Wednesday, May 11, 2005

You: The Owner's Manual

A doctor told me to buy this book:

You: The Owner's Manual


If there ever was a pair of docs who can make the small intestine seem truly intriguing, here they are. Dr. Mehmet Oz is an alternative-medicine maverick and a cardiologist known to implement acupuncture during open-heart surgery. Dr. Michael Roizen developed the RealAge concept of calculating one's biological, as opposed to chronological, age. Here they've whipped up a witty guide to the workings of the entire body, appropriate not just for those who can't tell their pancreas from their pituitary. Even Cheers’ Cliff Claven types who think they know it all will likely be humbled by the 50-question "body-quotient" quiz that starts off the book.

With much sassy humor (they describe the adrenals as similar in shape to Mr. Potato Head's hat), they give a guided tour of the body's anatomy and major systems (hormonal, nervous, digestive, sensory, etc.) including plenty of fascinating trivia along the way. How often should you get your thyroid level checked? How much gas does the average person produce in a day? And, most importantly, how many times a year do most people have sex?? Drs. Oz and Roizen know. They also reveal plenty of bizarre (and potentially life-saving) facts such as this: If your earlobe has a prominent vertical wrinkle, it's likely that your arteries are aging faster than they ought to be. If only 8th-grade health class had been this fun.

The docs' main goal in presenting all this info is twofold: firstly, it's your body, so shouldn't you finally learn how it works? And, secondly, they want to help teach ways of preserving the body's health and youthfulness. To that end, they've included an "Owner's Manual Diet," a 10-day menu plan designed not for weight loss, but to make you feel "years younger." Its simple recipes are each meant to benefit a certain body system, such as Tomato Bruschetta, packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which has been proven to boost immunity. --Erica Jorgensen

From Publishers Weekly
Anti-aging guru Roizen and celebrated heart surgeon Oz combine their popular approaches to patient-centered care in this assessment of how much, or more to the point, how little, readers know about their bodies. After taking the quizzes in the book, readers may feel shocked by their ignorance of basic anatomy and the processes required to maintain physical and mental functioning. Each chapter focuses on a body part or system (heart, brain, digestive, reproductive, etc.) and discusses diseases associated with it; genetic and lifestyle influences on its aging process; and foods, supplements and habits that can prevent or reverse related illnesses. The book has an entertaining feel: friendly elves guide readers through illustrations of the body and cartoons feature alien creatures that enter the body and cause illness. The humor is irreverent (e.g., muscle cells surrounding dead heart tissue "start fighting with each other, like Jerry Springer's guests, instead of supporting each other, like Oprah's" [incidentally, the authors will appear on Oprah in May to promote the book]). Despite a 10-day, 30-recipe food plan and a less-is-more exercise regime, however, readers may have trouble using the information to create a lifestyle that will fulfill the authors' promise of weight loss, disease prevention and longevity. Even the recipes target one specific area of the body and weaken the overall conceptual framework. This lighthearted book will be most useful to those who like their health lessons served with a side of humor. (May 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

How the Human Body Can Help Fight Disease and Slow Aging

You: The Owner's Manual for sale on EBAY