[Reading] ➿ I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life By Ed Yong – Horse-zine.co.uk

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life chapter 1 I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, meaning I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, genre I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, book cover I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, flies I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life c3d678410200d Joining The Ranks Of Popular Science Classics Like The Botany Of Desire And The Selfish Gene, A Groundbreaking, Wondrously Informative, And Vastly Entertaining Examination Of The Most Significant Revolution In Biology Since Darwin A Microbe S Eye View Of The World That Reveals A Marvelous, Radically Reconceived Picture Of Life On EarthEvery Animal, Whether Human, Squid, Or Wasp, Is Home To Millions Of Bacteria And Other Microbes Ed Yong, Whose Humor Is As Evident As His Erudition, Prompts Us To Look At Ourselves And Our Animal Companions In A New Light Less As Individuals And As The Interconnected, Interdependent Multitudes We Assuredly AreThe Microbes In Our Bodies Are Part Of Our Immune Systems And Protect Us From Disease In The Deep Oceans, Mysterious Creatures Without Mouths Or Guts Depend On Microbes For All Their Energy Bacteria Provide Squid With Invisibility Cloaks, Help Beetles To Bring Down Forests, And Allow Worms To Cause Diseases That Afflict Millions Of PeopleMany People Think Of Microbes As Germs To Be Eradicated, But Those That Live With Us The Microbiome Build Our Bodies, Protect Our Health, Shape Our Identities, And Grant Us Incredible Abilities In This Astonishing Book, Ed Yong Takes Us On A Grand Tour Through Our Microbial Partners, And Introduces Us To The Scientists On The Front Lines Of Discovery It Will Change Both Our View Of Nature And Our Sense Of Where We Belong In It

10 thoughts on “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

  1. says:

