LONGEVITY REPORT no 18
note - graphics that were in the paper edition have been deleted in order to save web space. They were just there the liven it up, they were not illustrations or figures. Original date of publication probably December 1989 - no mention on front cover.
Status Report John de Rivaz
Hydergine (letter) Mark Davies
The Mike Zehse Letter Mike Zehse
The Cats Ate the Rats and the Rats Ate the Cats Bob Brakeman
Religion (letter) Edward P. Bell
Adventures with Hydergina M. Sankey
Germanium Scare John de Rivaz
Locating a Biostasis Centre James V--
Ginko Biloba and Hydergine Steve Gallant
Geopathic Stress and Rotating Magnets Suzanne R. Stebbing
Lifepact: an Update Linda Chamberlain
Unemployment, State Support, and Cryonics (letter) Brian Haines
I tried to get cryonics opponent Dr David Pegg to state his viewpoint in Longevity Report, but regretfully he declined. He always complains that he is never given the opportunity to state his case against it on the media, but it is interesting to note that when given the opportunity to address everyone in the country interested in cryonics, he declines. I wonder if it is because he knows in his heart of hearts that he has no case to offer. I also wrote to the Bishop of Durham, who gets in the news because of his disbelief in the physical nature of the Resurrection, to see if he had any religious comments, but he replied through his social secretary that he was too busy travelling to deal with "this interesting idea". I am always on the lookout for fresh input to the debate.
From Mr Mark Davies
It is important that magazines like Longevity Report are supported so that we can be kept informed about nutrients, drugs (possible alternatives, eg Ginko Biloba as opposed to Hydergine), latest research and all current arguments about life extension and cryonics (or is it cryogenics?)
Thank you for your support of Longevity Report. I put your suggestion to Steve Gallant about comparing Ginko Biloba with Hydergine, and the resulting important article appears elsewhere in this issue. It would appear that those that are interested in Hydergine but unable to obtain it should look into Ginko Biloba seriously. The term Cryonics is used to describe the suspension process, where Cryogenics is anything to do with low temperatures. The word is rather silly, as there is no particle "the cryon", but it arose because cryogenics people often dislike the "mad scientist" image of cryonics, and it distances the two disciplines. It is unlikely that cryonics will remain on the fringe for very much longer, however, and it will be interesting to see if the name continues. Other more sensible alternatives have been suggested: "Cryostasis", "Biostasis", but neither has caught on.
From Mr Mike Zehse
I hope you noticed the Star article on Deprenyl amongst the cuttings that I sent you recently. Many thanks for Longevity Report no 17. Re the Status Report - as I mentioned before my own copy of Longevity Report is always passed on to someone who might conceivably be interested. I heartily agree with the astute judgement of Miss F. Davis (para 4), tho' I wish I had a way with money instead! (My way with words ain't marketable : wish it was.) [Are you sure - have you tried? I have heard that many successful writers receive many rejection slips before they strike it rich. - ed]
Can A.N. Blackall substantiate his allegation that Hydergine has been unofficially blacklisted by the NHS? I can vouch for the rapacity of some chemists:
I used to obtain Ritalin on a private prescription and paid a few pounds in Boots for the pharmacist to dispense it. Eventually the manufacturers ceased to distribute this drug except on a "named patient" basis - where the doctor has to negotiate each individual allocation with the manufacturer. The pharmacist in Boots told me he couldn't get them anymore though I might be able to get the last remaining stock from another chemist. I trudged around several chemists until I found one who had some Ritalin. This was an up market pharmacy in Baker Street. The smug manager informed me that as he only had a few left he intended to charge me #80 for 80 pills, that's #1 per tablet! I said I thought this was a bit excessive when I'd only been paying three or four pounds in Boots. "Take it or leave it!" was his response.
[I looked it up. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant indicated for functional behavioral problems in children (minimal brain dysfunction, hyperkinesis) and narcolepsy. (Uncontrollably dropping into a deep sleep). Both were treated in my schooldays at public (ie private) schools by hitting the child with a piece of wood, usually bamboo, until he pulled himself together and behaved himself. Those suffering from narcolepsy in Latin classes received their treatment in front of the class. As far as I know no prescription was required for the bamboo.
To be serious, the contra-indications and effects are worrying, especially in view of Mr Zehse's subsequent case history. Included in a long list are angina pectoris, tachyarrythmias, and dependency on drugs or alcohol. Extreme caution in prescription is urged, as the drug can cause dependence, abnormal behaviour and frank psychotic episodes. The drug is on the Home Office list. Frankly I think the pharmacist who tried to rip off Mr Zehse was in reality doing him a favour. If readers refer to his previous accounts of his escapades, when the "abnormal behaviour" appears to present itself, and his account of his subsequent heart condition leading to surgery, then they may conclude that these events have been aggravated by his time on Ritalin. In short, based on the correspondence I have received, it looks like a promising life afflicted by Ritalin, and I am not surprised it is no longer manufactured. Mr Zehse may like to have a word with the doctor who first prescribed it. - ed] What a depressing letter from Susan Blackmore. It's not even cogent.
