Volume 3 no 26. First published April 1991. ISSN applied for.
Beyond DMSO Steve Gallant
And the Hunter Home From the Hill Bob Brakeman
RTL Offers Low Cost World Wide Video Conversion John de Rivaz
Alcor Disowns Bauge
Oramedics and Cryonics PAL Videos For Sale
Skin Aging and Tretinoin OMT
A Survey of Food Pertaining to Longevity Mark Sunlin
Postmortem Signup Assistance Trygve B. Bauge
With this issue we welcomed the artwork of Mr Bob Acton, but are not including it in the web edition, in order top save space. He is famous for his local "walk books". These describe circular walks that can be made in Cornwall, from a couple of miles up to seven or eight miles in length. The books describe points of interest along the walks, and provide sketches and photographs. Titles available include: A View from Carn Marth 2.50, A View from St Agnes Beacon 2.75, Around the Fal 2.70, Around the Helford, 2.95, Around Newquay, 2.70, A View from Carn Brea 2.95, Around the River Fowey, 2.95, Around Padstow, 3.30 The books are available by post from Landfall Publications, Landfall, Penpol, Devoran, Truro TR3 6NW. 40p post for one book, 25p each for subsequent ones.
by Steve Gallant, reprinted from Life Enhancement SIG
A chemical breakdown product of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) exists which has unique properties quite unlike the parent compound and could have tremendous potential for life enhancement.
This "new" substance is called methylsulphonylmethane or MSM. MSM is also widely known as Factor N, because of the belief that it helps maintain the body within normal or good health parameters. The biochemical precursors of MSM, the various salts of dimethyl sulphide, and even DMSO, are found in most of the foods that we eat. Conversion of precursors to MSM is carried out by enzymes. Unfortunately, unless our diet is almost solely milk, it appears that our bodies are possibly deficient.
MSM is a white crystalline substance which has no smell, almost no taste, and could be useful as a dietary supplement. Research has shown that a minimum concentration in the body may be critical to both normal function and structure.
The limited research so far suggests that the concentration of MSM in the body drops with increasing age. This may be due to dietary habits where food with lower MSM potential is consumed with maturity, or possibly there is a change in the way the kidneys excrete this substance. In the adult man, the circulating concentration varies but on average is 0.2-0.25 ppm.
The following abnormal conditions have responded to oral doses of MSM at doses of 250-750mg/day.
1) Response to allergy. Oral MSM moderates diverse allergic responses to pollen and foods. The need for anti-allergy medication and desensitization methods may be sharply reduced.
2) Control of hyperacidity. People that use antacids and drugs like Tagamet or Zantac prefer MSM because it provides relief from symptoms and is free of serious side effects.
3) Hypersensitivity to drugs. People with hypersensitivity to aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-anti-inflammatory drugs and oral antibiotics, were drug tolerant when MSM was given within an hour before or concurrent with the sensitizing drug.
4) Control of constipation. Particularly in older people, chronic constipation can be a real problem. Rapid and continuing relief can be obtained by supplementing the diet with 100 to 500mg of MSM per day.
5) MSM can reduce lung dysfunction.
6) Antiparasitic action. Laboratory tests suggest that MSM has activity against a variety of medically important parasitic problems. MSM is active against Giardia, Trichomonads, and round worms. MSM may effect such infections by competing for binding or receptor sites at the mucous membrane surface so blocking the interface between host and parasite.
It is not possible to directly compare DMSO and its derivative MSM, though of the same chemical family, each is unique in itself. MSM is a dietary factor obtainable from most natural foods. It is conveniently taken alone, or in foods. Taken by mouth, there is no after breath. DMSO has certain unpleasant attributes that are not possessed by MSM.
MSM is suggested for use to normalize body functions in people displaying symptoms of stress related illness, particularly, gastrointestinal upset, inflammation of mucous membranes and allergic reactions.
Previous research has shown MSM to be useful to soften, smooth, lubricate and preserve the pliancy of human tissues and also to reduce the brittleness of finger and toe nails. MSM has extremely low toxicity and has no effect on the body's essential biochemical processes - it can be used as a diluent for blood without upsetting the delicate blood chemistry.
A single oral dose of MSM is usually not enough to be effective. Therefore, MSM is usually taken in successive spaced doses, either periodically throughout the day or on successive days., or both, until results are obtained, e.g. for 2 to 21 days or even longer. The amount of MSM in each dose is usually not critical, particularly when several successive doses are used, because the ingested MSM builds-up in the body's tissues and fluids, i.e. it reaches an effective level. Individual doses of as low as 50mg are sometimes effective and doses as high as 1500mg or more are well tolerated. The usual individual dose is about 100-1000mg, preferably 250-2000mg. The effective dose depends to some extent on the nature and severity of the symptoms, the cause of those symptoms, and the MSM level in the blood prior to taking MSM. Healthy persons have MSM blood levels of at least 1 ppm and many patients have levels much lower than this. Enough MSM should be given to raise blood levels to above 0.5 ppm and preferably at least 1 ppm., e.g. to as high as 10-20 ppm. However, blood sampling for MSM content is usually not necessary, because the oral ingestion of amounts of MSM in excess of that required to elevate MSM blood levels is not harmful as MSM is essentially non-toxic.
Since MSM is naturally present in body fluids and tissues of most if not all normal mammals, its mechanism of treating the physiological symptoms of stress are less like that of a drug and more like a dietary supplement. Although MSM has not been established as a vitamin, no vitamin-deficiency type disease has been shown to occur in patients with abnormally low MSM blood levels, it does have a vitamin-like moderating or normalizing activity on the body.
Like vitamin C, glucose and other substances normally present in the diet, MSM has remarkably low toxicity - high MSM blood levels for up to two years have proved to be non-toxic.
Although MSM is found as a natural constituent of foodstuffs, like vitamin D the principal supply is believed to be synthesized in the body using dimethyl sulphide or one of its naturally occurring precursor salts which are commonly found in meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. Too low a body concentration of MSM results in adverse physical and physiological stress, tissue and organ malfunction, fatigue and increased susceptibility to diseases.
Although MSM may not necessarily eliminate the underlying physiological condition which has caused the symptoms, by ameliorating the symptoms it allows a rapid return to normality. Examples of sources of stress include parasitical, microbial and fungal infections, ingested pharmaceutical drugs, e.g. aspirin and other analgesics, antibiotics, and many other drugs whose gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, hyperacidity, gastric pain and flatulence ; inflammation of the lungs, e.g. from smoking, respiratory infection, chronic lung ailments or allergies, allergic reactions, e.g. respiratory congestion, skin rash, hives and gastrointestinal upset caused by food, drugs and environmental materials, e.g. house dust, pollen, wool, animal hair, feathers.
Allergy is an abnormal tissue reaction to allergen challenge in both man and lower animals It is a particular problem in man with recognised allergic problems affecting about 15% of the world's population. A much larger percentage experience low level allergy, i.e. below that considered debilitating, yet reducing optimum health.
MSM taken at levels of about 50-1000mg per day in the diet ameliorates allergic reactions to inhaled, ingested, contact and infectant allergens. MSM has also been shown to be a favourable normalising moderator of injected allergens as well.
MSM does not necessarily totally eliminate the allergic response against allergens. However,in such cases the degree of relief can be enhanced by conventional anti-allergy medication at lower levels than is normally required when these drugs are taken alone.
MSM is of benefit in many diverse health complaints, e.g.
1) Oral hygiene: Subjects not having professional dental cleaning for at least four-six months and showing minor gum inflammation, due to plaque irritation, were given either a paste or powder prepared by mixing commercial dental products with MSM on a 50/50 basis. Subjects used one or the other to clean their teeth twice daily. Following only one week of use, the oral mucosa was free of the signs of inflammation. MSM, a solvent and dispersant in aqueous media, was shown to be an excellent agent alone or as an additive in cleansing products for the teeth and buccal cavity.
Bad breath associated with smoking or food, such as onion and garlic is reduced or eliminated by cleansing the teeth and mouth with an MSM-containing preparation. Interestingly, two subjects with a restricted sense of smell found a sharpening of this sense while MSM was being evaluated by them in a gargle. Critical observers noted their sense of taste was improved.
2) Maintenance of good health: 14 subjects of both sexes, all in apparent good health, ages 33-59, were given oral MSM in amounts ranging from 250 to 500 mg daily, which maintained blood level above 1 ppm. These individuals were continued on MSM, taken as a solution in orange juice for periods of about seven months to over one year. None of the 14 became ill during this test period and each reported feeling better and stronger with increased endurance while MSM was part of their diet.
