Life's Vital Link: The astonishing role of the placenta Hardcover – 23 May 2013
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A surprisingly delightful book. Accessible enough for a general readership, Loke's work provides the key to a truly unique world. (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Professor Y. W. Loke of King's College Cambridge, is a highly respected expert in the placenta and its implantation and development. He has published widely in academic journals.
Top Customer Reviews
Mysterious because so many oppositional questions about it still remain unanswered. In fact, opposition appears to be the name of the placenta's game. As Loke points out, even biologists have expressed themselves unsure about the origins of the placenta - produced by mother, or baby? (Baby)
And what exactly is it? Loke traces the evolutionary development of reproduction, from water living animals such as fish and amphibians who produce eggs in water, to the need for hard shelled eggs on land, into mammalian development - and some odd mix and match half way there of some other species. He also shows that there is wide variation in the types of placentas in mammals, from those which are not closely embedded in the uterus (horses) to those like humans (and mice and armadillos amongst others) where the placenta embeds deep into the womb lining, and the mother's body needs to maintain a fine balance to avoid the over-invasive embedding of a gone-feral placenta!
This aspect gives rise to some interesting points of study and perhaps extending understanding about the behaviour of other type of cells which can take over and go feral - cancer cells. In fact, he shows how there is really a blurred line between the behaviour of a particular layer of cells at the placenta border, and cancer cells. This goes further, even suggesting a rationale for the development of cancer cells. The process of embedding and vascularisation, so necessary for the development of mammalian life, having more deadly effects when these cellular programmes occur outside the uterine environment of a pregnant woman.Read more ›
What is this book about ?
This is a hardback book that looks into the role and development of the Placenta. The book looks at the evolution, the immune system and general marvel that the Placenta is.
Although quite technical in places this book is quite accessible and readable by anyone with an interest in this quite amazing and mainly overlook organ.
Language and structure.
This book has been very well thought out and extremely well written to make it fairly easy to understand. I am a biologist and found it to be an excellent read both enjoyable and very informative. The author does a superb job at explaining some very complex chemical interactions and making the processes logical.
This is the first general book by Y.W Loke (he has written many scientific papers previously) and it is excellent and informative from page one until the end. He use of language is very good leading the reader comfortably down the complex pathways and evolution that makes the placenta work.
There are some illustration and diagrams to support the text along with a further reading glossary.
Y.W Loke has done an excellent job explaining the complexities of the Placenta, how it works and the evolutionary problems faced in its development. He has made this a fascinating and informative journey for the reader. I hope he writes more books and I will certainly be looking out for work by him to link to my lectures.
The author Mr Y. W. Loke uses a facts based process to convey how amazing the placenta is, as well as giving glimpses to what research is telling us about this organ, and how future research promises some very positive results for medicine.
So what does the placenta do?
1. Nutrition - by supplying nourishment and oxygen
2. Excretion - removing carbon dioxide, urea etc.
3. Immunity - transfer of antibodies from mother to child
4. Endocrine function - secretion progesterone and estrogen as well as hormonal control
5. Cloaking from immune system of mother - Defends against the mother's immune system, which may consider the foetus a foreign body and `attack' it?
6. Other functions - influences maternal behaviour in a way that welfares the foetus, plus the placenta also provides a reservoir of blood for the foetus for emergency like hypertension.
The author gives a very convincing argument, in a very readable fashion that the placenta has much more to offer in tallying these enthralling functions. By deciphering placental growth patterns may shed light on the causation of cancer; there is the future possibility doctors will have the `tool' fix the all too real problems of tissue rejection in organ transplant patients.
Forgive the repetition here, but this reachable enough for a universal readership. The author has produced a key work unique world, highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fine book written by an expert in his field who has a real knack for communicating and interpreting a complex subject for the lay reader, and medically qualified reader... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mr M J Butler
As a layman I was interested to read this book as someone who has suffered pre-eclampsia and HELLP in the past. Read morePublished on 20 Oct. 2013 by Dinah85
With classical medical education covering embryology, there is something to be said of learning of the placenta this way. Read morePublished on 17 Oct. 2013 by Jack Chakotay
This is an extremely well written book. I am a Medical Student, and so I know how essential the placenta is. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2013 by SuPeRsOnIc
As a layperson with only what I remember from high school biology to go on, I was not sure what to expect. Read morePublished on 6 Oct. 2013 by Margaret7
A fascinating book that tells the story of the mammalian placenta, its evolution, genetics and, naturally, its role in pregnancy acting as a hormonal regulator as well as a gateway... Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2013 by Sir Barnabas
As a layman, I was concerned that this book would not be accessible to me but, thankfully it is. Not only can I understand it easily but I have even impressed by the enthusiasm of... Read morePublished on 23 July 2013 by Friendly Face
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