Survival of the Sickest

February 9, 2009
By Lubna Owais BRONZE, Plano, Texas
Lubna Owais BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Survival of the Sickest is a collection of studies done by Dr. Sharon Moalem answering the random 'why' questions people ponder over. He covers issues like why people have to pee when they are cold, how the sun converts cholesterol into vitamin D, and how people of Asian decent have a lower tolerance for alcohol than other races. Moalem challenges the readers on the basic things our bodies do. He discusses diseases that plague our people today, but explains how these same diseases gave our ancestors an advantage back in their day which kept them alive.
Dr. Sharon Moalem relates us humans having the sudden urge to pee when it gets chilly, to the wood frog and iced grapes. He reveals that just like the wood frog relieves itself of its liquids so it can freeze solid and just like the grape gets rid of water as it freezes, humans tend to do the same thing. When water freezes, it turns into a frozen sum of tiny spikes. Your body knows this so it doesn't take a risk to let any of its organs get punctured because you kept some extra liquids inside. It immediately tries to get rid of liquids in your body once it senses colder temperatures. Moalem describes this process so effortlessly that it can be understandable to anyone with a general knowledge of how life works.
While reading this book, I did not get lost between the medical terms or the evolutionary flashbacks, but I was caught up in all of it. Dr. Sharon Moalem takes you on an evolutionary trip dating to today and then reconnecting it back to the past. Every living thing is connected in one way or the other. Moalem even describes diseases as the things that will keep you alive today, but might kill you tomorrow, only so you could live today. Every medical mystery that he talks of in this book has an average person twist on it. I am just in high school and I almost let myself get confused by the disease names or abbreviations, but everything is defined to ensure proper understanding. The body works in special ways and we've evolved to work extraordinarily and reading this book will open your eyes to make you see your everyday habits in a new way.

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