The sanctity of ground rents: I suppose England has got continuity of tradition tho' I'm not sure I'd rely on continuance continuing. [Property ownership could be beyond anyone resurrected from cryonic suspension because although artifacts such as computers, and the equipment to perform the resurrections, will be dirt cheap the price of property will be set by the number of people wanting it. Therefore if there is some way they can take property with them this ought to be tried. -ed]
Can you explain your jest re Dr James Robertson? [Surely you have heard of James Robertson Justice, who plays the bad tempered surgeon and similar characters? - ed]
Mr John Taylor said "I'd rather not be brought back than find I'm not the person I thought I was." How would he know?
I have an idea re the membrane hypothesis of ageing, page 6. If one were to topically apply mashed banana to the scalp every night and morning, would this have a salutary effect? Where on earth does Steve Gallant consult all those esoteric references?
Linda Chamberlain is merely updating Pascal's Wager. The French mathematician and philosopher, when taxed with his decision to invest faith in God, retorted that it was a worthwhile gamble. If wrong, it would have been a harmless diversion: if right, he would gain the possibility of eternal life.
I don't blame Mike Darwin from changing his name from Federowicz. What a disgusting moniker. If I ever met someone with such an obscene name I ... [Karen insisted I edit this bit out - ed] ... I'd helpfully suggest an immediate name change. I suppose I shall have to contemplate a name change myself if names of foreign extraction are to be verboten. [It was suggested by Rita Aero in The Complete Book of Longevity (regretfully not available from us) that those whose names begin with the letters S to Z have more health problems than those whose names begin with A to R, and the former perished 12 years earlier than the average. People with strange names often do badly at school, and are persecuted by the teachers and fellow pupils. Ms Aero suggests that an unusual name may be life shortening. Mr Zehse makes lots of jokes about contributors' names which I usually edit out. -ed]
Bad Karma (redacted by R.E. Lane): Evil and negative people don't usually have much of a conscience. I'm not convinced that people always get their just desserts. [Quite so, but the longer they live the more chance there is that they'd get the just desserts. - ed]
Re Benjamin Best's letter: There's an interesting article on body water in The Sciences, journal of the NY Academy of Sciences. I've just sent this to Mike Price and will ask him to send it to you to send to Mr Best. $35,000 seems a lot for PCI. I have to endorse Mr Best's defusion of your enthusiasm re Mensa (why are you displaying it?) [Exercise for the readership - is it enthusiasm or satirisation? -ed] In general, Mensans tend to be (like me) self selecting failures: people who can't hack it in real life and use Mensa membership as a psychological crutch, although there are exceptions. Symbolic dexterity in IQ tests doesn't necessarily equate with developing intelligence in any real or meaningful case. On the rare occasion when I have attended a Mensa meeting I'm often repelled by an aura of simpering self-congratulation and complacency: based on the great achievement of joining Mensa. Theoretically 2% of the population would be able to score at or above the entry level for Mensa. I think the current British membership is about 38,000 out of a potential 1.2 million. (2% of 60 million UK population approx.)
Perhaps Steve Whitrow should submit his latest screed to Running magazine, tho' they might cavil at the brand names.
The latest Lancet reports a 30% differential study of second fatal heart attacks, between those taking fatty fish oils after a first heart attack and those not taking the fish after a first heart attack. A startling statistic! Both cohorts adopted a sensible low-fat diet and were otherwise matched. Fish eating seemed to prove its worth. I'm reporting this from radio news - I haven't read the article.
What's the Foresight Institute? Chris Peterson: My grandmother's name was Peterson. I sent a recent Times technology article (Sept 14) on Nanotechnology and "picotechnology" to Garret Smyth and have asked him to forward copies to you and Chris. [The Foresight Institute, of Box 61058, Palo Alto, California 94306, USA publish a newsletter about Nanotechnology. It was founded to further the ideas of Eric Drexler, writer of Engines of Creation. They don't state a proper price for their newsletter, but ask for donations in excess of $25 per year. They stress that they require substantial donations from residents of overseas countries to pay postage and the hassle of sending overseas. A lot of money appears to have been put into producing a professional looking newsletter, unless someone "does it at work." -ed]
In regard to the siting of cryonic facilities, the greenhouse effect may cause sea levels to surge: London and Los Angeles may be flooded. Evidently, the possibility of drastic climatological change needs to be borne in mind.
The Voyager probe recently confirmed the state of Triton, satellite of Neptune, as being composed largely of frozen nitrogen. An ideal place for a major Mizar facility? Or perhaps the original occupants of the outer planets are already there, frozen in situ, awaiting resurrection?
