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Publishers WeeklyIn her first book, microbiology and immunology teacher Ruebush demonstrates a lively mastery of her subject, providing a better education in immunology than a convincing case for the idea that "the most delightful sights for a parent should be a young child covered in dirt from an active afternoon of outdoor play." Her thesis, reiterated throughout, is that obsessive cleanliness is counterproductive: a "young, naïve immune system" needs exposure to germs "to build the ability to produce the right response quickly." Arguing that evolution has conditioned us to coexist with the microscopic threats around us-a human body typically harbors "some 90 trillion microbes"-Ruebush considers the legacy of "superbugs" bred through the overuse of antibiotics and cleaning products, and dismisses vaccination fears as ridiculous ("not even a question"). Ruebush presents a step-by-step guide to the workings of the immune system that should inform readers new to the subject, but her breezy and repetitive approach to arguing her thesis probably won't win over any doubters.
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