The Lucky Years

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Book cover Lucky Years“The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health.” David B. Agus, MD. Simon and Schuster. New York. 2016.

Everyone seems to be writing about how depressed physicians are today. However, anyone who is depressed about the state of health care needs to read this book. It is unusual to have a book reviewed that is addressed to patients and not to physicians, but the message of this book is so important and encouraging that I could not resist reviewing it. In addition, this book covers single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), both of which other neurosurgeons may not be experts on.

This book is about taking control of your health (and how many neurosurgeons have done that?) Your attitude and how optimistic you are will help you choose how to age. To fully enjoy the “Lucky Years,” you must learn to maximize the use of technology. According to Dr. Agus, “Having a positive outlook about the world and even the future of medicine is key to health.” He is convinced that technology and the use of “big data” will ensure a happy future. As an oncologist, he believes that cancer therapeutics and pharmacogenomics will allow fellow oncologists like himself to produce dramatic improvements in treatments. He also expects an explosion in the science devoted to understanding the microbiome.

The exciting part of this book is the section that provides advice on what we should do to stay lucky. Dr. Agus is convinced that exercise, avoiding sitting, building strong muscles, sleep, touch and sex are the keys to a long and happy life. He is convinced that seven hours of sleep are crucial each night. There is also an interesting section on what happens within the brain during sleep. Taming inflammation is essential to longevity. Furthermore, he extolls the prophylactic benefit of aspirin and statins which he thinks almost everyone should take.

The final chapter entitled “The Butterfly Effect: Get ready to flap your wings.” What an optimist! He challenges physicians to empower their patients to take charge of their health in ways they have not done before. Personal policies are more important than political answers as to how health care should be delivered. Patients need healthier life styles rather than more visits to the doctor.

He concludes that the lucky years are here if we make the right choices. We need to awaken our quiescent stem cells. The focus must be on prevention rather than treating sickness.

This book will inspire all to live a more healthful and meaningful life!

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