    You ve got company.Carol Anne Freeling was certainly right when she said, They re hee ur, well maybe not enraged spirits, but there are certainly plenty of entities present to which we have paid insufficient attention Maybe Regan MacNeil was closer to the mark in proclaiming We are legion When Orson Welles said We re born alone, we live alone, we die alone, he was mistaken Even when we are alone, we are never alone We exist in symbiosis a wonderful term that refers to different organisms living together Some animals are colonized by microbes while they are still unfertilized eggs others pick up their first partners at the moment of birth We then proceed through our lives in their presence When we eat, so do they When we travel, they come along When we die, they consume us Every one of us is a zoo in our own right a colony enclosed within a single body A multi species collection An entire world Trying to map what it is to be a physical human being, in something like the Human Genome Project, is a daunting task But our genes tell only part of our story, like a novel with a beginning and ending but no middle That middle is taken up by the vast array of other life that exists within our bodies While the guests we harbor may not necessarily be in league with Satan, they are a mixed lot They mean us no harm, particularly, and we have evolved very workable symbiotic relationships with them, but they are not necessarily our friends either They took up residence for their own benefit and will stick around and provide benefits to us only as long as we provide what they need, like that girl boy friend you remember with gritted teeth.I won t say this book will blow your mind, but this is your brainAnd it s not even Mardi Gras from the Brain Association of MississippiThis is your brain after reading this bookShame about that haircut In the interest of full disclosure, it should be known that every day when my wife was reading this book, she would walk in the door and tell me of yet another thing she had read that had totally blown her mind Not that my mind didn t go Ka Boom when I read it It certainly it But hers was blown first I only steal from the best I Contain Multitudes will change how you understand not only the human body, but all the biota on the planet, hell, the universe It will help you understand how it can happen that diseases like the flu can adapt so quickly to our latest attempts to stamp them out It will help you understand why coral reefs are dying It will give you some new words that help keep the new knowledge manageable My favorite is dysbiosis which is what it sounds like, a biological parallel to dystopia, with a hint of enforced disorganization It will expand your appreciation for how microbial biology works within people and in the world It will offer you hope that there can be a future in which many of our maladies will not only be diagnosable, but will be treatable with the introduction of the right, specific probiotic It will do your dishes and massage your feet Well, ok, not the last two, but KABOOM, big new look at the world stuff Ok, you biologist types, pre med, med, post med, anti med, wearers of white lab coats, whatever the length, you know this stuff, at least I hope you do But for most of the rest of us it is indeed a big change, a new layer of reality, well maybe not entirely new, but new enough to go KABOOM Our intro to the world of which Yong writes, antibiotics, is probably akin to the one WW II bombadiers had through their bombsites Amazing invention discovery, antibiotics They do a great job of wiping out pathogens, the nasties that make us ill, well, some of them anyway Other harmful microbial types, the viral ones, roll their eyes at incoming antibiotics and keep on with what they are up to However, as with items dropped from passing aircraft, the use of antibiotics entails considerable collateral damage, as the human body is a container for a vast array of microbial life One might well envision millions of non pathogenic residents shaking their fists as the incomings not only wipe out the harmful bugs, but vast numbers of the helpful ones as well Ed Yong offers a on the ground look, filling us in on what is actually going on inside, and how this part of what s inside relates to that other part.If these folks can have an entire civilization inside a locker, just imagine what might develop in your liver or large intestine.If you don t know who Ed Yong is, it s a good bet that you will before too long Yong is a popular science guy, a Neal DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Mary Roach, Jacques Cousteau, David Attenborough, Carl Sagan sort, a person who can take the wild, wonderful and fascinating things that are going on in the world of science and distill them all down for public consumption without making viewers or readers eyes glaze over, or listeners ears suddenly clog, without making you feel like an ill educated dolt, and he accomplishes this with enough humor to produce a fair number of smiles and an occasional LOL Not in Mary Roach s league for humor, but hey, who is He is an award winning science writer at The Atlantic, whose work has appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New York Times to Nature, from The Guardian to Wired, from Slate to Scientific American, and on and on He splits his time between London and DC, and I would not be at all surprised if he dashes back and forth in a TARDIS I have provided links in EXTRA STUFF that will lead you down rabbit holes of fun material from Yong that may take you a while to leave.Ed Yong From SpeakerpediaAmong the many surprises you will encounter here are a squid with its own high beams, the microbial advantage of vaginal birth, the impact of gut microbes on mood, why a third of human milk is set aside for our guests protection payments , the relationship between the US Navy and mucus, why no man may be an island, but we may be archipelagos, and vats There is serious consideration given to how our relationships