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10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness Paperback – 5 May 2016
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‘A fascinating study of the intertwined lives of microbes and humans, ‘10% Human’, is a manual for the new,
healthy way of being dirty … Read it, and you will learn to love your microbiota’ Newsweek
‘A welcome antidote to the simplistic "boost your health with probiotics" books and articles posing as science (but serving mostly commerce), Collen dares to tell the messy truth about what science knows – and doesn't know – about the microbes that live in us, live with us, and in some ways even become us … [Collen] is clearly an expert in the field … fascinating … Everything you wanted to know about microbes but were afraid to ask’ Kirkus, *Starred* Review
About the Author
Alanna Collen is a science writer, with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Imperial College London, and a PhD in evolutionary biology from University College London and the Zoological Society of London. She is a well-travelled zoologist, an expert in bat echolocation, and an accidental collector of tropical diseases.
During her scientific career, Alanna has written for the Sunday Times Magazine, as well as about wildlife for ARKive.org. She has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s Tribes of Science and Saturday Live, and BBC One’s adventure-wildlife show Lost Land of the Volcano. She lives in Bedfordshire with her husband.
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I found 10% Human to be a page-turner, using lively imagery, great comparisons and telling stories each step of the way. Comparisons of microbes to human scales were particularly helpful to bring the examples to life. Collen compares the numbers of bacteria to the number of human cultures and languages and uses the size of a football field as an image for the size of the human gut, for instance.
Finding out the secrets behind each little microbe and its influence on the human body was like reading numerous small detective stories.
The book gains its strength from its inclusion of detail and its efforts to give readers a full picture of the science and research carried out and that is currently ongoing. In fact, I am already thinking that I shall have to read the next edition to see how scientific thought evolves!
Above all else though, this book takes its reader on a journey of discovery, with lively and personable interjections by the narrator. I highly recommend this book to biologists and also to those curious about their bodies and the microbes within.
I found the information presented regarding the micro organism impact from mother to child during pregnancy/labour truly fascinating, as well as the information presented regarding the controversial therapy of fecal transplantation.
As I have stated in my other review of another book touching on the same subject, I still feel the research, though fascinating, is still highly premature and deep within infancy.
I look forward to hearing on any further developments within the microbiome connection to human health.
Overall, a enjoying and very interesting read.
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