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Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis
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Tuberculosis is an ancient disease, but it's not a disease of history. With more than a million victims every year – more than any other disease, including malaria – and antibiotic resistance now found in every country worldwide, tuberculosis is once again proving itself to be one of the smartest killers humanity has ever faced. But it's hardly surprising considering how long it's had to hone its skills. Forty-thousand years ago, our ancestors set off from the cradle of civilisation on their journey towards populating the planet. Tuberculosis hitched a lift and came with us, and it's been there ever since; waiting, watching, and learning. In The Robber of Youth, Kathryn Lougheed, a former TB research scientist, tells the story of how tuberculosis and humanity have grown up together, with each being shaped by the other in more ways than you could imagine. This relationship between man and microbe has spanned many millennia and has left its mark on both species. We can see evidence of its constant shadow in our genes; in the bones of the ancient dead; in art, music and literature. Tuberculosis has shaped societies - and it continues to do so today.
The organism responsible for TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has had plenty of time to adapt to its chosen habitat – human lungs – and has learnt through natural selection to be an almost perfect pathogen. Using our own immune cells as a Trojan Horse to aid its spread, it's come up with clever ways to avoid being killed by antibiotics. But patience has been its biggest lesson - the bacterium can enter into a latent state when times are tough, only to come back to life when a host's immune system can no longer put up a fight. Today, more than one million people die of the disease every year and around one-third of the world's population are believed to be infected. That's more than two billion people. Throw in the compounding problems of drug resistance, the HIV epidemic and poverty, and it's clear that tuberculosis remains one of the most serious problems in world medicine.
The Robber of Youth follows the history of TB through the ages, from its time as an infection of hunter-gatherers to the first human villages, which set it up with everything it needed to become the monstrous disease it is today, through to the perils of industrialisation and urbanisation. It goes on to look at the latest research in fighting the disease, with stories of modern scientific research, interviews doctors on the frontline treating the disease, and the personal experiences of those affected by TB.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/15/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781472930361
ASIN:
B01N66ORP5

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APA Citation (style guide)

Kathryn Lougheed. (2017). Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kathryn Lougheed. 2017. Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kathryn Lougheed, Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017.

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Kathryn Lougheed. Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • bioText: Kathryn Lougheed worked in tuberculosis research for more than ten years, focusing on the biological mechanisms of latent tuberculosis and small molecule drug discovery. 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 targeted against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, followed by further research at Imperial. During her career, Kathryn published dozens of peer-reviewed papers and was an active member of the tuberculosis research community.

        @ilovebacteria / germzoo.blogspot.co.uk/
      • name: Kathryn Lougheed
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Catching Breath
fullDescription
Tuberculosis is an ancient disease, but it's not a disease of history. With more than a million victims every year – more than any other disease, including malaria – and antibiotic resistance now found in every country worldwide, tuberculosis is once again proving itself to be one of the smartest killers humanity has ever faced. But it's hardly surprising considering how long it's had to hone its skills. Forty-thousand years ago, our ancestors set off from the cradle of civilisation on their journey towards populating the planet. Tuberculosis hitched a lift and came with us, and it's been there ever since; waiting, watching, and learning. In The Robber of Youth, Kathryn Lougheed, a former TB research scientist, tells the story of how tuberculosis and humanity have grown up together, with each being shaped by the other in more ways than you could imagine. This relationship between man and microbe has spanned many millennia and has left its mark on both species. We can see evidence of its constant shadow in our genes; in the bones of the ancient dead; in art, music and literature. Tuberculosis has shaped societies - and it continues to do so today.
The organism responsible for TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has had plenty of time to adapt to its chosen habitat – human lungs – and has learnt through natural selection to be an almost perfect pathogen. Using our own immune cells as a Trojan Horse to aid its spread, it's come up with clever ways to avoid being killed by antibiotics. But patience has been its biggest lesson - the bacterium can enter into a latent state when times are tough, only to come back to life when a host's immune system can no longer put up a fight. Today, more than one million people die of the disease every year and around one-third of the world's population are believed to be infected. That's more than two billion people. Throw in the compounding problems of drug resistance, the HIV epidemic and poverty, and it's clear that tuberculosis remains one of the most serious problems in world medicine.
The Robber of Youth follows the history of TB through the ages, from its time as an infection of hunter-gatherers to the first human villages, which set it up with everything it needed to become the monstrous disease it is today, through to the perils of industrialisation and urbanisation. It goes on to look at the latest research in fighting the disease, with stories of modern scientific research, interviews doctors on the frontline treating the disease, and the personal experiences of those affected by TB.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2017

        Causing 1.8 million deaths a year, a count that surpasses that of either malaria or HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) clocks in as the deadliest infectious disease. TB researcher Lougheed takes a closer look at this ancient yet potentially curable illness that continues to ravage humans around the world, particularly in areas with high poverty and limited access to health care. She has crafted a biography of TB, exploring its historical evolution and humans' response to it. Beginning with the work of molecular archaeologists to diagnose TB in ancient remains, Lougheed moves through history covering a variety of topics such as the migration of TB to all corners of the globe. According to the author, if we ever hope to overcome the disease, a comprehensive, collaborative approach combining science and efforts to combat poverty and improve access to health care will be necessary. With humor and clarity, she skillfully distills the complex science surrounding mycobacterium TB into a comprehensible narrative. VERDICT Sure to be appreciated by scientists as well as lay people interested in learning about this persistent disease. Make no mistake, however--this is serious science.--Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's Sch., Brooklyn

