Fatal Flaws

Most people have never heard of prions Indeed, most are only barely aware of the diseases caused by them, except, perhaps, for mad cow disease Yet prions are the stuff of a revolutionary science a science that might lead to cures for some of humankind s most devastating diseases.Fatal Flaws is a scientific detective story about this elusive protein, starting with the disMost people have never heard of prions Indeed, most are only barely aware of the diseases caused by them, except, perhaps, for mad cow disease Yet prions are the stuff of a revolutionary science a science that might lead to cures for some of humankind s most devastating diseases.Fatal Flaws is a scientific detective story about this elusive protein, starting with the discovery of kuru, a disease unique to New Guinea in the 1950s that baffled scientists and carried with it whispers of cannibalism Kuru began a scientific stampede to seek out the agent of this mysterious disease the prion a misfolded protein whose existence some of the world s top scientists still find difficult to accept Today, the subject of prions remains controversial, yet the proteins might promise new treatments for some of the most intractable brain diseases, ones that affect millions around the planet, including Parkinson s, ALS and Alzheimer s.In Fatal Flaws, Jay Ingram unties a complicated interweaving of biology, medicine, human tragedy, surprise and disbelief in the world of prions, and he unravels some of history s most stunning revelations about disease, the brain and infection.
Fatal Flaws Most people have never heard of prions Indeed most are only barely aware of the diseases caused by them except perhaps for mad cow disease Yet prions are the stuff of a revolutionary science a sci

  • Title: Fatal Flaws
  • Author: Jay Ingram
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 154
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Fatal Flaws”

    1. It was incredibly frustrating to read a science book by a guy with such a shallow understanding of the science.All these cool concepts with no mention of whether the logical follow up questions have been asked. For instance, if you think Alzheimer's is caused by eating meat, the logical question is, what's the rate of Alzheimer's in lifelong vegetarians?Also, lots of mentions of theories that are either totally absurd or unfairly misrepresented because they can be dismissed by anybody with a bas [...]

    2. There is no doubt that Jay Ingram knows how to make a story dramatic, and he does so with all guns blazing in Fatal Flaws, the story of the discovery of the (probable) causes of prion-based diseases kuru, scrapie, CJD and BSE.The first half or more of this book reads wonderfully well at a good pace, exploring the detective story behind the suspicions that these diseases were some how transmittable despite not appearing to involve bacteria or virus – in fact any sign of conventional infection. [...]

    3. Imagine a disease that kills you by rearranging the proteins that make up your brain, creating holes in it and turning your grey matter into a spongy, useless mess. It's incredibly tiny and hardy, making it almost impossible to detect, and resistant to most forms of sterilization. It can lay dormant within a host body from anywhere from two to forty years, and the only real way to know that someone's been infected is via autopsy. This is a prion. And it's been behind several different diseases i [...]

    4. This book starts slowly, somewhat boring, but readily converting into the epic story covering the history of the discovery of the prion proteins: mad cow disease, Kuru disease and similar pathologies, like Parkinson and Alzheimer's disease. Book is not big, but cover rather full story surrounding the discovery - skepticism and controversy, and finely acceptance, but also people and scientific community around the topic. Despite that I am trained pharmchemist I read the book and found tons of new [...]

    5. What causes brain decay in humans? Prions may be a cause, or they may be the garbage left behind by whatever is the cause. What's exciting is that there is work being done that tells us more about the causes, and prion-related research certainly plays into that. This book catalogs the history of the science of prions up to about 2011.I had a basic acquaintance with the history of kuru, scrapie, and BSE (mad cow disease), and this book filled in some of the details. I found the most valuable part [...]

    6. Jay Ingram's writing is really exceptional, he takes science and makes it accessible and interesting. The chapters come in bite-sized portions, which I always appreciate in books as it gives me time to stop and think.While I still don't understand the point of spending two paragraphs on birds, particularly birds called prions, pretty much all of the content was interesting. I didn't know that much about neurodegenerative diseases beforehand, but now I have a rough background, and am excited to l [...]

    7. I really did not like this authors writing style. I was really looking forward to this book as I am interested in the subject matter (prion diseases) but the authors presentation of it was awful, in the sense that it was boring. I felt like I was reading a textbook and I found myself struggling to pay attention. I had to reread several passasges because I drifted off thinking of more interesting things. I recognize that the author wrote this in a fashion that makes it easy for everyone to read, [...]

    8. "Fatal Flaws" is an enthralling overview of prion diseases and research. I hadn't even heard of prions before reading this book, but despite its morbid nature, found the story of kuru, scrapie, BSE, etc. to be fascinating. In contrast to many popular science authors, Ingram relies on the merits of the subject itself, as opposed to cheap laughs or funny but ultimately irrelevant anecdotes, to draw in the reader. For him, this is very effective - once I started "Fatal Flaws," I had trouble putting [...]

    9. I'll admit to not being a biologist, but as a layperson, this seemed like an excellent primer on prions and prion diseases (kuru, scrapie, BSE, CJD and vCJD) as well as a few diseases that may not be related to prions but have related mechanisms (Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Lou Gehrig's). I shall be on the lookout for Mr. Ingram's other books, as this one was well written- clear, concise, interesting, and with well-chosen illustrations.

    10. Some interesting stuff about prion diseases and the science and politics of the research surrounding the theory, but there is still too much uncertainty and too many loose ends for the story to be a particularly satisfying one. Kind of like telling the story of the Copernican revolution and coming to the conclusion that, yes, a lot of the evidence does point to the conclusion that the Earth orbits the Sun, but there are so many inconsistencies in the data that we can't be sure.

    11. About PRIONS and Mad Cow Disease - BSE. Easy to read and good “layman’s” explanation of virus’s, proteins and how a cell lives and dies, and written in a fascinating “who done it” way, political cover up's plus hints on Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders. Author is a renowned writer, with 5 honorary doctorates etc

    12. Baffled! Great book. I didn't realize there was even a controversy that diseases were caused by misfolded proteins. I found it fascinating to learn that diseases can be spread through misfolded proteins. The parts on Cannibalism were creepy.

    13. Read because I'm doing research on mad cow disease. This is really the story of scientists discovering prion diseases and so there was not as much mad cow info as I would have liked. I did learn a bit about Creutzfeldt-Jacob and what happens when a person eats a BSE cow though. Interesting.

    14. A good, readable, and compelling account of prion diseases, the discovery of prions, some of the controversy over them, and their potential reach among human diseases. Frankly, a bit terrifying, actually.

    15. An easy read about a fascinating topic -- this book assumes the reader has no real scientific background or knowledge, so very plainly, simply written. Would be a good read for high school or early university biology student, but also good for laypeople.

    16. Its a good thing that there are books like this to give a whole different perspective to some of the scientific dogmas that are uncomfortable enough to need guidance as one tries to make sense of it all.

    17. A little on the light side for science writing, but I'm finally starting to understand why I'm not allowed to donate blood!

    18. Wished for more detail on protein folding. Pretty light biochemically More a history of the epidemiology.

    19. Fascinating read about prion diseases and the research into what causes them. Well written and easy to follow.

    20. fascinating discussion on prions and their role in CJD, mad cow, and other disorders. As the science isn't settled, the end is a bit disjointed but its still worth the read.

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