Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Telomerase Revolution by Michael Fossel

book cover
The Telomerase Revolution
by Michael Fossel

ISBN-13: 9781941631690
Hardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Dr. Michael Fossel has been in the forefront of aging research for decades and is the author of the definitive textbook on human aging. In The Telomerase Revolution, he takes us on a detailed but highly accessible scientific journey, providing startling insights into the nature of human aging.

Instead of the common idea that “we accumulate damage, therefore we age,” the reality is the opposite: our cells age and so we begin to accumulate damage. The latest research shows so-called “ageless” cells contain telomerase—an enzyme that maintains telomeres and adds back segments lost during replication. Essentially, it is the telomere that controls how well our cells repair themselves over time.

The Telomerase Revolution explains simply how we came to understand the ways aging and age-related diseases work, what we can do about them now, what we will be able to do to cure and prevent these diseases.

My Review:
The Telomerase Revolution explains the telomere theory of aging and how this knowledge may lead to prevention of age-related diseases. Overall, the author was able to clearly explain scientific ideas at a level that the general public can understand. He's not trying to impress people with his knowledge but convey information that he's excited about.

He explained various ideas people have held about what causes aging, then he described the telomere theory of aging and addressed some common misconceptions. He dismisses claims that special foods, meditation, and such can reverse aging and described the only valid telomerase-based product that's currently available. He talked about recent research and attempts toward developing clinical interventions involving telomerase. I found these chapters very interesting and informative.

He described the telomere view of diseases caused by the direct aging of various systems (like the immune system, muscles, skin, etc.) and diseases caused by indirect aging damage (atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, then Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease). A basic knowledge of physiology is helpful with these "aging" chapters. He ended by explaining the latest efforts toward developing telomerase-based therapies and what people can do until these become more effective and available.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Is Fat For? Re-Thinking Obesity Science by Ignatius Brady

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What Is Fat For?:
Re-Thinking Obesity Science
by Ignatius Brady

ISBN-13: 9780692590065
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Ignatius Brady
Released: Dec. 10, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Ignatius Brady, a weight loss physician and science writer, presents a fresh perspective on obesity based on critical new research that has gone largely overlooked. The protein leverage hypothesis holds that neither dietary fat nor dietary carbohydrate “cause” us to gain weight. The obesity debate is re-framed as an imbalance between “protein” and “non-protein” energy. This imbalance has caused a widespread human adaptation: the obesity epidemic.

In a thorough yet readable style, the book takes the reader through normal human weight regulation, the time frame needed for weight loss, and what’s missing in the “carbs are bad” thinking. This is not a diet book, but a scientific exploration of the inner workings of human biology and our interactions with the modern nutritional environment. The author presents detailed evidence for the reader to consider. Biases are overturned, accepted wisdom is re-considered and new answers are discovered.

My Review:
What Is Fat For? looks at scientific studies relating to obesity and weight loss. The author explained what he's concluded based on the studies and what he's seen in his own clinical practice. He did a good job of explaining the science in a way that ordinary people can understand it. He provided enough information about the studies that a reader can understand how he came to those conclusions.

If you want a "do this and you'll lose weight!" book, then you might be unsettled by the many unknowns that the author admits still exist. But if you desire an honest look at the topic--including his best recommendations for weight loss--then you'll probably enjoy this book. He focused on obese people, though much of the information can also apply to overweight people and preventing future weight gain.

He discussed the most popular types of diets and how the body processes the macronutrients (fat, carbs, protein). The body appears to use the percentage of protein in your diet to monitor if you've eaten enough food. He explained how this knowledge can be used to lose or maintain weight. He talked about type 2 diabetes, how fat cells are a protective mechanism, and some dangers of long-term, high protein diets. He discussed why he recommends increased activity throughout the day (rather than intense exercise), especially for obese individuals.

He revealed the truth about how your BMI affects your longevity. That chapter made me angry at BMI calculator sites as they make it sound like you should panic if you're even slightly overweight. He wrapped up by talking about fad diets, quack doctors, and such. I'd recommend this book to those interested in what scientific studies actually indicate about weight loss.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola

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Pure Soapmaking
by Anne-Marie Faiola

ISBN-13: 9781612125336
Spiral-bound: 240 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The pure luxury of soaps made with coconut butter, almond oil, aloe vera, oatmeal, and green tea is one of life's little pleasures. And with the help of author Anne-Marie Faiola, it's easy to make luscious, all-natural soaps right in your own kitchen.

This collection of 32 recipes ranges from simple castile bars to intricate swirls, embeds, and marbled and layered looks. Begin with a combination of skin-nourishing oils and then add blueberry puree, dandelion-infused water, almond milk, coffee grounds, mango and avocado butters, black tea, or other delicious ingredients -- and then scent your soap with pure essential oils. Step-by-step photography guides you through every stage of cold-process soapmaking.

My Review:
Pure Soapmaking is a step-by-step guide to making cold-process, natural ingredient soaps. You will be using lye to make solid soap bars. The recipes made about 9 to 20 soaps, so the book is intended for people making soaps to sell or give away rather than just personal use. She mentioned things to consider when selling your soap. These recipes don't use synthetic fragrance oils or dyes. We're told how the various oils and natural additives (for coloring, fragrance, etc.) will affect the final product.

The author started by explaining the science of soap making, safety measures, and the equipment that she recommends. This equipment will be dedicated solely to soap making. She included things like a scale and an electric mini mixer, and these are needed to do her recipes. She explained the overall steps for soap making along with tricks, tips on handling potential problems, and warnings of things to avoid. She included enough information that I felt I understood and could handle every step. There were also color photographs to illustrate these steps and the steps in the recipes.

The 32 recipes started fairly simple, but she quickly added more ingredients and steps. She showed how to create designs using layers, swirls, circles, embeds, and combinations of these. I suspect she used every ingredient that she talked about earlier. She also explained how to create your own recipes. I'd recommend this book to those interested in making "natural" solid soaps in large batches.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Wheel by Richard W Bulliet

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The Wheel:
Inventions and Reinventions
by Richard W Bulliet

ISBN-13: 9780231173384
Hadcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Richard W. Bulliet focuses on three major phases in the development of the wheel and their relationship to the needs and ambitions of human society. He begins in 4000 B.C.E. with the first wheels affixed to axles. He then follows with the innovation of wheels turning independently on their axles and concludes five thousand years later with the caster, a single rotating and pivoting wheel.

Bulliet's most interesting finding is that a simple desire to move things from place to place did not drive the wheel's development. If that were the case, the wheel could have been invented at any time almost anywhere in the world. By dividing the history of this technology into three conceptual phases and focusing on the specific men, women, and societies that brought it about, Bulliet expands the social, economic, and political significance of a tool we only partially understand.

My Review:
The Wheel is about the origins and development of the three basic types of wheel: the wheelset, rotating wheel, and caster. The author explored why some cultures widely used the wheel and others didn't. What changed so that previous methods of moving things didn't satisfy their needs? Wheels weren't always the best solution out there. He pointed out (among other things) that wheeled vehicles work best on relatively level surfaces, and high-use areas become roads that then need regular maintenance.

The author looked at where early wheel use has been found, how it was used, what motivated adopting its use, and how it developed over time in different places of the world. He mainly looked at mine cars, carts, wagons, chariots, carriages, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, trains, and casters on furniture. There were nice black-and-white pictures of the different wheels and vehicles he talked about.

The book has a formal tone and is an academic look at the topic, but I had no trouble understanding the author. I found this book quite interesting, and I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in a deeper look into the development of the wheel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.