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The Secret Language of Cells: What Biological Conversations Tell Us About the Brain-Body Connection, the Future of Medicine, and Life Itself

The Secret Language of Cells: What Biological Conversations Tell Us About the Brain-Body Connection, the Future of Medicine, and Life Itself

Authors
Publisher Benbella Books
Year 08/10/2020
Pages 320
Version hardback
Readership level General/trade
ISBN 9781948836043
Categories Popular science, Cellular biology (cytology)
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Book description

Your cells are talking about you. Right now, both your inner and outer worlds are abuzz with chatter among living cells of every possible kind-from those in your body and brain to those in the environment around you. From electrical alerts to chemical codes, the greatest secret of modern biology, hiding in plain sight, is that all of life's activity boils down to one thing: conversation. While cells are commonly considered the building block of living things, it is actually the communication between cells that brings us to life, controlling our bodies and brains, determining whether we are healthy or sick, and directly influencing how we think, feel, and behave. In The Secret Language of Cells, doctor and neuroscientist Jon Lieff lets us listen in on these conversations, and reveals their significance for everything from mental health to cancer. He explains the surprising science of how very different cells-bacteria and brain cells, blood cells and viruses-all speak the same language. This overarching principle has been long overlooked because scientific journals use impenetrable jargon that makes it hard to be understood across disciplines, much less by the general public. Lieff presents a fascinating and accessible look into cellular communication science-a groundbreaking and comprehensive exploration of this biological phenomenon. In these pages, discover the intriguing lives of cells as they ask questions, get answers, give feedback, gather information, call for each other, and make complex decisions. During infections, immune T-cells tell brain cells that we should "feel sick" and lie down. Cancer cells warn their community about immune and microbe attacks. Gut cells talk with microbes to determine which are friends and which are enemies, and microbes talk with each other and with much more complicated human cells in ways that determine which medicines work and which will fail. With applications for immunity, chronic pain, weight loss, depression, cancer treatment, and virtually every aspect of health and biology, cellular communication is revolutionizing our understanding not just of disease, but of life itself. The Secret Language of Cells is required reading for anyone interested in following the conversation.

The Secret Language of Cells: What Biological Conversations Tell Us About the Brain-Body Connection, the Future of Medicine, and Life Itself

Table of contents

Contents


Introduction


Section I: The Body
Chapter 1: Cells-They Talk About Everything!
Chapter 2: Signals for Migrating White Blood Cells
Chapter 3: T cells-Masters of Immunity
Chapter 4: Capillaries-The "Brain Centers" of Tissue Development
Chapter 5: Platelets-Much More than a Plug
Chapter 6: Conversations in the Gut
Chapter 7: Signaling Across the Skin Landscape
Chapter 8: Cancer Cells-the Ultimate Manipulators


Section II: The Brain
Chapter 9: The World of Neurons
Chapter 10: The Supportive Role of Astrocytes
Chapter 11: Microglia-Master Regulators of the Brain
Chapter 12: The Myelin-Producing Oligodendrocytes
Chapter 13: Guardian Cells of the Brain
Chapter 14: Pain and Inflammation


Section III: The World of Microbe Communication
Chapter 15: Microbial Behavior and Conversations
Chapter 16: Battles Between Microbes and Human Cells
Chapter 17: Microbe Politics in the Gut
Chapter 18: Microbe Influences on the Brain
Chapter 19: The Complex World of Viruses
Chapter 20: Microbe-Plant Interactions
Chapter 21: Microbes' Love-Hate Relationship with Cancer
Chapter 22: Microbial Conversations with Organelles


Section IV: Conversations Inside Cells
Chapter 23: Communication Among Organelles
Chapter 24: Mitochondrial Conversations
Chapter 25: Membrane Production
Chapter 26: Transporting Materials on Scaffolding Highways
Chapter 27: Dendritic Highways
Chapter 28: The Significance of Cilia
Chapter 29: Talking Molecules? The Case for mTOR


Concluding Our Tour of Cellular Conversations
Appendix
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Index

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