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 26, 2017
        British medical researcher Lougheed creditably covers the long, painful history of tuberculosis, the world’s leading infectious killer, and the impressive recent advances in combatting it. The slow-growing and tough TB bacterium has infected humans since prehistory, but our immune system largely kept it under control up until the industrial revolution, when humans packed into cities and their health and immune systems declined. Improvements in public health after 1900 reduced infections, and it was widely believed that anti-TB antibiotics—which were developed after just after WWII—would eliminate the threat. But resistance appeared; widespread poverty in the developing world, combined with other diseases attacking the immune system such as HIV, has produced a worldwide epidemiological crisis. Lougheed delivers an expert account of this history, although her efforts to enliven a dismal subject with cheerful anecdotes and jokes do not always succeed. She is at her best when describing the research done in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Dazzling technical advances, new drugs, the development of genomics, insights into the bacterium’s metabolism, and massive but halting political efforts may eventually turn the tide, but as Lougheed writes, TB is “very much a disease of the present and, sadly, the future.”

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2017
        An exegesis on tuberculosis, a scourge that continues to threaten humanity: in 2015, there were 10.4 million new cases and 1.4 million deaths.London-based microbiologist Lougheed left the TB field after years of drug research that yielded few results. Indeed, her text makes clear that Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a bug that has co-evolved with humans since the birth of our species, acquiring extraordinary survival strategies. When the bugs land in a lung, the immune system sends macrophages to engulf and eat them, but they convert the macrophages to squats and live on various immune cell lipids. In turn, these infested macrophages group into granulomas that cluster in the lung, each with its own ecology. Further complicating the problem of combatting the disease is the fact that M. tuberculosis has an especially thick cell wall. Antibiotics only work against actively growing cells, so if the TB bug is sleeping, it can persist and then become the source of reactivation of a latent infection. Then there are the bugs with mutations that have resulted in multiply drug-resistant TB. Lougheed examines all these microbe-immune system interactions by dissecting current research papers as though readers were part of a weekly session of post-doctoral candidates keeping up-to-date. (The book could have used further editing for a general audience.) The author also explains the need for daily treatment regimens of multiple pills or injections that can last for years. As Lougheed notes, as well, TB flourishes in the presence of poverty, malnutrition, crowded living conditions, and co-infections. Unfortunately, this makes certain areas particularly vulnerable to the disease, including migrant and refugee camps. Not just a medical history, but a call to action. TB is not some quaint 19th-century romantic tragedy but rather a very real and present danger that requires investments in diagnostics and new drugs and greater attention to social and racial inequities.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 1, 2017
        Microbiologist Lougheed aims at rebranding TB as a modern monster rather than a mothballed relic of history. Her surprisingly entertaining discussion of tuberculosis is imbued with a quirky sense of humor, weird facts, lots of science, and a healthy respect for the illness. TB is a bigger killer than HIV/AIDS and malaria. It has gone by many names (consumption, the white plague, phthisis); been romanticized; and infected many famous figures, including Keats, Chopin, Gauguin, and Kafka. It is curable but hard to kill, and TB treatment is a bitch. Typical cases require 6 to 9 months of multiple medications; drug-resistant cases necessitate antibiotic therapy of 20 months or longer. HIV and poverty are TB's partners in crime. Lougheed's biography of this tough mycobacterium includes a discussion of the BCG vaccine, molecular archaeology, sputum culture, drug discovery, and GeneXpert molecular diagnostic testing. She also finds room for giant African pouched rats trained to sniff TB's smell print, an Egyptian mummy, and the peculiar susceptibility of elephants to tuberculosis. A successful introduction to the continued challenges presented by perhaps the deadliest infection in human history.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
Tuberculosis is an ancient disease, but it's not a disease of history. With more than a million victims every year – more than any other disease, including malaria – and antibiotic resistance now found in every country worldwide, tuberculosis is once again proving itself to be one of the smartest killers humanity has ever faced. But it's hardly surprising considering how long it's had to hone its skills. Forty-thousand years ago, our ancestors set off from the cradle of civilisation on their journey towards populating the planet. Tuberculosis hitched a lift and came with us, and it's been there ever since; waiting, watching, and learning. In The Robber of Youth, Kathryn Lougheed, a former TB research scientist, tells the story of how tuberculosis and humanity have grown up together, with each being shaped by the other in more ways than you could imagine. This relationship between man and microbe has spanned many millennia and has left its mark on both...
sortTitle
Catching Breath The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis
crossRefId
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subtitle
The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis
publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
tableOfContents
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?
bisacCodes
      • code: HEA039120
      • description: Health & Fitness / Diseases / Respiratory
      • code: MED022090
      • description: Medical / Infectious Diseases
      • code: SCI045000
      • description: Science / Life Sciences / Microbiology