Survival of the Sickest Chapter Summaries Essay

1288 Words May 18th, 2012 6 Pages
Chapter 1 Summary

In chapter one it talks about how hemachromatosis is a hereditary disease and it’s the most common genetic disease for people of European descent, in which the body can't register that it has enough iron. So it keeps absorbing as much of it as possible, and this can have very, serious side effects (including death). Iron is very important for bacteria, cancer, and other things to grow. The way this disease is most easily treated is blood letting. Looks like all those crazy blood-letting, leech-sticking doctors weren't mistreating everyone. What is the author's argument for why this disease stuck around? To really simplify things: during the black plague in Europe, people with more iron in their system were more likely
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Many Europeans died out. How does this relate to diabetes? Well, one thing that sugar does is lower the freezing temperature of water. Pure water freezes at 32 degrees, but water with other substances in it, like sugar, freeze at much colder temperatures. Our blood, being largely composed of water, then, would also freeze at a lower temperature if it had higher levels of sugar. Brown fat is a type of fat that the body produces in extremely cold temperatures that quickly burns sugar into heat. Also a lot of greasy foods and fats also can cause diabetes. Consuming to much of it can cause you to have a stroke or heart attack. So a diabetic in Northern Europe during the Younger Dryas would have lived because their higher levels of blood sugar would have kept their blood liquid and let their brown fat burn that sugar into heat.

Chapter 3 Summary In chapter 3 Dr. Moalem talks about how cholesterol rises too. Like when you consume alcohol, your body detoxifies it and then extracts calories from it. It's a difficult process that involves many different enzymes and a lot of organs, although most of the process takes place in the liver. First, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase converts the alcohol into another chemical called acetaldehyde; another enzyme—cleverly called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase—converts the acetaldehyde into acetate. And a third enzyme converts

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