As I have written before, the difficulties of a serious rise in sea levels would be apparent to the individual and to cryonics groups long before the actual water did any harm. The economic and politic disruption would result in much tighter government control around the world, and it may well be impossible to practise any form of immortalism. Even if direct legal intervention was slight, loss of personal freedom through vastly increased direct and indirect taxation and inflation would be substantial.
Yet I am more optimistic than most. It is notable that some people predict heating, and others cooling. They can't both be right, and the sum total may well be just life as we know it going on for the few hundred more years needed to develop the nanotechnology that will make immortalism possible. After that, the Earth can do what it likes. If we don't like it, nanotechnology may give us the power to change it, or alternatively leave the planet altogether.
It amuses me how conservationists like to preserve the status quo regardless of how sensible it is. Here they are mad keen on preserving heathlands or downs, consisting of heather and gorse. I am happy with that as I like heather and gorse, but this environment only exists because earlier generations cut down the trees that used to grow here. It could be regarded as the result of their "pillaging the environment". The atmosphere of this entire planet could be regarded as a polluted one on the basis that before life arose we had a Jovian type ammonia and methane atmosphere. This was changed (polluted?) to the present nitrogen and oxygen one by the action of life.
Burial on Triton is a nice idea, if it weren't so expensive to get there! If Garret Smyth finds the north of England or Scotland cold and miserable, I don't think he would take kindly to your idea if it meant him living on Triton. Some space travel enthusiasts are predicting that a successor to the rocket needs to be found before the space frontier is opened up to a mass exodus. It is likely that nanotechnology may produce such a vehicle at some point, and maybe this'll be after it has revived the cryonic patients anyway.
The Cats Ate The Rats, & the Rats Ate the Cats
by Bob Brakeman
Songs, and TV skits, & free verse, & limericks, & short stories have all been written around the premise contained in that title. The usual idea involves a money-making (& loony) scheme, one in which the co-conspirators will breed cats for sale; they will have no continuing overhead, because they'll provide a few initial rats, and after that the cats would dine on the rats, who in turn (those not eaten) would dine on cats who happened to die of natural causes---and so on to the hundredth generation. No green currency has ever been produced by that scheme, but there may be some intellectual currency in a variation of it.
Ascension Island may take its name from something that never happened, but the island itself (this is almost definite) is really out there.
"Out there" is the South Atlantic Ocean, 1000 miles from any continental land mass. The island (34 square miles) was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Joao de Nova in the first year of the sixteenth century. Then in 1815 it was grabbed by the British. The naval detachment they put there had as its primary responsibility guarding the approaches to another island, Saint Helena, home to a prisoner named Napoleon. But for those interested in the structure of the natural world, the animal inhabitants of Ascension are most important than the political inhabitants of Saint Helena.
Religious mystics have on occasion pointed to the fauna of Ascension as an example of God's Great Plan in action. The fauna they have in mind: the island's population of terns. Those gull-like seabirds actually only visit the island to nest, and it's what happens during that nesting period each year that fires up the mystics: There is always substantial predation against the nesting terns, and it sometimes goes beyond "substantial" to "massive". But always the predators stop short of annihilating the entire population of terns. Always. The consistent tendency to always leave some of the tern flock alive prompts the looneys to say "Isn't it wonderful how God's providence ensures that these creatures shall not become extinct?!"
They're right about the nonextinction but wrong about its cause - cats. They're the key factors in the Ascension Island life/death cycle.
They were introduced by the British, to carry out the role defined in the title of this article. Rats had been on the island since they'd jumped-ship the day the Portuguese first showed up, and by the 1800s there seemed to be about one- rodent-per square-inch. The British Navy was correct in thinking that feral cats would go through rats like a politician through the Treasury, but it didn't occur to the Admiralty that the cats might also become addicted to Tern Quarter-Pounders and Big Terns (some say that the setting sun produces the imprint of golden arches on the hills of Ascension Island). The hundreds/thousands of cats found the seabirds at least as tasty as their Rat Entrées*, and soon the tern population was under seige. Because cats of all sizes are born efficient killers, soon the continued existence of the nesting- tern population was in doubt. But what happened each nesting season was that the terns would group themselves in a gigantic circle ("Circle the wagons!"). The cats would begin attacking those on the perimeter and then work their way inward. The nesting cycle would end and the birds in the middle would make their escape a couple of days before the cats had worked their way all the way to the centre of the group. (The cats operated only at night, which slowed their progress enough to allow the inner ring to survive the several weeks necessary for nesting).
So what happened the surviving terns had gotten their passports & left town? The cats began to die, gradually, of starvation. Since they'd done a real good job of permanently eliminating the rat population, and since no birds were permanent residents (remember the terns only went there annually to nest), once the surviving terns flew off there was nothing to sustain the cats, and they began to die. By the time the birds returned to nest again, the cat population had been reduced to just a small fraction of its former level, which meant (this is the crucial point) that there were so few cats that they could only dent the tern population, not eliminate it. If the returning terns had faced a Full Cat Squad they would have been completely annihilated (one cat can kill dozens of birds each night), but since the returning birds faced only a Depleted Cat Squad, the feline killers could only do a little damage and inevitably produced the result which the loonily mystical found so wonderful: A Tern Remnant which always survived to (A) fly away and (B) return next time.
