Release on 2015-06-03 | by Marta Wayne,Benjamin M. Bolker
A Very Short Introduction
Author: Marta Wayne,Benjamin M. Bolker
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press, USA
As doctors and biologists have learned, to their dismay, infectious disease is a moving target: new diseases emerge every year, old diseases evolve into new forms, and ecological and socioeconomic upheavals change the transmission pathways by which disease spread. By taking an approach focused on the general evolutionary and ecological dynamics of disease, this Very Short Introduction provides a general conceptual framework for thinking about disease. Ecology and evolution provide the keys to answering the "where", "why", "how", and "what" questions about any particular infectious disease: where did it come from? How is it transmitted from one person to another, and why are some individuals more susceptible than others? What biochemical, ecological, and evolutionary strategies can be used to combat the disease? Is it more effective to block transmission at the population level, or to block infection at the individual level? Through a series of case studies, Benjamin Bolker and Marta L. Wayne introduce the major ideas of infectious disease in a clear and thoughtful way, emphasizing the general principles of infection, the management of outbreaks, and the evolutionary and ecological approaches that are now central to much research about infectious disease. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
HIV/AIDS is without doubt the worst epidemic to hit humankind since the Black Death. Despite rapid scientific advances, there is still no cure and the drugs are expensive and toxic. In some of the worst affected countries, life expectancy has plummeted to below 35 years, which has led to a serious decline in economic growth, a sharp rise in orphaning, and the imminent collapse of health care systems. This Very Short Introduction tackles the science, the international and local politics, the fascinating demographics, and the devastating consequences of the disease, and explores how we have - and must - respond.
The twentieth century saw a remarkable upsurge of research on drugs, with major advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections, heart disease, stomach ulcers, cancer, and metal illnesses. These, along with the introduction of the oral contraceptive, have altered all of our lives. There has also been an increase in the recreational use and abuse of drugs in the Western world. This Very Short Introduction, in its second edition, gives a non-technical account of how drugs work in the body. Reviewing both legal (alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine) and illegal drugs, Les Iversen disscusses why some are addictive, and whether drug laws need reform. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Viruses are big news. From pandemics such as HIV, swine flu, and SARS, we are constantly being bombarded with information about new lethal infections. In this Very Short Introduction, Dorothy Crawford demonstrates from their discovery and the unravelling of their intricate structures, how clever these entities really are.
The immune system is central to human health and the focus of much medical research. Growing understanding of the immune system, and especially the creation of immune memory (long lasting protection), which can be harnessed in the design of vaccines, have been major breakthroughs in medicine. In this Very Short Introduction, Paul Klenerman describes the immune system, and how it works in health and disease. In particular he focuses on the human immune system, considering how it evolved, the basic rules that govern its behavior, and the major health threats where it is important. The immune system comprises a series of organs, cells and chemical messengers which work together as a team to provide defence against infection. Klenerman discusses these components, the critical signals that trigger them and how they exert their protective effects, including so-called "innate" immune responses, which react very fast to infection, and "adaptive" immune responses, which have huge diversity and a capacity to recognize and defend against a massive array of micro-organisms. Klenerman also considers what happens when our immune systems fail to be activated effectively, leading to serious infections, problems with inherited diseases, and also HIV/AIDS. At the opposite extreme, as Klenerman shows, an over-exaggerated immune response leads to inflammatory diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as allergy and asthma. Finally he looks at the "Immune system v2.o" - how immune therapies and vaccines can be advanced to protect us against the major diseases of the 21st century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This Very Short Introduction outlines the nature of public health in our world today and places public health in its historical context from the earliest times, analysing in particular the changes in public health regulation through the nineteenth century and the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic demonstrated the power of pandemics and their ability not only to destroy lives locally but also to capture the imagination and terrify the world. Christian W. McMillen provides a concise yet comprehensive account of pandemics throughout human history, illustrating how pandemic disease has shaped history and, at the same time, social behavior has influenced pandemic disease. Extremely interesting from a medical standpoint, the study of pandemics also provides unexpected, broader insights into culture and politics. This Very Short Introduction describes history's major pandemics - plague, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, cholera, influenza, and HIV/AIDS - highlighting how each disease's biological characteristics affected its pandemic development. McMillen discusses state responses to pandemics, such as quarantine, isolation, travel restrictions, and other forms of social control, and pays special attention to the rise of public health and the explosion of medical research in the wake of pandemics, especially as the germ theory of disease emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today, medicine is able to control all of these diseases, yet some of them are still devastating in much of the developing world. By assessing the relationship between poverty and disease and the geography of epidemics, McMillen offers an outspoken and thought-provoking point of view on the necessity for global governments to learn from past experiences and proactively cooperate to prevent any future epidemic.
Le rabat de la couverture indique : Blood is a vital fluid with a profound cultural and historical significance. Long considered the essence of life, blood pumps through our language and religion, and is a major diagnostic tool in the doctor's armoury. This Very Short Introduction explores early views of blood, our modern understanding of its nature and components, and future possibilities, such as artificial blood. Chris Cooper gets to the heart of this fascinating topic, covering the basic biology of blood, and the role of blood transfusions, blood tests, and the treatment of blood-borne diseases in modern medicine.