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From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science in search of answers to a universal obsession: what can be done about getting old? Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) Spring Chicken is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest ob From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science in search of answers to a universal obsession: what can be done about getting old? Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) Spring Chicken is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better? In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers on a fascinating journey through the science of aging, from the obvious signs like wrinkles and baldness right down into the innermost workings of cells. We visit cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to "hack" the aging process, like purging "senescent" cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He'll reveal why some people live past 100 without even trying, what has happened with resveratrol, the "red wine pill" that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how it's possible to unlock longevity-promoting pathways that are programmed into our very genes. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society, and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner. An intoxicating mixture of deep reporting, fascinating science, and prescriptive takeaway, Spring Chicken will reveal the extraordinary breakthroughs that may yet bring us eternal youth, while exposing dangerous deceptions that prey on the innocent and ignorant.


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From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science in search of answers to a universal obsession: what can be done about getting old? Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) Spring Chicken is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest ob From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science in search of answers to a universal obsession: what can be done about getting old? Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) Spring Chicken is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better? In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers on a fascinating journey through the science of aging, from the obvious signs like wrinkles and baldness right down into the innermost workings of cells. We visit cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to "hack" the aging process, like purging "senescent" cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He'll reveal why some people live past 100 without even trying, what has happened with resveratrol, the "red wine pill" that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how it's possible to unlock longevity-promoting pathways that are programmed into our very genes. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society, and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner. An intoxicating mixture of deep reporting, fascinating science, and prescriptive takeaway, Spring Chicken will reveal the extraordinary breakthroughs that may yet bring us eternal youth, while exposing dangerous deceptions that prey on the innocent and ignorant.

30 review for Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Forrest

    Always intriguing, often fascinating, at times frustrating. My maternal grandmother lived until she was 96 and enjoyed good health until her last year. My maternal grandfather lived 79 years and passed away rather suddenly. My mother, who has been an insulin-dependent diabetic since I was four years old and who had a heart attack and double bypass a few years ago, should, statistically speaking, have been dead a long time ago. Decades, really. But Mom presses on. I'm an optimist when it comes to Always intriguing, often fascinating, at times frustrating. My maternal grandmother lived until she was 96 and enjoyed good health until her last year. My maternal grandfather lived 79 years and passed away rather suddenly. My mother, who has been an insulin-dependent diabetic since I was four years old and who had a heart attack and double bypass a few years ago, should, statistically speaking, have been dead a long time ago. Decades, really. But Mom presses on. I'm an optimist when it comes to my health, so I like to think that I'll live as long as my grandmother did. If that's the case, then I have not yet hit middle age . . . though, technically, I have. The wildcard in all of this is my paternal side. My father was adopted, and I know next to nothing about my biological grandparents or my family medical history on that side of the chain. Dad is in his mid-70s and seems to be in pretty darned good health, overall. This past week, I was speaking with my dad on the phone, making arrangements for a trip me, my wife and most of our kids will be taking out west. We'll spend a few days in California as part of the trip, visiting my parents. My dad said he wanted me to go with him to the Air Force base (he is a veteran, having served 26 years) and . . . figure out what needs to be done about funeral arrangements for him and my Mom, when that time should come. Perfect timing for me to be reading this book, huh? I think my interest in this subject has been with me for a long time. I had this notion when I was younger that I was going to die at 36 years old. Not sure why, but it's what I thought. 36 has come and gone, and I am still here, but I am also keenly aware of my own mortality. Also, I like to think of myself as "young at heart" - I keep telling my kids that my thoughts are still those of a 16 year old - but some signs of aging are becoming more and more obvious. I've had gray hair for a long time, something I inherited from Dad, whose hair started to go gray after an appendectomy when he was in his early 30's, then quickly went to white. I have to work triply hard to keep my gut down. My back mishap and surgery a couple of years ago added a painful exclamation point to the story of my life, emphasizing my age, though my recovery has been very good, startling even to me! So, yes, I'm getting older. But I don't really feel that old. Not in my mind, at least. And I don't even feel that old in body, just a touch slower and more hesitant, but that would have been the case even if I had my back mishap in my teens or twenties. Important safety tip: Be careful with that back! I heard about this book, as has happened before, through an interview with the author on NPR's "Fresh Air". Since I was (and am still) approaching middle age, I thought I'd give it a read. Spring Chicken covers the gamut of aging research and, as of it's release, is very up-to-date on the latest developments in the science of aging. What's amazing is how much we don't know. Scientists are still puzzling over what it is that drives aging. It was once thought that cells were pre-programmed to die, but it appears, more and more, that this is not the case. I'll avoid all the spoilers, but let's just say that your body is built to keep going and going and going . . . and that might be part of the problem. This was one of the more fascinating things about the book, that aging isn't necessarily inevitable. I know, crazy talk, right? That's what I thought at first, but Gifford and a supporting cast of scientists make some pretty compelling arguments. If you really want to understand the arguments, though, you're going to need some basic understanding of cellular mechanics, which I'm not going to go over here, but which you can read about elsewhere. Gifford does a decent job of outlining the basics, but I found myself tapping into the old brain for deeper understanding. Maybe that's just because I'm getting old. Another symptom of getting old is getting cranky. Maybe it's because you realize you don't have time to waste on frivolous stuff that you aren't intentionally seeking. I'm all about making down-time, time to just stare at a wall for a while. But when others make it for me, I'm not always the happiest camper. This is where my annoyance with Gifford comes into play. This was a great book, but time and time again, Gifford got in the way of his story. At times his self-effacing humor was cute, even funny. But a lot of the time, it was just plain unnecessary and took away from the power of the narrative. I'm not sure if this was all him or if his editor thought it would make the book more entertaining, but, either way, the sheer volume of silliness was, well, rather silly, and not in a good way. But that should not spoil your view of the book. I strongly recommend it, if you're interested at all in the science of aging. Also, if you're tempted to take any potential shortcuts to extend your life (am I the only one to see the irony there?), give Spring Chicken a read first, so that you have at least a basic understanding of the potential pitfalls. A lot of previous "know how" about aging has turned out to be patently false, and you probably don't want to ignorantly shorten your life while ostensibly trying to lengthen it. One other thing to keep in mind: Just because you can extend your life, doesn't mean you should. Consider your health. There are a few "shortcut" drugs that have proven to extend life . . . in exchange for diabetes and other potential killers. It's your call - I'm not going to tell you what to do. But do consider whether you'd rather live a quality life for a little shorter time or live with persistent bad health for a few years longer. Like I said, your call. I'll carefully pursue some of the options Gifford outlines, but ultimately, the existentialist in me has to agree with this dead man: You know I'm born to lose And gambling's made for fools But that's the way I like it, baby I don't wanna live forever

