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The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine | [Francis S. Collins]

The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized 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.
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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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Francis S. Collins; (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Ronald E St. Louis, MO, USA 04-12-10
    Ronald E St. Louis, MO, USA 04-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenzibit Ghana 10-28-12
    Kenzibit Ghana 10-28-12

    Research Technologist with deep interests in Host Cell - Pathogen Interactions & Cancer Research. I enjoy and mostly listen to Non-Fiction audiobooks on Medicine/Science, War and History. I also like to Game when I'm not in the lab.

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    "The Future is in Our Genes"
    Would you listen to The Language of Life again? Why?

    Again and Again and Again. This audiobook teaches a lot. A lot of stuff to be known by medical practioners and the layman as well. It gives the genetic and basic understanding into some rare genetic disorders and finally gives hope into these diseases.
    Francis Collins did a very good job with the subject area, his practical illustrations and as someone in the field, I really enjoyed the practical nature of his presentations.
    Talking of the narrator: Greg Itzin, I really enjoyed his reading due to his aggressive voice which will keep you awake all the time and his ability in differentiating all the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a must read/listen and I recommend it to all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    roxann Olathe, KS, United States 04-16-12
    roxann Olathe, KS, United States 04-16-12

    family tree buff

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    "Fascinating book!"
    What did you love best about The Language of Life?

    Gives me hope that there are cures for cancer and other diseases that are so close to being discovered.


    What other book might you compare The Language of Life to and why?

    I haven't really read anything like it.


    What does Greg Itzin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not sure.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No - but it did give me hope.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this book to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krista Wilbur, WA, United States 02-29-12
    Krista Wilbur, WA, United States 02-29-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Very good."

    I really enjoyed both the story and narration. I was interested in learning more about our current technological abilities when it comes to using and understanding DNA.

    Collins does a very good job with the subject and I enjoyed the practical nature of his presentation. I still doubt that we will be the DNA society that he hope we will become in his best case scenario example. But, it does make me interested in DNA testing and what it can reveal and I wonder if it will change how a person decides improve their health with that information.

    I love the narration - Itzin does a great job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan WICHITA FALLS, TX, United States 10-24-11
    Alan WICHITA FALLS, TX, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Great Book"

    A little hard to follow due to my limited knowledge in the area. After listening two times I found the book to be much more understandable and revealing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darkcoffee Allen, TX, United States 02-24-10
    Darkcoffee Allen, TX, United States 02-24-10 Member Since 2009
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    "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.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miles BENSALEM, PA, United States 02-19-12
    Miles BENSALEM, PA, United States 02-19-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Misery Loves Company or Mouse Meets Shark"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    someone stranded on a desert island


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    silence


    Did Greg Itzin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    luck, I suppose


    What character would you cut from The Language of Life?

    myself


    Any additional comments?

    If Audible were a mouse trap this selection would be cheese. Unfortunately, the sample manages to showcase the only portion of the book of any interest. Besides that, the book is a seemingly endlss procession of tear-jerking anecdotes about countless persons who have suffered terribly from the mischance of mutating genes. They read,

    0 of 9 people found this review helpful
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