Parasite Rex

Parasite Rex Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 0743213718
Year 2000-09-21
Pages 320
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites control the minds of their hosts, sending them to their destruction. IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites are masters of chemical warfare and camouflage, able to cloak themselves with their hosts' own molecules. IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites steer the course of evolution, where the majority of species are parasites. WELCOME TO EARTH. For centuries, parasites have lived in nightmares, horror stories, and in the darkest shadows of science. Yet these creatures are among the world's most successful and sophisticated organisms. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the fetid parasite haven of southern Sudan, Zimmer graphically brings to life how parasites can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead. This thorough, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe.

Parasite Rex

Parasite Rex Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 9780743200110
Year 2001-11-09
Pages 320
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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A look inside the often hidden world of parasites turns the clock back to the beginning of life on Earth to answer key questions about these highly evolved and resilient life forms.

Parasite Rex

Parasite Rex Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 9780099457992
Year 2003
Pages 298
Language en
Publisher Random House
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"The bizarre and fascinating world of parasites, revealed by a leading science writer. Almost every animal will at some time or another become the home of a parasite. Not only are parasites the most successful life-forms on earth, they triggered the development of sex, shape, ecosystems, and have driven the engine of evolution. arl Zimmer describes the frightening and amazing ingenuity these commando invaders use to devour their hosts from the inside and control their behaviour. 'Sacculina carcini' makes its home in an unlucky crab and proceeeds to eat everything but what the crab needs to put food in its mouth, which 'sacculina' then consumes. Single-celled 'toxoplasma gondi' has an even more insidious role, for it can invade the human brain and cause personality changes, making its host less afraid and more prone to danger and a violent end - so that, in the carnage, it will be able to move on to another host. Zimmer concludes that humankind itself is a new kind of parasite, one that preys on the entire earth. If we are to achieve the sophistication of the parasites on display here in vivid detail, if we are to promote the flourishing of life in all its diversity as they do, we

Microcosm

Microcosm Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 9781446455036
Year 2012-12-31
Pages 256
Language en
Publisher Random House
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In 1946, a twenty-year-old medical school student called Joshua Lederberg decided to find out whether microbes make love. Lederberg was motivated not by a displaced libido, but by scientific ambition. At the age of seven, he had declared that he hoped to become 'like Einstein' and to 'discover a few things in science.' The 'few things' Lederberg discovered would revolutionise modern science and earn him a Nobel Prize. He chose to observe the breeding habits of a certain bacterium called Escherichia coli, better known as E coli. His experiments used defective E coli strains lacking the essential molecules to reproduce by cloning which should, by rights, perish in the petri dish. But slowly, a few colonies of survivors began to spread accross the dishes. The only possible explanation for their survival was that they were a product of sex. Not only had Lederberg proved that bacteria have sex, he had also proved they have genes. Since then, a bacterium that was once nothing more than a humble resident of the human gut has become our best guide to what it means to be alive. Most of us might only know E coli for its lethal strain that causes food poisoning, but Zimmer uses E coli as a prism to understand what life is, what it was, and what it will become. We learn how E coli microbes talk to each other, how studies of their evolution represent the most powerful evidence in support of natural selection, and how they might just explain life on other planets...

What s Eating You

What s Eating You Author Eugene H. Kaplan
ISBN-10 9781400832200
Year 2010-03-15
Pages 312
Language en
Publisher Princeton University Press
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In What's Eating You? Eugene Kaplan recounts the true and harrowing tales of his adventures with parasites, and in the process introduces readers to the intimately interwoven lives of host and parasite. Kaplan has spent his life traveling the globe exploring oceans and jungles, and incidentally acquiring parasites in his gut. Here, he leads readers on an unforgettable journey into the bizarre yet oddly beautiful world of parasites. In a narrative that is by turns frightening, disgusting, and laugh-out-loud funny, Kaplan describes how drinking contaminated water can cause a three-foot-long worm to burst from your arm; how he "gave birth" to a parasite the size and thickness of a pencil while working in Israel; why you should never wave a dead snake in front of your privates; and why fleas are attracted to his wife. Kaplan tells stories about leeches feasting on soldiers in Vietnam; sea cucumbers with teeth in their anuses that seem to encourage the entry of symbiotic fish; the habits of parasites that cause dysentery, river blindness, and other horrifying diseases--and much, much more. Along the way, he explains the underlying science, including parasite evolution and host-parasite physiology. Informative, frequently lurid, and hugely entertaining, this beautifully illustrated book is a must-read for health-conscious travelers, and anyone who has ever wondered if they picked up a tapeworm from that last sushi dinner.