3) Acute pain: MSM taken orally has proven useful in relieving acute pain in the mid-back region of an adult male caused by a calculi obstructed ureter with a single 1.5 gram dose dissolved in warm water, and pain spasms in the lower abdomen region of an adult female resulting from an accidental blow to the abdomen. (two 1 gram doses in warm water at 4-hour intervals).
4) Post-Athletic Activity Fatigue: The physical fatigue syndrome following intense athletic activity in competitive sports which usually persists for 8-10 days in athletes was gone in 2-3 days in individuals who had ingested MSM (from 1-2 gram/day in split dosages) for the preceding six months.
These are just some of the useful properties of MSM. MSM is a constant factor in the normal diets of all vertebrates and it is somewhat intriguing that the apparent need of the body of adults is for a concentration level above that available from the "normal" diet. It is hoped that there will soon be data defining any specific interacting role that MSM may have with the water-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin C , which like MSM is reportedly stored in the adrenals.
Beyond DMSO was reprinted from Life Enhancement SIG as part of an exchange agreement. Readers interested in subscribing to Life Enhancement SIG should contact Gary Harland, 6, Glendale, Horbury, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 6AN for further details.
And the Hunter Home From The Hill
by Bob Brakeman
If something you have written is used by many people all over the world as their self-chosen epitaph, you are probably famous. Robert Louis Stevenson was famous. His Requiem was used as an epitaph for so many people that it was inevitable that it would also become his own. When RLS was buried atop the highest mountain in Samoa,1 these words were inscribed on his hilltop monument:
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter, home from the hill.2
From an immortalist perspective, the most important lines are of course those suggesting that death-is-a-great-idea: "Gladly die" and "I laid me down with a will". Two important things can be said about those lines.
The first is that Stevenson showed great hypocrisy in writing them,3 for it is clear that he didn't believe them a bit. Throughout his life, he always fought just as desperately as all the rest of us do, to stay alive.
When he was seriously ill (as he was fairly often), he used all the help that the quasi-incompetent medicine of the 1800s could give him.
When his wife Fanny was ill, his reaction was the same - he saw that her death would be a disaster and reacted with anti-death actions of the purest kind (getting her the best medical care that his wealth could buy).
When the storms of the Far Pacific threatened to sink a ship on which he was sailing, there were no thoughts of being ready to "gladly die"; he hoped for the pro-life result just as fiercely as everyone else on the ship.
When he was living at Saranac Lake, New York, and blizzards killed many people, there was no "laid me down with a will" nonsense; he greeted the news of the many deaths as the tragedy it was.
So Stevenson is revealed as a fairly clearcut hypocrite in dealing with life death issues: His poetry lauded the wonderfulness of rotting while his actions were anti-death in every respect. Although he was not alone in that kind of hypocrisy4, he deserves to be condemned for it, for the obvious reason that prose and poetry influence people - and more people have read Requiem, with its pro-death ethics, than have read Stevenson's letters and other papers, where they would learn about his actual (anti-death) actions and views.
The second thing to be said about the pro-death lines in Requiem somewhat mitigates his crime in writing them. Because the technology of the 1800s (and all earlier times) was so limited that death really was inevitable, a case can be made that one performed a public service in coaxing people to adjust to it and go along with the gag (the gag being that death was a good idea): If no one could do anything about physical annihilation, might as well think happy thoughts about it.
What's crucial is that any writer writing now would not have that mitigation-factor going for him or her: Because the technology now exists (cryonics) to preserve people's physical selves in excellent shape for future revival, and because anti-aging research will at some future point stop the annihilation process itself, there's no excuse for any current writer adopting RLS's two-faced views about death. Pro-death propagandists of our own time(the famous anti-human Elizabeth Kubler-Ross comes most immediately to mind) available the one thing available to defenders of Robert Louis Stevenson - the fact that comforting lies might be justified where a disaster is truly inevitable.
Since Robert Louis Steveson's life had a Samoan conclusion, let's give this analysis one to: He is in a grave high on Mount Vaea, "under the wide and starry sky" he wrote about; but the people who really need that below-ground treatment are the pro-death propagandists of our own time. If the religious and other pro annihilation liars of this
generation wish to lay themselves "down with a will" and "gladly die", let's all chip in and pay the burial expenses. In fact, let's adopt a spirit of generosity as wide as Stevenson's "wide and starry sky", and also pay to ship the remains to Samoa, where Stevenson's monument can remind them that this is the condition in which they "longed to be":
l For other articles involving both the South Seas and immortalism, see the present author's Who Needs Tahiti,* An Article to Lift You Out of the Doldrums, How to be a Polynesian Tourist*, all published in various life-extension journals in the early l99Os. (* Longevity Report)
2 Although the tone of the present analysis is somewhat anti-Stevenson, in truth I forgive him much, because the final four words of Requiem provided the title for the greatest of all movie soap operas (forget Peyton Place, children, Home From The Hill is the real thing - accept no substitutes). The 1960 film gave career starts to both George Hamilton and George Peppard (it was a bit of a Georgy Orgy), and it featured career-best performances for Robert Mitchum and Eleanor Parker and just about everyone else in it (including the farm animals).
3 For another look at Steveson and life death issues, see my Robert Louis Stevenson's Finest (And Most Horrifying) Hour, also published in Longevity Report.
4 Other famous hypocrites on this issue have been profiled elsewhere in this series of articles. Examples are Frankly I'm Scared (David Niven - also in Longevity Report), Santa Claus Finally Gets Smart (actor Edmund Gwenn, who played S.C. in Miracle on 34th Street).
5 Just as the world of physics contains both matter and anti-matter, so the world of biology contains both humans and anti-humans. Because Elizabeth Kubler-Ross destroys people's bodies by first destroying their minds (she causes them to choose annihilation rather than suspended animation - cryonics - by convincing them of the wonderful and "natural" nature of that annihilation), she is the principal cheerleader for the anti-humans when the two groups play football (revolting pom-poms, just as you would expect of her).
ADDENDUM TO NOTES: The articles alluded to in these notes have been widely published and republished by various general newspaper chains and immortalist magazines, but they are most easily available, at no cost, from BOB BRAKEMAN INC./2444 CROOKS ROAD SUITE 49/TROY MI 48084 USA.
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Malibu, California.
Letters to the Editor
From Mr Brian Haines
Is it possible that we could have less of Bob Brakeman, who is author of over 2000 articles?
Mr Haines went on to throw some doubt as to the accuracy of Mr Brakeman's previous remarks about Robert Louis Stevenson.
If any other readers would like to air their views, then I would be grateful if we could have a poll for the next issue! If you have previously expressed appreciation of Mr Brakeman, then please write again - I do recall a couple of brief notes on orders or subscriptions but no longer have them.
From Mr David Pizer, Director, Alcor Inc.
I would like to reply to two items in Longevity Report 25. First, there was a cartoon caricature of Mike Darwin with the inscription: "We freeze everything ... Except the prices!"
Actually I am the one in Alcor who recently advocated most of the price rises (and corresponding expense cutting measures). Further, Mike has been rather vocal in making sure that we would only raise prices when it is absolutely necessary. He has championed the cause of keeping our prices low. Mike took it upon himself to announce the news in Cryonics magazine and therefore brought upon himself the reputation of being the one who wanted to raise the prices. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As to the article by Trygve Bauge on post mortem sign up assistance, I feel there are several matters that need to be cleared up. First let me say that Trygve is a well-meaning young fellow. However I think he actually might actually do more harm than good in his present frame of mind and needs to rethink some of his ideas a little closer. I will not point out off of the errors in his article, just a few of the most important ones.
First of all, Alcor does not ever solicit Trygve, or anyone else, to represent us in dealing with a prospective patient: We prefer to deal directly with the family of a post mortem patient. It is in this way that we can be sure they know the risks and downsides of post mortem suspensions.
Another misconception that Trygve makes is that Alcor is way ahead of the other cryonics organisations ONLY in cryonics preparation (remote standby, initial cool-down and perfusion and that once a patient is at liquid nitrogen temperature, all three organisations offer similar long term storage. Although Alcor's lead in long term storage is not as obviously visible as our lead in preparation of the patient, I think it is a substantial lead nevertheless.
Also of consideration is our record of keeping our patients. We have never given up a patient for any reason.
We are the largest organisation and we are the most financially secure. We feel that if things get tough for cryonics we will be most able to withstand any attack from bureaucrats, misguided religious leaders (all religious leaders are not against cryonics, only the misguided ones,) or other potential enemies. There is no question that there is strength in numbers and especially when these numbers include leaders from science, academia and industry that are also in the cryonics movement.
We have much more expertise in all fields of cryonics and it is likely that if things continue as they are, most, if not all, of the innovations in all phases of cryonics, especially long term storage, will come from Alcor in the future. With our record of research, (and if this research continues into other phases), it is also probable that Alcor patients will be the first ones reanimated, if reanimation is ever possible.
