Students Staff

20 September 2016

Blood, blood, glorious blood

book cover

The world of blood – from its cultural and historical significance to its vital role in our survival – is the focus of a new book by Essex Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics Chris Cooper.

Even though we all carry blood in our bodies many people know surprisingly little about it. Some might be aware that it delivers certain substances to the cells and transports waste away from them. But what actually is blood? How does it fight diseases? Why do people suffer from blood pressure? How does blood transfusion work? And what is the future of blood?

In Blood: A Very Short Introduction, Professor Cooper analyses the components of blood, explains blood groups, and looks at transfusions, blood tests, and blood-borne diseases. He also considers what the future may hold, including the possibility of making artificial blood, and producing blood from stem cells in the laboratory.

This book is the latest in the Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press, which are pocket-sized books offering the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

"Blood is a vital fluid,” explained Professor Cooper. “It has two distinct, key roles in the body; it moves food, oxygen and waste around the body and it hosts the immune defence system against invading micro-organisms.

“But blood is much more than that; it plays a ritual role in most major religions and is of great cultural and historical significance. Blood was considered to contain the essence of a person - witness the use of bloodline, blood feud, bad blood in our language. Blood was one of the four humours in early Western medicine and is still probably the major diagnostic tool in the doctor’s armoury.“

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