As with thousands of other natural phenomena and natural scenarios, the correct explanation of why things happened in this case was a natural explanation, not a supernatural one. The Tern Club continued to survive because over millions of years they'd accidentally/randomly fallen into a quirky natural balance with their Friendly Local Predators, not because Zeus or one of his flunkies said "Those are cute seabirds; I believe I'll let 17 survive the Cat Time".
This Who-Gets-Eaten saga appears here in its reincarnated form. In its first life it was a test-case directed at two reporters with major metropolitan daily newspapers. Each was a friend of mine, and I was encouraging each to (A) think more rationally about the nature of the universe & (B) as an extension of that first point, to give some favourable publicity to the rational way to deal with one facet of that universe - death. I was trying to get them to publicize cryonics favourably, and that attempt led to discussions of the natural world in general. Those discussions led to the story of the cats eating the birds when they ran out of rats. Both people were well-read and quasi-erudite, and they had heard of the Ascension Island saga before I mentioned it. Both had heard only the miraculous version of events, not the naturalistic version I described to them. When that explanation was over, the two of them divided themselves into what we might call (to borrow from cardiological terms) Type A and Type B personalities: Type A was the good guy. He'd taken a dim/sceptical view of the miraculous version of who some terns always survived, and the related positively to the actual explanation. That reaction led in turn (in tern?) to our having some additional discussions on the natural world in general, and, more specifically, on the place of the life-extension technologies within that world. Those discussions in turn led to a willingness on his part to do a series of favourable articles on cryonics, along the lines of those we caused to be published in a chain of midwestern city-magazines (Lansing Magazine, Flint Magazine) etc. in the 1970s. (His articles will, similarly, appear in several citymags, early in 1990.) The Type B person had a reaction which (1) I had not anticipated & (2) I should have anticipated, with my cynical-beyond-cynical view of the human intellect.
In saying above that I had not anticipated the reaction about to the described, I meant that I felt any hearer of the Tern Saga would fall into one of two groups: Those who reacted by saying "Oh, I thought there had to be a logical explanation for the thing - I thought the Miracle Bit about God's Providence was not the answer" (like the Type A guy); or those who reacted by saying that our cat-explanation was wrong, that somehow we'd gotten bad factual information, that decreasing cat numbers had nothing to do with allowing some terns to survive - and that, in general, we blew it.
But Type B's reaction was different. He cheerfully accepted my data as being factually accurate - then he equally cheerfully gave the Deity credit for having enough cats die to save some of the terns. In other words, even if we can prove God didn't do it - God did it.
Further discussions with him were, understandably and predictably, not productive. Because our scientific proof that a nonmystical force had nothing to do with a natural phenomenon only proved to him that it had plenty to do with it, he was not impressed with our worldview, and therefore he could not be led into discussions of the role of cryonics and other life- extension technologies within that overall worldview. So there'll be no pro-cryonics articles out of that lad.
This story of the cats who ate the rats & then went on to the terns has an additional kind of relevance for immortalists, beyond the fact that it was used as a wedge to try to interest a couple of journalists in doing some cryonics articles: In trying to convert the Great Public to immortalism, and in stressing nonmystical worldviews as part of that attempt, we need to be aware that for some people, absolute proof that God didn't do it will be turned into absolute proof that God did it. With Mr Type B, that took the form of taking our proof that cats were the causative agent & turning it into proof that God was the causative agent behind the cats; in the immortalist wars of the future it'll probably take the form of taking proof that technology has been able to reanimate 67 frozen humans & turning it into proof that God was the cause of the existence of the scientists who did the reanimating. Two reactions to that kind of thinking are possible: We (immortalists) could say to ourselves, "That's OK if they want to give Deities the credit; as long as people are suspended/reanimated, who cares who/what gets the credit/". Or we could say: "Are people who think like that worth saving?" My own answer: I'd sooner freeze/revive the cats who ate the rats & the rats who are the cats. (I would include the terns, but a cat I know says they are at the best when barbecued, not frozen).
* Both parts of our article-title came true, for the rats did indeed survive, in the beginning, by munching on dead cat burgers.
A dictionary definition of the word "god" is supreme, omnipotent being. Omnipotent means all powerful, ie anything he wants he can do get, or have. Therefore it is quite correct of the "B Types" to say that the natural explanation is all part of God's plan.
The problem is, that if you accept that God is all powerful and that everything that happens is his will, then you also have to accept that things like cancer, aging, famine, earthquakes, wars, concentration camps etc. are also his will. This defeats the "benevolent God" argument of current religious belief.
