At war within: the double-edged sword of immunity

Book Cover
Publisher:
Oxford University Press,
Pub. Date:
1995.
Language:
English
Description
In the seventeenth century, smallpox reigned as the world's worst killer. Luck, more than anything else, decided who would live and who would die. That is, until Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, an English aristocrat, moved to Constantinople and noticed the Turkish practice of "ingrafting" orinoculation, which, she wrote, made "the small- pox...entirely harmless." Convinced by what she witnessed, she allowed her six-year-old son to be ingrafted, and the treatment was a complete success--the young Montagu enjoyed lifelong immunity from smallpox. Lady Montagu's discovery would, however,remain a quiet one; it would be almost 150 years before inoculation (in the more modern form of vaccination) would become widely accepted while the medical community struggled to understand the way our bodies defend themselves against disease.William Clark's At War Within takes us on a fascinating tour through the immune system, examining the history of its discovery, the ways in which it protects us, and how it may bring its full force to bear at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Scientists have only gradually come to realize thatthis elegant defense system not only has the potential to help, as in the case of smallpox, but also the potential to do profound harm in health problems ranging from allergies to AIDS, and from organ transplants to cancer. Dr. Clark discusses the myriad of medical problems involving the immunesystem, and he systematically explains each one. For example, in both tuberculosis and AIDS, the underlying pathogens take up residence within the immune system itself, something Clark compares to having a prowler take up residence in your house, crawling around through the walls and ceilings whilewaiting to do you in. He discusses organ transplants, showing how the immune system can work far too well, and touching on the heated ethical debate over the use of both primate and human organs. He explores the mind's powerful ability to influence the performance of the immune system; and thespeculation that women, because they have developed more powerful immune systems in connection with childbearing, are more prone than men to contract certain diseases such as lupus. In a fascinating chapter on AIDS, arguably the most deadly epidemic seen on Earth since the smallpox, Clark explainshow the disease originated and the ways in which it operates. And, in each section, we learn about the most recent medical breakthroughs.At first glance, it may appear that our immune system faces daunting odds; it must learn to successfully fend off, not thousands, but millions of different types of microbes. Fortunately, according to Clark, it would be almost impossible to imagine a more elegant strategy for our protection thanthe one chosen by our immune system, and his At War Within provides a thorough and engaging explanation of this most complex and delicately balanced mechanism.
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ISBN:
9780195092868
9780198025306
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Grouped Work IDb80e6a3b-e5f1-069d-278f-85a47845dba9
Grouping Titleat war within the double edged sword of immunity
Grouping Authorclark william r
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-12-10 02:34:37AM
Last Indexed2019-12-13 02:35:41AM

Solr Details

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display_descriptionIn the seventeenth century, smallpox reigned as the world's worst killer. Luck, more than anything else, decided who would live and who would die. That is, until Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, an English aristocrat, moved to Constantinople and noticed the Turkish practice of "ingrafting" or inoculation, which, she wrote, made "the small- pox ... entirely harmless." Convinced by what she witnessed, she allowed her six-year-old son to be ingrafted, and the treatment was a complete success--the young Montagu enjoyed lifelong immunity from smallpox. Lady Montagu's discovery would, ho.
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subject_facetElectronic books
Immune System
Immune System -- Popular Works
Immune system
Immune system -- Popular works
Immuniteit
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes -- Popular Works
Immunologic diseases
Immunologic diseases -- Popular works
Immunopathologie
Immuunsysteem
MEDICAL -- Immunology
Medicine
Popular Works
Popular works
title_displayAt war within : the double-edged sword of immunity
title_fullAt war within : the double-edged sword of immunity / William R. Clark
At war within [electronic resource] : the double-edged sword of immunity / William R. Clark
title_shortAt war within
title_subthe double-edged sword of immunity
topic_facetImmune System
Immune system
Immuniteit
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Immunologic diseases
Immunology
Immunopathologie
Immuunsysteem
MEDICAL
Medicine