|LE Magazine August 1999 |
A SCIENTIFIC RENAISSANCE
The concept of extending the healthy human life span has been receiving a lot of media attention. In early June 1999, PBS aired a documentary called "Stealing Time" that portrayed life extension as a credible science. This three-hour PBS broadcast discussed the mechanisms of aging with prominent scientists and included significant evidence on breakthrough anti-aging therapies. It seems that PBS viewers have a real thirst for information about life extension as evidenced during last December's membership drive where viewers pledged a record-breaking 3.5 million dollars in contributions to receive a video tape entitled "How To Live Forever with Gary Null."
The May 1999 issue of Esquire magazine discussed anti-aging medicine and interviewed Life Extension Foundation scientists and others involved in longevity research. Esquire quoted a Foundation scientific consultant who told the New York Times, "we could be the first generation that lives forever...or we'll be the last generation to die."
Such optimism about living forever might appear to be premature, yet on June 7, 1999, Harvard Medical School announced that they had been able to restore brain cells killed by diseases such as Alzheimer's by injecting neural stem cells into mice. The scientists showed that the neural stem cells will convert themselves into whatever type of cell that the ailing brain needs, restoring functions that have been lost to disease or injury.
According to Dr. Evan Snyder, lead author of the study, "The neural stem cell can accommodate all different regions of the brain and insert itself appropriately into the fabric of the brain." Dr. Gerald Fischbach of The National Institutes on Health confirmed the validity of the Harvard research by stating: "Stem cells that can develop into a variety of different types of nerve cells and glial cells would be extremely valuable in the therapy of acute and chronic neurological disorders." While the scientists said this therapy is five years away from human application, the implication is that the brain and other organs are capable of being regenerated via the injection of stem cells, a therapy being hotly pursued by life extension scientists.
Replacing old cells with new ones could lead to biological immortality, but for some scientists, even that's not good enough. Hans Moravec at Carnegie-Mellon University predicts that by the year 2040, you'll be able to download all that matters into a spiffy computer-driven robot that will be able to "do much more, understand much more, go more places, and not die-all those things."
Science is on the verge of radically extending the human life span, but the inevitable question for those reading this column is, "Will these therapies become available in time to save my life?"
The Life Extension Foundation is pleased to report that some of the breakthrough therapies discussed on PBS may be available to Foundation members before the end of this year. We can also tell you that many of the scientists working on stem cell and genetic research are life extensionists who feel their success in the laboratory will mean that they themselves may be rewarded with an extended life span.
If you want to benefit from these anti-aging breakthroughs in the near future, you should endeavor to stay healthy today by taking aggressive steps to prevent the killer diseases of aging. In this issue, we provide a compelling case for increasing the daily intake of a carotenoid called lycopene. Foundation members were the first to benefit from this tomato extract way back in 1985, but new extraction methods now enable you to take much higher doses of this disease-preventing extract at a far lower cost.
The Life Extension Foundation is the world's leader in investigating therapies to prevent and treat the diseases of aging. New research findings are enabling us to explore therapies that deal with some of the underlying causes of how cells age. As a Life Extension Foundation member, you belong to an elite group, which is pioneering methods to prevent diseases and slow aging today in order to benefit from the breakthroughs of tomorrow.
Life Extension Foundation
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