Personally I believe the arguments about whether God exists, and whether he is benevolent or not, are not vital to the choice as to whether to practise Immortalism.
If there is a benevolent God, then his plan for us isn't going to be thwarted by a simple act of cryonic suspension. If God is hostile or indifferent or non-existent, then all we can do is our very best to stay alive and healthy as long as possible. To some people, Immortalism may not be worth the effort, but to turn away from it simply because of the belief, based upon no sound repeatable fact, of a theological afterlife is plain daft.
It is important to remember:
1. People love mysteries, and want to believe the impossible. Hence the newspaper stories of Elvis Presley being alive, ghosts, UFOs, and a sighting of a WW2 Lancaster bomber on the moon. Why should the past be any different. Religions are just long running stories that pre-date Richard Murdoch. It is worth recalling that The New Testament wasn't written down until after the lifetime of everyone who could possibly have eyewitnessed the events depicted therein.
2. Constant repetition of an unverifiable statement makes it appear true. This is why religions evolved worship. It repeats the creed or list of beliefs. Any religions that don't involve worship eventually lose out to those that do, hence worship based religions predominate. Elvis will never beat Jesus, because Sunday Sport readers don't sing about Elvis being alive and repeat creeds about it every week!
From Mr Edward P. Bell
I feel I must take issue with your comment added to the letter of Miss F. Davis in Longevity Report 17. This reader's friend is quite right to point out to her neighbour, that, as The Bible says, "the wages of sin is death". The reference to hell in this way is common amongst Christians in Church. It is not meant to be some child's fable to chastise but a reference to the written teachings of God recorded in The Bible.
It is quite wrong to associate in any way with horoscopes. The Lord Jesus Christ warned us that the evil we face every day is enough without looking to the evils of tomorrow. The Church is taught to use prophesy to predict the possible future and thereby allow peoples to repent of their sins and avoid the predicted future. Nineveh, a city in the Book of Jonah, was to be destroyed by God for it's sins. When Jonah came and predicted their future they repented and God spared them.
The Bible in the words of Jesus Christ clearly says that unless you repent and are born again you cannot enter the Kingdom of God. To be outside is without doubt a kind of Hell. All that is asked of us is that we repent and be
As far Karate it teaches one thing and one thing only and that is how to respond with violence. I have no personal views on yoga and no experience to comment.
I must say that I thought Karate taught self discipline and fitness, and gave people the confidence to know that they could look after themselves if offered violence. Often a person armed with such confidence is able to prevent a violent incident from even starting. Maybe there is a Karate enthusiast amongst our readership who would like to comment.
I would also refer readers to my commentary to Mr Brakeman's article elsewhere.
Adventures with Hydergina
Recently, in Spain, I was able to obtain some Hydergine (in Spain, Hydergina), without a prescription, from the third chemist I tried. I steeled myself for a tussle with customs, but they were more interested in some white powder they had found. Her Majesty's Chemistry Set was duly produced ... this being a small case containing four or five bottles and some utensils. The officers appeared to know nothing about these, beyond how to use them. The bottles were labelled "cocaine reactor", etc., no chemical names. To my astonishment the test proved positive, but the mystery was cleared up when the instruction leaflet was consulted. Apparently cocaine and lactose react to the same test, so if your supplements contain lactose, be warned.
Anyone wishing to do as I did should probably get in quickly, as Spain is busy cleaning up her act for 1992 and respectability. This could be why I was unable to persuade the Spanish chemist to part with Dilantin. Probably it would help to arm oneself with a few copies of Mr Gallant's letter from the Home Office. It would be interesting to hear from someone who has tried both Hydergine and its "vitamin counterparts" and can compare their efficiency. [see Steve Gallant's article this issue -ed.] Also has anyone had dealings with the American drug company Mr Gallant mentions? It is tantalising to read his descriptions of useful substances and not to be able to get hold of them. Perhaps it is time for a UK register of doctors sympathetic to life extension. Incidentally, the BMA is currently working hard to ensure that "natural medicines" come under the same unnecessary and unreasonable restrictions as the other kind by 1992. So if you want to ensure your continuing supply of Ginko Biloba, or whatever, now is the time to write to your Euro MP.
I found my supply of Hydergina well worth the trouble of obtaining it. I took my first dose at about six one evening. An hour or so later, with a recklessness wholly out of place in a life extender, I allowed myself one glass of wine. On turning out the light that night, I experienced mild hallucinations. I surmise this was due to the salicylate content of the wine. There is a warning against salicylates in the packet, but not one against alcohol. However no harm was done and the pictures were pleasant.
