Monday, May 08, 2017

Review: I contain Multitudes

I Contain Multitudes is about microbes and their existence and interaction with animals, insects, and (partially) people. Most of the book is actually about animals and insects. Most studies about the microbiome have been done on animals with animal subjects, so it's not surprising that most of the book has to be about those studies.

The human research clearly has not been as advanced or as far along. There's a section in the book about Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), but while there have been successful cases, it's apparently not without danger and the risks (especially long term risks) seem to be substantial. The last few chapters are effectively fluff --- we definitely don't know enough about the microbiome to make effective use of it, though the author loves to talk speculatively about the potential uses (none of which have panned out so far).

Did I learn something from the book? Yes. But the material could have been condensed into half the pages without losing much.

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