Catching Breath

Catching Breath : The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis

3.88 (113 ratings by Goodreads)
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Tuberculosis has twisted through the millennia hand-in-hand with humanity, leaving its marks on our culture, our history and our DNA, from the birth of Homo sapiens right up to the present day. TB continues to kill more people than any other infectious agent; it may be an ancient disease, but TB is not a disease of history.

In Catching Breath, Kathryn Lougheed asks what has made Mycobacterium tuberculosis such a successful bacterium, and how we can use this knowledge to consign it to the history books. We follow its path through the ages, from its time gathering strength as a latent infection of hunter-gatherers to its rise alongside human urbanisation and industrialisation, and learn just how connected human history is to TB - from an Ancient Egyptian murder mystery and the rumours of the first vampires to a tragedy set in the Amazon rainforest.

Catching Breath - the story of one of the world's oldest diseases - looks at the hidden biology behind the interactions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with its human host, and shows how drug resistance, the HIV epidemic, poverty and inequality work together to ensure that TB remains one of the most serious problems in world medicine.

If we can understand the makings of TB, then maybe we can find a way to unmake it.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 25.4mm | 399g
  • Bloomsbury Sigma
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472930339
  • 9781472930330
  • 635,237

Table of contents

1. Bringing the Dead Back to Life - Diagnosing TB in ancient remains

2. Growing Up Together- How Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Homo sapiens co-evolved

3. Populating the Planet- How TB spread around the world, and continues to do so today

4. Altered Evolution - How the human immune system has been shaped through natural selection by TB

5. Leaving Scars - TB doesn't induce natural immunity, so vaccination doesn't work
6. The Patient Pathogen - Mycobacterium tuberculosis can enter into a state of hibernation in the human lung

7. The Drugs Don't Work - How do you kill something that is barely alive?

8. Killing the Unkillable - New drugs for bad bugs

9. Third-world London - How TB is creeping in through the cracks

10. Pale and Beautiful - Changing attitudes towards TB

10. My Cat Infected Me with TB - TB in the news

11. The People Behind the Disease - Personal stories of TB survival and recovery

12. A Losing Battle? - How are we going to win the war against TB?
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Review quote

Lougheed captures the past 20 years or so of TB research with an insider's eye ... the fascinating pathogen and its deadly interactions with its host fuel Lougheed's book. Through her passion, many others may find inspiration. * Science * An impressive survey. * New York Times Book Review * Kathryn Lougheed gives an illuminating tour of TB past and present, explaining why it has once again become the world's leading infectious killer and describing the myriad reasons why we have still not defeated it. -- Mike Mandelbaum, Chief Executive, TB Alert Tuberculosis is currently the leading cause of infectious deaths across the world and has proven difficult to address with drugs or vaccines. Kathryn Lougheed pulls back the curtain on this forgotten pandemic and reveals the biology of a pathogen that has achieved world domination in an engaging, accessible and yes, occasionally even humorous fashion. -- Sarah Fortune, MS, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Kathryn Lougheed conveys the excitement and frustrations of cutting edge research in a convivial and accessible manner that will delight and inform both specialist and non-specialist readers. -- Douglas B. Young, Fleming Professor of Medical Microbiology, Imperial College London
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About Kathryn Lougheed

Kathryn Lougheed worked in tuberculosis research for more than ten years, focusing on the biological mechanisms of latent tuberculosis. She completed her PhD at Imperial College London in 2006, before moving to the National Institute for Medical Research where she collaborated with industrial partners to develop inhibitors targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Now a science writer, Catching Breath is her first book.

@ilovebacteria /
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Rating details

113 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 27% (31)
4 43% (49)
3 21% (24)
2 6% (7)
1 2% (2)
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