Moises Velasquez-Manoff  

Journalist and Author.

Moises Velasquez-Manoff has written extensively, mostly on science and environment science and the environment for The Christian Science Monitor. His work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the Indianapolis Star, among other publications. His first book is An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases.

In An Epidemic Of Absence: A New Way Of Understanding Allergies And Autoimmune Diseases Velasquez-Manoff explores the growing body of evidence suggesting that the sudden absence of certain parasites and microbes has left our immune systems in disarray. During the past 150 years, we’ve seen unprecedented sanitary improvements, such as clean drinking water and wastewater treatment. Antibiotics continue to save countless lives. But these advances, along with smaller families and increased urbanization, may have evicted organisms from our bodies that kept our immune systems working properly. The resulting imbalance likely contributes not only to allergies and autoimmune diseases, but to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and autism.

It opens as Velasquez-Manoff, who himself suffers from allergies and an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, travels to Tijuana to acquire a hookworm infection. There, he joins an underground movement of people desperate to treat their untreatable diseases. Before reporting his surprising results later, he explores why farmers’ children suffer from relatively little asthma, why children in former Eastern Bloc countries are less allergic than their Western counterparts, and how your mother’s immune functioning while pregnant determines your chances of developing allergies. He notes that developing countries are becoming more allergic as they grow more affluent, and that populations that are now relatively allergy-free may soon count among the most allergic in the world. All throughout, he makes evident that humanity has an intimate and necessary connection with a suite of bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Velasquez-Manoff holds a Master of Arts, with a concentration in science writing, from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He was born in New York City, raised in New Mexico, and educated in California. He lives in New York City.

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