I am sure that if Mr de Rivaz prints this he will add the usual cautions. [No - you've done it for me! - ed]
Several readers kindly sent us cuttings re the recent Germanium scare. It seems that some health food retailers were selling Germanium in forms other than the sesquioxide recommended by our literature. These other forms of germanium are poisonous. Unfortunately the furore has caused the Department of Health to order the withdrawal of ALL germanium products, including those that are beneficial. Dr George Pollock, Coventry's director of public health, is quoted as stating that people suffering from AIDS or myalgic encephalomyelitis were turning to Germanium for help as establishment medicine fails to cure them. Dr Pollock's warning included a statement that "There is no evidence at all that Germanium has any nutritional value or is beneficial to health in any way." It is a pity that the genuine aspects of this scare has given rise to such a load of nonsense!
Mr Sydney Shaw, of 39, Drewstead Road, Streatham, London, SW16 1LY, has a number of health and longevity books to exchange or sell. He will send a list on request.
Locating a Biostasis Centre - Care Required.
There has been a lot written in these columns on the subject of the location of a cryonics centre. Most of these have revolved around the issue of cost, desirability as a workplace, tone of the area, (ie susceptibility to vandalism or burglary), and convenience for the majority of clients (practicability of transporting remains to the Outer Hebrides every time a fatality occurs). [I never recommended the Outer Hebrides, only the depressed areas of northern England! - ed.]
While these are all certainly very important points to remember, there is another factor which farsighted people, (which all immortalists should be) ought to take into consideration. That is the danger some locations may be in from natural forces if the Greenhouse Effect does its worst.
It is estimated that global warming could cause the sea level to rise between one and five metres in the next fifty years. Taking the worst case, the two maps published in the Radio Times, copyrighted by the "Ark Project" with permission to reproduce for environmental purposes, show the probable effects of a five meter rise on the maps of Britain and London respectively.
In some areas the results are almost catastrophic. Vast areas of London simply disappear a the Thames Barrage proves inadequate against the rising water table. Huge chunks of East Anglia, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire are inundated. Glasgow and Bristol all but disappear as do Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. On the Western side, Morecombe vanished beneath Morecombe Bay, Blackpool becomes an island, (would that be good or bad for tourism?) and all of central Lancashire west of an imaginary line between Liverpool and Preston becomes again the sea it was in prehistoric times. Liverpool itself will lose its northern suburbs (no great loss some would say!) and its northern towns like Southport and Crosby. Opposite, the northern part of the Wirral peninsula is flooded, (ending, perhaps the plans for rebuilding of New Broghton Tower, once higher than Blackpool Tower, although he map is ambiguous as to whether New Brighton is lost), as the river Mersey widens and creeps right through mid Cheshire.
Further south, we can see chunks being lost along the coast of Wales, in the West Country Barnstaple and Penzance look doomed, [so would Porthtowan, Falmouth, and Truro, but I'd be the proud owner of a private island - ed] and the south coast, which is sinking at a rate of a foot per century anyway.
I am well aware that what I have outlined above is an extreme scenario, and I do not wish to go in for scaremongering. We get enough of that and more from the Greens and the CND etc. I also realise that even in this extreme case, the UK would get off relatively lightly compared to some countries, eg the USA (whose eastern coastline might be pushed back to the Appalacians with the loss of New York, Washington, Boston etc.), China (what would be the effect on world politics?), the Netherlands, Egypt, and Bangladesh (the worst hit of all.)
Nonetheless I do believe that we should prepare for the worst just in case, and take these factors into account when choosing a location for cryonics establishments. We should also look into the possible effects of worsening overcrowding caused by the loss of land to the sea may have on public attitudes to cryonics and the possible restoration of the legally "dead" to an already overcrowded planet. In all, this really makes a very strong case for the expansion of the human race off planet onto O'Neill satellites throughout the Solar System.
See page 6 for my view on the greenhouse/ice age argument. If Mr V-- and his associates at the Space Settlers' Society can give us some idea as to how to make space vehicles that are as cheap and indiv-idualistic as cars, them maybe we'll take notice. However it seems to me that space, far from being the ideal environment for the individualist, as it is so often painted in science fiction, is really for the organisation man, and what's more for the organisation man who is readily prepared to "kneel to the axe" if it is for the good of his fellows.
I do not see how one can have people all "doing their own thing" in a space colony. Everyone will have to pull their weight to the orders of the governor for the colony to survive. Parallels with the Wild West are not valid. In the Wild West people did not need to take their own air supply, for example, and although the environment was proved to be fragile in historic terms, at the time it looked capable of supporting anything. I am not a National Socialist or Hitler supporter, but it seems to be that the science of a space station forces a totally authoritarian regime for it to be practicable. As readers of The Biostasis Letter know, Mizar now have located their facility in Sussex.
GINKGO BILOBA AND HYDERGINE: A COMPARISON.
By Steve Gallant
About 10% of people aged 65 years and over suffer from mild to moderate dementia. Approximately 50-60% of this patient population are presently believed to suffer from senile dementia of the Alzheimer type. The incidence of senile dementia is increasing and the search for drugs to alleviate the symptoms is intensifying. Ginkgo biloba extract and Hydergine are two drugs which offer some benefit in the treatment of senile dementia.