  2. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I was so glad to receive a copy of this book via net galley: I've been reading books on aging--Roz Chast, Atul Gawande--and this book is an excellent addition to this exploration of aging. As a person who is aging and a physician who is inundated with requests to treat my patients "low T": I found this book both timely and extremely helpful. It does include so much information, that it really should be read to learn and enjoy--as the author writes comprehensively but with moments of humor--and t I was so glad to receive a copy of this book via net galley: I've been reading books on aging--Roz Chast, Atul Gawande--and this book is an excellent addition to this exploration of aging. As a person who is aging and a physician who is inundated with requests to treat my patients "low T": I found this book both timely and extremely helpful. It does include so much information, that it really should be read to learn and enjoy--as the author writes comprehensively but with moments of humor--and then to serve as a reference text. While "Being Mortal" explored the ethics and sociology of aging, Spring Chicken explores the science behind the anti-aging movement as well as the general science and changing beliefs behind the mechanisms of aging and how they might be counteracted or mitigated. There are a lot of details, but the author's engaging tone makes this book an enjoyable read, despite the plethora of information. The changing attitudes and information add a historical perspective. As the author quotes, science evolves "one funeral at a time." Ultimately, as I heard the author comment in an NPR interview, he himself found that the only aspects of anti-aging medicine he could implement was to exercise more, eat slightly differently and skip a meal or two. And yet, by presenting excellent information to rebut the anti-aging supplement use, this minimalist approach appears to be more realistic and far safer than buying the supplements hawked by the anti-aging celebrities he profiles. Some of my patients have fallen into the clutches of "anti-aging" physicians, with off label drug use, and now I have the information they and I need to carefully evaluate the risks and questionable benefits. In the final chapter, he explores the moral and sociological concerns of extending our lifespans. The quote that eternal life could be granted to those who don't know what to do with a rainy Saturday afternoon then leads into the global concerns of extending lifespans. An engaging, entertaining and informative book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I read advanced copies of books all the time for my bookstore job. Usually, they're okay, sometimes they're awful but Spring Chicken was an absolute joy. Gifford effortlessly takes you through hundreds of years of scientific history and guides you through all of the new (and often times totally insane) research. His writing is witty and laid-back without sacrificing content. This is unique in a book that ultimately is trying to use science to answer the questions of aging. How do we living l I read advanced copies of books all the time for my bookstore job. Usually, they're okay, sometimes they're awful but Spring Chicken was an absolute joy. Gifford effortlessly takes you through hundreds of years of scientific history and guides you through all of the new (and often times totally insane) research. His writing is witty and laid-back without sacrificing content. This is unique in a book that ultimately is trying to use science to answer the questions of aging. How do we living longer? How do we live healthier, happier lives longer? Can we beat the "four horseman of the geriatric apocalypse: alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes & heart disease"? Truly a great read, packed with solid scientific investigation. The book takes an optimistic view of aging that is suitable for readers in all stages of the aging process.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antonia