with this invisible world evolved animals emerged in a world that had already been teeming with microbes for billions of years They were the rulers of the planet long before we arrived And when we did arrive, of course we evolved ways of interacting with the microbes around us It would be absurd not to, like moving into a new city wearing a blindfold, earplugs, and a muzzle Besides, microbes weren t just unavoidable they were useful They fed the pioneering animals Their presence also provided valuable cues to areas rich in nutrients, to temperatures conducive to life, or flat surfaces upon which to settle By sensing these cues, pioneering animals gained valuable information about the world around them hints of those ancient interactions still abound today It all depends As if life wasn t complicated enough Don t you just love it when you are looking for help and the person you are asking responds with It all depends And it really does, and it really will What will be different, though, will be that your caregiver will have a much better idea than most caregivers can possibly have today They will be able to look at a profile from a type of blood test and match potential solutions to the bacteria living in your gut, or wherever else in your two legged bacteria condo might pertain This knowledge is still in its infancy at least a broad knowledge, but it is coming, and has the potential to make meaningful improvements in our health As microbiologist Patrice Cani told me, The future will be a la carte And in this a la carte future, we won t have to stop at picking the right bacteria for the job Some scientists are picking the right genes for the job, and combining them into artisanal bacteria Rather than just recruiting species with the right abilities, they are tinkering with the microbes themselves to endow them with new skills Balance from Explainxkcd.comThis raises some concerns, although they do not get a lot of attention here If scientists can develop designer probiota to ameliorate suffering, there will always be evil doers eager to use new technology to make designer biota intended to act as pathogens In fact that is pretty much my sole gripe about this book I wish space had been devoted to the potential dangers of this advancing treatment modality Just ask yourself, What would ISIS do The title of Ed Yong s book may not be up there with The Selfish Gene, Silent Spring, or Guns, Germs and Steel but what it lacks in snappy ness it than makes up for in content This is a smart, readable explanation of one of the major ongoing scientific revolutions of our time If you look deep inside yourself you will know that this is absolutely must read material Publication August 9, 2016 Hardcover January 16, 2018 Trade PaperReview Posted July 1, 2016 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, and Google pagesWRITINGS Ed s blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science , on NatGeo Yong s weekly newsletter, The Ed s Up All Ed s stories in The Atlantic Ed s stories for the CityLab section of The Atlantic Ed s articles for The Guardian Ed s articles for Science FridayED TALKS All Ed s TED talks An individual TED talk on zombie roaches Go ahead and watch this You know you want to TED talk on mind controlling parasites , no, not Dick Cheney on Nat GeoVIDEOS The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome is an animation that presents in a very simple manner, but is quite good The human microbiome and what we do to it we are only 1% human if you are counting genes, an interesting vid from Australia s NPS Medicinewise nonprofitOTHER Micropia an Amsterdam museum of the invisible February 15, 2016 NY Times 40 Trillion Bacteria on and in Us Fewer Than We Thought by Nicholas Bakala May 10,2017 A Baffling Brain Defect Is Linked to Gut Bacteria, Scientists Say by Gina Kolatomay June 26, 2017 NY Times The Solution for Skin Ailments Could Be Right Under Your Nose by Ferris Jabr An early example of using our own microbiota to help cure problems that are at least in part caused by our own microbiota July 14, 2017 NY Times A gene we believe is significant in diagnosing Alzheimer s may, in combination with non DNA material, help prevent it An Ancient Cure for Alzheimer s by Pagan Kennedy July 31, 2017 NY Times Lovers Share Colonies of Skin Microbes, Study Finds by Aneri Pattani August 24, 2017 NY Times a fascinating new study of contemporary hunter gatherers microbiome has implications for modern diets, and health Gut Bacteria Can Fluctuate With the Seasons by Carl Zimmer February 1, 2018 NY Times Some of our tenants are behaving badly with 50,000 Americans dying every year from colon cancer, early testing for these two microbes can save an awful lot of lives Gut Microbes Combine to Cause Colon Cancer, Study Suggests by Gina Kolata April 13, 2018 NY Times More KA BOOM from this article on the surprisingly global reach of viruses Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day by Jim Robbins May 25, 2018 NY Times Gives new meaning to the phrase I had a gut feeling Antibiotics in Meat Could be Damaging Our Guts by William D Cohen February 5, 2019 Smithsonian If your gut feeling is depression, there may be a biotic cause Scientists Find a Possible Link Between Gut Bacteria and Depression by Jane Recker March 2, 2019 NY Times The A.I Diet by Eric TopolMore than a hundred factors were found to be involved in glycemic response, but notably food wasn t the key determinant Instead it was the gut bacteria Here were two simultaneous firsts in nutritional science one, the discovery that our gut microbiome plays such a big role in our unique response to food intake, and the other that this discovery was made possible by A.I April 9, 2019 NY Times You re Covered in Fungi How Does That Affect Your Health by Kaleigh RogersNovember 23, 2016 I Contain Multitudes is named to the NY Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2016June 12, 2019 Breast Milk Is Teeming With Bacteria That s Good for the Bab by Apoorva Mandavilli

