Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature's Secrets to Longevity (Paperback)

Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature's Secrets to Longevity By Nicklas Brendborg Cover Image

Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature's Secrets to Longevity (Paperback)


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This eye-opening book offers a "clear and captivating" (Dr. Kris Verburgh​)scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality–and the lessons they hold for us all. 

Recent advances in medicine and technology have expanded our understanding of aging across the animal kingdom, and our own timeless quest for the fountain of youth. Yet, despite modern humans living longer today than ever before, the public’s understanding of what is possible is limited to our species—until now. In this spunky, effervescent debut, the key to immortality is revealed to be a superpower within reach. With mind-bending stories from the natural world and our own, Jellyfish Age Backwards reveals lifespans we cannot imagine and physiological gifts that feel closer to magic than reality:

  • There is a Greenland shark that was 286 years old when the Titanic sank, and is currently 390, making it older than the United States. Scientists predict it will live for another 100 years.
  • Trees and lobsters don’t “age” in the way we know it. They simply get bigger and bigger.
  • There are forms of radiation that have been known to actually increase the lifespans of certain species, from tortoises to naked mole-rats.
  • There's a species of jellyfish, the size of a fingernail, that can age forwards, then, when threatened, age backwards and begin the process all over again.

Mixing cutting-edge research and stories from habitats all around the world, molecular biologist Nicklas Brendborg explores extended life cycles in all its varieties. Along the way, we meet a man who fasted for over a year; a woman who edited her own DNA; redwoods that survive thousands of years; and in the soil of Easter Island, the key to eternal youth. Jellyfish Age Backwards is a love letter to the immense power of nature, and what the immortal lives of many of earth's animals and plants can teach us about the secrets to longevity.

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize

New York Times Editor's Choice Pick

A Sunday Times (UK) Best Book of the Year 

Nicklas Brendborg is a PhD student of molecular biology at the University of Copenhagen and is one of the most promising research talents in the field. He was featured young scientist at the Novo Nordisk International Talent Program and was awarded the Novo Scholarship. In 2015, Brendborg published his first book, Top Student. He also co-authored Lars Tvede's bestseller Supertrends.

Product Details ISBN: 9780316414685
ISBN-10: 0316414689
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
"Human aging is so dull.  Some species are effectively immortal, others induce suspended animation, others age backwards.  And all we do is senesce, so that everything from our minds down to each cell becomes more fragile and less resilient.  Nicklas Brendborg accessibly guides the non-scientist through the science of aging and what’s known about making it slower and gentler (along with judiciously debunking the ample pseudo-science).  All written with a fun, appealing voice, making for a surprisingly upbeat read."—Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

“Aging has biology (we see who is old and who is young), and this biology drives diseases (Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, etc...). The fascinating studies on aging (geroscience) have demonstrated that aging can be modulated. Aging can be delayed, prevented, and even revere in several examples. Nicklas Brendborg’s book is storytelling that spans history and science, goes from nature to the laboratories, and discusses how we got here, what the future is and where we are going. Nicklas is young enough to grasp the details and connectivity yet mature enough to practice wisdom and manage expectations like a true geroscientist.”—Nir Barzilai, MD, founder of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of Age Later

“A highly-entertaining journey through the science of longevity. Why we age, and what we can do about it, explained in a clear and captivating way. A wonderful book.”—Dr. Kris Verburgh, MD. Author of The Longevity Code, researcher Free University of Brussels, Head of Science at Longevity Vison Fund, speaker Singularity University Benelux (Future of Medicine and Longevity).

"Nicklas Brendborg takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the science of ageing… he navigates this bustling discipline with graceful clarity, dispelling common myths along the way"—New Scientist Magazine

"Brendborg takes us on a fascinating biological odyssey, looking at creatures such as the naked mole rat and the centuries-old Greenland shark, as well as disease-free tribes, to find clues as to how we, too, might live longer and age better."—i Paper

"Brendorg explores what could be a complicated and heavy subject so intriguingly, funnily and in such an accessible manner... [Jellyfish Age Backwards] will teach you so much and have you picking up facts and details that you’ll be running to tell your friends."—The Publishing Post

"In a field characterised by overclaiming and wishful thinking, it is judicious, sensible and refreshingly clear. And fascinating”—Sunday Times

"A beguiling mix of biology and health advice... a hugely enjoyable slice of popular science, full of memorable facts and sound advice”—Daily Mail

“An admirably clear sketch of heritability and how our longevity is determined by both genes and the environment.”—The Wall Street Journal

“a rare quick and easy tour of hard science told in a way that is addictive and enriching”The New York Times

Starred Review
“accessible and fun… [Brendborg] explains complex experiments in straightforward language, making the findings interesting and downright amusing”

Library Journal