BOOK REVIEW: SURVIVAL OF THE SICKEST
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BY DR. SHARON MOALEM WITH JONATHAN PRINCE
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Can a person rust to death? Can sunglasses cause sunburns? Can the tanning salon lower cholesterol? You will have to read this book to find the answers!
Dr. Moalem really began to have an interest in medicine when he was 15 years old. His grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. One thing that Dr. Moalem noticed as a youngster is that his grandfather loved to donate blood. Most people do it because it makes them feel good that they are doing something to help others. Dr. Moalem's grandfather had another reason. Giving blood made him feel better physically. When he donated blood all of his pains would go away. Why? Dr. Moalem asked his father to take him to the library where he spent many hours looking for an answer. After searching through many books, he found the answer. There was a hereditary condition called hemochromatosis which causes iron buildup. This condition was relatively unheard of at this time. Dr. Moalem suspected this also had something to do with his grandfather's Alzheimer's disease but no one would take him seriously at 15. After Dr. Moalem graduated from college he entered a Ph.D. program focused on neurogenetics. After a couple of years of research, he did
find that there was a link between hemochromatosis and certain types of Alzheimer's disease.
Next the authors discuss a connection between diabetes, sugar and extreme climate change. As we continue to read through this book, the authors point out that "everything from the climate our ancestors lived in to the crops they planted and ate to their beverage of choice can be seen in our genetic inheritance." The reader will also find very interesting chapters on noncoding DNA, and on epigenetics.
This is a fascinating book to read. It is written in a manner that is easy for the reader to understand even though the authors are discussing some very complicated issues. The authors provide an excellent insight into evolution and genetics and make it fun and interesting for the reader. Whether or not the reader agrees with the authors is up to them but they do give us some excellent food for thought.
REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON
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WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, NANCY EATON
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