Since we have a reputation for being the leader in cryonics, most relatives of post mortem patients contact Alcor first, and if we can not help them we always give them the 'phone numbers of the other suspension organisations. We feel that if one suspension organisation cannot help a person, perhaps another can meet their needs. In fairness to your readers, I must say that at this time I do not feel that Trygve could be of any influence to Alcor. I do, however, hope that Trygve will continue to try to learn more about the operations of a cryonics organisation so that in future he might be able to help the movement in general. At present, although he means well, I feel that giving wrong information can be more harmful than giving no information at all and may therefore he may accidentally be doing people more harm than good.
RTL offers Low Cost Video Standard Conversion
By the time this appears, RTL will be offering low cost digital video conversions on VHS from any tv standard to any other. Thus if you see a cassette you want that is only available in an alien standard, then send it to us and we'll send it back to you in your local standard. Please note that this is not a copying service - you get one cassette back! (Your original is erased and re-cycled.) You can't break the copyright laws by selling the original and keeping a standard-converted copy.
Anyone wishing to use this service, please write to us detailing what you want converted and we'll quote a price.
If you are a provider of specialist low volume videos, then we would be pleased to negotiate a drop-ship arrangement to despatch your products to the rest of the world, converted to run at the addressee's location.
We can now offer the following video cassettes for sale, VHS PAL or VHS to-suit-wherever-you-live, except USA and Canada where you should approach the originators.
1. Venturist Cassette (2hr) Cryonics: An Alternative Approach to Death, and The Dora Kent Case. 15
2. Oramedics (1hr) How to Enjoy Teeth and Gums Despite the Dentist. 10
3. Both together on one three hour cassette 20.
In preparation is a video, for direct world wide mail order sale, containing twelve immortalist pop songs. Watch this space for further news.
Alcor Disowns Bauge
Writing in Cryonics, 12(1) dated January, Mike Darwin said that only Alcor or an Alcor authorised representative can negotiate for accepting or refusing any person for cryonic suspension with Alcor. He described Mr Bauge's document (of which the original is in the style of an old fashioned telex and from which our article was taken) as unprofessional, and quoted complaints from Dr Dolinoff and Professor Ettinger about Mr Bauge. He also strongly disapproves of a similar service offered by Mr Charles Tandy, a researcher formerly employed by the Life Extension Foundation. We invited Alcor to respond to Mr Bauge's article, and received the reply printed on the letters page. The Cryonics article cited several points of direct complaint about the services and they way they are marketed. If Alcor wish us to print a reply in a future issue, then we will do so.
An article appeared in Cryonics 12(2) detailing the European Cryonics Conference, followed by one in which Mike Darwin expresses the viewpoint that Alcor UK owes its existence to Alan Sinclair, and if it does not receive more support from its other members, then it could experience difficulties in future. Mr Darwin says that similar scenarios have been enacted in the past in America, citing the works of Ev Cooper, Curtis Henderson and Saul Kent. He stayed at the facility from some while after the conference, and noted that fact that a lot of the time only himself and Mr Sinclair were working there. At Alcor in the USA, he says, there is a steady stream of practical and financial support, even to the extent of giving them art to hang on the wall.
Skin Aging & Tretinoin.
More and more people are exposing themselves to sunlight for longer and longer. This is because of changing lifestyles: more leisure time resulting in more outdoor activities, more emphasis on getting a tan, people are living longer, and there has also been a population shift to the Sunbelt. (In USA -ed).
It is now known that the sun is the main cause of prematurely aged skin. Most people don't know how much damage the sun causes or that it is possible to prevent or repair damage with tretinoin skin cream. The whole structure of the skin is damaged when exposed to the sun for long periods. The signs of sun damage include a dry and scaly surface, mottled and blotchy skin, wrinkles, sagging loose skin and various precancerous changes1. These signs of skin aging are most likely to be seen by early adulthood in people with pale, thin skin. Blue-eyed blondes and redheads with childhood freckles are most likely to suffer from premature skin aging. These type of people burn and blister easily, and tan poorly. Although the visible signs of photoaging may not appear for many years, there is already devastating microscopic damage to the skin by the age of 15. The damage is hidden, allowing the victims to carry on exposing themselves to the sun's dangerous rays. All too soon the damage done while young begins to appear visibly, giving an aged appearance. In the past little could be done, however, this has now changed in a dramatic fashion through regular use of tretinoin cream.
The recent discovery that tretinoin cream improves sun-damaged skin is a real and dynamic breakthrough! For years, many different creams and lotions have been on sale which claimed to make the skin look younger. Tretinoin is the first therapy that has undergone controlled scientific tests and has been proven to actually reverse many of the skin changes caused by sun-damage and "natural" aging.
The number of elderly Americans is large and rapidly increasing. At present nearly 12% of the population is 65 years or older, and this figure is set to reach 20% in the next century. Several reports reveal that about two thirds of the elderly population have skin problems which would benefit from treatment. Tretinoin cream has great potential as a means of blocking skin aging and it's available right now, there's no need to wait any longer for a successful treatment.
The signs of natural aging are all too familiar and include wrinkling and precancerous skin growths. There is also a wide range of other problems. Here's a list of some of the things you can expect if tretinoin cream is not used regularly:
Poor epidermal turnover wounds heal slowly.
Low vitamin D production more risk of bone fractures.
Lack of skin immune more risk of skin cancer.
response more risk of herpes zoster
and other skin infections.
Reduced mechanical easy tearing and blistering
protection of skin.
The beneficial effects of tretinoin have become evident by comparing it with cream with no active ingredient. Tretinoin gives the best results in severely sun damaged skin. However, the best way to use tretinoin is for prevention, i.e. at the earliest stage, on skin showing only a few wrinkles and pigmented spots.
Many years of exposure to the sun causes photoaging. The skin becomes lax, yellowish, dry, leathery, rough and wrinkled. The world famous American dermatologist Albert Kligman carried out the very first scientific test which suggested that tretinoin cream could be used to treat human photoaging2. He saw positive changes in the facial and forearm skin treated with 0.05% tretinoin cream, which indicated partial reversal of much of the damage caused by the sun's radiation. A more recent double-blind, controlled scientific study by Weiss3 using 0.1% tretinoin cream has confirmed these initial findings.
In a still more recent study4 the effectiveness of 0.05% tretinoin cream was studied in treating middle-aged people with mild-to-moderate signs of facial sun damage. The scientists paid special attention to features like fine lines, wrinkles, texture, blotchiness, and sallowness, that are clear signs of sun damage. To make sure results were accurate a special computerized image analysis of the skin surface was carried out. The volunteers took a full part in the study and completed a detailed questionnaire to find out whether they noticed any changes in their facial skin.
Forty healthy, middle-aged women agreed to take part in the study. Their ages ranged from 28 to 60 years and all had signs of mild-to-moderate sun damage.
The volunteers were split up into two groups. One group received 0.05% tretinoin cream and the control group received a cream which looked identical but contained no tretinoin. The tubes were unmarked except for coding, so that neither the volunteers or the doctors knew which treatment was used. Both groups applied a "pea-sized" volume of cream to the face at night, before going to bed, for 6 months. The volunteers were also given moisturizer (Nivea Moisturizing Cream) and mild soap (Dove Bar) to be used during the study period. All the volunteers were warned not to expose themselves to the sun for long periods and sunscreen (Sundown, sun protection factor 15) was provided for use before sun exposure. All volunteers were asked not to other skin care products and treatments, cosmetics, and soaps for the duration of the study. However, they were told to carry on using the same brand and quantity of make-up they used before the study.
The study started in December 1987 and carried on until June 1988, all volunteers were checked monthly to make sure they were using the cream every day and to assess the degree of improvement. At these times, a doctor evaluated the degree of fine wrinkling, roughness, dryness, coarse wrinkling, yellowness and skin looseness. Each volunteer was given a self-appraisal questionnaire and asked to rate the degree of overall improvement as either much improved, somewhat improved, the same, or worse.
Three people from the tretinoin treated group had to withdraw before the study was completed. Two withdrawals were because of job relocations and not related to the test cream. The third patient was unwilling to cope with the irritation from tretinoin use.
The side effects were generally mild and usually occurred within the first 2 months of therapy. The most common complaint made by 70% of the patients on the tretinoin cream was mild, short-lived, patchy scaling of the skin and mild skin redness. When such skin redness occurred, the cream was used every other or every third day until the cream could be comfortably used.
