It's not every book blurb that promises to unlock the secrets of eternal youth so you can defeat death, but the Longevity Cookbook isn't your average self-help guide. This so-called 'strategy to defeat ageing' is the brainchild of Maria Konovalenko, a biology researcher studying at the University of Southern California and the Buck Institute in the US.
Konovalenko and her team of fellow scientists and authors successfully funded the Longevity Cookbook on crowd-funding site Indiegogo last month, and she's now at work on putting together the first chapters, which promises to take the reader "on a journey starting with nutrients and exercise regimes that goes on to explore the usage of genetically modified symbiotic organisms and using gene therapy to boost [their] own longevity."
The project might sound a little far-fetched (okay, maybe a lot far-fetched if you're not convinced by the science of the life extension movement), but if you can get past the authors' hyperbole, the Longevity Cookbook could actually serve as an accessible compilation of some of the scientific research being done in this area - along with a practical, actionable element for the reader, offering healthy diet and lifestyle tips for the kinds of people who might not normally be found in the health section of their local bookshop.
From the project's Indiegogo description:
"In many ways, The Longevity Cookbook is meant to act as a catalyst. Recent findings in the science of ageing suggest that pharmaceutical interventions that could extend human lifespan[s] will be here in years, not decades. This project is one of many experiments in how to best engage and recruit enthusiastic supporters of the idea of slowing ageing and thus delaying the now-inevitable diseases of ageing, such as Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease. We hope to share some of what is happening at the cutting edge of ageing research, how this research will help defeat ageing, as well as actionable suggestions on nutrition and lifestyle that you can use now."
One of the team, Mark McCormick, a researcher at the Buck Institute in California, puts this even better in his statement of what the book is really about:
"I think that projects like The Longevity Cookbook can help bridge an important gap, by translating what we do every day in the lab into a format that's fun and accessible for a large and well-informed audience," he says on the team's crowdfunding page. "Science is not done in a vacuum, and as researchers we work best when we engage the broadest audience of people who are enthusiastic about scientific progress in our fields. It's my hope that participating in the Longevity Cookbook will help move ageing research in this direction."
If the Longevity Cookbook can make the science of ageing more accessible to a mainstream audience, and at the same time get people to treat their bodies better, that's okay in our book. As long as the scientific research covered in the text is legitimate and conveyed accurately, it's up to readers to make up their own minds about whether they subscribe to some of the authors' more zealous beliefs (ie. that death can ultimately be defeated).
The title is due for publication next year, and you can pre-order a print or ebook edition on the project's Indiegogo page.