    This is a really delightful book — one of the most engaging science books I've read. Author Bill Gifford provides an up-to-date survey of our dual quests for a longer lifespan and a longer healthspan. In other words, it's not only about how long we live but how well we live, how many years of our lives are healthy ones. The book contains a wealth of information on the science of aging and anti-aging, risk factors for disease and mortality, and the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Yes, we This is a really delightful book — one of the most engaging science books I've read. Author Bill Gifford provides an up-to-date survey of our dual quests for a longer lifespan and a longer healthspan. In other words, it's not only about how long we live but how well we live, how many years of our lives are healthy ones. The book contains a wealth of information on the science of aging and anti-aging, risk factors for disease and mortality, and the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Yes, we know we should eat right and exercise regularly, but the rather amazing statistics on just how beneficial they are could make you change your life. There are many promising lines of research and, in the future, we might well learn to slow or reverse the aging process. For the present, though, it comes down not to vitamins or supplements (some are actually hazardous to your longevity), or growth hormones (also counterproductive), or red wine, but exactly what we’ve been hearing for decades: use it or lose it. And that goes for both the body and the mind. The author's style is so pleasing — and often humorous — that the book reads like a novel, one I didn't want to put down. I’d recommend this to anyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Quinn Cummings

    I'm a cheap fool for chewy yet approachable science, and Gifford gives the reader that, in spades. You wonder about aging, you fear aging, you think everything related to aging is inevitable? Gifford will enlighten you, disabuse you of some of your hopes (Suzanne Somers probably isn't your best bet for medical advice) and encourage you to have a nice glass of red wine while you read about the visionaries, the lunatics and the rest of the players in the rapidly changing field of aging. This isn't I'm a cheap fool for chewy yet approachable science, and Gifford gives the reader that, in spades. You wonder about aging, you fear aging, you think everything related to aging is inevitable? Gifford will enlighten you, disabuse you of some of your hopes (Suzanne Somers probably isn't your best bet for medical advice) and encourage you to have a nice glass of red wine while you read about the visionaries, the lunatics and the rest of the players in the rapidly changing field of aging. This isn't your grandmother's old age. Thanks to Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena for the chance to read this book. If you're in the area, you should stop by.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Toma

    This, along the Blue Zones Solution is by far the best book on aging I have read. Written in a funny and easy to understand way, it helps you understand what we know so far about aging and how to stop it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    susieqlaw

    I am thrilled to receive this book today in the mail for free via a giveaway and look forward to reading it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Cutler

    Alas, Gifford does not give us the secret access to the fountain of youth. The ultimate takeaway from the book is that longevity is often a bit of a crapshoot. You're either born with the right genes or you're not. And if you are lucky enough to be born with the right genes, you probably won't need much of the advice dispensed within the book. But for the rest of us mortals, sadly, the advice, based upon the latest scientific research, is merely commonsensical, and already pretty widely dissemin Alas, Gifford does not give us the secret access to the fountain of youth. The ultimate takeaway from the book is that longevity is often a bit of a crapshoot. You're either born with the right genes or you're not. And if you are lucky enough to be born with the right genes, you probably won't need much of the advice dispensed within the book. But for the rest of us mortals, sadly, the advice, based upon the latest scientific research, is merely commonsensical, and already pretty widely disseminated. Namely, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit your consumption of meat, avoid processed foods,-but as Pollen warns us, don't eat too much. Exercise regularly, and occasionally vigorously. Get enough sleep. Avoid gaining middle aged weight creep, especially around one's middle. An occasional fast may, in fact, be life extending. Try to keep a positive attitude. Socialize. Ho-hum, huh? Not really, mainly because Gifford writes in such a breezy, lucid style, and is so funny, that I often found myself laughing out loud. So for people current regarding the latest lifestyle/nutritional advice, nothing contained within this book is going to turn your world upside down. But the book is such a pleasure to read, it may serve to bolster your commitment to healthy (or healthier) living. It did mine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Bill Gifford has an engaging writing style that makes this an enjoyable book to read. It is mainly a series of articles that each focus on a possible break through on reducing aging or on an interview with someone in the field of aging research. Some of those featured are kooks and cranks but each one might actually be right about his pet theory. There are a number of compounds that might, just might, turn out to give people longer and more healthy lives. Unfortunately, it appears that so far th Bill Gifford has an engaging writing style that makes this an enjoyable book to read. It is mainly a series of articles that each focus on a possible break through on reducing aging or on an interview with someone in the field of aging research. Some of those featured are kooks and cranks but each one might actually be right about his pet theory. There are a number of compounds that might, just might, turn out to give people longer and more healthy lives. Unfortunately, it appears that so far the only strategies that have actually been proven to help you live longer and in better health are eating less and exercising more.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I really enjoyed this book. Despite being in my mid-late twenties I find the prospect of gradually becoming less and less able to do things absolutely terrifying so I love reading about ways to stay healthy as well as mentally and physically active. Although this book is written by a self described 'English Major' Bill Gifford has done his research and found some very interesting experts to talk to. The book doesn't make any false promises or advertise ("you should try my friend's expensive trea I really enjoyed this book. Despite being in my mid-late twenties I find the prospect of gradually becoming less and less able to do things absolutely terrifying so I love reading about ways to stay healthy as well as mentally and physically active. Although this book is written by a self described 'English Major' Bill Gifford has done his research and found some very interesting experts to talk to. The book doesn't make any false promises or advertise ("you should try my friend's expensive treatment, that will make you live forever!") but it does give some good advice on ways you can increase your 'healthspan'. Would recommend for fans of compelling popular science.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bibi