  2. says:

    Note Kindle version on sale in US 2 3 19For my entire hospital career I have worked in oncology, where I have been part of teams taking care of people with cancer Frequently patients have neutropenic fevers, a condition considered to be potentially harmful and almost always requiring admission to the hospital Neutrophils are those brave little white blood cells that go out into our bodies and do battle with all the nasty things our bodies are exposed to every day Neutropenia means the patient has none of those cells to speak of and this is why herd immunity and vaccines are important We culture blood and urine, scan lungs, treat with antibiotics, and monitor for a few days to see if any microbes grow out in cultures We teach people to fastidiously handwash, and avoid people who are sick We make them wear masks in the hallways, in order to filter out airborne viruses Their rooms have special filtration systems We encourage them to make safe food choices, avoiding foods that can t be washed or scrubbed clean, or might be undercooked And you want to know the kicker If these patients are infected, it s usually because of microbes in their own body have run amok and caused infection.You know what else is in the hospital Microbes Tons of antibiotic resistant microbes, hanging out in patient bodies and everywhere else Once someone is cultured positive for these microbes, they stay on isolation for the duration of the visit and sometimes for life in the case of microbes resistant to all antibiotics in the vain hopes that staff, visitors and patients won t go moving those resistant microbes around the hospital A shift where I don t where a yellow isolation gown to go into these rooms is pretty unusual.Yong made my little grey cells stretch and reach, and now I have yet ways to think about microbes, and I dearly wish he would re write this book maybe in magazine form every couple years so I can keep up with all the interesting research Like David Quammen, Yong doesn t just stick to one branch of research science he wanders around many fields as he explores the impact microbes have made on us He ll first have you thinking about their sheer evolutionary weight literally and figuratively , reminding us that we evolved in context of a microbe landscape, not the other way round and some thought apes were a stretch Like living on a planet where most of the water is saltwater, it makes sense that microbes would impact the evolution of life.Yong walks the reader through some of the science that show how animals evolved to use microbes and perhaps vice versa Some are evolutionary, some genetic, some macro There s a lovely experiment where a glowing squid developed a sequestered area for those microbes can t set them free in the body, of course, so you have to create a special compartment.In other words, I highly recommend this book It s quite well researched and documented, with extensive citations There s a bibliography and index, for those that want to delve further or pick and choose As a further note, I ll say that I always appreciate researchers writers who express appreciation for those they interview and follow, without being fawning, and Yong does a nice job with that as well There are parts I really liked, parts I liked less, parts where someone should have trimmed his descriptive writing just a tad, but any book that keeps me thinking about it months later is a five star read.I m going to put my detailed book report below page break at my wordpress site with notes heavily on the medical and the ocean science There s also some interesting stuff about insects, for those who might lean that way, and trees.

  3. says:

    Well, I will never think of bacteria and archaea the same I certainly have a newfound understanding of just how vital it is to every part of life That microbes and bacteria have helped shape our planet for billions of years, down to every single flora and fauna even all the oxygen we breath has come from bacteria I also never really thought about the microbes that are constantly around us and even on me, or how many you are seeding to the world That every person aerosolises 37 million bacteria per hour And, if that isn t crazy enough, how about It s estimated that every human contains 100 trillion microbes, most of which live in our guts By comparison, the Milky Way contains between 100 million and 400 million stars To me, learning all of this was just simply incredible the effortless symbiosis of microbes with the environment and with ourselves I could go on and on about this book so I will end with is, this is hands down one of my favorite science books The science wasn t intimidating to read, as the author didn t assume you were already an expert on the subject It wasn t dry either, and a few parts made me laugh This book would be great for anyone who is interested in learning about the unseen world going on all around them.