After 6 months of therapy all tretinoin-treated people showed a major improvement in the signs of skin aging. The results were highly significant in that all the tretinoin-treated group showed some improvement whereas the inactive cream group showed little or no change at all. Over 50% of the tretinoin-treated patients showed great improvements. One of the most impressive changes was that the facial skin of the tretinoin-treated people developed a healthy rosy glow, whereas those treated with non-active cream kept their sallow and dull complexions.
Visual signs of dryness and skin surface roughness were reduced in the tretinoin-treated group. The changes seen in the tretinoin-treated group were gradual and increased as time went on. Although a few people in the tretinoin-treated group showed early signs of improvement, it was not until week 12 that everyone had clear signs of improvement. The group using inactive cream failed to show any real improvement at any point in time throughout the 6-month study period. It is very important to note that changes in the tretinoin-treated group only began to be seen after the skin got used to any irritation caused by tretinoin.
The volunteers own assessment of the benefits of 6 months tretinoin therapy was noted by the scientists. About half of the inactive-cream group said that they noticed a slight improvement, whereas the other half had no improvement in facial skin appearance. In contrast, all the tretinoin-treated people judged that their skin was either improved or much improved.
This study found that treatment with 0.05% tretinoin resulted in a very notable improvement in some of the changes associated with sun-damage. These changes were gradual and occurred only after any irritation had gone away. The anti-aging effects became more and more obvious as treatment went on.
The self-appraisals made by the volunteers were in complete agreement with the assessment of the doctors. Computerized image analysis of the skin surface was used to back-up the results. This clearly showed the positive benefits of regular use of tretinoin. Mathematical analysis showed that there was a big decrease in fine lines and wrinkles, which is in agreement with the findings of the doctors and the people treated with tretinoin.
Although the results were less dramatic than those seen in the Weiss study3, the lower concentration of tretinoin used in this study gave the same results for most people with far less irritation. However, many people experienced a mild transient skin redness or mild burning or stinging in the first week or two of therapy. These reactions were mild and short-lived. Experimental results have shown that you don't need to experience irritation to get good results with tretinoin. Sun-damage improvement was more obvious after the initial skin irritation had gone away. The people who showed the most dramatic changes had no problems getting used to this dose of tretinoin.
The approach used to treat patients with sun-damage in this study was as follows. Therapy was started with daily application of a "pea-sized" amount of 0.05% tretinoin cream. Only small quantities are applied no sooner than 15 to 20 minutes after washing with a mild cleansing bar. If no irritation occurs the dosage can be increased. Moisturizing creams and lotions are helpful in minimizing the most common side effect of chapping. It is not wise to mix tretinoin cream with any other cream because the tretinoin may lose its activity. If tretinoin is used in the evening, then use a moisturizer the next morning. Exposure to the sun should be minimized and a good sunscreen should be used if you are in the sun for long periods.
There has been enormous public interest in the ability of tretinoin cream to stop or reverse the signs of sun-damaged skin. It has been shown in animal and human studies that tretinoin can correct many of the skin abnormalities caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. A double-blind, controlled study from the University of Michigan supports this claim3.
The visible signs of sun-damage are well known: loose, sagging, dry, wrinkled, yellow, mottled skin, with a coarse, pebbly, leathery, rough texture. The surface may become marked with pigmented "age" spots. By the age of 15, most white people already have photodamaged skin; this may be evident only under the microscope, especially decay in the elastic fibre network.
There has been a steady rise in the occurrence of the potentially lethal cancer malignant melanoma. This increase is believed to be another damaging effect of sunlight. The anti-wrinkling effect of tretinoin has received the most publicity, however, it is important to stress that tretinoin has a proven anticancer effect. Regular use of tretinoin prevents normal skin cells turning into cancers. Tretinoin is the first drug that can correct many of the structural abnormalities of sun-damaged skin.
It is very important that tretinoin therapy is individualized. Treatment is started with 0.05% tretinoin cream, applying one pea-sized amount to the forehead after washing with mild soap. The drug should then be spread evenly over the face.
To get rid of wrinkles around the eyes (crow's feet) and mouth, tretinoin should be applied right up to the borders. If skin is sensitive it is best to begin treatment with applications every other night, slowly working up to daily use.
Special care is needed when treating the neck area. The skin of the neck is very sensitive to the effects of tretinoin. To get the best results it is best to apply the cream thinly to the neck area every third night at first and then every other night as tolerance develops.
Tretinoin causes varying degrees of irritation in the first few weeks. Initially, the skin may feel tight with some stinging. There is usually some mild skin redness along with some dryness and fine scaling that may last a month or more. Those who experience excessive irritation or discomfort in the first few weeks can reduce the number of applications to every other night, or even every third night. As the skin becomes more used to the effects the cream can be applied daily. After about 3 to 4 weeks, the dose used should be doubled by applying a "pea-sized" amount to each temple. Tretinoin should be used aggressively and users should go right up to the point of tolerance. After some months, the dose can be increased to the 0.1% cream.
After 8 months to 1 year, when maximum benefits have been obtained, daily therapy may be altered to a maintenance program of two to three applications weekly. Maintenance therapy must be on a regular, continual basis, so as to keep the aging process at bay. Microscopic improvements continue to develop after 4 to 5 years, although improvement in skin appearance may seem to plateau after 2 to 3 years.
The visible improvements brought about by tretinoin can be explained in terms of its effect on skin cells. Tretinoin causes the following skin changes:
1) thickening and normalization of cell development.
2) formation of new, normal collagen which removes wrinkles.
3) new blood vessel formation which improves blood flow in the skin and gives a rosy glow.
4) reduction in skin mottling and discoloration.
5) removal of rough skin cells, resulting in a smooth skin surface.
6) destruction of precancerous skin growths, usually requiring daily use for more than a year.
Although tretinoin can partially reverse sun damage, the most effective use of this drug is for prevention. Treatment should start as early as the 20's, when the first crow's-feet wrinkles appear along with mottling.
Tretinoin is most often used to improve the appearance of the face. However, it can also be used to treat sun damaged skin of the hands and forearms, following the same guidelines.
Some people use tretinoin during the fall and winter only in an attempt to reverse the photoaging that occurred from extensive sun exposure during the spring and summer. This limited use for half the year will NOT counteract the damage these people incur during the summer months.
Most newspapers have run a story on the miracle wrinkle remover tretinoin. However, there are still many people who don't know that tretinoin is actually best used to prevent skin wrinkles from ever appearing.
The scientific studies so far give support to the idea that tretinoin is effective for the prevention and treatment of sun-damaged skin. Tretinoin is the first drug to demonstrate such effects. Tretinoin can repair much of the structural damage found in sun damaged skin, and the most dramatic results occur in those persons with the most severely damaged skin. These results are caused by tretinoin itself and are not the result of low grade irritation or tissue damage. Tretinoin is very safe for use against sun-damage. The effects of tretinoin are truly unique to this drug and further scientific research will probably lead to new products which are even more effective.
During the preparation of this report we received a number of letters from readers concerning a French product called EffedermTM. Many people simply wrote in describing the benefits of this French product and most seem to prefer this formulation to the more commonly available product Retin-ATM. We have contacted the French manufacturer's of Effederm and have satisfied ourselves that this is a reputable product that is every bit as effective as Retin-A. If you can obtain a supply of Effederm we believe that this product is well worth trying and can thoroughly recommend it. Remember research shows that you should start tretinoin therapy in your 20's, however, it's never too late and the sooner you start the sooner results will be seen.
1) Gilchrest BA (Ed.). Skin and aging processes, pp. 97-103, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1984.
2) Kligman AM et al; Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 15 (Suppl.):836-859 (1986).
3) Weiss JS et al; Journal of the American Medical Association 259:527-532 (1988).
4) Leyden JJ et al; Supplement to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 21(3):638-644 (1989).
Readers may have seen the recent BBC1 Watchdog programme in which it was suggested that Retin-A is as poisonous as cyanide, and this was a good reason for the producers of the programme to petition parliament to repeal Section 13 of the Medicines Act 1968. This would remove the freedom of UK citizens to import POMs for their own private use or that of a member of their household.
This article has scientific references that anyone can check at a good library, albeit for the cost of a few photocopies. Watchdog on the other hand provided no such references, and therefore their statement should be regarded in the same category as sightings of Elvis Presley or WW2 bombers on the moon. If Retin-A was as poisonous as cyanide, or indeed even moderately poisonous, then the people in these trials are likely to have perished as a result of the experiment! There is no mention of death as a side effect in the scientific references.
One must therefore question the motives or the gullibility of those producing this sort of public broadcasting. Once could ask whether there are political motives involved. What would the advantages be to the government if people are prevented access to life extending medicines? It is interesting to note that the government has people as its working parts. Will these people be willing to sacrifice their potential lifespan for the good of the government, or possible the established professions?