    In fairness, I should not rate this book. I read half of it and quit. I did flip through the rest of the book and read the final chapter. I must say that it is written in a "down-to-earth" manner which ought to make it an easy read. Anyways, the messaging is not new and it is couched in the author's experiences and those of whom he met and know. The core message is "Use it or lose it" and "eat kale". In fairness, I should not rate this book. I read half of it and quit. I did flip through the rest of the book and read the final chapter. I must say that it is written in a "down-to-earth" manner which ought to make it an easy read. Anyways, the messaging is not new and it is couched in the author's experiences and those of whom he met and know. The core message is "Use it or lose it" and "eat kale".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa C

    I gave up. Too talky and not enough to keep me going

  13. 5 out of 5

    Travis Hulse

    My wife bought Spring Chicken as a gift, thinking the book sounded interesting. We don’t think much about aging as 30-something’s. I did enjoy the subject matter, enough to recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the history of aging research, including some more recent efforts. Unfortunately it lacked any real conclusive ending, as with most scientific endeavors. A lot of resources have gone into studying aging and a few good nuggets have come out of the other end. However, the key My wife bought Spring Chicken as a gift, thinking the book sounded interesting. We don’t think much about aging as 30-something’s. I did enjoy the subject matter, enough to recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the history of aging research, including some more recent efforts. Unfortunately it lacked any real conclusive ending, as with most scientific endeavors. A lot of resources have gone into studying aging and a few good nuggets have come out of the other end. However, the key takeaway...there is a lot more to learn through more study and research. By and large the recommended “how to slow aging” is too familiar, leaving me with no real sense of reward for slogging through some heavy sections filled with a little too much science. But the author is very honest about that and never promises to reveal the secret elixir to increasing lifespan or reducing aging. If anyone tells you otherwise, keep your money. At least for now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) I've been on a kick recently of self-help books that have to do with aging, health and what steps we can take in our daily lives in order to increase the quality of both these subjects; and Bill Gifford's Spring Chicken is the latest of these, notable not just for having a snarky sense of humor but for als (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.) I've been on a kick recently of self-help books that have to do with aging, health and what steps we can take in our daily lives in order to increase the quality of both these subjects; and Bill Gifford's Spring Chicken is the latest of these, notable not just for having a snarky sense of humor but for also just as much covering what you can't do in order to help yourself out as what you can. In fact, this is one of the central premises of the entire book, is just how "natural" versus "controllable" the subject of aging is in the first place; is the process of our cells growing older and less efficient something inherent to human existence on this earth, or are there things we could be doing to slow this process down, perhaps even to live forever barring any catastrophic events like getting hit by a bus? Gifford's funny, cynical answer is essentially, "Uh, no," but he definitely takes the long way to get there, looking at both the legitimate things going on in the real medical world when it comes to these kinds of questions, as well as such quackery as Suzanne Sommers injecting her vagina with human growth hormones and all kinds of other nightmarish mental images. Not really a "how-to" book in the way that so many of these others are, this is nonetheless a highly entertaining survey of all the latest scientific knowledge in the 2010s on the subject of aging, one that despite the skeptical tone is punctuated here and there with actual real (albeit small and self-evident) things you can be doing in your life to help the process along. It comes recommended to those specifically seeking books on the subject. Out of 10: 8.5, or 9.0 for those specifically seeking knowledge on aging