Ginkgo biloba extract is a well-defined and complex product prepared from the green leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree. The extract contains various chemical substances, such as the Ginkgo-flavone glycosides and terpenoids which are characteristic of Ginkgo and have a unique structure.
Hydergine is the proprietary name of a prescription-only drug consisting of a precise mixture of ergot alkaloid derivatives. The drug is widely used to treat the symptoms of senile dementia.
The scientific study of Ginkgo biloba extract has required many years of experiments both in the organism and in various model systems of ischaemia (deficiency of blood in a part of the body), hypoxia (reduction of oxygen supply to a tissue below physiological levels despite adequate blood supply to the tissue) and experimental cerebral tissue distress. Ginkgo biloba is a mixture of several active substances, with specific properties interfering with each other and making the task of discovering Ginkgo's mechanism of action very difficult.
Likewise, the mechanism of action of Hydergine is not entirely clear at the present time.
Both Ginkgo biloba and Hydergine are effective free-radical scavengers. Ginkgo biloba has proved to be a remarkable inhibitor of free radical damage to cell membranes. The cell membrane gradually loses its semipermeable properties (which are necessary for life) with increasing age due to the action of free radicals.
Ginkgo Biloba and Brain Ageing.
The signs and symptoms of brain ageing are not the same in all animal species or in individuals of the same species. The rat is an animal whose brain ageing is similar to that seen in humans.
Three types of disorders due to ageing have been demonstrated in elderly rats: reduced blood circulation in certain areas of the brain1, reduced uptake of glucose by brain cells, a reduced amount of essential neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine2.
Oral treatment with Ginkgo biloba extract has been shown to restore normal function to rats whose behavioral performances have been diminished by age3.
The beneficial results in aged rats may be explained by the fact that Ginkgo biloba preferentially increases the blood flow to those areas of the brain that are most affected by ageing4. Ginkgo biloba extract also improves dopamine turnover4 and increases the density of acetylcholine receptors in the brain. These mechanisms probably contribute to the therapeutic effects of Ginkgo biloba in the memory deficits and behavioral disorders of old age.
Ginkgo biloba has a very wide range of activities: it has effects on blood vessels, circulation, metabolism and the level of neurotransmitters all at the same time. Of all the available drug therapies ONLY Ginkgo biloba and Hydergine possess ALL these characteristics.
Therapeutic Use of Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo biloba is used to treat all conditions characterised by ischaemia. In particular, Ginkgo biloba has been found useful in the treatment of defective vision, vertigo and hearing-loss.1
Ginkgo Biloba and Deafness.
Ischaemia is very often responsible for the sudden onset of deafness. At the end of a clinical trial of Ginkgo biloba in deafness, those patients receiving Ginkgo biloba showed significant recovery.2
Ginkgo Biloba and Tinnitus.
Ginkgo biloba improves the condition of all tinnitus patients.3
Treatment of Vertigo with Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo biloba has been proven effective on the intensity, frequency and duration of vertigo. At the end of one study 47% of the treated patients were free of their symptoms, as against 18% of those who received placebo.4
Ginkgo Biloba Extract in the Treatment of Brain Disorders due to Ageing.
The effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of brain disorders due to ageing has been tested under the most strict conditions. The results have confirmed that Ginkgo biloba produces significant effects particularly after the third month of treatment.
All the data collected so far indicate that Ginkgo biloba has a therapeutic effect in dementia. The effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba on memory and intellectual efficiency is closely linked to it's activity in mood disturbances. This link has lead some scientists to ask whether the improvements in memory are solely due to improvements of mood and relief from depression. The improvements in memory due to Hydergine have been claimed to arise from improved mood. According to other investigators this dual result is due to the fact that memory and mood depend on the same type of neurochemical transmission.
One study on this subject analysed the effects of Ginkgo biloba on intellectual processes in healthy subjects5. A battery of psychometric (systematic measurement of mental processes and behavioral acts) tests was used at the same time as a mood-evaluation scale. A single dose of 600mg Ginkgo biloba enhanced memory, but the subjective evaluation scale showed no effect on mood; this supports the hypothesis that intellectual performances are independent of those which affect mood. These beneficial effects on memory without an influence on mood or the waking state in healthy subjects suggest that Ginkgo biloba may effectively prevent age-related deterioration by acting on different neurochemical systems, so improving intellectual efficiency and mood, although the transmitter system might be the same.5
Effects of Ginkgo Biloba on Cerebral Functional Activity.
EEG is the only convenient method for functional exploration of the brain. The results of studies carried out in the elderly and in healthy volunteers have confirmed the results of clinical trials, notably the activity of Ginkgo biloba extract on alertness and intellectual performance.6
Activity of Ginkgo biloba on Short-Term Memory.
In a double blind clinical trial Ginkgo biloba was compared to placebo. Short-term memory was found to be very significantly improved following 600mg of Ginkgo biloba extract as compared to placebo. The results differentiate Ginkgo biloba from other drugs and suggest a specific effect on memory processes.
