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The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging Paperback – July 17, 2002
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Such fixes do not, will not, and cannot work, write scientists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes in this book-length argument against the claims of "prolongevists," those who believe that the fountain of youth is just around the corner. "Short of medical interventions that manufacture survival time," the authors argue, "there is very little you can do as an individual to extend the latent potential for longevity that was present at your conception." In the aggregate, they continue, we have already passed the far limits of our life expectancy, as is evident by the fact that many of the diseases that plague us today, such as certain cancers and neuromuscular disorders, are the expression of genes that have long been with us but were not often manifest, because humans did not live long enough for them to become a problem.
Adding still more years will do nothing to improve the quality of life, Olshansky and Carnes suggest. The better approach is to guard our health during the years that are ours--and to regard all claims to immortality and life extension, no matter how attractive, with a skeptical eye. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I think what Andrew Weil liked about this book is the authors' endorsement of alternative medicine and their mention of Dr. Weil as "a leading proponent of this approach...emphasizing the importance of the natural healing and protective powers of the body in a way that is identical to that of evolutionary medicine." (pp. 146-147) It should be understood that while the authors endorse the principles of evolutionary medicine they do not endorse the use of many popular food supplements as a means of gaining longevity, including some advocated by Dr. Weil. Of course, Weil advocates their use for "optimum health" not as a means to anything like immortality. See his engaging best-seller, Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition (2000).
What this book has going for it is a clear statement of the demographic facts about aging and death, and some good arguments explaining why the facts are as they are and not as we would like them to be. In particular, we are warned about the "Prolongevists" who make unsubstantiated claims about the possibility of living very long lives or of attaining immortality.Read more ›
What I was hoping to find, and didn't, was practical advice, based on current scientific knowledge, on what I (or anyone) could do to live longer and healthier. What about diet? Avoiding toxins in the environment? Reducing stress? The authors mention that a healthy life style can add about 900 days to the average life span. Explain that to me in detail and I'll be delighted. But they don't explain it, and what little advice they offer contains nothing new.
The authors are research scientists interested in the possibilities of genetic engineering to further extend the human life span. They strictly believe in science and the medical model. They provide some information on why our genetic inheritance limits the human life span and where breakthroughs in genetic engineering might soon occur. Their science is quite watered down, however, below the level of Scientific American. They often refer to ethical considerations, but take no stand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book seems pretty biased to me. While he seemingly makes a case for open-minded thinking, the wording he uses to describe some research and attitudes other than his own can be... Read morePublished 14 months ago by S. O Rooney
The author keeps repeating himself, chapter after chapter. I finally put it down and into the donation box.Published 18 months ago by Elizabeth Sheridan
I picked up The Quest for Immortality because it was mentioned in the references cited by Raymond Khoury in his book titled The Sanctuary. Read morePublished on April 6, 2013 by euonymous
This book was recommended to me by a college friend. It was not the kind of book I thought it was but it's still rather interesting. Read morePublished on November 14, 2012 by Linda L. Lake
Many scientists with impeccable pedigree claimed that we could never harness the power of the atom, or land a human on the moon. And they were all wrong! Read morePublished on January 1, 2002 by nick d
I read The Quest For Immortality last spring with some expectation that my preconceptions about aging research would be seriously challenged. Read morePublished on November 24, 2001 by Ronald W. Garrison
Just shy of 250 pages the chapters include Death and Immortality Early Views, Sex and Death, Life Expectancy, the Public Health Experiment, Manufactured Time, Antioxidants,the... Read morePublished on June 20, 2001 by Elizabeth
The Quest for Immortality by Olshansky and Carnes was given to me as a gift by a friend who knows my obsession with aging and health. Read morePublished on January 31, 2001 by Jane from New York