I would urge all Longevity Report readers to write to their MPs expressing their concern that they may be going to lose their freedom under Section 13 of the Medicines Act 1968, and possibly in the future their freedom to chose to take vitamins if they wish. There may only be a few of us, but bear in mind that the vast majority of citizens never write to their MPs!
If section 13 is rescinded, then situations may arise where people die because they are unable to obtain novel medicines from abroad. Doctors can only prescribe medicines that are available in the UK.
If the authorities want us to take vitamins and life extension substances under supervision, then they have a duty to provide that supervision. I should imagine at the moment that the medical profession is far too busy to provide such supervision to what they would probably regard as "health fanatics". Doctors are likely to refuse requests for even private prescriptions for Deprenyl to treat aging, for example. Section 13 provides a safety valve. If the government is to remove Section 13, then it should replace it by placing an obligation on doctors to at least consider and discuss such treatments with patients. If they are dissatisfied with a negative result, doctors should allow them to seek second opinions without blacklisting them so that they can never get a doctor.
Important New Self Improvement Book Addition
The divorce rate in Europe and the UK is approaching 50%, and it is clear that the subject of relationships is one at which humanity throughout the world is failing badly. Lawyers get rich on punishing those who fail in their relationships as severely as if they had committed serious crimes, and are therefore as a profession committed to the status quo.
However there is also a veritable industry emerging of councillors and agencies that try to remedy this problem on two fronts: either to save failing relationships or to create new ones that stand a sound scientific chance of lasting.
As booksellers we come between the two, and Mae Junod's (now Ettinger) The WOT Position - Self Actualization for Women has much to offer both. By detailing the way society has failed women as a sex, and suggesting possible remedies, it can be of help to both men and women in improving existing relationships, or in what to aim for aim a new one.
Many will cringe at the idea of bringing science into love and romance, but surely now people's expectations are so much higher, this is the only way to reduce the tide of unhappiness and misery from which the law courts make the bulk of their vast income.
The old way has been tried and shown to be a total and absolute failure. We must try something else.
The WOT Position - Self Actualization for Women
is a 287 page hardback, with full index and scientific references, and costs 7 including first class UK postage from Longevity Books.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
Laswell Study of the different kinds of love/lovers.
by Mae A. Junod (Ettinger)
(life long friends): their love is characterized by rapport, self-revelation, interdependency, mutual need fulfilment, intimacy, sharing, security, sexual satisfaction and trust.
centred) forgivingness, caring, patience, supportiveness.
intense dependency) obsession with the loved one, jealousy, manipulativeness, sexual problems such as vaginismus and premature ejaculation, associated with personal attitudes of low self-esteem and poor self-concept.
(logical-sensible) pragmatic lovers look at their own and their partner's assets and are out to get the best "deal". They are loyal and faithful as long as there is no ensuing change in those assets. If there is, they are pat to look for another partner. A pragmatic lover assists the loved one to fulfil his or her potentials and maximises his or her own assets before marriage, which is accomplished for practical reasons (as is divorce). They are apt to put off both marriage and divorce until they have accomplished certain goals (finish school, get a different job etc.) and have basic values by which they scale everything they do.
game player) plays love like a game - to win. Hates dependency, shies away from commitment, is never possessive or jealous, has only one sexual routine. If partner doesn't care for it, the ludic simply moves on to another partner.
(romantic) Love at first sight. This love regenerates and energises, and is monogamous (often serially). Erotic lovers are intensely aware of physical characteristics of partners. They share intense intimacy, and self revelation and identification. (they love having the same blood-type.) Togetherness is almost constant and early sex is probable. They rarely get jealous because they never look at anyone else, being totally absorbed in each other.
I guess that my definition of people in love - two people who behave exactly as they like but the behaviour of each pleases the other - makes me firmly "pragma". Humanity has suffered under the so-called ideal of sacrifice for too long. Ridding it of the sacrifice "ethic" will also serve to rid it of the acceptance of the ultimate sacrifice - death.
A Survey of Foods
Pertaining to Longevity
The study of longevity has concentrated mainly on scanning an arsenal of nutrients and pharmaceuticals for their life extension potential. Individual foods have, for the most part been passed over in the process, seemingly being looked upon as crude compared to refined chemical compounds. Yet within the one kilogram daily food intake which is typical of adult humans there stands to be quite sufficient potential to affect longevity either positively or negatively. And so, a survey of some foods having the most potential or claimed potential in this area would seem warranted.
Wheat germ is the heart of the wheat grain. In effect, it is to the grain what a yolk is to an egg: a nutrient rich centre of nourishment upon which the surrounding medium draws. Wheat germ contains a wide variety of nutrients at fairly high levels, rather than being outstandingly high in any single required nutrient. Part of the potential value of wheat germ lies in the likelihood that, because of its general high-nutritive status, it may provide valuable nutrients which are not yet recognised as being required.
Wheat germ oil (which comprises 5 to 10 percent of wheat germ) has increased the lifespan of male and female rats by 4 and 21 percent, respectively1. The reason for this was attributed by the researchers to the possibility of the control rodents having been deficient in vitamin E, which wheat germ oil, containing 2 IU of the vitamin per gram, resupplied to the treated individuals. Thus, the rodents who were supplemented with wheat germ oil may not have had their lifespan extended so much as that the (supposedly) vitamin E deficient controls may have been shorter lived on account of their deficiency. However, it seems likely that if these rodents were truly deficient in vitamin E, the high (69%) polyunsaturate level of wheat germ oil would have done more to intensify the deficiency than its moderate vitamin E level would have done to cure it, especially since show dogs who are given supplemental dietary vegetable oils are known to be prone to vitamin E deficiencies stemming from the tendency of those saturated oils to destroy vitamin E, even on vitamin fortified commercial diets.2 A somewhat more feasible possibility is that the prolongevity influence of wheat-germ oil may lie with another of its constituents, such as coenzyme Q9 (CoQ9). CoQ9 is a relative of CoQ10, which has been shown to increase the lifespan of mice at extremely low levels, even when supplementation was begun at age past the usual life expectancy.3 Wheat germ contains about 10 milligrams of CoQ9 per 100 grams, which is about ten times the level present in other cereals.4 And while the CoQ9 level of wheat germ oil is not known, the compound does concentrate at its highest levels in the oil portion of cereals, thereby likely making wheat-germ oil an outstanding source of this nutrient, which, like CoQ10, is involved in cellular energy production. But while the oil portion of wheat germ is richer in CoQ9, plain wheat germ is the better food choice, as it contains a potential plethora of other such nutrients which the oil portion is likely to lack.
Yogurt and other fermented forms of milk have been traditionally used by certain cultures either to predigest the milk sugar (lactose) which only northern European peoples seem able to assimilate efficiently, and/or to increase the storage life of milk, since the bacteria in such fermented milk, which feeds on milk sugar, competitively inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms involved in spoilage, and so helping to preserve food at the cost of giving it a vinegar like taste. Even the Vikings drank their buttermilk, as unlikely as that may sound.
Swiss-American popular nutritionist Gayelord Hauser, who lived to be a healthy 90 years of age himself, once expressed the reputation of yogurt as an aid to health and longevity by stating that "in any language yogurt means long life." This association between yogurt and longevity began in 1907, when Nobel prize winning bacteriologist Elie Metchnikoff stressed it in his best selling book The Prolongation of life. In this treatise, Metchnikoff vigorously put forth his view that ageing was caused by "autointoxication, poisoning from the wild, putrefying bacilli in our large intestine - that is surely a cause of hardening of the arteries, that is what helps us to grow old too soon!" Metchnikoff had heard stories of reputedly long-lived Bulgarian villagers who drank such soured milk, and he jumped on this as confirmation of his theory. He isolated and named the bacterium Lactobacillus Bulgaricus ("Bulgarian milk-sugar bacillus"), and drank quarts of the soured milk daily. Yet Metchnikoff lived only to the age of 71 years.5
It is easy to dismiss Metchnikoff's views based on his own failure to attain longevity by it, but in fairness we must acknowledge that there is no way of knowing how long Metchnikoff might have lived had be not adhered to his yoghurt regimen. Arguable, yoghurt could have increased a genetically short lifespan to 71 years. And in a sense it did, for Metchnikoff's obsession with yogurt gave the previously suicidal scientist's life a new meaning, and in this respect, if nothing else, may indeed have increased his longevity.