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    The worst that can be said about this book is that the title and cover are not particularly eye catching - a fact that almost made me miss this excellent read, had it not been for a segment on NPR's On Point and a glowing review from the site Science Based Medicine. Gifford is a journalist not a scientist, a fact that can be a detriment to a book on the science of anything. Here though, it's clear that Gifford has waded through a mountain research papers to make up for this deficit, and the fact The worst that can be said about this book is that the title and cover are not particularly eye catching - a fact that almost made me miss this excellent read, had it not been for a segment on NPR's On Point and a glowing review from the site Science Based Medicine. Gifford is a journalist not a scientist, a fact that can be a detriment to a book on the science of anything. Here though, it's clear that Gifford has waded through a mountain research papers to make up for this deficit, and the fact that he's a journalist enabled him to pepper the book with interesting interviews with scientists in the field of gerontology, as well as cranks (e.g., the hormone pushing Suzanne Somers) and those occupying the grey zone between the two (e.g., Aubrey de Grey). The research and interviews are presented in a concise, easy to understand manner that is often amusing if not laugh-out-loud funny. The book never gets too in-depth into particular metabolic pathways, and strikes a good balance by presenting just enough information without coming off as glib. The downside for some may be that, because Gifford understands the science and isn't trying to push hormones or supplements, the book provides no easy answers to aging. It does a great job of suggesting what might work (exercise and intermittent fasting), what's promising (the drugs Rapamycin and Metformin) and highlighting how little we understand about the process of aging.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Huff

    If only all my science textbooks in school had been this entertaining! I listened to the Audible version of Spring Chicken, and the fine narration by Jeremy Arthur was an extra bonus. Spring Chicken covered the vast panorama of science, theories, and occasional crackpot snake oil of the field of aging. Reading this at age 60 hit home for me, perhaps in more ways than it might have at 20 or 30, and I found it to be a great, interesting read that well exceeded any expectations I might have had. Col If only all my science textbooks in school had been this entertaining! I listened to the Audible version of Spring Chicken, and the fine narration by Jeremy Arthur was an extra bonus. Spring Chicken covered the vast panorama of science, theories, and occasional crackpot snake oil of the field of aging. Reading this at age 60 hit home for me, perhaps in more ways than it might have at 20 or 30, and I found it to be a great, interesting read that well exceeded any expectations I might have had. Cold showers, crazy supplement regimens, fasting, 500 year old clams, hormesis, growth hormones, naked mole rat genomes .... yep, it's all here, and much more. Lots of science throughout, but very well written and engaging, never boring. And I loved, loved, loved the chapter on senior athletes -- world class sprinters, jumpers, and pole vaulters at 70, 80, and 90+. Sprinkled liberally with common sense advice and conclusions -- the overall takeaway being "use it or lose it". Great read!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This was a very fun book about aging and decline. Gifford writes in a conversational style that is suggestive of a group of friends sitting around over a few beers and talking about what they have been doing lately. "Hey, I got obsessed with why people seem to age so differently. So, I talked to a bunch of people and here's what I found out...." Gifford debunks many of the popular myths about aging, and describes the state of the art in longevity research. Alas, no silver bullets here, which is This was a very fun book about aging and decline. Gifford writes in a conversational style that is suggestive of a group of friends sitting around over a few beers and talking about what they have been doing lately. "Hey, I got obsessed with why people seem to age so differently. So, I talked to a bunch of people and here's what I found out...." Gifford debunks many of the popular myths about aging, and describes the state of the art in longevity research. Alas, no silver bullets here, which is not surprising. The usual suspects are identified-diet, exercise, maintaining a purpose in life, red wine-as well as some new additions-ice cold showers, periodic fasting. This is a fun way to spend some time, and I learned a little along the way, kind of like hanging out with a clever friend for a few hours.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Interesting read, but ultimately, not particularly eye-opening. The author explores a host of buzzy and interesting anti-aging / longevity-boosting techniques, such hormone injections, caloric restriction, polar bear clubs / cold water therapy, drinking red wine, etc. It's all quite fascinating and fun to read, but ultimately unsatisfying, as the punch line always seems to be "not quite" or "it depends" or "the research is inconclusive". The only thing that is basically guaranteed to have a mate Interesting read, but ultimately, not particularly eye-opening. The author explores a host of buzzy and interesting anti-aging / longevity-boosting techniques, such hormone injections, caloric restriction, polar bear clubs / cold water therapy, drinking red wine, etc. It's all quite fascinating and fun to read, but ultimately unsatisfying, as the punch line always seems to be "not quite" or "it depends" or "the research is inconclusive". The only thing that is basically guaranteed to have a material positive impact, in the aggregate? Diet and especially exercise... surprise surprise. I liked one mantra in particular: "use it or lose it", which applies just as much to physical things like walking, running and jumping as it does to mental abilities like memory or problem solving.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This guy is not an expert in anti-aging, but he interviewed a lot of people who are. The result is a compilation of chapters, each exploring a current trend in anti-aging, such as intermittent fasting. He concludes that, for now, all we can definitively say is "use it or lose it" when it comes to anti-aging...use our brains, our muscles, our flexibility, etc. This guy is not an expert in anti-aging, but he interviewed a lot of people who are. The result is a compilation of chapters, each exploring a current trend in anti-aging, such as intermittent fasting. He concludes that, for now, all we can definitively say is "use it or lose it" when it comes to anti-aging...use our brains, our muscles, our flexibility, etc.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cyanemi

