this is your brain on parasites how tiny creatures manipulate our behavior and shape society

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This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Author : Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN : 0544947258
Genre : Medical
File Size : 63. 32 MB
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A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how creatures including humans act, feel, and think"

This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Author : Kathleen McAuliffe
ISBN : 9780544193222
Genre : Science
File Size : 45. 43 MB
Format : PDF, ePub
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A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how other creatures—including humans—think, feel, and act. These tiny organisms can only live inside another animal, and as McAuliffe reveals, they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host’s behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to the profound influence of parasites. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness, impulsivity—even suicide. Microbes in our gut affect our emotions and the very wiring of our brains. Germs that cause colds and flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level too. As McAuliffe documents, a subconscious fear of contagion impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our sexual attractions and social circles to our morals and political views. Drawing on a huge body of research, she argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites—and a double-edged sword. The horror and revulsion we feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel and Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.

Parasite Rex

Author : Carl Zimmer
ISBN : 0743213718
Genre : Science
File Size : 61. 71 MB
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IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites control the minds of their hosts, sending them to their destruction. IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites are masters of chemical warfare and camouflage, able to cloak themselves with their hosts' own molecules. IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites steer the course of evolution, where the majority of species are parasites. WELCOME TO EARTH. For centuries, parasites have lived in nightmares, horror stories, and in the darkest shadows of science. Yet these creatures are among the world's most successful and sophisticated organisms. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the fetid parasite haven of southern Sudan, Zimmer graphically brings to life how parasites can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead. This thorough, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe.

The Human Superorganism

Author : Rodney Dietert
ISBN : 9781101983904
Genre :
File Size : 88. 20 MB
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"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine. "Kirkus Reviews"(starred review) "Teeming with information and big ideas...Outstanding. "Booklist"(starred review) The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presents a new paradigm in human biology that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. "The Human Superorganism"makes a sweeping, paradigm-shifting argument. It demolishes two fundamental beliefs that have blinkered all medical thinking until very recently: 1) Humans are better off as pure organisms free of foreign microbes; and 2) the human genome is the key to future medical advances. The microorganisms that we have sought to eliminate have been there for centuries supporting our ancestors. They comprise as much as 90 percent of the cells in and on our bodies a staggering percentage! More than a thousand species of them live inside us, on our skin, and on our very eyelashes. Yet we have now significantly reduced their power and in doing so have sparked an epidemic of noncommunicable diseases which now account for 63 percent of all human deaths. Ultimately, this book is not just about microbes; it is about a different way to view humans. The story that Dietert tells of where the new biology comes from, how it works, and the ways in which it affects your life is fascinating, authoritative, and revolutionary. Dietert identifies foods that best serve you, the superorganism; not new fad foods but ancient foods that have made sense for millennia. He explains protective measures against unsafe chemicals and drugs. He offers an empowering self-care guide and the blueprint for a revolution in public health. We are not what we have been taught. Each of us is a superorganism. The best path to a healthy life is through recognizing that profound truth."

The Mind Gut Connection

Author : Emeran Mayer
ISBN : 0062651625
Genre : Health & Fitness
File Size : 70. 97 MB
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Chances are, at some point in your life you’ve noticed the connection between your brain and your gut. If you’ve ever felt queasy as you walked into an uncomfortable situation or based a life decision based on a “gut feeling,” then you know that sometimes our bodies react faster than our minds. Most of us have also experienced the same phenomenon in reverse, where our mental state has affected our digestive system—like the butterflies in our stomach before an important meeting or a first date. But while the dialogue between the mind and the gut has been recognized for centuries, scientists today are just starting to understand how powerful that connection is. In The Mind-Gut Connection, Dr. Emeran Mayer, executive director of the UCLA Oppenheimer Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, offers a cutting-edge view into this developing science, showing us the full impact of how the brain, gut, and microbiome—the community of microorganisms that live inside the digestive tract—communicate. As Dr. Mayer explains, when this communication channel is out of whack, major health problems can crop up, including food sensitivities and allergies, digestive disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The Mind-Gut Connection teaches us how, with a few simple changes to our diet and lifestyle, we can enjoy a happier mindset, enhanced immunity, a decreased risk of developing neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and even lose weight. With a simple, practical regimen drawn from the latest research, Dr. Mayer shows us that paying attention to the mind-gut balance is the key to unlocking vibrant health.

Mother Nature Is Trying To Kill You

Author : Dan Riskin
ISBN : 9781476707563
Genre : Science
File Size : 41. 2 MB
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This “fact-filled and amusing trek through nature’s dark side” (Kirkus Reviews) reveals the fascinating, weird, and often perverted ways that Mother Nature fends only for herself. It may be a wonderful world, but as Dan Riskin (host of the Animal Planet’s TV show Monsters Inside Me) explains, it’s also a dangerous, disturbing, and disgusting one. At every turn, it seems, living things are trying to eat us, poison us, use our bodies as their homes, or have us spread their eggs. In Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You, Riskin is our tour guide through the natural world at its most gloriously ruthless. Using the seven deadly sins as a road map, Riskin offers dozens of jaw-dropping examples that illuminate how brutal nature can truly be. From slothful worms that hide in your body for up to thirty years to wrathful snails with poisonous harpoons that can kill you in less than five minutes to lustful ducks that have orgasms faster than you can blink, these fascinating accounts reveal the candid truth about “gentle” Mother Nature’s true colors. Riskin’s passion for the strange and his enthusiastic expertise bring Earth’s most fascinating fauna and flora into vivid focus. Through his adventures—which include sliding on his back through a thick soup of bat guano just to get face-to-face with a vampire bat, befriending a parasitic maggot that has taken root in his head, and coming to grips with having offspring of his own—Riskin makes unexpected discoveries not just about the world all around us but also about the ways this brutal world has shaped us as humans and what our responsibilities are to this terrible, wonderful planet we call home.

Cells To Civilizations

Author : Enrico Coen
ISBN : 9781400841653
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 16 MB
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Cells to Civilizations is the first unified account of how life transforms itself--from the production of bacteria to the emergence of complex civilizations. What are the connections between evolving microbes, an egg that develops into an infant, and a child who learns to walk and talk? Award-winning scientist Enrico Coen synthesizes the growth of living systems and creative processes, and he reveals that the four great life transformations--evolution, development, learning, and human culture--while typically understood separately, actually all revolve around shared core principles and manifest the same fundamental recipe. Coen blends provocative discussion, the latest scientific research, and colorful examples to demonstrate the links between these critical stages in the history of life. Coen tells a story rich with genes, embryos, neurons, and fascinating discoveries. He examines the development of the zebra, the adaptations of seaweed, the cave paintings of Lascaux, and the formulations of Alan Turing. He explores how dogs make predictions, how weeds tell the time of day, and how our brains distinguish a Modigliani from a Rembrandt. Locating commonalities in important findings, Coen gives readers a deeper understanding of key transformations and provides a bold portrait for how science both frames and is framed by human culture. A compelling investigation into the relationships between our biological past and cultural progress, Cells to Civilizations presents a remarkable story of living change.

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