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THE SCIENCE AND ART OF LONGEVITY

It may not produce a new Methuselah, but Attia’s welcome book deserves the attention of anyone seeking a healthier life.

A data- and anecdote-rich invitation to live better, and perhaps a little longer, by making scientifically smart choices.

Trained as an oncological surgeon, Attia became interested in longevity because he saw that the “Four Horsemen” worked against it: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. All play a role in an unhealthy system, and all interrelate. If you have Type 2 diabetes, then your chances of developing heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders increases, and if your goal is to live well in old age, then it behooves you to change your ways in order to keep your insulin reception levels in the clear. How to do so? Attia avoids toss-off recommendations, instead examining categories of self-care. One powerful component of healthful living is the sort of exercise that burns body fats and sugar most efficiently. This, too, interrelates with diet. “The best science out there,” he writes, “says that what you eat matters, but the first-order term is how you eat: how many calories you take into your body.” Accordingly, caloric reduction strategies play a role, combating the effects of what he calls the Standard American Diet, “our default food environment.” Attia, a lucid and careful writer, eschews easy recipes for what to eat and how to exercise, for his conception of what he calls Medicine 3.0 tailors self-care to self, as in “know thyself.” Therein lies a key point: His book abounds in science and not pat prescriptions precisely because biology doesn’t have the same axiomatic certainties as mathematics and because, in order to participate in Medicine 3.0, readers must be truly active and not reactive. “You must be well informed, medically literate to a reasonable degree, clear-eyed about your goals, and cognizant of the true nature of risk,” he writes.

It may not produce a new Methuselah, but Attia’s welcome book deserves the attention of anyone seeking a healthier life.

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

ISBN: 9780593236598

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2023

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THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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