    Very interesting read about aging. I learned a lot and was quite impressed with a book of this nature that was so fascinating I couldn't put it down. Very interesting read about aging. I learned a lot and was quite impressed with a book of this nature that was so fascinating I couldn't put it down.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bernardes

    Lots of interesting information about aging.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    Smug writing that reads like a collection of Men's Journal articles. Men's Journal is the worst men's magazine since Details. Guess what magazine the author contributed to! Smug writing that reads like a collection of Men's Journal articles. Men's Journal is the worst men's magazine since Details. Guess what magazine the author contributed to!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    What it's about: A journalist plumbs science and pseudoscience for the secret to living a longer and healthier life. Notes: This is a book that, naturally, touches on something of abiding interest to everybody on the planet - how to stay youthful and healthy for as long as possible. It's not just about keeping death at bay, but to increase your healthspan as long as possible. There's also a brief meditation on the socio-economic and environmental impact of having a bunch of eternally-living fol What it's about: A journalist plumbs science and pseudoscience for the secret to living a longer and healthier life. Notes: This is a book that, naturally, touches on something of abiding interest to everybody on the planet - how to stay youthful and healthy for as long as possible. It's not just about keeping death at bay, but to increase your healthspan as long as possible. There's also a brief meditation on the socio-economic and environmental impact of having a bunch of eternally-living folks around, which is a subject of another book, presumably one about the necessity of space colonisation. Gifford's wry, layman-peeking-in sort of tone lends an approachable air to the already intriguing subject matter. His attention is prolific, touching on nearly everything being done in the field, from the serious scientists to the celebrity hacks trying out dubious supplements like HGH (which, spoiler, are pretty dangerous and can even increase your chances of cancer or other age-related diseases.) Gifford spends time as a volunteer in the massive Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Ageing, a decades-long study aimed at identifying all the external predictive correlates of senescence. He finds that it has as much to do with behavior as genetics (of course). According to Gifford's research, an important biomarker of senescence is inflammation, caused by senescent cells whose telomeres have depleted and hence are reaching the end of their replicative lifespan (telomerase activators are implicated in causing cells to go cancerous, so pumping yourself full of telomerase is not a particularly good anti-ageing strategy). Inflammatory compounds like cytokine contribute to all manner of age-related diseases, such as heart failure and dementia. Basically, it's a catch-22. Left to their own devices, your cells either die (after becoming senescent) or become cancer (and you die in both scenarios). There isn't any getting out of this bind - at least, not yet, with current technology. There are, of course, certain people who possess certain sets of protective genes that guard against the effects of old age - and these lucky people can live to fantastically old ages even if they pursue all manner of bad habits. It seems that such genes are not selected for because there is no evolutionary pressure to privilege them - after all, such genes, whose effects only become evident in older folks, don't really affect people's chances of having babies. Are there miracle medicines or interventions to extend lifespan? Gifford's answer is, unsurprisingly, a "it's too early to tell". There are studies touting the restorative effects of rapamycin and metformin that have some scientific purchase (unlike HGHs peddled by aforementioned celebrity kooks) that may or may not have efficacy beyond the lab environment and/or horrible side effects. There's also the creepy fact that blood transfusions from young to old mice (i.e. parabiosis) have restorative properties in the latter, due to some as-yet unclear property of young blood. But the biomechanical pathways for these substances are not well-understood as of yet. That said, the good news is that there are plenty of behavioral modifications that most people can adopt to maximise their chances of living long and healthy lives. These include, naturally, losing weight, frequent exercise, and being educated, as well as having a positive outlook on life. One can also try some other, more drastic, lifestyle changes, such as intermittent fasting/caloric restriction and introducing physical stressors to the body from time to time, like taking dips in ice-cold water. And so, whatever it is, after all that talk about scientific measures to reverse ageing, it seems like the age-old adage of "use it or lose it" still wins out in the end. Essentially, you gotta work hard for the life you want. Even if it means earning enough money to pay for frequent blood transfusions from broke Gen-Zers. Verdict: Engaging, accessible and soberingly wry, Spring Chicken educates and entertains while reminding us that the reins to our own health are entirely in our hands. I give this book: 4.5/5 danishes  