The reputation of Sangri-La cultures living past the century mark in isolated mountain regions of the world, such as Metchnikoff's yogurt-eating Bulgarian villagers, has turned out to be only exaggeration on the part of such peoples, who have been shown to have attained their longevity by the simple expedient of lying about their age.6 Nevertheless, the reputation of yogurt lives on. Modern studies have yielded good news, bad news, and neutral news pertaining to yogurt. On the neutral side, there has been some confusion as to whether yogurt affects serum cholesterol one way the another. In one study, volunteers eating three cups of yogurt daily for two to three weeks experienced an initial drop of 10 to 12 per cent in serum cholesterol levels, but these levels soon returned to normal even while on the yogurt regimen.7
On the good news side, a survey of 2960 breast cancer victims in France found that a negative association existed between the risk of developing breast cancer and yogurt consumption. That is, those consuming yogurt were less likely to suffer breast cancer.8 An American epidemiological study likewise found that milk consumption may reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 60%.9 Another study reported that the lactobacilli content of yogurt "may reduce the risk of colon cancer in both animals and human beings."10 Metchnikoff would have been pleased to hear that.
On the negative side, women eating yogurt at least once a month were found to be nearly twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer as those eating less.11 The risk factor was supposed to be glactose, a milk sugar derivative.
There seems to be no correlation between yogurt consumption and longevity. Presently the annual per capita consumption of yogurt and other fermented milks is about 8.3 pounds in America, 60 pounds in The Netherlands, and 89 pounds in Finland.12 Yet the life-expectancies of those countries are, respectively, 74, 75, and 74, years. Metchnikoff would not have been pleased to hear that. One might also wonder what Metchnikoff would think of the varieties of jam sugar and coffee flavoured yogurts, meany containing dead bacilli, which are now being sold as "yogurt". As one wit said about someone else, "If he were alive today, he'd be turning in his grave."
1 Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 61, 729, 1943
2 Sigmund, O.,ed The Merk Vetinary Manual, 1986
3 Bliznakov, E. Biochemical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q10, 1981
4 International Journal of Nutrition, 56, 57, 1986
5 de Kruif, R. The Microbe Hunters 1926
6 Journal of Gerontology 34, 94, 1979
7 Journal of Food Science, 49, 1178, 1984
8 Journal of the National Cancer Institute 77, 633, 1986
9 Science News 11 November 1990
10 Journal of Food Protection 47, 717, 1984
11 Science News 22 July 1989
12 Food Technology 43, 92, 1989
Next time : Eggs, Carrots
Post Mortem Signup Assistance - Part Two
by Trygve B. Bauge
Life Extension Systems, Biosphere Technologies, and Private Fortifications Unlimited.
(303) 499-7771 1085, 14th Street, Suite 1001, Boulder, CO80302, USA.
Important editorial note to newsletters with reciprocal publishing arrangements with Longevity Report: These are suspended for this article. Please contact the above for details if you wish to reprint.
Past case sample.
To Mr. Saby:
Around Friday the 26 October 1990 you called Trans Time and then spoke with Art Quaife, Paul Segal, and eventually repeatedly with Carmen Brewer. At 6 pm on Sunday 28 October I got a call from Art Quaife, director of Trans Time who said you had called him and Carmen Brewer repeatedly with requests for cryonic suspension for your late mother.
Art offered to pay me 200 a day plus expenses for helping Trans Time help you, with the clear understanding that I would be paid independently of the outcome. Trans Time of course will bill you for all their expenses including what they would be paying me.
At the time Trans Time had requested $50,000 up front and you had offered to pay from $20,000 to $40,000 up front and had apparently offered do pay another $1,000 a month and it seemed like agreement could be reached on $40,000 up front and then from $4,500 to $10,000 a year there after.
I took the assignment and called you. Carmen Brewer had already tired of getting 'phone calls in the middle of the night, but I talked her into assisting and by using Carmen Brewer and the embassy as on line translators we concluded that you apparently could not afford to deal with Trans Time.
At 6 pm. on Tuesday 30 October Art told me that he would not authorize any more expenses. Carmen, Art and Trans Time had de facto given up on you and your mother. Carmen even turned on her answering machine and decided not to take on any more calls in the middle of the night. If I wanted to assist you I would have to do so on a commission basis, only to be reimbursed if I succeeded in arranging a paid .
In the meantime I had contacted Alcor and the Cryonics Institute to see if these would be willing to make you any offers.
Alcor got in touch with you and apparently declined to assist you. You wanted full body suspension, but even their head suspension costs more than they deemed that you could afford. Furthermore your mother had already been dead for one month and they deemed the conditions too adverse to deal with.
The Cryonics Institute was willing to work with you since you apparently could afford their lower rates, but only after I had talked them into changing their rules so as to accept post mortem sign ups, such sign ups from abroad, and family control of the body as you requested.
Your deadline for moving the body out of the hospital was apparently Tuesday 30 October. I called the hospital, spoke to the director of the morgue Jack Bordes and secured an extension to 7 November with a promise of further extension if you could show progress towards arranging a cryonic suspension.
I also tried to secure that they body was stored at dry ice temperature. However the hospital quoted a price of several thousand dollars for arranging this, and until you could come up with some money we decided to leave the body at -4oC.
Once you paid the funeral home $12,000 I immediately asked it to have your mother frozen in dry ice at -70oC. They agreed and promised to do so immediately.
I passed on to you the names and numbers of Alcor, Alcor in England, as well as the Cryonics Institute and several other individual cryonicists that could assist you. By putting you in touch with the Cryonics Institute and talking them into assisting you, I saved you more than $50,000 over what you would have had to pay elsewhere.
I also called the US embassy to initiate the import permit.
At my urging, several cryonicists in England and France, including Dr Anatole Dolinoff, got in touch with you and I know that particularly Dr Dolinoff has been of much assistance.
He has a casket for you, and also lined up a funeral home in Paris that you eventually hired.
At my urging you also hired a translator, which made communications much easier, thereby replacing the need to use Carmen Brewer as a go between or the need for expensive conference calls.
I urged you to document what you owned and could afford and to fax us the death certificate and a bank statement, which you then did, both to trans-time and to the Cryonics Institute. When we found out that you had inherited a house and might afford to raise up to $50,000 from mortgages and family, Art Quaife showed renewed interest in assisting you.
When you had contract offers from contract offers from two cryonics companies and two options for a transport casket, and are well on the way to get all the permits worked out, it is all a result of 'phone calls that I have made.
You didn't know the Cryonics Institute and they didn't know of you until I put the two of you in touch with one another, Carmen, Art and Trans Time had given up on you and were not taking any more calls until I made enough calls and showed you how to get them interested again.
I have lined up two casket offers for you, as well as a funeral home and other people to assist you in France and at my prodding Trans Time and the Cryonics Institute have both faxed you contract offers.
When Art Quaife of Trans Time and Robert Ettinger of the Cryonics Institute have faxed you their contract offers, this doesn't mean that everything is taken care of or that they can or will secure your mother's cryonic suspension.
You still have to arrange for the shipment of the body to the United States, and line up all the means and permits and financing involved. I have it from both Art and Roberts, that these are steps that you have to arrange yourself. Unless you arrange and pay for all the shipment steps the contracts wouldn't do you any good.
I know how to arrange shipment and permits and have taken many steps to help you out.
Please consider that almost all the cryonic contacts and supporting contacts that you are now working with, were lined up because of 'phone calls that I made.
There are still obstacles to be overcome and I will be glad to assist you in overcoming these:
By the way the French funeral home that you had hired had made arrangements to ship your mother to the wrong airport. That is now corrected, by one of my calls. The right airport is Metro Detroit. They are also overcharging you for the air freight. They are charging you $7,400 instead of $3,000. I am attempting to save you another $4,000 on that, though this would require a few more 'phone calls.
The US embassy is giving up on you and is tired of your daily calls. The proper steps are to sign a contract with a cryonics company and to use it, the medical certificate to secure a cover letter from the Federal Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and then use these documents and a funeral home in the US to secure that the US embassy issues the import papers.
Reimbursement of my phone bills and overhead is part of the contracts offered you from both the Cryonics Institute and Trans Time and are an integral part of these arrangements without which you won't get a contract with either.
Furthermore I have with your permission arranged for a German publication to pay $2,500 for pictures from the cryonic suspension procedure inside the cryonic facility here in the United States, and that $2,500 would more than cover any expenses that I have run up.
We are aware that it took you four weeks to track us down and that your mother has already been frozen at -1oC for several weeks, and that we are not dealing with the ideal circumstances for cryonic suspension. However people have been cryonically suspended under worse circumstances in the past, and given enough time the damage might still be reversed.
Good luck, to you in your efforts. Few people have shown the same persistence in contacting the cryonics companies and in following up on post mortem suspension arrangements. That is why I have stayed on your case - in the hope that we can complete our efforts forthwith to a successful cryonic suspension of your mother.
Your translator received a contract from the Cryonics Institute. Let me suggest that you have that contract translated, read it and sign it, and then fax it back to Michigan.