A Planet of Viruses

A Planet of Viruses Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 9780226294209
Year 2015-10-06
Pages 132
Language en
Publisher University of Chicago Press
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The past year has been one of viral panic—panic about viruses, that is. Through headlines, public health warnings, and at least one homemade hazmat suit, we were reminded of the powerful force of viruses. They are the smallest living things known to science, yet they can hold the entire planet in their sway. A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening look at the hidden world of viruses. Zimmer, the popular science writer and author of National Geographic’s award-winning blog The Loom, has updated this edition to include the stories of new outbreaks, such as Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new scientific discoveries, such as a hundred-million-year-old virus that infected the common ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and humans; and new findings that show why climate change may lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid explanations and fascinating stories demonstrate how deeply humans and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, are responsible for many of our most devastating diseases, and will continue to control our fate for centuries. Thoroughly readable, and as reassuring as it is frightening, A Planet of Viruses is a fascinating tour of a formidable hidden world.

This Is Your Brain on Parasites

This Is Your Brain on Parasites Author Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN-10 9780544193222
Year 2016-06-07
Pages 272
Language en
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how other creatures—including humans—think, feel, and act. These tiny organisms can only live inside another animal, and as McAuliffe reveals, they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host’s behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to the profound influence of parasites. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness, impulsivity—even suicide. Microbes in our gut affect our emotions and the very wiring of our brains. Germs that cause colds and flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level too. As McAuliffe documents, a subconscious fear of contagion impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our sexual attractions and social circles to our morals and political views. Drawing on a huge body of research, she argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites—and a double-edged sword. The horror and revulsion we feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers Tales of Parasites and People

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers  Tales of Parasites and People Author Robert S. Desowitz
ISBN-10 9780393292381
Year 1987-05-17
Pages 224
Language en
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
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The medical tapestry of the world is full of organisms too small to see, carried by flying and creeping creatures too numerous to eradicate. A while ago, DDT and the antimalarial drug chloroquine seemed sure to make us all safe from such invisible assault. It was not to be. The mosquito has become resistant to DDT; malaria is on the rise; although tapeworms rarely turn up any longer in the most lovingly prepared New York City gefilte fish, a worm may inhabit your sashimi; some strains of gonorrhea actually thrive on penicillin; there is even a parasite for the higher tax brackets—the "nymph of Nantucket"; and there are new ailments—legionnaire's disease, Lassa fever, and new strains of influenza. In the long run, one might bet on the insects and the germs. Meanwhile Dr. Robert Desowitz has written a delightful and instructive book.

Soul Made Flesh

Soul Made Flesh Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 0743230388
Year 2004
Pages 367
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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Describes the first examination of an intact human brain in 1663; the discovery that the brain was the central organ that governed the human body, memory, reasoning, and emotion; and the influence of that discovery on modern science.

The Mind Parasites

The Mind Parasites Author Gary Lachman
ISBN-10 9781939681089
Year 2013-05-15
Pages 240
Language en
Publisher Monkfish Book Publishing
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Mind parasites are sucking the human mind dry. Humankind must develop paranormal abilities or perish.

Power Sex Suicide

Power  Sex  Suicide Author Nick Lane
ISBN-10 9780191622595
Year 2006-10-26
Pages 368
Language en
Publisher OUP Oxford
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Mitochondria are tiny structures located inside our cells that carry out the essential task of producing energy for the cell. They are found in all complex living things, and in that sense, they are fundamental for driving complex life on the planet. But there is much more to them than that. Mitochondria have their own DNA, with their own small collection of genes, separate from those in the cell nucleus. It is thought that they were once bacteria living independent lives. Their enslavement within the larger cell was a turning point in the evolution of life, enabling the development of complex organisms and, closely related, the origin of two sexes. Unlike the DNA in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed down exclusively (or almost exclusively) via the female line. That's why it has been used by some researchers to trace human ancestry daughter-to-mother, to 'Mitochondrial Eve'. Mitochondria give us important information about our evolutionary history. And that's not all. Mitochondrial genes mutate much faster than those in the nucleus because of the free radicals produced in their energy-generating role. This high mutation rate lies behind our ageing and certain congenital diseases. The latest research suggests that mitochondria play a key role in degenerative diseases such as cancer, through their involvement in precipitating cell suicide. Mitochondria, then, are pivotal in power, sex, and suicide. In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Nick Lane brings together the latest research findings in this exciting field to show how our growing understanding of mitochondria is shedding light on how complex life evolved, why sex arose (why don't we just bud?), and why we age and die. This understanding is of fundamental importance, both in understanding how we and all other complex life came to be, but also in order to be able to control our own illnesses, and delay our degeneration and death. 'An extraordinary account of groundbreaking modern science... The book abounds with interesting and important ideas.' Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

