ALLERGIES by Alvin & Virginia Silverstein


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After a brief historical sketch, the Silversteins get down to a cell-level description of how allergy works; this is reasonable, but less satisfying than ArehartTreichel's explanation in Immunity (1976) and less careful than we'd expect: what, for example, are these ""special cells called mast cells"" and where do they come from? Elsewhere the authors survey the varieties of allergies, and their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment; they mention briefly the ""controversial suggestion"" that food allergies can cause behavior problems and declare more firmly that ""most physicians today"" consider emotional problems mainly an effect, not a cause, of asthma. Throughout, they make clear that this is an area of pesky uncertainty and contradiction--skin tests are unevenly reliable and the results affected by ali sorts of extraneous conditions: repeated bee stings might sensitize one person to further stings and give another immunity. But their synopsis-style report lacks the sense of shared inquiry, the stimulating integration of ongoing research, of such Silverstein titles as Sleep and Dreams and Alcoholism.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1977
ISBN: 053111581X
Publisher: Lippincott