C. Murray Ardies writes the book on health

Murray Ardies

C. Murray Ardies is working on a book about diet, exercise and disease prevention.
Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

When he came out with The Optimal Health Guide in 2007, C. Murray Ardies was just getting started.

That book contained only 70 pages “with lots of cartoons,” Ardies said.

With 350 to 450 pages, his new book is much more ambitious.

Its working title is Chronic Disease: the Biological Basis of Prevention Through Diet and Exercise.

“There’s nothing like it in terms of molecular mechanisms of disease etiology [causation],” said Ardies, adjunct assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the College of Applied Health Sciences.

“It’s an in-depth review of current research on biological mechanisms of the etiology of disease, and how different components of diet and exercise can modify those mechanisms.”

Ardies’ previous book “was meant to be a summary of what good diets look like, and recommendations for weight control,” he said.

“It wasn’t written for scientists and physicians, but for the layperson.”

Ardies’ name is the only one that will appear on the cover of the new book — “I’m the editor, I organized it and got the authors together” — but 13 others from all over the country and Canada shared the writing.

“That’s a pile of people to put something like this together,” he said.

“Some of them I’ve known for many, many years. I called them up and said, ‘I’ve got a project, would you like to join?’ They joined because they feel it’s a worthwhile goal.

“You really want top-notch people for this type of work.”

Milie Fang, UIC pre-med student and “I Am UIC” blogger, contributed the graphics.

Scheduled for publication in January 2014, the book has chapters on regulation of hunger, hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, inflammation and degenerative neurological disease.

Ardies wrote the introduction, the chapter on inflammation, the final chapter and summary conclusions. He’s co-author of the chapters on heart disease and cancer.

“One of the consulting editors of CRC Press asked me to prepare the book,” he said. “She liked some of the writings I’d done.”

Ardies founded Shakalyn Enterprises to handle his business of consulting for physicians, making presentations and analyzing court testimony by defense and prosecution witnesses for future cases.

“Shakalyn” combines the first letters of his three daughters’ names: Shawnee, who is 25; Katrina, 23; and Lynette, 22.

He later changed the name to Frozen Crocus Productions.

“I’m from Canada — Winnipeg in Manitoba, where the crocus is the provincial flower,” Ardies explained. “You can imagine the weather and know why it’s frozen.”

He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Manitoba and master’s from Northern Michigan University.

Ardies’ doctorate is from the University of Texas at Austin; his dissertation was on the interaction of alcohol and exercise on mitochondrial function in cells.

He spent three years at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City as a postdoctoral trainee in alcohol toxicity, and two years at Stanford Medical School.

There he carried out two projects, purifying and cloning the gene to a steroid-binding protein in yeast and working on immune mechanisms of anesthetic and alcohol toxicity.

In 1989 he joined Northeastern Illinois University, where he is a professor of exercise and health science. His adjunct position at UIC began in 2007.

He has been associate editor of Nutrition & Cancer: An International Journal since 2005.

If you’re curious, the “C” of C. Murray Ardies stands for Curtis. But he’s always been called Murray, after his grandmother, Anna Murray Ardies.

He is 58 but looks 20 years younger — possibly because of his exercise regime. He participated in the 2010 Chicago Triathlon — swimming, bicycling and running — and looks forward to competing in more.

Ardies bikes 10 miles to UIC from his home across the street from NEIU.

“My wife works out with me,” he said. “She’s my training partner. We’ve been married 35 years and I’ve been working out with her a long, long time.”

Patrice “Patty” Ardies is a school aide for special education at Peterson Elementary School, three blocks from their house in the North Park neighborhood.

She lifts weights and runs with Ardies three days a week and bikes with him three other days. He swims alone three mornings a week.

“The only time we have together is working out,” Ardies said. “After 35 years, you either kill each other or you’re really good with it. We’re really good with it.”



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