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The first book from the creator of the wildly popular science YouTube channel, Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, a gorgeously illustrated deep dive into the immune system that will change how you think about your body forever.
'A truly brilliant introduction to the human body's vast system for fighting infections and other threats'
JOHN GREEN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
'Reads as if it's a riveting sci-fi novel . . . a delightful treat for the curious'
TIM URBAN, creator of Wait But Why
You wake up and feel a tickle in your throat. Your head hurts. You're mildly annoyed as you get the kids ready for school and dress for work yourself. Meanwhile, an utterly epic war is being fought, just below your skin. Millions are fighting and dying for you to be able to complain as you drink your cup of tea and head out the door.
So what, exactly, IS your immune system?
Second only to the human brain in its complexity, it is one of the oldest and most critical facets of life on Earth. Without it, you would die within days. In Immune, Philipp Dettmer, the brains behind the most popular science channel on YouTube, takes readers on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defences. There is a constant battle of staggering scale raging within us, full of stories of invasion, strategy, defeat, and noble self-sacrifice. In fact, in the time you've been reading this, your immune system has probably identified and eradicated a cancer cell that started to grow in your body.
Each chapter delves deeply into an element of the immune system, including defences like antibodies and inflammation as well as threats like viruses, bacteria, allergies and cancer, as Dettmer reveals why boosting your immune system is actually nonsense, how parasites sneak their way past your body's defences, how viruses - including the coronavirus - work, and what goes on in your wounds when you cut yourself.
Enlivened by engaging full-colour graphics and immersive descriptions, Immune turns one of the most intricate, interconnected, and confusing subjects - immunology - into a gripping adventure through an astonishing alien landscape.
Challenging what you know and think about your own body and how it defends you against all sorts of maladies and how it might also eventually be your own downfall, Immune is a vital and remarkably fun crash course in what is arguably, and increasingly, the most important system in the body.
At the scale of a cell, your body is an utterly gigantic structure of pipes as wide as mountains, filled with oceans of fluids, rapid torrents permeating intricate cave systems stretching as far as whole countries. Dendritic Cells, mighty messengers and intelligence officers of the Innate Immune System, are stationed everywhere the Border Kingdom can be penetrated. Imagine the MHC class II receptor as a hot dog bun that can be filled with a tasty wiener. The wiener is the antigen. Helper T Cells are able to recognize an antigen only if it is presented in an MHC class II molecule. Or in other words, they eat a wiener only in a hot dog bun. Think of Helper T Cells as really picky eaters—they would NEVER eat a wiener that floats around by itself. No sir, that would be disgusting! According to even the most conservative estimate, bacteria have at least ten times more mass than all animals combined. In one gram of the plaque on your teeth, more bacteria are living their life than there are humans on planet Earth right now (if you need a motivating story for your kids why they should brush their teeth and also give them nightmares, there you go).
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