The Language of Life

  • by Francis S. Collins
  • Narrated by Greg Itzin
  • 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling 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. Heart disease, the common cancers, mental illness, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and more - all of these diseases are having their secrets unlocked.
Francis Collins has been at the forefront of this revolution. He was, for 15 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. 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.

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What the Critics Say

"The future of customized medicine is in your DNA; don't wait until you are sick to learn why." (Dr. Mehmet Oz, author of You: The Owner's Manual)
"I am a better doctor today because Dr. Collins was my genetics professor in medical school, and now, the world gets to benefit from his wisdom by reading The Language of Life." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Neurosurgeon at Emory University and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN)
"His groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease." (Barack Obama)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The future of medicine

This book is required reading for any educated person who wants to understand where medicine is headed in the near future - especially, for my students! It presents the science of human genomics and genomic medicine in a manner understandable to liberal arts college and professional health science students, yet preserves the technical accuracy of the science by avoiding oversimplification. I listened to the audiobook twice and then had to buy the hardcopy so I could use it as a reference. The text is accompanied by simple yet very informing illustrations, some of which are quite innovative in teaching science concepts. The illustrations, along with the Glossary and other Appendices, are available as a PDF download. Dr. Collins is one of the truly distinguished pioneers of the genomic medicine era. His group discovered the chromosomal location of the CFTR gene, variants of which cause cystic fibrosis. He has also made significant contributions to spiritual thinking and has worked to relieve the tensions between religion and science, particularly regarding human evolution. If you have every wondered what people are talking about when the term "personalized medicine" is used, this book explains all the details. It also will help you understand what true promise is held, and what some of the hype is all about. As any great teacher would, he actively encourages the reader to apply these breakthroughs and innovations to the reader's own health status, and provides a wealth of resources, mostly on-line web tools to inspire the reader to explore genomic personally. Anyone who follows his recommendations will be way ahead of the current state of medicine, and could gain significant insight into personal and family health that few MDs could provide at this time.
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- Ronald E

Call to Action on Your Own DNA

I was very surprised as how far DNA analysis has come in the past five years. The book is a call to action to do something with your own DNA (which is now fully accessible for a few hundred bucks), and Collins makes an extremely convincing case for doing so. More a compendium of resources and anecdotes than a coherent book (and the fully-read web addresses make for some extremely trying listening), but fascinating new information about what you can do with your DNA to improve your health and consider choices you may or may not have to make in your life.
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- Darkcoffee

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2010
  • Publisher: HarperAudio