A new definition of health and how to achieve it is the subject of a new book written by David Agus, a faculty physician and researcher at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Agus, professor of medicine and engineering at the Keck School and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, also heads the USC Norris Westside Cancer Center and the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine.
The End of Illness (Free Press) is the culmination of knowledge gained during more than two decades of fighting cancer on the front lines. The book is intended to help readers transform their views of their bodies and learn to see them as complex, whole systems instead of focusing on a single issue such as a genetic mutation, a germ, a deficiency or a number associated with blood pressure, weight or cholesterol.
“In an era where the explosion of medical information has far outstripped our ability to process it, we need a new way to make personal health choices,” Agus wrote in the book. “What have we been missing when it comes to decoding the mystery of disease?”
The End of Illness, Agus’ first book, clarifies the systemic viewpoint that has encouraged him to challenge conventional ideas about health and how to care for the human body. Vitamin supplements, exercise, inflammation, medications, sleep and nutrition are among the topics covered by the book.
“As a most dynamic oncologist and researcher, Dr. Agus has devoted his life to finding new ways to approach and attack cancer,” said Keck School dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “That willingness to look beyond established viewpoints will, I believe, unlock the secrets of cancer and the progression of other diseases that affect our quality of life.”
The book features long-term, big-picture assessments, as well as many easy-to-implement suggestions for personal health, from wearing comfortable shoes to eating lunch at the same hour every day.
Among the notable individuals who praised the book are former vice president Al Gore, Dell Inc. founder and CEO Michael Dell and Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson.
“The End of Illness reframes the entire discussion of sickness and health,” according to Danny Hillis, professor of research medicine at the Keck School. “Instead of thinking about disease, Agus thinks about the system that is the human body and what we need to do to guide it toward health. Before you take your next vitamin, read this book.”
The End of Illness details Agus’ frustration with the lack of progress in many areas of medicine, especially cancer. It describes what he sees as the medical community’s shortsightedness when it comes to looking at the body.
In the book, Agus explains how some doctors may inflict harm on their patients by making errors that range from inappropriate therapies to the prescription of supplements. He also shows how easy it is to fall prey to scare tactics that circulate in the media.
For an interview on Nightline, visit abcn.ws/AitGYt
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