Welcome to a revolution in the science of human health.
This book takes us to the frontier of scientific research into the human body and reveals stunning breakthroughs and technologies that are changing our understanding of how it works, what it is capable of, how to combat and prevent disease and how we might manipulate it in the future.
– Knowing years in advance whether you are likely to get certain cancers
– Having a bespoke understanding of your individual genes, organs and cells
– Following a completely personalised diet and health regime tailored to your microbiome
– Continuous monitoring of your body’s workings and well-being
– Drugs that enhance your cognition and help to acquire new skills
– Being able to manipulate the genes of your unborn children to eliminate disease or even enhance their capabilities
Traversing the six key frontiers of human biological breakthrough, Dan Davis shows how these radical new possibilities have been made real thanks to the ingenious work of scientists working over decades to reveal a hitherto invisible and secret universe within each of us. Usually, their work is understood in isolation, but when we combine their understanding of the immune system, the brain, the microbiome, the interaction of cells and the development of the foetus, and when we bring together technologies as diverse as optogenetics and psychobiotics with the work of the Human Cell Atlas and Systems biology, we arrive at a vision of the body of dizzying complexity, wonder and possibility.
These and many more astonishing discoveries are related as gripping dramas of discovery by an award-winning scientist at the very forefront of this adventure.
‘A perfect blend of cutting-edge science and compelling storytelling. Daniel Davis has a rare knack for making complex science comprehensible and thrilling’
‘An extraordinary journey that reveals the magnificence, intricacy and beauty of the human body, fundamentally changing the way we see ourselves. Masterful’
‘A beautifully rendered picture of the startling new discoveries in human biology which are radically altering our picture of how we function and what our future holds.’
‘What we now know about the human body would seem magical to people just a hundred years ago. This book by Daniel Davis takes us on a grand voyage to see how we reached our current state of understanding. It interweaves the invention of very clever tools with the great and amazing discoveries they made possible to cover every aspect of ourselves, from the amazing types of the trillion cells in us, how we get started from a single cell, to the amazing connections formed in our brains that allow us to think, and the microbes that live in us and are part of us. At the same time Davis tells us the very human stories of the many scientists who made these discoveries possible, including the ones who never got the fame they deserved. The book often reads like a detective story and anyone interested in modern biology will both enjoy it and learn much from it. Certainly I did.’
‘The thing that amazes me about Daniel Davis’ writing is that even as a physician and an academic I get so much out of it. With this book Davis joins the pantheon of truly great communicators – he unpacks the science not simply as dogma or as a set of fixed facts but rather the way it should be explained – as a series of experiments undertaken by extraordinary people interpreted in context. This is a stunning book that everyone who has a body will love. Whether you’re an interested lay person, a scientist or a doctor this book will change the way you think about yourself and the people around you.’
Chris van Tulleken
‘A big-picture forecast of how medicine stands on the threshold of a revolution that will radically change all of our lives … Davis is a polar opposite of the typecast propeller-hatted futurologist. He is beguilingly informal and affably humorous’
‘Reading The Secret Body is like spending time with an eloquent, well-connected and entertaining enthusiast who has intimate knowledge of the secret worlds that lie within all of us’
‘Dazzling discoveries in expert hands.’
‘an elegantly written and splendidly concise Cook’s Tour of the frontiers of medical biology. It is also an engrossing account of the progress of science: how science proceeds in fits and starts, and why science is often messy and unfair.’
John J Ross, Wall Street Journal