How to avoid disease, how to breed successfully and how to live to a reasonable age, are questions that have perplexed mankind throughout history.
This 2005 book explores our progress in understanding these challenges, and the risks and rewards of our attempts to find solutions. From the moment of conception, nutrition and exposure to microbes or alien chemicals have consequences that are etched into our cells and genomes.
Such events have a crucial impact on development in utero and in childhood, and later, on the way we age, respond to infection, or the likelihood of developing chronic diseases, including cancer. The issues covered include the powerful influence of infectious disease on human society, the burden of our genetic legacy and the lottery of procreation.
The author discusses how prospects for human life might continually improve as biomedicine addresses these problems and also debates the ethical checkpoints encountered.
About the Author
Michael G. Sargent is a Research Scientist in Developmental Biology at the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, London.
'... fascinating and written with a general audience in mind.' New Scientist 'Sargent's tale is rooted in science, but he sees the big picture as well. The story is epic but the language is a marvel of clarity. Knowledge empowers, and if this book were on prescription, it might improve the national health.' The Guardian '... well-written and clearly presented ... Sargent has done a valuable service to those general readers who wish to learn about the directions of current medical research. While 'biomedicine' may be only part of the story of disease and the human condition, those who want to know what the medical world is up to have got to start somewhere; Sargent's tip of the iceberg is a better place than most.' The Lancet '... easy to read, highly informative book that covers a wide range of topics on biomedicine.' Microbiology Today 'This is an easy to read, highly informative book that covers a wide range of topics on biomedicine. ... the strength of the book is in its width and wide coverage of the science of the human body ... The book can be recommended as part of the background reading for all biologists and medical students; it could also act as a useful aid to tutorials. ... Biomedicine and the Human Condition can also be recommended for holiday reading or to help pass time on that long flight.' Society for General Microbiology 'Michael Sargent has done a great service by demonstrating that the rudiments of the essential scientific knowledge can be conveyed in a manner that is both informative and compelling. ... his book conveys a humanitarian wisdom that can be placed in the scales to counterbalance the weight of dogmatic convictions. Biomedicine and the Human Condition is written in a compelling and lucid style that renders it accessible to the layperson, but it should also become a valuable work of reference for many who are engaged professionally in medicine. ... It can be recommended to all preclinical medical students as a vade mecum and to busy clinicians as an up to the minute survey.' Stephen Pollock, Queen Mary College, University of London 'This is an interesting book for medics, bioscience students and historians of science and medicine at a reasonable price.' Biologist '... very approachable ... full of interesting facts and figures. ... The breadth of this text is its strongest asset, and overall it is a worthwhile addition to any biomedical bookshelf.' Journal of Biological Education 'Michael Sargent offers an extremely thorough account of the scientific background to improvements in healthcare that followed achievements in clinical research and drug discovery in the 20th century. ... [He] offers food for thought about the evolution of medical research and practice.' Times Higher Education Supplement