  4. says:

    This is a fascinating book about the microbes inside all of us, and inside other animals as well Now, it is often said that there are ten times as many bacteria in our bodies as there are cells This, it turns out, is probably an over estimate the number of bacteria is probably in the same ballpark as the number of cells But still, that is a lot This book goes into detail about the amazing partnerships the symbioses between microbes and large organisms, mostly animals and humans Microbes are essential to digestion, to our immune systems, and many other functions.Every person has his own population of microbes, which can be different between individuals And we spread our microbes around every day we deposit 30 million of them by breathing, touching things, and by excretions.Most microbes are not harmful to humans But the distinction between harmful and not harmful and helpful is not always crystal clear Microbes in our guts help digestion, but if they escape into the blood stream they can be deadly I really enjoyed learning how dengue can be prevented by infecting mosquitos with a common bacterium called Wolbachia.I learned all sorts of great things For example, probiotic foods and supplements have not been proven to be effective Also, toilets that are cleaned too often are likely to be covered in bacteria And, hospital rooms with closed windows contain deadly microbes than the fresh air outside Some scientists believe that microbes are responsible for obesity, and even for high blood pressure.This book is actually fun to read, filled with subtle humor, and extremely informative This book is so well written, I must recommend it to everyone.

  5. says:

    I am Legion. So, apparently human beings and all beings in general are just bags of bacteria and other microorganisms, and these fascinating fellas have always dominated the Earth, from the birth of life to present days there are bacteria in our guts than starts in our galaxy Interesting, uh I would say a wonderful topic for a wonderful book I loved this book and found it extremely interesting for many reasons First, because it was very well written, and second because it opened my mind to the fascinating field of microbiology, which I d never think it would be for interest for me a linguist This book literally opened a new door for me, and since starting this read I watched documentaries and collected all kinds of information on bacteria, virus, and microorganisms in general For example, did you know that our body contains so many bacteria that there are roughly the same amount of human cells and bacteria cells inside it Or that sponges are such simple animals and yet full of microbes that sometimes, if you look at a sponge under a microscope, you will barely be able to see the animal for the microbes that cover it Or that there is such a thing as a poop transplant Faecal Microbiota Transplant, or FMT , in which stool samples from one healthy individual are inserted into someone else s intestines to re create a healthy microbe environment and thus fighting many digestion related illnesses This book was all extremely interesting, and I think it also contains two very important messages to always keep in mind first something that many people, but not all people, know , that not all microorganisms are bad, and some of them are not only fundamental to sustain life and normal functions of animals and plants, but can also be used to cure health conditions and preserve the environment Our indiscriminate war against germs, overdoing with disinfectant and antibiotics, is both straightening bad bacteria and endangering good ones, with repercussions on our and our Planets s health Second, that this field is one of the most futurist fields of science, and we ll probably see incredible developments in the future the creation of medicines based on probiotics, bacteria artificially engineered to fight diseases and, incidentally, we ll probably see a lot of this stuff in sci fi.Of course, as the author himself points out, scientists always have the ambition to find a grand unified theory, a master equation which can elegantly explain our universe, and microbiology, with its recent discoveries on how our life on the Planet started seriously, look it up or read about it in this book, it s fascinating , how microorganisms are intertwined with hosts in complex symbiotic relationships which can even affect genome, and how much we could potentially do cure just using bacteria, is currently one of the most fashionable candidates Without having to believe that bacteria is the solution to all our problems, from dying crops to saving the coral reef and solve both malnutrition and obesity, let alone eradicating lymphatic filariasis and dengue fever we instead can and should try to educate ourselves about the microcosm which thrives inside of us and inside the smallest of bugs, so that we can learn how to respect it and be aware of the danger those small little things can pose to us, but also us to them Bacteria can get extinct too, and who knows how many good friends we used to have in our guts before we killed them and started getting irritable bowls Save your friendly neighbour bacterium

  6. says:

    Though we might lather our skin with antibacterial soap, clean our hands with alcohol sanitizers, gargle with mouthwash, scrub our kitchen surfaces, disinfect our bathrooms, spray Lysol all over the house, take antibiotics, etc., there are and always will be microbes everywhere This is especially true of our warm moist bodies which are covered inside and out with microorganisms.and this is a good thing.Bacteria are on and in our bodiesIn fact our bodies are really an indivisible aggregate of our tissues and organs.and the microbial world that makes its home there Moreover this is true for every multicellular organism on Earth The totality of microorganisms and their parts in on our bodies is called our microbiome , and it s composed of myriad kinds of bacteria, viruses, archaea, snippets of microbial DNA, and other miniscule microbial fragments This microbiome helps digest our food, produces vitamins and minerals, breaks down toxins and dangerous chemicals, guides our embryonic development, assists our immune system, probably influences our behavior, and so on There are many kinds of microbes in the worldIn this entertaining and illuminating book, Yong touches on the evolution of microbes the history of microbiology symbiotic relationships among microbes symbiosis between microbes and higher organisms dysbiosis unbalanced microbiomes that harm their hosts how scientists study and identify microbiomes research studies aimed at seeding hospitals and buildings with good microbes and much .Symbiotic microbes provide nutrients for plantsHospitals are covered with microorganisms Seeding hospitals with good microbes might prevent bad microbes from growing.Most people probably associate microbes with disease, and Yong provides some examples of pathogenic organisms The vast majority of microbes are beneficial though, and I was fascinated to read about their varied roles in the world of living things I ve had a rather varied career and in a galaxy far away and long ago I got a degree in microbiology..but this book has a lot of new and exciting information I ll give examples of a few intriguing factoids gleaned from the book 1 We can improve our health by nurturing helpful bacteria in our digestive system Since fiber loving bacteria are supposed to boost the immune system I added a LOT of fiber to my diet..and I think I feel healthier already We need good microbes in our stomach 2 Newborns are bathed in good microbes during vaginal delivery Thus, infants born by caesarean section lacking this initial seeding develop different microbiomes than vaginal babies Breast feeding also provides babies with an initial dose of beneficial microbes 3 It s good for kids to have a dog because the pooch brings outdoor microbes into the home Being exposed to a larger variety of microorganisms reduces the likelihood of getting allergies 4 The author, Ed Yong, really likes the Hawaiian bobtail squid, which contains large colonies of luminous bacteria Whenever Yong mentions this critter he calls it adorable ha ha ha Bacteria make squids luminous This tome covers a fascinating array of topics in an understandable and sometimes humorous fashion I love this book and would recommend it to everyone Seriously You can follow my reviews at

  7. says:

    Recently I ve been hearing reports of miracle cures of irritable bowel syndrome IBS by use of fecal matter transplants Also I ve heard that some autoimmune diseases may be caused by environments that are too clean Upon hearing these things the question that comes to my mind is, why this new found enthusiasm for microorganisms We ve known about bacteria since Louis Pasteur So why all this new information about microbes as if it was something new Actually we learn in this book that Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered the prevalence of bacteria on all sorts of surfaces in the 1680s, but for unexplained reasons his findings were pretty much ignored for 200 years What I learned from this book is that the new technologies of gene sequencing and genomics has changed everything Before gene sequencing careful study of microbes was limited to those that could be grown on a culture medium With current tools it is possible to sequence every single gene in a sample from a skin flake, stream bed, or any environmental or body surface Suddenly researchers were able to provide detailed descriptions of myriad microbiota This book uses the term microbiome What scientists are learning is that the number, variety and prevalence of microorganisms exceeded all expectations Combined with our understanding of evolution we now know that all of life has co evolved within close contact with microbes Consequently many functions of animal life are either dependent on, or aided and regulated by, microorganisms Food digestion is a leading example of this This book warns that current science is in the early phases of understanding microbiomes and that we shouldn t become too excited about spectacular claims made by probiotic manufacturers However, I believe that the wording used by this book in some cases hypes things a bit too much In particular I m don t like the way this book makes the statement that, The majority of cells in our body are not human, they re microbes Technically that statement is true, but it is misleading The statement is true regarding the number of cells, but not mass i.e weight Only about 1 to 3 percent of the human body weight is from microbes located mostly in the gut The reason for this disparity between mass and numbers of cells is that most human cells e.g muscle, fat, blood cells are larger and massive than bacterial cells The information I ve explained above about the mass of human cells and bacterial cells is not explained in this book The book simply makes the statement regarding the number of cells which I m sure will lead some people to make the declarative statement, Did you know that most of the human body is made of bugs The book explains why we should think of bacteria and viruses as companions, not enemies Our efforts at being antibacterial killing all microbial growth can sometimes provide an environment in which pathogens can proliferate But there is one quotation in the book by a doctor that provided another perspective to consider I ve never seen anybody die from getting antibiotics, but I ve seen some die from the lack of them Also, our immune system evolved in an environment of mild background contamination Thus, our modern clean living environments may be a contributor to increased occurrences of some autoimmune ailments But of course we all know that contaminated environments can cause disease Perhaps, as we learn about microbiomes we ll learn to get the level of contamination just right This book provides a good overall discussion of the expanding knowledge and understanding of microbes.The following is a link to an excerpt from the book about when Leeuwenhoek discovered Microorganisms

