Re: [GRG] FW: Quantifying the Effectiveness of Anti-Aging Interventions

Mike, the fact that Pearson and Shaw (P&S) provided some factually accurate content in their books, and some good and correct practical and philosophical arguments about the undesirability of aging and death, are irrelevant to the nature and purpose of my comments about them, and of of my overall characterization of them. Linus Pauling was one of the few minds I’d class near Newton’s, and had he seen Rosie Franklin’s X-ray crystallographs of DNA and intuited its structure correctly, I’d have ranked him with Newton. He was the antithesis of P&S: respectable, erudite, and for most of his life, a careful scientist. But his work on vitamin C was bunk and his wild claims for it ludicrous. This does not mean that there was not factual material present in his books and papers about vitamin C, just that the overall message was WRONG and that, on balance, it almost certainly did more harm than good. 

I just sanded the pyrolysis products off the text blocks of P&S’s two books and “restored” the covers and dust jackets with a wipe down with drain cleaner. Ironically, their two books survived the fire, when so many, many more valuable ones were lost. It’s hard not to peruse the books I’m cleaning and I had looked through Life Extension just a few days ago. If you turn to page 468-469 of the first edition you will see a list of supplements they take:

Based on the clinical literature of the last two decades, the protocol listed above would  be expected to cause significant statistical morbidity and mortality. The doses of niacin used are associated with increased Type II diabetes, increased overall mortality, and no show benefit in decreasing CVD. The doses of vitamin E, from the lowest to the highest, are associated with a large increase in intracranial bleeding. Chronic use of vasopressin is not innocuous and is associated with increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Vitamin C in doses of 3 grams QD is associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and systemic injury due to its up-regulation of the Fenton reaction – even in the presence of other antioxidant vitamins. 

Their suggestion of sex hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for post-menopausal women nothing short of disastrous. Today, this treatment is used only in the most intractable cases of post menopausal syndrome for shortest possible period of time, and then only with the clear understanding that it is likely to significantly raise the risk of reproductive cancers. So many women that I personally knew in the life extension community used HRT, that it ended up being more common for them to have a reproductive cancer, than not – especially breast cancer. I think the very high incidence I’ve observed was due to far earlier and far more aggressive use of HRT than was the case for women given this treatment in the general population. 

The majority of the molecules they recommended for specific diseases, such as BHT for Herpes, and later for HIV, simply didn’t work, or were far more toxic and vastly less effective than ethical pharmaceutical drugs available at that time. On a broader level, their message about the effective application of the scientific method, and about the validity of conclusions that should be drawn from animal studies was wrong, and anyone following their recommendations would be at much increased likelihood of suffering injury or death. I know of people who suffered from following these recommendations – some in ways that they and I still don’t understand. For instance, there is a medical physicist whom we both know who developed serious back pain while taking high dose vitamin C. This resolved after it was discontinued, however, even now, decades later, this individual cannot take supraphysiologic doses of vitamin C with a return of the back pain – which turned out to be renal in origin. 

Both Scientology and the Catholic Church have true and valid things in their teachings, and both do charitable works that most would agree have merit. Similarly, both institutions have decent and caring people in them. Nevertheless, this doesn’t absolve them from the characterization of being purveyors of irrational nonsense, and not infrequently of verifiable, outright falsehoods. They are thus under the same umbrella as Tele-evangelists and itinerant tent preachers and at their core, they are profoundly anti-intellectual, anti-science and anti-reason, no matter how much they may cloak themselves in any of these things. 

It’s entirely reasonable to classify individuals and institutions in this way, just as it is entirely reasonable to classify Hitler as an evil, ruthless, dictator, even though he loved animals, was kind to (some) children and was beloved as a boss by virtually all of his employees.

Mike Darwin

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About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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