Book by Keck School of Medicine Faculty Researcher Focuses on New View of Health

January 17, 2012

“The End of Illness” by David B. Agus, M.D. Challenges Conventional Views Of Caring for the Human Body

LOS ANGELES—A new definition of health and how to achieve it is the subject of a new book written by David B. Agus, M.D. a faculty physician and researcher in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).

Agus, professor of medicine and engineering at the Keck School and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, also heads the USC Norris Westside Cancer Center and the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. “The End of Illness” (Free Press: Jan. 17, 2012; hardcover) is the culmination of knowledge gained during more than two decades of fighting cancer on the front lines. The book is intended to help readers transform their views of their bodies and learn to see them as complex, whole systems, instead of focusing on a single issue such as a genetic mutation, a germ, a deficiency or a number such as blood pressure, weight, or cholesterol.

“In an era where the explosion of medical information has far outstripped our ability to process it, we need a new way to make personal health choices,” writes Agus in the book. “What have we been missing when it comes to decoding the mystery of disease?”

“The End of Illness,” Agus’ first book, clarifies the systemic viewpoint that has encouraged him to challenge conventional ideas about health and how to care for the human body. The book covers and confronts topics such as vitamin supplements, exercise, inflammation, medications, sleep, and nutrition.

“As a most dynamic oncologist and researcher, Dr. Agus has devoted his life to finding new ways to approach and attack cancer,” said Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A. “That willingness to look beyond established viewpoints will, I believe, unlock the secrets of cancer and the progression of other diseases that affect our quality of life.”

The book features long-term, big picture assessments, as well as many easy-to-implement suggestions for personal health, from wearing comfortable shoes to eating lunch at the same hour every day.

Among the notable individuals praising the book are Vice President Al Gore, Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

“‘The End of Illness’ reframes the entire discussion of sickness and health,” writes Danny Hillis, professor of research medicine at the Keck School. “Instead of thinking about disease Agus thinks about the system that is the human body, and what we need to do to guide it toward health. Before you take your next vitamin, read this book.”

“The End of Illness” details Agus’ frustration with the lack of progress in many areas of medicine today, especially cancer. The book describes what he sees as the medical community’s shortsightedness when it comes to looking at the body.  He explains how some doctors may inflict harm on their patients, making errors ranging from inappropriate therapies and prescribing supplements to failing to prevent disease. He also shows how easy it is to fall prey to scare tactics that circulate in the media and how to scrutinize and many times dismiss wild claims.

More information about “The End of Illness” is available at the book web site, as well as on Facebook  and Twitter (@davidagus).

Contact: Leslie Ridgeway at (323) 442-2823 or