Survival Of The Sickest Analysis

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In Survival of the Sickest, a novel written by Dr. Sharon Moalem and Jonathan Prince, Dr. Moalem theorizes that many of the modern day human diseases or disadvantages that afflict us actually had a vital and positive role in the survival of our ancestors through evolutionary history. These diseases include hemochromatosis, diabetes, and progeria. Some are hereditary and others are determined by external factors. However, they could be linked together by one goal; to keep the human species from going extinct for a few thousand more years. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that interrupts the body’s process of metabolizing iron. It attacks the joints and major organs such as the liver and heart.The novel states that Aran Gordon, a “born competitor” who was diagnosed…show more content…
This is because the diseases need iron to survive. People who have hemochromatosis have been discovered to have this response as well. The only exception is that it is permanent for them. Their excess iron is distributed throughout the body but not everywhere. Although most cells end up with too much iron, one specific cell ends up with less iron than normal. These cells are a type of white blood cell called macrophages. The novel says that macrophages are the “police wagons of the immune system. They circle our systems looking for trouble; when they find it, they surround it, try to subdue or kill it, and bring it back to the station in our lymph nodes.” The macrophages of people that do not have hemochromatosis have plenty of iron. Many “infectious agents” can use that iron to feed and multiply. So by the time that the macrophages have caught the invaders and reached the lymph node, which is like a police station, the invaders are already armed and can then use the lymphatic system to travel throughout the body. This is exactly what happens with the bubonic plague which is why the swollen and bursting lymph nodes are distinguishable effects of the

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