Survival Of The Sickest Chapter 1 Summary

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Register to read the introduction… 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 that into fat, carbon dioxide, and water. She said that many Asians have a genetic variation that causes them to produce a less powerful form of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase—one that isn't as good in converting acetaledehyde, that first by-product of alcohol, into acetate. Acetaldehyde is thirty times as toxic as alcohol; even very small amounts can produce bad reactions. And one of those reactions is the flushing response. That's not all it does, of course. After even one drink by people who have the ALDH2*2 variation, the acetaldehyde buildup causes them to appear “drunk”; blood rushes to their face, chest, and neck; dizziness and extreme nausea set in—and the drinker is on the road to a nasty hangover. Of course, there's a side benefit to all this—people who have ALDH2*2 are highly resistant to alcoholism. Actually, the resistance to alcoholism is so strong in people with ALDH2*2 that doctors often give alcoholics with a drug called disulfiram, which …show more content…
Moalem talks about a 12 year old child named Seth cook who has a very rare disease called Hutchinson- Gilford Progeria Syndrome. It is often called Progeria. Progeria was thought to occur only in 1 of 4 to 8 million births. But it is said to be “unfair”. The word comes from the Greek for prematurely old, and that's the difficult fate in store for people born with it. Children who have Progeria age at up to ten times the speed of people without it. By the time a baby who has Progeria is about a year and a half old, his or her skin starts to wrinkle and their hair starts to fall out. Cardiovascular problems, like hardening of the arteries, and degenerative diseases, like arthritis, soon follow. Most people who have Progeria die in their teens of a heart attack or a stroke; nobody is known to have lived past thirty. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria isn't the only disease that causes accelerated aging—it's just the most heartbreaking, because it's the fastest, and it starts at birth. Another aging disorder, Werner syndrome, doesn’t manifest itself until someone carrying the mutation that causes it reaches puberty; it's sometimes called adult-onset Progeria. After puberty, rapid aging sets in, and people who have Werner syndrome usually die of age- related disease by their early fifties. Werner syndrome is more common than Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, but still very

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