Top positive review
Lively writing and fun facts, not all of them true
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2015
The first chapters of on gut anatomy and mechanics are a delight, written with authority and high spirits in equal measure. I learned a lot. Enders has a lively sense of curiosity and humor, and an endearing habit of anticipating readers' questions and answering them with great detail and patience. I loved the details. I was disappointed in the later chapters, maybe because I know more about the microbiome than about gut workings. There was too much "truthiness," too many trendy hypotheses and scientific urban legends presented as fact. Martin Blaser's hypothesis that loss of H pylori is behind the epidemic of asthma is fascinating, maybe even true, but not yet evidence-based. There is no real evidence that H pylori causes Parkinsonism, or toxo (cat parasite) schizophrenia. There's no problem in presenting these as intriguing hypotheses, as long as you don't give the impression they are well established science. Perhaps the strangest was the blithe claim that salmonellosis in German eggs is caused by farmers buying cheap grain from Africa, where random turtles walk about in the fields pooping on seeds. Leaving aside the xenophobia, most outbreaks of Salmonella do not come from strolling exotic reptiles but from domestic, endemic infections in livestock. Recently, Germany has spawned numerous European outbreaks of salmonellosis in the old-fashioned way: poorly regulated high-density factory farming with birds crammed into tiny, filthy cages. The most recent outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis PT14b has resulted in nearly 300 cases, and one death in the U.K. It has been traced to Bayern Ei, a notorious egg producer in Bavaria. In the U.S., Aldi's has recalled contaminated German chocolates from its shelves...