David Agus is an accomplished and well-regarded research scientist and a professor of medicine and engineering at USC. He has helped develop new drugs and landmark diagnostic tools, cofounded two health care technology companies, and made breakthroughs in both how to treat cancer and how we think about it. On top of all this, he’s a clinician, devoting two and a half days a week to seeing patients. But most of all, David Agus incites people to think and take ownership of their own health, drawing both praise and criticism for his ideas and approach.
In short, he’s a lightning rod.
His latest book, “A Short Guide to a Long Life“, is filled with against the grain health recommendations he claims are supported by facts from data produced by exacting research. For example, Agus is adamant that “there is no data to support the notion that vitamins of any kind will either make us more energetic or live longer.” Rather, Agus reports that scientific research into the benefits of vitamins shows they are “correlated with an increased risk of diseases such as cancer… I don’t care what the label says, go for the foods that don’t come with labels! And stop taking vitamins.”
The book is short, straight to the point, and devoid of arcane medical terms. “A Short Guide to a Long Life” was written to “prevent” poor health practices, rather than deal with the costly solutions needed to cure you. In all Agus prescribes 65 rules to achieve better health, covering everything from sleep to caffeine to exercise to tracking and measuring yourself.
So, what’s the best advice Agus dishes out? For many, it might be this: stand in front of a mirror naked once a week and have an objective look at just what your body reveals about your health.
Talk about tough love.