  8. says:

    I liked this book so I am giving it three stars It is common knowledge today that everything and all of us are covered with microbes that some are good and some are bad Their number can be debated We have in the past been fixated on getting rid of them This has been to our detriment It is clear we have gone too far Antibiotics are good and necessary, but at the same time they must be used with care In heedlessly wiping out microbes, we have created an environment where pathogens proliferate This book is about the symbiosis we have with the microbes living on and in our bodies and in our environment It is about our need to develop a harmonious relationship between us and them The book begins with a rather long introduction I wanted the book to get going what we were being told was all too general The introduction is followed by a chapter which focuses on the history of bacteriology, beginning with the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek s 1632 1723 development of the microscope He was the first to observe and describe single celled organisms The growth of microbiology is reviewed through a discussion of the discoveries of scientists such as Louis Pasteur, lie Metchnikoff, Theodor Rosebury, Ren Dubos and others Microbiologists one has heard of and others less well known After the historical review, the remainder of the book contains fascinating information on contemporary studies, but there is no real structure to the presentation First of all, the titles of the chapters do not clearly indicate what the chapter will be about Here are four titles so you can see what I mean The Long Waltz Mutually Assured Success Allegro in E Major Microbes la CarteOn completion of a chapter I had learned a smattering of information, all of which I had found interesting, but what exactly that particular chapter was focused upon most often eluded me Topics brought up in one chapter come up again in another For me, when reading a non fiction book on a topic where my own knowledge is weak, I need structure There is a heavy use of acronyms and scientific abbreviations, which are explained once, but most often just once The same is true of the scientific terms used for particular experimental procedures, chemical compounds and pathogens You can read this book without in depth previous knowledge, but the you know before you pick it up the easier it will be to understand It definitely helped me to have recently read The Gene An Intimate History Today scientists are sequencing the genes of the microbes around us Bacteria readily swap genes, something which humans do not do, but our cells can integrate foreign genetic material from bacteria It is important to stress that we are today only beginning to understand the symbiotic relationship between our cells and the microbes living in, on and around us This book does not give definitive answers but indicates where the future may take us Numerous studies are cited Here follow examples of topics discussed fecal transplants, probiotics, studies on the bacteria feeding sugars in breast milk, the beneficial qualities of vaginal microbes for babies health and gut microbes in preventing obesity and autoimmune diseases, the value of dogs in increasing the microbe diversity in our homes, the decimation of coral reefs, squid with luminous bacteria The topics are many and not only about humans, but other flora and fauna too The book provides a lot of really interesting information, but I wanted a better structure to it all.The audiobook is very well narrated by Charlie Anson Clear and easy to follow The narration I have given four stars.

  9. says:

    Everybody likes this book about gutbunnies, which is a term I just now made up for the tiny little things that live in you.

  10. says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all the information in this book Might change how you look at yourself, think of yourself and the world around you.

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