see url In 1990, a scientist at the Medical College of Wisconsin named Daniel Rudman published a study that gave birth to the modern anti-aging movement. Rudman’s paper, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 12 men who were given injections of human growth hormone (HGH) lost 14 percent of their body fat and increased their lean body mass — including muscle — by 9 percent. HGH, which is mostly used to help short children grow, became the go-to drug for perfectly healthy, aging people who were in search of the fountain of youth.
Archive for December, 2010
It’s been a year of scandals and breakthroughs in the world of anti-aging medicine, as I documented in a slide show for Huffington Post.
This cartoon says it all when it comes to fending off the aging process. Forgo the hormones and steroids. Eat right and exercise. You’ll be sure to stay young!
On December 13, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco said they had identified a derivative of thalidomide that seems to rejuvenate the immune systems of aging people. When they tested the drug in small doses on cell cultures taken from 13 patients, it stimulated the production of proteins called “cytokines.” That may, in turn, reduce the age-related inflammation that causes overall health to deteriorate.
In a December 16 story, The Times of London is featuring my book as a way to spotlight what they call “elixirs of youth: the top five myths.” The online version of the Times is a subscription-only site, so I will list the myths here:
1. Human Growth Hormone: “…its benefits have not been proved, and there have been no long-term studies of its side-effects in healthy users.”
2. Acai berry: “This is the best example of an anti-aging elixir gone completely out out control.”
3. Resveratrol: “…doses in the animal studies were far higher than people could tolerate–the equivalent of drinking 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine.”
4. Antioxidants: “…the jury is out over whether this is any benefit from applying them to the skin….”
5. Alpha hydroxy acids: “Don’t expect over-the-counter products to make any difference.”
Interestingly, the hook for this story is a study out this week on lenalidomide from the Universith of California at San Francisco. A scientist there discovered that taking small amounts of this pill, which is related to thalidomide, boosts immunity. The Times calls this “an elixir of youth.” The UCSF scientists don’t go quite so far. More to come on this topic….
For those with a subscription, here’s a link to the Times of London story on Selling the Fountain of Youth.
The reason this matters is that SRT501 had been one of the most closely watched molecules in the Big Pharma pipeline ever since 2008, when GlaxoSmithKline snapped it up in a $720 million acquisition of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals — the company that first suggested resveratrol might be useful for treating age-related diseases.
Red Hot Mamas, a Web site for women undergoing menopause, has added Selling the Fountain of Youth to its bookshelf of suggested reading. “It includes detailed and crucial information, the latest research, and is written in a clear, concise manner,” the review says.
When I speak about Selling the Fountain of Youth, I’m often asked why it’s so hard for people to exercise when staying active clearly guards against age-related conditions. I don’t know the answer, but I often wonder if there’s anything society a whole could do to encourage exercise?
I found one great idea yesterday, in this video of an experiment performed in Sweden. Making one small but creative change to a staircase prompted a 66% increase in people choosing the stairs over the escalator. I love it. And I especially love that this was sponsored by Volkswagon, a company that you would think would want to encourage people to spend more time in their cars–not on their feet.
I only hope this inspires more ideas for building exercise into everyday life.
For most of the past century, the financial-services industry has used actuarial tables to design life-insurance policies, pensions, and other products based on predictions of human lifespan. These http://caragiulos.com/menus/07_lunch_may.pdf “life tables” rely on historical death rates to predict the future longevity of broadly defined population groups. But human life expectancy has increased dramatically—from 47 years in 1900 to 77 today in the United States, with similar surges around the world, leading to skyrocking pension and healthcare costs. What’s more, sizable variations in longevity have emerged among different subgroups. Thus the financial-services industry no longer considers life tables adequate, as they leave too much room for companies to lose money.
A growing number of corporations and governments are turning to an emerging group of lifespan modelers. These experts are studying the living in an attempt to predict who will make it well into old age—and who won’t.
I was interviewed by Patt Morrison on KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. It was a lively interview that included some very intelligent questions from callers. Among the highlights: A discussion of male menopause and testosterone replacement.