The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth (Hardcover)

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People have searched for the fountain of youth everywhere from Bimini to St. Augustine. But for a steadfast group of scientists, the secret to a long life lies elsewhere: in the lowly lab worm. By suppressing the function of just a few key genes, these scientists were able to lengthen worms' lifespans up to tenfold, while also controlling the onset of many of the physical problems that beset old age. As the global population ages, the potential impact of this discovery on society is vast--as is the potential for profit.
With The Longevity Seekers, science writer Ted Anton takes readers inside this tale that began with worms and branched out to snare innovative minds from California to Crete, investments from big biotech, and endorsements from TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Oz. Some of the research was remarkable, such as the discovery of an enzyme in humans that stops cells from aging. And some, like an oft-cited study touting the compound resveratrol, found in red wine--proved highly controversial, igniting a science war over truth, credit, and potential profit. As the pace of discovery accelerated, so too did powerful personal rivalries and public fascination, driven by the hope that a longer, healthier life was right around the corner. Anton has spent years interviewing and working with the scientists at the frontier of longevity science, and this book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art research and the impact it might have on global public health, society, and even our friends and family.
With spectacular science and an unforgettable cast of characters, The Longevity Seekers has all the elements of a great story and sheds light on discoveriesthat could fundamentally reshape human life.

About the Author

Ted Anton is professor of English at DePaul University. He is the author, most recently, of Bold Science and has written for Chicago magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and Publishers Weekly.

Praise For…

“Research, money, and ego are the basic ingredients in the modern-day quest to live longer—or forever. Ted Anton takes us into the laboratories and boardrooms in the worldwide competition for longevity, and with expertise and wit tells a wondrous story of contemporary science.”
-Daniel S. Greenberg, author of Science for Sale

"A lively and at times humorous account of the search for the 'longevity genes,' told from the perspective of the pioneers in the field. Anyone with an interest in the new science of aging or the ways in which business and the media influence science is sure to enjoy this book."
-Brenda Fowler, author of Iceman

"In this lively account, Ted Anton shares his fascination with what goes on when creatures age, and explores the possibility that aging can be delayed or even avoided. With a lively and accessible style, he conveys the concepts, the personalities,  and the pressures in the world of serious but enthusiastic research that one day might turn us all into Methuselahs."
-Peter Atkins, University of Oxford, author of Galileo's Finger

"We've been searching for the so-called fountain of youth for centuries, but Ted Anton makes the quest invigoratingly new again in this beautifully told story of twenty-first-century researchers in pursuit of the secrets of longevity. There's vividly clear science here and there's the grit and determination of the scientists themselves, and the result is a book both engaging and illuminating on the subject of the long, long life."
-Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook

"If I live to be 150—and thanks to Ted Anton I now know how—I doubt I will ever read a book about the science of aging as enthralling as The Longevity Seekers."

-John Seabrook, author of Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226020938
ISBN-10: 0226020932
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2013
Pages: 223
Language: English