Immediately buy or rent Anatole Dolinoff's travel casket. Use it as a temperature chest, keep adding dry ice and keep the lid closed. The temperature chest will enable you to keep your mother at -79oC without consuming more than $20 worth of dry ice per day Thus the casket will pay for itself in reduced cost for dry ice, until you are ready to pay me and the Cryonics Institute.
By then when you are ready wire $2,000 to me and $31,000 to Michigan. They are ready to receive your mother's body as early as next week.
When you are ready to pay, we will fax all the papers to the Center for Disease Control and to the embassy and to the French funeral home so to secure the proper export and import papers.
In the meantime, until you can arrange to pay us, please keep your mother on dry ice at -79oC. If you need assistance in getting the hospital to go along, please let me know and I will assist.
If you can't afford to pay all the 33,000 immediately, please let us know what you can afford and when and how you can afford to pay the balance.
The $33,000 covers $20,000 for a maintenance fund. $8,000 for encapsulation, $1,500 for membership in the Cryonics Institute, $500 for picking the body up at the airport, funeral home costs, my $2,000 retainer, and $1,000 in administrative costs, faxes, 'phone calls etc.
You were warned early on about the exact overhead costs, including the phone cost. You have certainly used my service, and you can't expect two weeks of free assistance, so please honour your promise to reimburse me for my 'phone calls.
You have already paid your translators more than $1,000 and the French Funeral home $12,000. You have however not paid me anything, and unless I receive the $2,000 retainer, I cannot afford to assist you any further. If you use my service and do not pay me, the cryonics companies will most likely both bill you for my expenses and demand that these be paid up front before they would accept your mother's body. These are not just my conditions for assisting you, but also my conditions for dealing with them.
I realise the language barrier, and hope that this letter has made it easier to see why I am involved and the value of my service. I am willing to assist you and the Cryonics Institute is willing to accept your mother's body. And even if the Cryonics Institute was to change their mind, Trans Time might still say yes and accept the body for $33,000 up front plus your transfer costs, though at Trans Time you would still have to come up with more money later. This is something you don't have to do at the Cryonics Institute.
to be continued
Do we finally have a safe, effective and non-addictive weight loss product?
A couple of years ago, or so, both scientists and scientific reporters were making optimistic sounds about what the new developments with a substance called dexfenfluramine would mean in the seemingly never ending battle against excess weight.
Well the product is finally available - only in Europe as usual - and we have examined the evidence to see whether those early optimistic reports were justified.
Dexfenfluramine (hereafter called DF) is sold under the trade name Adifax (in England) and Isomeride (in France). It is the latest step forward in the long search for an ideal weight loss drug, i.e. it works fast, stays effective for a long time and has few side effects. DF boosts the effects of a natural brain chemical called serotonin. Importantly, it has no effects on the other parts of the brain that use dopamine or norepinephrine as chemical messengers. The drug is very effective at reducing food intake and at a dose of 30mg per day DF greatly alters eating habits in humans. DF makes you feel less like eating and the number of snacks you consume will soon drop. The total amount of calories and carbohydrates (but not proteins) you eat is reduced and any craving for carbohydrates simply fades away. In medical trials in obesity, DF when combined with a proper diet, has given weight losses which are better than those obtained with placebo over 3 month treatment periods. The drug keeps its weight-reducing effects for at least a year and causes no serious side effects. No other known product can achieve results even remotely as astounding as this.
DF seems to be the ideal drug for obesity. However, more medical trials are needed to prove the effectiveness and safety of DF for long term use. The drug is best used along with a diet to ensure fast and sustained weight loss.
Do you feel depressed in the fall and winter months? Every year about 8 million Americans suffer from a bout of depression. Of these 4-10% are said to be suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a syndrome which recurs every fall and winter and disappears during the following spring and summer . SAD symptoms are like those of common depression, e.g.
lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
low energy levels
As the days grow longer and spring follows winter, all these symptoms go away. Energy levels increase, creative thinking becomes easier, the need for sleep decreases, productivity increases, appetite is reduced - especially for carbohydrate-rich foods, and there is increased social activity. A lack of daylight during the winter months is probably the trigger for the annual onset of depression, because exposing sufferers to extra light in the fall or winter makes them feel better.
The symptoms that occur in SAD are also seen in people with premenstrual syndrome and normal weight bulimia. Previous studies1 have shown that DF can reduce the carbohydrate craving in obese people and stop their daily intake of 800 calories or more of carbohydrate-rich, protein-poor snack foods. Obese people or those with SAD notice an improvement in their mood after eating carbohydrate-rich food, this is because more serotonin is made in the brain. DF reduces snack intake by causing the very same serotonin controlled mood changes that are experienced after eating carbohydrates. DF has the same effect on mood as carbohydrates do, only without the calories!
In the first medical trials, DF treatment was found to remove all the depressive and appetite symptoms of SAD. In a more recent study2, a larger group of people was used, and a more complete assessment of DF's effects was made. In a follow-up study a subgroup of people who had responded well to DF received further treatment during the following fall and winter to assess the ongoing effectiveness of the drug.
In the fall of 1986, volunteers for the study were recruited. 23 people (19 women and 4 men) took part in the study. 18 people (14 women and 4 men) finally completed the study. All volunteers had no other medical or psychiatric disorders, took no other drugs, and were 10% to 40% over their ideal body weight.
In the double-blind study, subjects received DF (15mg twice daily) or placebo (identical capsules except with no active ingredient) for 4 week periods. After 4 weeks nothing was taken for a further 2 weeks followed then by 4 weeks on drug or placebo again. Only the nurse who gave out the capsules knew if they were DF or placebo. None of the patients or researchers knew who was taking the active drug.
A second follow-up study was done in 1987-88 on nine of the subjects who had benefited from DF during the previous fall-winter. This second study was used to find out if DF is effective for more than a single treatment period, and whether it remains active in responders for the full duration of each year's period of symptoms. DF was given (15mg twice daily) and treatment continued for 12 weeks. The volunteers were tested at intervals during treatment and again 3 weeks after treatment stopped to find out if their symptoms had improved.
13 of the 18 subjects lost weight while taking DF; but not one person lost weight whilst only taking placebo. The majority of those taking DF had mild cases of dry mouth, as well as an occasional mild headache and some diarrhoea. Mild headache and diarrhoea were experienced by only a small number of patients. None of the subjects showed any signs of depression or reduced energy when they had stopped taking the drug.
The group of nine patients who were retested in 1987-88 had their symptoms of depression reduced to normal levels. These levels stayed normal during the following 10 weeks of treatment and were also normal 3 weeks after treatment had stopped.
These results show that DF, a drug which can enhance the effects of serotonin, without causing psychostimulant effects or enhancing other types of neurotransmission3 can relieve the symptoms of SAD. In contrast, placebo had only minor effects on depression and none at all on the appetite symptoms. Volunteers were able to benefit from DF's effects from year to year, and the drug was effective throughout the once yearly 3 month treatment period when symptoms are often worst. SAD sufferers get fast relief with DF, when compared to relief given by other antidepressants is due to the different effects they have on the brain; as well as blocking the re-uptake of serotonin, DF also causes its release from brain cells.
DF was very good at reducing food intake and carbohydrate craving, whereas placebo had no effect on either of these symptoms. All of the volunteers in this study had complained that they always gained weight during the "winter depression months", and 13 of them did gain weight while taking placebo.
The response of SAD sufferers to DF, is consistent with the known roles of the brain cells which use serotonin to control appetite and mood4. The food we eat causes chemical messengers to be released from these brain cells, which in turn affects our next choice of food to eat. Eating carbohydrate-rich, protein-poor foods can boost serotonin production via the effects of the hormone insulin on the amino acids in the blood. These changes improve the uptake of tryptophan into the brain, and so the brain makes more serotonin. The use of DF cuts carbohydrate intake, while not affecting the amount of protein-rich foods eaten and boosts serotonin levels at the same time. Previously the main treatment that had met with some success against SAD involved sitting next to full spectrum light banks, simulating the conditions of spring and summer for several hours a day. DF appears to produce a far higher success rate against SAD - without the need to sit around for 2-3 hours per day.
Among obese people who said that they craved carbohydrate the use of DF reduced carbohydrate intake, without affecting protein. Carbohydrate was shown in these patients to improve their mood; this improvement was not seen among obese people who did not snack on carbohydrate-rich foods (non-carbohydrate cravers). The latest research on people with SAD suggest that DF could be useful for people with other depressive disorders connected with over-eating and carbohydrate craving, i.e. normal weight bulimia and premenstrual syndrome.