Ginkgo Biloba and Dementia.
Dementia can arise from a number of different causes. Ginkgo biloba has been used to treat dementia resulting from any cause and the experimental data suggests that Ginkgo biloba improves intellectual function rather than slowing deterioration.
Two arguments suggest that Ginkgo biloba may be useful in the early stages of dementia. Firstly, Ginkgo biloba is active in healthy volunteers on both memory functions5 and cerebral electrical activity6. Then the results obtained on the capacity for binding acetylcholine to receptors in rats show that Ginkgo biloba may be of use.
These data are important, since they demonstrate that patients should be treated in the early stage of dementia in order for the therapeutic effect to be maximal before the deterioration has become to advanced.
Many categories of elderly patients should benefit from the therapeutic properties of Ginkgo biloba. In addition to its frequent use in patients suffering from vascular disorders, the experimental data indicate that Ginkgo biloba should be effective in dementias in general, and even in patients in whom the decrease in intellectual function is related to a depressive state, because of its beneficial effects on mood. Ginkgo biloba is very well tolerated, even at much higher dosages than those which are ordinarily recommended.
The dosage used in the various scientific studies of Ginkgo biloba has varied from 120mg up to 600mg per day. The high dose of 600mg improves cerebral efficiency and mental performance in healthy volunteers, but in elderly people lower doses such as 120mg per day are effective. The longer the treatment is continued, the more obvious and lasting the result. There seems to be no advantage in using doses higher than 160mg per day in long-term treatments.
1) Sokoloff, L. Effects of normal aging on cerebral circulation and energy metabolism. In : Brain function in old age. Evaluation of changes and disorders. Hoffmeister, F., Mueller, C. Eds., Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 1979, 367
2) Samorajski, T. Normal and pathologic aging of the brain in brain neurotransmitters and receptors in aging and age-related disorders. In: Aging, vol 17. Enna, S.J. Ed. Raven Press, New York, 1981, 1-12
3) Continella, G., Drago, F. Behavioral effects of Ginkgo biloba extract. In: Effects of Ginkgo biloba on organic cerebral impairment, Agnoli, A., Rapin, J.R., Scapagnini, V., Weitbrecht, W.V., Eds., John Libbey, London 1985
4) Rapin, J.R., Le Poncin-Lafitte, M. Modele experimental d'ischemie cerebrale. Action preventive de l'extrait de Ginkgo biloba. Sem. Hop., Paris, 1979, 55, 42-43
5) Subhan, Z., Hindmarch, I The psychopharmacological effects of Ginkgo biloba extractin normal healthy volunteers. Internat. J. Clin. Pharmacol. Res., 1984, 4, 89-93
6) Kugler, J., Krauskopf, R., Hauser, B. Increased performance and vigilance changes in cerebrovascular insufficiency after 60 days of treatment with Roekan or with dihydroergotoxin methanesulphonate (DHETM); an electroencephalographic and psychometric study.
Geopathic Stress and Rotating Magnets
by Suzanne R. Stebbing
I am interested in readers' opinions on geopathic stress and rotating magnets as a possible cure.
I tried using a rotating magnet on some droopy mustard and cress. [Ms Stebbing sent me a leaflet on the product. It consists of an electric motor with a small magnet on the shaft, protected by a plastic cover. It appears to be about the size of an electric toothbrush, and its retail price is said to be 200, although the particular leaflet was offering it for a little under 100.] About 60 minutes later it was standing up looking fresh. It has also been used on a relation who had arthritis in the legs and knees. After several weeks of treatment combined with spa water from Wales which contained natural iron, the arthritis slowly improved with the swelling gone down and pain eased. This is osteoarthritis. She is not yet cured but there is no doubt as to the improvement which is continuing. Strength is also returning to the bone structure. Anti-oxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are also combined with the treatment such as Life Extension Mix or Cernilton Pollen tablets from Sweden.
The rotating magnet field therapy was also used on a Lacerta Gallotia lizard from Teneriffe suffering from a tumour near its nose. It could not breathe properly or eat some weeks ago, but now the tumour is diminishing although still present. It no longer affects the health of the animal.
While at the first congress of Herpetology at Kent University in Canterbury in September, I met Kraig Adler, Secretary General of the Congress who is Professor of Biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He works with salamanders and their reaction to electro-magnetic fields. he has used rotating magnets on himself and he told me the treatment is entirely safe and he has used it for sometime and it rejuvenates the cells. He certainly looks amazingly young as he is 49 and looks only in his mid-thirties. I also met him in 1985 and he hasn't altered since then. He said I could experiment with magnets on lizards if they lose their tails so see if they rejuvenate longer.
I can supply information to any reader for an S.A.E. (Ms S.R. Stebbing, 41, Terminus Drive, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 6PR.)
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