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Mogilefsky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So let me get this straight....(Maybe I have this straight?) 1. I won't stay young forever. The good news: neither will anyone else. 2. My cells don't age exactly, but they get worse at some things or keep functioning in ways that we don't need them to function anymore. That's why I keep packing on fat that was useful when I was having babies (but no longer have the babies the fat was for). So the goal isn't to stop the body from aging, but instead to slow down the whole machine so it will last l So let me get this straight....(Maybe I have this straight?) 1. I won't stay young forever. The good news: neither will anyone else. 2. My cells don't age exactly, but they get worse at some things or keep functioning in ways that we don't need them to function anymore. That's why I keep packing on fat that was useful when I was having babies (but no longer have the babies the fat was for). So the goal isn't to stop the body from aging, but instead to slow down the whole machine so it will last longer. 3. What doesn't help: Supplements, which are (in broad terms) an unregulated waste of money, and in some cases are even more harmful than nothing at all. Taking human growth hormone to keep strong or increasing antioxidants to battle free radicals does exactly the opposite of what is intended. 4. In fact, the best way to battle aging is to ask our cells to do less, basically by putting less into it: thus, calorie restriction and fasting are both good ways to slow cell function, giving them time to take out the trash and repair. (In fact, fasting has even shown to aid chemotherapy by putting our regular cells in a protective mode and priming cancer cells to gobble up the chemo.) Fasting works slightly better because you can create a full-system shut down, much like grounding an airplane rather than trying to service only parts of it while it is still attempting to fly. 5. What does help: maintaining a healthy weight; excess weight is associated with all the problems of age which lead to decreased health: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, even late-age cancer. Do the first and you can eliminate or decrease the chances of all the rest. 6. What does help: not eating so much, especially sugar, which is a double-whammy of insulin spike (and thus fat production) AND growth factor, which encourages all of the excess cell function we want to avoid. Excess protein in the diet is similar; it encourages too much cell use. 7. Hugs and love, which promote oxytocin, which rejuvenates old muscles. 8. Red wine, even a lot of red wine, which (for reasons not fully understood) lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and even reduces the chances of Alzheimer's. Besides red wine, no other food specifically seems to do any scientifically reproducible good though plenty do harm. 7. What does help: exercise, which basically promotes everything you want your body to do: burn excess calories, keep overall weight down, even keep the mind sharp. Neither strength of body or mind will stay on their own. Stay active, physically and mentally. Oh, and apparently young blood is great for old bodies, so if you have any youths lying around your house wasting their time on video games and Instagram....or you can buy "plasma from young donors" from Ambrosia LLC for $8,000 a liter. I think I'll stick with running.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Siim

    Basically, science has not come to a straightforward agreement as to what causes aging. We might be increasing our average life spans by one year every 4 years, but the oldest person alive today is not older than the oldest person back in 1918. Our bodies might be hardwired to max out at 120. Or have we just not uncovered the secret that will take us to 5000 years? If we do have a limit, then it's all about how do we reach that max and optimize life quality until that time, so that we can live he Basically, science has not come to a straightforward agreement as to what causes aging. We might be increasing our average life spans by one year every 4 years, but the oldest person alive today is not older than the oldest person back in 1918. Our bodies might be hardwired to max out at 120. Or have we just not uncovered the secret that will take us to 5000 years? If we do have a limit, then it's all about how do we reach that max and optimize life quality until that time, so that we can live healthily to 120 and then die peacefully. Here's my takeaway: 1. Use it or lose it. Use your brain, your muscles, your heart, apply some stress to them. A couch potato cannot look like a spring chicken. 2. Introduce yourself to extreme conditions from time to time - cold water showers, saunas, fasting. Such activities builds up your bodies natural tendencies to fight bad environmental effects. Immersing yourself in cold water causes your body to start burning fat, release antioxidants, improve immune system, etc. 3. Taking supplements might not be good for you because your body will become dependent on them. Even eating a lot of antioxidant rich foods might make your body stop producing their own antioxidants. Gym-goers who took vitamin supplements lost the benefits of the workout because their bodies were no longer receptive to stress and the body didn't sustain metabolism. 4. Growth hormone is good for you when you grow up, but lethal when you are older (starting from 35 yo). That means taking growth hormones might introduce the likelihood of cancers. Likewise avoid foods that promote the production of growth hormones in your body - sugar, too many carbs, excess protein. The hardest for most people is the extreme situations thing. I recently found cold water for myself and have never felt better. Since I'm just 35, it will be a while since I'll be able to prove if any of what is written here helps or not (I hope so).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Muzamil N. Panezai