Obesity has been seen for many years as a disorder which carries with it a much greater risk of disease and even death than among those of ideal weight. It is the most common nutritional problem of the richer countries, and it is linked with cardiac disease, diabetes, and circulatory problems. However, the number of obese people in both sexes is rising rapidly, despite the social and medical pressures on overweight people.
Most of the problems associated with obesity can be reversed by losing weight. High blood pressure may go back to normal and the signs of diabetes may disappear. Big weight losses are not always needed to get these benefits. It is much easier to lose and maintain small amounts of weight loss, and this will greatly reduce the risk of disease.
The basis of all weight loss treatments is diet. Unfortunately, most people find it very difficult to stick to a rigid diet and many look for a some form of aid to help them stay the course. Since weight can only be lost if the daily food intake provides fewer calories than are used up, weight loss drugs can be seen as a means to this end. In the past, weight loss drugs have acted as psychological "props" to help support the patient as they changed their eating habits, now DF is set to change this. DF is best used after dieting has been tried and failed to cause the required weight loss. So far the drug treatment of obesity has been very disappointing, with many side effects which outweighed any benefits.
DF is the first drug to act solely on serotonin in the brain and so has been widely used in research on the role of serotonin in the nervous system. DF seems to control bodyweight in two ways:
1) the drug increases the release of serotonin and blocks its re-uptake5,6.
2) it also significantly increase the dietary-induced thermogenesis after a carbohydrate rich meal7.
There are also effects outside the brain, including increased glucose disposal in muscle and a block on fat production in the body8,9,10,11.
Placebo-controlled studies in humans using a DF dose of 30mg per day have proved that the drug has the same effect in humans as has been seen in animal studies, i.e. changes in eating habits. In volunteers, DF (30mg per day) enhanced the effect of a "standard" meal on the reduced desire for highly preferred foods, this effect is strongest for carbohydrates12. In healthy women treated for 4 days, DF led to a reduction in the number of snacks, with no effect on other meals12.
DF can selectively reduce the intake of foods with a high carbohydrate content in people with obesity which is maintained by carbohydrate craving. In a group of 20 obese carbohydrate cravers who ate carbohydrate snacks between meals, with small quantities of poor food at main meals, DF reduced snack calorie and carbohydrate intake dramatically in a placebo-controlled study13.
There are not yet many scientific studies of DF available, and studies comparing DF to other drugs are so far limited to placebo-controlled trials. The drug has been used mainly by obese adults (who were otherwise physically healthy), along with a diet.
Comparisons with a placebo may give a falsely favourable impression of DF, and so controlled studies comparing DF to other weight loss drugs are needed.
DF 15 to 30mg twice daily orally has produced notable weight loss in placebo-controlled studies which lasted for 12 weeks. Weight losses of approximately 6.6 to 17.6 lbs have been obtained over this period, without serious side effects. Weight loss with DF became significant after 4 to 6 weeks14.
Partially Successful Dieters.
The US Department of Health and Human Sciences has estimated that there are about 30 million obese American adults. The National Centers for Disease Control has advised that 40% of these people need to start a weight loss program. Many Americans already diet regularly and make a big effort to lose weight. Sadly, many of these well-meaning people quickly tire of dieting and quickly regain all the weight they were able to lose. There is a need for a completely new approach or method to help people achieve their ideal weight and more importantly help them stay at that weight.
DF is an effective weight reducing drug with few side effects15 ,16. This drug is only sold in a few European countries at present and is classed as an Investigational New Drug in the United States. A study was carried out at the Cathedral Obesity Clinic in San Francisco17 to see if DF could help the partially successful dieter lose further weight, or maintain their weight over a period of six months.
Sixty people took part in the study, they had already lost approximately 10 lbs and had not been able to lose any weight for at least one month before the study.
The volunteers were all placed on diets and received either DF (15mg twice a day) or placebo. Neither the volunteer or the doctor giving the drug knew who was taking DF or placebo. Volunteers were asked to take one capsule with breakfast and one with dinner except for the first three days of the study when they were told to only take the morning dose.
19 of 30 patients taking DF and 23 of 30 taking placebo completed the study. Those taking DF lost 13.7 lbs on average (a significant weight loss). 17 out of 19 people (90%) had lost some weight or at least not gained any weight during the study. In the placebo group only 13 of 23 people (57%) lost any weight.
The most common side effects of DF were drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache. Most side effects were noticed in the first month of treatment and there were no complaints in the treatment group at the end of the study. None of the DF side effects were ever felt by the users to be definitely due to the drug, with one exception: one person receiving only placebo definitely felt that his side effects of drowsiness and nausea were drug related.
The people that took part in this study were some of the most difficult people to treat for weight loss. All of them had attempted to lose weight in the past year, but all had only partial success and all were at a stand still. The results of this study show that, with the help of DF, most of these frustrated dieters were able to start anew and go on to lose weight for another six months. A sustained weight loss of about 0.6 lbs per week over six months is a great achievement for people in this group, showing the truly remarkable effectiveness of DF as a weight loss drug. This represented a total loss of about 45% of excess weight over the entire period that these individuals were trying to lose weight (18 months) in the DF group versus a loss of only 25% in the placebo group. This is success in weight loss, under a scientific controlled study, that only previously existed in the advertisers dreams!
DF is seen as a safe medicine by doctors18. In this study all side effects in the DF group were short-lived, occurring early in the study, were not severe, and none were felt to be definitely drug related. A number of reported side effects were probably due to changes that the volunteers experienced as they adapted to their new diet. The overall benefits of DF outweigh any untoward side effects.
This study in partially successful dieters shows DF to be a very promising new drug that may help people lose weight and then enable them to stay at their ideal weight.
Until recently, the long-term use of drugs in the treatment of obesity has not been seriously considered. Only short-term treatments are recommended at the present time. However, if we remember that
a) obesity is a major health problem,
b) only long-lasting weight losses are of any real value,
c) most current weight loss methods eventually fail, and
d) short-term drug treatments are inadequate for long-term use, the long-term (eventually lifelong) use of drugs should be considered.
Is DF a Drug Which Could be used Long-Term?
The general conditions that any drug must meet before it can be used long term include the following:
1) It must have a potent weight-lowering effect in short-term controlled trials.
2) Good tolerance, i.e. only causes mild side effects.
3) No risk of addiction.
4) Demonstration of sustained effects, i.e. maintenance of the initial weight loss.
5) No major toxicity in humans even after years of use.
From what is already known, it can be said that DF already meets the first three conditions. Regarding point 4, the weight lowering effect of DF is maintained for at least 3 months. Point 5 remains to be proven. As usual, only the extensive use of a drug will answer this question. DF certainly seems to be safe for use in the short term.
The successful treatment of obesity is still one of the most challenging areas of medicine, since conventional treatments are largely unsuccessful. DF is a very effective drug which makes it much easier to lose weight. Unlike other weight-loss drugs its effects are long lasting. However, DF should be used along with other methods such as diet, behavioral therapy and physical exercise depending on the individual situation.
The potent weight-lowering effect of DF has been shown to persist for 12 months without serious side effects. The drug lowers the bodyweight set point and reduces food intake, especially that of a stress-induced nature. Since DF has been shown to counteract the body's responses to stress, the drug may have a direct beneficial effect on some diseases associated with obesity, e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure. The drug could also be used to allow those who have achieved their normal weight to help them maintain that weight. DF is an important advance in the treatment of the overweight: it is safe and stays effective when used for long periods and so is a useful addition to the treatments for obesity.
DF is not recommended for use by the elderly.
Under no circumstances use DF if you suffer or have ever suffered from glaucoma, cardiac arrhythmias, a history of anorexia, psychiatric or depressive illness, drug or alcohol abuse, kidney or liver impairment. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not use DF.
It is very important to limit use of DF to 3 months. Never use DF for long periods without proper medical supervision. Reduce the dose of DF you take slowly over a period of 1-2 weeks.
Do not take any of the following types of drugs if you are using DF:
MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors),
other weight-loss drugs (anorectics),
high-blood pressure drugs,
Possible side effects are: dry mouth, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea, drowsiness, dizziness, increased need to urinate and headache. If you experience side effects reduce your daily dose or stop treatment completely.
Summary: On balance our investigation shows DF to be quite incredible and those early reports we mentioned at the beginning of this article certainly seem justified. OK we concede that further testing will be needed to determine long term use safety, but the fact that the Europeans have allowed DF on to the market now means that short term use is quite acceptable.
This product which may eliminate SAD syndrome, and help many people achieve substantial weight loss without the usual, unpleasant, traumas of dieting must be made available in the U.S.A. at the earliest opportunity. We do not want another "deprenyl story", (i.e. available throughout Europe in 1974, only approved in the U.S.A in 1988) to happen with a product that may revolutionize the way we control our diets.
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