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January 9, 2014: New Book by Keck School of Medicine of USC and USC Viterbi Clinician-Researcher Aims to Change Health Care Through Prevention

Press Release
CONTACT: Leslie Ridgeway - (323) 442-2823 or lridgewa@usc.edu
January 09, 2014 —


If you love to wear high heels or swear by vitamins and supplements, a new book by a Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) faculty physician and researcher suggests that you take another look at your choices.

“A Short Guide to a Long Life” (Simon & Schuster, Jan. 7, 2014; hardcover) by David B. Agus, M.D., expands on Agus’ 2012 book “The End of Illness,” which shared what Agus had learned over two decades in medicine and research about maintaining good health. After readers of “The End of Illness” asked for a simpler way to assimilate this knowledge, Agus distilled it into 65 short, simple “rules” designed to help readers plan and advocate for their own health care. But Agus also hopes the book will have a broader effect on health.

“It boggles my mind to think the conversation remains stuck on figuring out how to pay for health care rather than diminishing our need for it,” writes Agus, who is also a professor of engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and director of the USC Norris Westside Cancer Center and USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. “Each one of us can make a difference if we each are part of reducing the overall demand for health care ... when we start living strong, robust lives, we’ll lessen our need for health care, causing the demand to decrease and costs to go down.”

The 208-page book groups the 65 rules into two chapters titled “What To Do” and “What To Avoid,” followed by a chapter titled “Doctor’s Orders,” which offers advice for how to care for your health in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

“There is no question of David Agus’ commitment to health and fighting cancer,” said Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “As an oncologist, scientist and teacher, he has demonstrated a willingness to look beyond conventional wisdom to help his patients and others find health answers that work for them. It’s an honor to have him among our distinguished faculty.”

Dean Puliafito will discuss the book with Agus, as well as Agus’ insights into how people can live healthier lives, in the next session of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series, Wednesday, Jan. 15 in Mayer Auditorium, USC Health Sciences Campus. The series is not open to the public.

“David Agus is among the few individuals who understand deeply the connection between medicine, engineering and technology. It is wonderful to see his deep insights so well articulated and supported,” said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, where Agus holds a joint appointment.

Advice in “A Short Guide to a Long Life” includes avoiding vitamins and supplements because of the potential to interfere with the body’s natural mechanism to attack dangerous cells, storing medical data online or on a USB key chain for quick access during emergencies, and wearing supportive, comfortable shoes to avoid inflammation caused by high heels or by going barefoot.

The rules include some controversial recommendations, including taking a daily statin and considering DNA testing. Agus acknowledges the criticism, stating that his endorsements are based on clinical trials.

“I’m excited and proud (of the book),” said Agus. “It’s a step forward in my evolution as a physician and scientist.”

This press release is available on the USC Press Room website.


About Keck Medicine of USC
Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical entities, it consists of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, one of the top medical schools in Southern California; the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established in the United States; the USC Care faculty practice; the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 411-bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-bed community hospital. It also includes outpatient facilities in Beverly Hills, downtown Los Angeles, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, and the USC University Park Campus. USC faculty physicians and Keck School of Medicine departments also have practices throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. Consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the world, the school enrolls more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 174 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 60 endowed chairs and professorships. http://viterbi.usc.edu

Leslie Ridgeway – 323-442-2823 or lridgewa@usc.edu