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Hormones: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Jul 2014
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an informative and readable overview to the subject (Guardian)
About the Author
Based at the University of Nottingham as a Professor of Physiological Education , Martin Luck is the author of two previous books. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy in 2011.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very well written and thorough book on hormones. It gives a short historical account of their discovery and the evolution of our understanding of these important substances. The book covers the biochemistry of hormones, and the physiology of their secretion and action. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the book deals with human hormones and the associated physiological conditions that accompany them.
The book gave me a new appreciation of the incredibly subtle and complex role that hormones play in our bodies. It also managed to dispel certain myths that I’ve had about hormones. (For instance, both testosterone and estrogen are present in both sexes. They are not THE sex hormones as conventionally understood.) I also learned how much interaction there is between different hormones, and that this is still an area that is not completely well understood, where a lot of current research is going on.
As an aside, just like with any other book written for the general audience that contains “medical” information, there is a danger that a fair number of readers of this book may be tempted to self-diagnose after reading it. Don’t. You will most likely misdiagnose yourself, and make yourself unnecessarily worried.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Dr. Luck’s book allows one to rectify one’s ignorance of hormones without a major investment of time or money. This is one volume in a series put out by Oxford University Press that’s designed to convey the fundamentals of a subject in about 100 pages or so (in this case it’s more like 130pgs.) I’ve done several reviews of books in this series, and will likely do more. These “Very Short Introductions” are a good way to get the gist of a topic quickly and painlessly, and they are reasonably priced on Amazon Kindle and in hardcopy at my local discount bookseller. (FYI: Your results may vary. i.e. Hardcopies at some bookstores may be pricey for what these books are—i.e. subject summaries that are optimized for concision and not for entertaining reading.)
The book has nine chapters. The first is a history of the science related to hormones and the endocrine system. (It took a while to figure out that there even was a system because of the nature of hormonal action.) The second chapter hits the basics, such as what hormones are and how they work. Chapter three tells us about the role hormones play in reproduction. The next chapter is about how hormones regulate the body’s levels of water and salt (and the effects on blood pressure.) Next, there is a discussion of the calcium cycle and how calcium is banked in bone and borrowed for the purposes of other cells. There’s a chapter that educates one about diabetes and how hormones (notably insulin) regulate blood sugar. Chapter seven is devoted to the thyroid. Chapter eight describes the role of hormones in circadian rhythms and the cycles of the body. The final chapter is about where science is going with its knowledge of hormones and the advances that are being pursued.
There are few graphics in this book. Most of them are chemical diagrams in dialogue boxes that many readers will skip because of their ominous appearance. The lack of graphics isn’t a problem. Luck does use a narrative approach on occasion (such as his telling of the story of the giant William Rice of Sutton Bonington.) This enhances the book’s readability, and is noteworthy because it’s a rarity among books in this series, which—again—are written to shotgun information and not to be entertaining reads.
I’d recommend this book for those who want to learn (or brush up on) the basics of the endocrine system. It does what it’s supposed to do, and does it quickly.
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