In this work, Dr. Link explains the extent of new, resurgent, and resistant diseases defying the abilities of science and medicine, or often finding strength in globalization or other facets of modernization.
Although medicine and sanitation in modernized countries are more advanced than ever before, over the past three decades we have seen the emergence of some 30 new diseases, such as HIV, SARS, and Ebola. Lyme Disease, Hepatitis C, Legionnaires’ Disease, and even Jacob-Creutzfeld, the human form of a disorder we know as Mad Cow, has made headlines. We are also facing a resurgence of diseases once thought nearly eradicated, including tuberculosis and smallpox, and the persistence of rare disorders such as leprosy.
Link also explains why such diseases are not prevented by our current systems, and why some rare diseases persist despite technology that could cure them. He offers insight into why we may not be able to predict or prevent factors such as mutations, and also shares thoughts about what we can do—as individuals, communities and countries—to reduce the dangers of disease. Including a basic review of elements that cause them—viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi among them—this work gives a brief history of human diseases and points out how the burden of disease has increased throughout the history of mankind.
Kurt Link, M.D. is a retired Internist who has authored several books, including Understanding the Vaccine Controversy (Praeger, 2005). He has also authored articles published in medical and scientific literature. A past Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Cornell Medical College and The Medical College of Virginia, he recently retired after 40 years of active clinical practice.
Reviews"As modern medicine moved to conquer the inevitable harm of pernicious diseases such as TB, polio, and smallpox, the public became lulled into believing that science and medical technology were moving forward to defeat most any pathological condition. They were wrong, as the emergence of a host of new afflictions (AIDS, mad cow disease) and the destructive resurgence of old nemeses (TB, malaria) show. Link seeks to increase the understanding of diseases in this seven-part book. Part 1 provides a basic background on disease history and pathology of disease, including information on new and resurgent diseases. Part 2 reviews zoonosis, and parts 3-4 cover diseases of civilization and the environment, offering chapters on entities such as obesity, cancer, agroterrorism, and mercury and lead poisoning. Part 5 addresses diseases of unknown causes in chapters on, e.g., bird flu and SARS. Part 6 covers the harmful effects of global warming, and part 7 discusses future developments in prevention, research, and public health. In this extensive survey, Link offers a comprehensive overview of the diseases humankind faces now and might face someday, yielding many insights for the future. Topical index and extensive list of chapter references. Recommended. All readers interested in medicine, health, and the environment."—Choice, January 1, 2008
"Link, a former professor of medicine at Cornell Medical College, begins this overview of infectious disease with a short introduction to relevant terminology, history, and methods of transmission. Concise entries on a wide variety of new and resurgent diseasestuberculosis, malaria, hanta, babesiosis, bird Flu, HIV, SARS, West Nileprovide basic facts that could be used as a starting point for research. Link also offers succinct discussions of the impact of animal diseases on humans, potential relationships between infection and chronic illnesses, the possible effects of the environment on our health, and promising trends in public health."—Library Journal (web review), July 10, 2007
"Aimed at a general audience, this volume by Link provides a broad overview of the variety of disease threats that threaten the health and lives of people around the world. He provides a basic description of types of disease organisms and disease vectors and then discusses a host of individual disease pathologies in terms of both how they affect human health and their prevalence around the world. He also discusses the health effects of environmental toxins and global climate change. Concluding chapters discuss disease prevention issues and public health efforts."—SciTech Book News, September 1, 2007