An Epidemic of Absence

An Epidemic of Absence Author Moises Velasquez-Manoff
ISBN-10 9781439199404
Year 2012-09-04
Pages 400
Language en
Publisher Simon and Schuster
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A brilliant, cutting-edge exploration of the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases and the controversial, potentially groundbreaking therapies that scientists are developing to correct these disorders Whether it is asthma, food or pollen allergies, type-1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? Science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff explains the latest thinking about this problem and explores the remarkable new treatments in the works. In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance. The idea that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem. This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy. In the future, preventive treatment—something as simple as a probiotic—will necessarily begin before birth. An Epidemic of Absence asks what will happen in developing countries, which, as they become more affluent, have already seen an uptick in allergic disease: Will India end up more allergic than Europe? Velasquez-Manoff also details a controversial underground movement that has coalesced around the treatment of immune-mediated disorders with parasites. Against much of his better judgment, he joins these do-it-yourselfers and reports his surprising results. An Epidemic of Absence considers the critical immune stimuli we inadvertently lost as we modernized, and the modern ills we may be able to correct by restoring them. At stake is nothing less than our health, and that of our loved ones. Researchers, meanwhile, have the good fortune of living through a paradigm shift, one of those occasional moments in the progress of science when a radically new way of thinking emerges, shakes things up, and suggests new avenues of treatment. You’ll discover that you’re not you at all, but a bustling collection of organisms, an ecosystem whose preservation and integrity require the utmost attention and care.

Host Manipulation by Parasites

Host Manipulation by Parasites Author David P. Hughes
ISBN-10 9780199642236
Year 2012-06-07
Pages 224
Language en
Publisher Oxford University Press
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Parasites that manipulate the behaviour of their hosts represent striking examples of adaptation by natural selection. This innovative text provides an up-to-date, authoritative, and challenging review of host manipulation by parasites that assesses the current state of developments in the field and lays out a framework for future research.

Evolution

Evolution Author Carl Zimmer
ISBN-10 9780062038234
Year 2010-11-23
Pages 528
Language en
Publisher Harper Collins
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This remarkable book presents a rich and up–to–date view of evolution that explores the far–reaching implications of Darwin's theory and emphasizes the power, significance, and relevance of evolution to our lives today. After all, we ourselves are the product of evolution, and we can tackle many of our gravest challenges –– from lethal resurgence of antiobiotic–resistant diseases to the wave of extinctions that looms before us –– with a sound understanding of the science.

Venomous

Venomous Author Christie Wilcox
ISBN-10 0374537100
Year 2017-08-15
Pages 256
Language en
Publisher Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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A thrilling tale of encounters with nature’s masters of biochemistry “A fitting tribute to one of nature’s most sinister creations of all.” —Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex In Venomous, the molecular biologist Christie Wilcox investigates venoms and the animals that use them, revealing how they work, what they do to the human body, and how they can revolutionize biochemistry and medicine today. Wilcox takes us from the coast of Indonesia to the rain forests of Peru in search of the secrets of these mysterious animals. We encounter jellyfish that release microscopic venom-packed darts known to kill humans in just two minutes, a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging throughout the body, and a stunning blue-ringed octopus with saliva capable of inducing total paralysis. How could an animal as simple as a jellyfish evolve such an intricate, deadly poison? And how can a snake possess enzymes that tear through tissue yet leave its own body unscathed? Wilcox meets the fearless scientists who often risk their lives studying these lethal beasts to find out, and puts her life on the line to examine these species up close. Drawing on her own research on venom chemistry and evolution, she also shows how venom is helping us untangle the complex mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases. Venomous reveals that the animals we fear the most actually hold the keys to a deeper understanding of evolution, adaptation, and immunity. Thrilling and surprising at every turn, Venomous will change the way you think about our natural world.