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Plague Time: The New Germ Theory of Disease

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
According to conventional wisdom, our genes and lifestyles are the most important causes of the most deadly ailments of our time. Conventional wisdom may be wrong. In this controversial book, the eminent biologist Paul W. Ewald offers some startling arguments:

-Germs appear to be at the root of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, many forms of cancer, and other chron
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Anchor
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32nd out of 140 books — 85 voters
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Jan 16, 2012 Crosby rated it liked it
The author, Dr. Ewald is a college professor and researcher who has become well known for his ideas relating natural selection and evolution to infectious diseases in humans. Some of the more noted medical schools in the country are incorporating his ideas into their training of physicians. The basic theme of his book is that some of the most common and dangerous diseases in humans might have an infectious disease component. Most people including many physicians and researchers do not consider h ...more
Mary Frances
Feb 08, 2010 Mary Frances rated it really liked it
Well, I'd dismiss this because the guy has gotten so little traction for his ideas except for a few things: having had inflammation problems affecting my health since childhood, the infection idea makes sense to me viscerallly; discoveries about ulcers, cervical cancer and heart disease beg for more research into infectious agents; we know the power of paradigms to affect what scientists sometimes see-what they expect to see rather than what is there; modern US medicine has failed miserable to h ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: science, epidemiology
An interesting look at whether diseases that we consider to be "chronic" or "lifetyle" related may not actually be caused by viruses. No, it's not a look at whether, it's an assertion that viruses ARE at the root of many diseases that we don't now consider communicable.

Probably could have been squeezed into a New Yorker article, but worth a read.
Thematically, very similar to wildlife of our bodies, it didn't have quite that books tendency to blame a rigid scientific orthodoxy for failing to recognise that a few visionaries with very little evidence were correct, but it went part way. Sometimes, it seemed like the author didn't understand evolution, such as when he claimed that even if a gene has an negative effect late in life, it would have been selected out of the gene pool by now, unless the negative effect was recent, without making ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it
A fascinating hypothesis: what if many of our chronic diseases today are caused by infectious agents? Ewald develops the history of this idea and how it may inform medical practice in the future.
Sep 19, 2012 Antony added it
a great read. I am glad I read it now. in the light of Swine Flu 2009. Otherwise I wouldn't have believed some of it as easily as now. "Throwing "swine flu parties" in an attempt to get immunity against the virus while it is a fairly mild form is not a good idea, doctors say." "Their reasoning is that it is best to be infected before the winter when the virus could become more deadly. "
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