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I picked this book from a book shelve in Boulder CO only to find out how to age slow or how to live healthy. This book gave detailed info about life styles of people that live more than 100 (centenarians), while including the research from cutting edge labs that work on deep down the cells to know the science of aging like altering the shape of senescent cells to know how we age and how to slow aging. Bill Gillford the author of the book takes readers along with him in story rather than pesky ja I picked this book from a book shelve in Boulder CO only to find out how to age slow or how to live healthy. This book gave detailed info about life styles of people that live more than 100 (centenarians), while including the research from cutting edge labs that work on deep down the cells to know the science of aging like altering the shape of senescent cells to know how we age and how to slow aging. Bill Gillford the author of the book takes readers along with him in story rather than pesky jargons in health magazines that gives readers headaches( which also may be a condiment of aging process). All the researches, surveys and interviews are interesting but not worthy of experimenting on lives, experiments of others are enough for us to know. To summarise, I got three things to follow from this big book: 1) Intermittent fasting and eating less, (diet is detrimental) eat veggies only, meat and carbs should be a rare rare occasion. 2) exercise is must,any sort. 3) Sleep well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I liked this book. It was information-packed but not overly dry, thanks to the author's judicious use of humor. With that said, however, I feel compelled to issue a PSA to potential readers: this is maybe not the most uplifting read to pick up if one happens to be close to one's 40th birthday. Once the big day arrives, Gifford regrets to inform us, it's pretty much all downhill from there. The pounds will pack on and cognition will inevitably decline (along with the amount of hair on one's head. I liked this book. It was information-packed but not overly dry, thanks to the author's judicious use of humor. With that said, however, I feel compelled to issue a PSA to potential readers: this is maybe not the most uplifting read to pick up if one happens to be close to one's 40th birthday. Once the big day arrives, Gifford regrets to inform us, it's pretty much all downhill from there. The pounds will pack on and cognition will inevitably decline (along with the amount of hair on one's head.) On a hopeful note, though, I learned that walking at a faster clip is apparently correlated with a longer lifespan . . . which inspired me to pick up the pace on my daily walks. So I suppose there are at least a few actionable tips to be found within these pages (or audiobook, in my case) for those of us who are (or will soon be) viewing our 30s in the rearview mirror. 2021 Reading Challenge Category: A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Goodreads.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jun-E

    Highly readable. I didn't plan on buying it, but upon browsing the first few pages I found myself reading the entire chapter. So I bought it, and it accompanied me through many a plane ride and border control, something that I usually don't use non-fiction for. In terms of answers, I didn't quite find any that I didn't know already - to achieve longevity one seems to need good genes, a healthy lifestyle (exercise is very beneficial), not to eat too much, not to stress out too much. Even though s Highly readable. I didn't plan on buying it, but upon browsing the first few pages I found myself reading the entire chapter. So I bought it, and it accompanied me through many a plane ride and border control, something that I usually don't use non-fiction for. In terms of answers, I didn't quite find any that I didn't know already - to achieve longevity one seems to need good genes, a healthy lifestyle (exercise is very beneficial), not to eat too much, not to stress out too much. Even though some stress has been proven to shock the system into ageing slower. Supplements are explored, not that many are recommended. Have kale. Have bacon. Is immortality that desirable? Just live, damn it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hausmann

    Most of the things mentioned I have already read about, but since I read a lot of books in this genre, this is not really a surprise so I decided not to dock points for that. I prefer the writing style of Alex Hutchinson, who also writes about exercise. This book is a good reminder there are some things that at least *might* help with aging. He did not talk about NAD+ enhancing supplements, but it is possible those were only marketed after the book was published. Nothing about probiotics. Also, Most of the things mentioned I have already read about, but since I read a lot of books in this genre, this is not really a surprise so I decided not to dock points for that. I prefer the writing style of Alex Hutchinson, who also writes about exercise. This book is a good reminder there are some things that at least *might* help with aging. He did not talk about NAD+ enhancing supplements, but it is possible those were only marketed after the book was published. Nothing about probiotics. Also, the studies discussed were largely about mice, and according to "The Obesity Code", it can be very hard to extrapolate from mice to humans. But in any case, I learned, I enjoyed it, I chuckled a little, and it was a fast read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Justin Annes

    Comprehensive review of the best known ways to improve health in general and health span in particular. Bill Gifford has done his homework and talked with the right people to get an understanding of where life extension is at as of 2015. His writing style makes the subject matter much less dry than other books on this topic. He adds humor and wit to the story. The only aspect he left out is the study in the microbiome. This book is a great place to start if you want to turn your health around.

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