stress and change, why you can't lose weight, or shake unreasonable fears; if you've pondered the origins of cancer or the epidemic of diabetes; or if a glimpse into the future of medicine intrigues you, this is a book you must read.

Editorial Reviews

Cells have been talking for millions of years; now scientists are learning to listen. Molecular biologists are learning to decipher cell communication, unraveling cell sentences constructed from chains of protein. In The Language of Life, science writer Debra Niehoff describes this cutting-edge science and its implications for fighting chronic diseases.
Publishers Weekly
Cell communication takes place in all organisms, from the simplest single-celled bacterium to humans, mediated through an array of chemicals. Using human language as a metaphor, science writer Niehoff (The Biology of Violence) takes us on a whirlwind tour, discussing how chemical communication is responsible for turning a fertilized egg into a complex, fully differentiated adult; how the human immune system is called into action to fight infection; and how homeostatic mechanisms protect us as we negotiate an environmentally unstable world but make it extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of weight. Niehoff also explores the host of medical possibilities, from curing cancer to effectively controlling diabetes, as scientists begin to fully understand the language of cells. Throughout, Niehoff mixes personal anecdotes with scientific explanation. Those anecdotes, however, distract more than enlighten-the only shortcoming of this otherwise thoroughly enjoyable book. B&w illus. Agent, Regula Noetzli. (On sale May 24) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780309089890
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publication date:
04/15/2005
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

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