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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine September 2004

How Humans Died Last Century

Challenging the Pessimists
The human genome has been mapped. Stem cell therapies are proving effective. The molecular mechanisms that cancer cells use to escape regulatory control have been identified. The underlying cause of vascular disease in aging humans (endothelial dysfunction) has been validated.13-29 The origin of most age-related diseases (chronic inflammation) has been recognized.30-43 Scientists can now measure the gene-expression effects of potential anti-aging agents in a matter of months.44

Historians later this century will look back at our generation and wonder why doctors did not take advantage of all the wonderful tools at their disposal to eradicate human suffering and premature death.

In 1929, Dr. Alexander Flem-ing’s discovery of penicillin was published in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology. Yet well into the 1940s, humans were still dying of bacterial infections that were curable by penicillin.45

The greatest challenge in battling the bureaucrats and medical establishment is countering their absurd notion that aging will never be controllable. All one has to do, however, is look back 100 years and see how people used to die. In 1900, there was little basis to believe that most lethal bacterial diseases would be eradicated in less than 50 years.

US LIFE EXPECTANCY HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED IN
THE PAST 200 YEARS

YEAR

LIFE
EXPECTANCY

1800

37.0

1900

47.3

1920

54.1

1940

62.9

1960

69.7

1980

73.7

2000

76.9

Reference: National Vital Statistics Report, March 21, 2002.

Right now, an abundance of knowledge reveals that it is only a matter of time before aging becomes a horrifying relic of the past. As long as the majority of people believe this will never happen, the resources committed to discovering a cure for aging will be limited.

When genomic engineering is perfected, not only will it become possible to stop aging, but we may even be able to reverse it. It is difficult to imagine a nobler objective for humankind than making old people young again.

What Must Be Done Today
We cannot allow our generation to die out when an abundance of scientific knowledge indicates that therapies to prevent needless death already exist. Bureaucratic roadblocks must be torn down. Physician apathy must be transformed into a competitive arena where doctors who discover new ways of saving lives are rewarded financially without encountering government interference. Today’s broken health care system can be redressed only in a free-market environment liberated from the regulatory strangulation that is stifling innovation.

Unfortunately, regulators are seeking greater control over what people are allowed to put into their own bodies, over what companies are allowed to sell, and how individual doctors run their own practices. Those with novel solutions for today’s causes of death first have to contend with the FDA and other bureaucracies before they have any hope of making a new therapy available to the masses.

A RADICAL CHANGE
IN ONLY 30 YEARS

In Mississippi, typhoid fever, diphtheria, malaria, smallpox, and pellagra caused 2,440 deaths in 1930 and 1931. By contrast, in 1959 and 1960, only 16 deaths were reported from these diseases in the state of Mississippi.6

The Life Extension Foundation was established in 1980 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding scientific research and educating the public about staying alive. Regrettably, our efforts increasingly are being hindered by regulations that have caused those with creative medical concepts to fear criminal prosecution. This chilling effect results in attorneys being the first ones called when a significant scientific advance is made. The concern is that the government could initiate actions that would economically destroy years of dedicated work, or even put the inventor in jail. The advice of attorneys is to go “slow” or not pursue the discovery at all.

The problem is that we are aging quickly and it will take a Herculean effort to bring together the various scientific disciplines needed to gain control over aging in our lifetimes. Avant-garde scientists are impeded because of antiquated laws that require expensive and time-consuming governmental “approvals” just to test new therapies. These laws must be abolished!

For longer life,
image

William Faloon

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