"His groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.” —Barack Obama
From Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health, 2007 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and 15-year head of the Human Genome Project, comes one of the most important medical books of the year: The Language of Life. With accessible, insightful prose, Dr. Collins describes the medical, scientific, and genetic revolution that is currently unlocking the secrets of “personalized medicine,” and offers practical advice on how to utilize these discoveries for you and your family’s current and future health and well-being. In the words of Dr. Jerome Groopman (How Doctors Think), The Language of Life “sets out hope without hype, and will enrich the mind and uplift the heart.”
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From New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned doctor and geneticist Francis Collins, a book that will forever change how you think about your body, your health, and the future of medicine.
A scientific and medical revolution has crept up on us, based on study after study, from hundreds of laboratories around the world. It is no longer just a theoretical shift: every one of us will be touched by it, and many of us already have been. The meaning of disease, our understanding of the human body, and crucial decisions about what we all need to know and what choices we make about our health are at stake. Welcome to the new world of personalized medicine.
Twenty-one million Americans are affected by 6,000 so-called rare and orphan diseases, many of which are primarily attributable to misspelled genes. And virtually all diseases have a significant hereditary component. There have been many stories in the media about women who are testing to see if they have a mutation that leads to breast cancer, or family members who are strongly at risk for heart disease or Huntington's disease. Yet the revolution is much more fundamental than this: diabetes, heart disease, the common cancers, mental illness, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and more—all of these diseases are having their secrets unlocked. Now, with a simple home test, costing a few hundred dollars, you can learn the secrets of your own DNA.
Francis Collins has been at the forefront of this revolution. He was, for fifteen years, the head of the international Human Genome Project, and he now serves as the Director of the National Institutes of Health. He knows, better than anyone, how widespread are the misperceptions about human genetics. Just in the past decade, most of what you think you know about DNA has been overturned. Much of the advice given routinely by health care providers is ill informed, so you need to educate yourself about this rapidly moving area of medicine. You are guaranteed to face some surprises, and some difficult choices about personal knowledge, treatment, and family risk.
Yet this book is overwhelmingly hopeful and inspiring, offering helpful advice in every chapter. Nearly every day, diseases that were barely understood, or completely misunderstood, are being redefined. Families that faced common problems, without hope, are now discovering a new world of understanding, treatment, and prevention. You owe it to yourself to learn about your DNA: how it works, what it reveals, and the benefits and limits of this new knowledge.About the Author:
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is a pioneer gene hunter. He spent fifteen years as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he led the international Human Genome Project to a successful completion. For his revolutionary contributions to genetic research he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, and the National Medal of Science in 2009. He is the Director of the National Institutes of Health.
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