Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today Paperback – Apr 1 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Readers seeking the key to everlasting life will find some clues in neurosurgeon Gupta's survey of the latest research on longevity. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, touches on recent breakthroughs as he offers some basic guidelines for adding years to what he and other aging experts call "health span." The goal, Gupta says, is not merely to live longer. To help readers live longer and better, he boils down conflicting health advice and makes some surprising prescriptions. For example, it is not what you eat, but how much you eat that affects longevity; vitamin supplements may be a waste of time and money; and a little upper-body strengthening is far more effective than an hour on a StairMaster. To support this advice, Gupta relates the experiences of a 103-year-old woman from Okinawa; a former executive who began training at age 86 and is a record-breaking sprinter at age 92; and others who are aging well by staying active, eating wisely, being positive and maintaining strong social networks. While stem cell injections, nanotechnology, cryonics and other possible therapies are on the horizon, Gupta tells readers that extending life today is as easy as eating less, moving more and exercising the brain. While Gupta's mix of futuristic science and do-it-yourself advice is far from seamless, many readers will find the lessons in his tales of the long lived worthwhile. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Sanjay Gupta, MD was a neurosurgeon at the University of Tennessee's Semmes-Murphy Clinic, and before that, the University of Michigan Medical Center. He became partner of the Great Lakes Brain and Spine Center Institute in 2000. In 1997 he was chosen as a White House fellow, one of only 15 fellows appointed, and served as special advisor to first lady Hillary Clinton.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A morbid topic indeed, and one that most of us would like to postpone for as long as possible. Dr. Gupta does not give us a magic potion on how to achieve longevity, but he does discuss the proverbial "fountain of youth" with wisdom, insight and wit.
This book is an easy read, and most enjoyable. It is filled with pearls of sage advice, including a great discussion of the importance of mind-body connections, great diet tips, the importance of emotional as well as physical health, and tips for achieving all of these goals, and much more.
One of the best parts of the book is that each chapter begins with a single page titled "Paging Dr. Gupta". These pages highlight the important points of each chapter.
My favorite theme of the book was the excellent advice on nutrition. Suffice to say that your mother was right - eat your fruits and vegetables! But you have to love a book that also lets us know that some "unlikely elixirs" may very well be good for us. So after we finish those fruits and vegetables, Dr. Gupta reminds us that "dark chocolate, wine and coffee" all have health benefits. My kind of doctor!
This charming book stands out among the innumerable books of the genre - books that purport to tell you the secret to a long and productive life and also help you to live even longer than that sturdy oak tree in your backyard. It stands out because it is most readable. Written in simple, understandable English, full of humorous anecdotes and devoid of any hyperbole, the book will startle and astonish the reader with its array of scientific facts, shrewd observations and social commentary.
Much of the facts assembled here are not new; some of them have been known for over two thousand years, and many have been well known and understood for over thirty or forty years. For example, the ancient Indians knew, as mentioned in Ayurveda that turmeric is good for your health - they called it a "blood purifier"; now scientists tell us that turmeric has anti-oxidants, and it is a bactericide also, and that it has the ability to heal some of the fungal and bacterial infections of skin and blood: presto- it's a blood purifier! "Eating foods like dark chocolate and dishes containing the spice turmeric and drinking red wine, green tea, and even coffee can all help you live longer and healthier, with a dramatically sharper mind, " the author states.
Also, it has been known now for over thirty years that it's better to be slightly under-nourished than over-nourished. With over-nourishment comes the danger of diabetes and hypertension. The author explains clearly why humans and animals live longer on a meager, low-calorie diet.
It's an undeniable fact that nothing can stop aging, of course. We can only delay perhaps the effects of the onset of aging. Dr. Gupta says, "Nothing can stop aging, but we can take steps to increase our chances of living longer, healthier lives."
The book is full of startling facts: that although genetics do appear to play a role in how long we live, studies suggest that our DNA accounts for only about 30 percent of how long we live; and some not so startling facts such as deep breathing is very important to live a long life.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. It is free of medical jargons. It's written in such simple prose that even average readers with ordinary education can read and understand it without reaching for a dictionary repeatedly. And more important, readers can implement in their own life the ideas espoused and suggestions given by Dr. Gupta, and improve both the quality of their life and also their longevity.
There is a lot of good basic longevity information but nothing that has not been revealed elsewhere. There are some gems in here, like the very clear explanation on what happens in cells to promote the aging process. At the same time, Gupta covers a lot areas that are still very speculative but doesn't tell you that until after you've read the few paragraphs or pages on that topic. This habit starts with the introduction, where he talks extensively about stem cell injections currently occuring in Russia, only to end the section by saying, essentially, "we're not there yet but there's a lot of other good stuff in my book you can follow".
The meat in this book is located at the end of each chapter where Gupta lists the top tips for that section to promote longevity. Again, most of these are not anything new, but each page could be a handy reference (for the rest of us) to help us establish new, longevity promoting habits.
In sum, the book is a good primer on longevity but takes too many detours in speculative areas and can sometimes jar you with its poor writing.
It has given me insight into how I can chase life, and also hope that it's still not too late to start all over again. Who knows I can even run a 5k some day? Positively, it is one of my reference books!
Dr Gupta doesn't try to sell you any supplements or convince you to buy a dvd or special exercise equipment. He simply presents straight facts about what you can do to improve your health and reduce your odds of suffering from the most common diseases plaguing our society. I've read other books along these lines that attempt to convince readers to take specific actions based on less proven techniques. Dr Gupta's suggestions stick to the more traditional and proven methods for enhancing your health.
Chasing Life does present interviews with a variety of leaders in various medical specialties offering glimpses into where science and medicine is heading.
This is a well written, easy read. In my opinion Sanjay Gupta's reporting on CNN has always seemed credible and unbiased. This book does nothing to harm that reputation.