The Beautiful Cure: The Revolution in Immunology and What It Means for Your Health

Daniel M. Davis. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-226-37100-9
Davis (The Compatibility Gene), a professor of immunology at Manchester University, provides health-conscious readers with a broad overview of his specialty. His book concentrates on two main tasks: sharing scientific facts about how the immune system works, and celebrating the heroes and rebels of immunology and their breakthroughs, from Edward Jenner’s 1796 development of a smallpox vaccine to Charles Janeway’s 1989 theory of how the immune response is triggered. At present, scientists are experimenting with ways of manipulating the immune system, in order to support beneficial and supplant dangerous behavior by cells that can prevent or cause disease. This is a relatively new form of fighting disease, and challenging for a layperson to understand, but Davis clearly explains how the immune and nervous systems carry on a “dialogue” and employ “a collection of mechanisms” to keep the body from attacking its own healthy cells. Davis leaves readers with a reminder that, for all the scientific innovations described here, the human immune system remains “far more powerful than any medicine we have devised,” and that sleep, healthy eating, mindfulness, and other complementary practices all appear to help. A modern equivalent of Paul de Kruif’s 1926 classic, Microbe Hunters, Davis’s work is concise and illuminating. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
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