Words Hosts Author of "An Epidemic of Absence"

Tonight, the Maplewood bookstore will present a reading and signing of a controversial new book.


Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Words Bookstore will host author Moises Velasquez-Manoff, whose new book "An Epidemic of Absence," has been causing a stir. The book explores, among other things, the controversial theory that a subset of autism might be similar to a type of inflammatory disease, and that it might begin in pregnancy.

"It will be an amazing event," said Words owner Jonah Zimiles, who called the book "groundbreaking." Zimiles noted a New York Times op-ed piece written by Velasquez-Manoff this summer that "stirred tons of buzz." 

From the book's Facebook Page: "In the past 150 years, improved sanitation, water treatment, and the advent of vaccines and antibiotics have saved countless lives, nearly eradicating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But now, a growing body of evidence suggests that the very steps we took to combat infections also eliminated organisms that kept our bodies in balance." 

Science writer Carl Zimmer wrote, "An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases is “[a] brilliant and important book that will change the way you think about illness, medicine, genetics, and even evolution. Modern living has vanquished many serious health challenges, but also created many new ones. Moises Velasquez-Manoff forces us to confront the very personal ramifications of biological interdependence. Humans will never stand apart from our ecology. The sooner we realize that, and embrace it, the better off we’ll all be.” 


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