This book really helped pull together my own understanding of the link between microbe -> man and -> the immune system, and the way that this complex but vital relationship has evolved over the course of human history. I really recommend this book if you want to understand our current predicament (at least, in more affluent societies) of rampant auto-immune dysfunction. If you leave out trauma, certain infections and some types of cancer, pretty much everything else the doctor sees in their daily practice life has some direct or indirect relationship with a disturbed immune system.
This is a book about what we are - a super-organism perhaps or a vehicle for the microbes that have always ruled the earth. This is one of the best scientific books that I have ever read. The book is not based on views of the author but is a work of great scholarship obtained through years of research. A researcher with an open mind, Mr. Velasquez-Manoff has made the content very accessible to the regular reader. A must-read for absolutely everybody. One star less because first copy of the book was defective - printed the wrong way!
Although having neither medical background nor history of allergy I have found myself involved in a research project looking into current allergy testing and data collection methods. Doing inital research it appears to me as someone coming from the IT world with its clear, binary logic, that the world of allergies is very "fuzzy" - diagnosis (a mix of somewhat imprecise tests viewed through the lens of patchy clinical history), root cause (unknown) and treatment (avoidence of the allergen).
This book, apart from a good read, makes a compelling case for a bigger picture which should not be ignored. Of course the ideas are not necessarily new, St. Paul alluding to them 2,000 years ago!
"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without"
This is an excellent well written book for anyone with allergic or autoimmune disease. Written with the scepticism of a scientist and not with a hidden agenda of someone trying to sell a miracle cure. It addresses all the complex issues surrounding the onset and potential causes of living with chronic illness and what, if anything can be considered in the future.
Enticing and thorough based on the author's contact with many sources.The material about parasites is evocative but with out clear evidence. The author lets the reader to understand that. I would like to see some of this material to become useful to the people who suffer with the many auto-immune illnesses which are not easily helped with modern medicine. New ideas are needed in our medical systems to approach the difficulties of the many people who have little hope. Some of the writing gets confusing, Nevertheless, I like the book.
This is a very much needed book giving details of how our war on the world of microscopic (and sometimes macroscopic) life has hijacked our health; and the insanity of not respecting our biological relationships with the rest of life on this planet. I have only given 4 stars because of the authors cavalier dismissal of the work of Andrew Wakefield. In his Lancet article Dr Wakefield never stated that the MMR causes autism, as the author (and everyone else) declares. He is not a neurologist but a gastroenterologist, and he simply stated that he had found the Measles vaccine virus in the guts of nine autistic children. No one could refute this finding, so they chose to malign his character instead, by alleging misappropriation of funds. This he denies, but he cannot afford to defend himself in court. Since then his findings have been supported by other research, including that done by the prestigious CDC -- although their findings were buried until one of their own lead scientists, Dr William Thomson, turned whistleblower. Even today this blatant fraud is not being exposed by the world's media -- I wonder why? The fact remains that vaccines schedules, in which immune immature babies are being exposed to multiple organisms or bits of organisms through the direct route of injection rather than through the mucous membrane, taps right into the author's thesis of derangement in our immune systems producing allergies and autoimmunity. This is beside the toxic levels of mercury or aluminium that accompany vaccines, and what these may be doing to our microbiota. Perhaps if the author ever considers an update of this book he could apply his forensic abilities to research this important topic?
This book is suitable for a wide readership. If you are simply interested in your health and the health of you family, or if you are a medical student, researcher or doctor then you will find the book a stimulating and eye opening read. Any of the terms used are explained in the back of the book and if you want more details then there are hundreds of useful journal references. An Epidemic Of Absence explains that the massive rise in autism and autoimmune diseases is due to the changes we have made both in our environment and also the ecosystems that exist within in. The book does not advocate a return to the dark ages when we had no understanding of germs, but that we need to stop thinking of all bacteria, virus's and parasites as enemies that have to be erradicated, and that a balanced peaceful coexistance with many of them is essential to our health.