ISSN 0964-5659

LONGEVITY REPORT 37

Volume 4 no 37. First published February 1993. ISSN 0964-5659.

Dental Review Dr Gabriel Landini, Dr Odont, PhD

Laser Scanning for Dental Surgery John de Rivaz

Taking it With You - 2 John de Rivaz

Letters - Trees, Technology Shops, Swiss Banks, Acetone, Exercise, God

Ivory Castles Brian Haines

A One-a-Day May Keep the Doctor Away Douglas Skrecky

Cold War Yvan Bozzonetti

Deprenyl, Morton Schulman and Me Ben Best





The Profession Answers Back:

A Review of

How to Become Dentally Self-Sufficient

by Dr. Gabriel Landini, Dr. Odont., Ph.D.

Introduction by John de Rivaz:
Longevity Report is not about personalities, it is about truth, and more to the point those truths that enable people to be free of pain, ill health and eventually death. It is therefore with great pleasure that I introduce an alternative view of that truth from someone associated with the dental profession academically who has taken the time and trouble to assess the works of Dr R.O. Nara, DDS. Dr Nara has made many serious criticisms of his profession. Readers may recall that we offer books and a video by Dr Nara, which (broadly speaking) claim that dentistry (at least as practised in the United States) is a sham and a fraud on the public, and by following certain simple techniques they can avoid ever going to the dentist again. (Unless there is gross mechanical damage, eg an existing filling comes out.)


Dr Nara's claims have always seemed somewhat startling, and he was attacked in the law courts by The American Dental Association. However Dr Nara won, and continues to offer his services as Oramedics in Michigan, USA. However, Dr Landini has found many problems with the material, some of which are subjective, and more seriously some of which are simple disagreements on matters of fact. Here is what he wrote:


I am afraid that it is difficult to comment on How to become Dentally Self-Sufficient since it has so many errors and misleading ideas that it is not, in my opinion, a suitable book for self-administered dental care purposes. The writing is very loose and poorly structured and there are no scientific literature references.1

The book tries to show that there is "another face of dentistry" (Oramedics International) that one could chose and avoid "spending hundreds ... thousands of dollars, pain, and disfigurement". Although dental treatments may be very expensive, however, in the book there are no new facts or no new approaches to treatment or prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease. There are no attempts to analyze why dental care is expensive, either.2

The scientific vocabulary is not appropriate. The author insists on using new names (why?)3 (odontosis, gingivosis for dental caries and periodontal disease respectively) when the classical names are widely accepted.

There are severe mistakes in the anatomical (form) and physiological (function) descriptions such as "the covering tissue of the oral cavity is one cell thick" (pages 30 and 46). All students are taught in their first year that oral epithelial tissue is polystratified (several layers thick).4

Even in Dr Nara's video cassette he mentions "one cell thick" tissue three times!

Dr Nara wrongly states that "cementum", the tissue that covers the surface of the roots of teeth is "somewhat similar to enamel" (page 34).

The description of the attachment of teeth to the bone by "connective tissues" is wrong (page 35). That attachment is achieved by a specialised system of collagen fibres (the periodontal ligament.)

The description of lack of attachment (adhesion) of the gums to teeth is false. There are several ways in which this attachment is achieved: the epithelial cells adhere to the enamel of the tooth crown by "hemidesosomes", fibrillar structures visible by electron microscopy. Additionally there exist a group of collagen fibres (the Koelliker circular ligament and dento-gingival fibres) which help to keep the gingiva attached to the teeth.

Most modern periodontal treatments aim to restore the adhesion which is lost in periodontal disease.5

The author seems to use the word "symptom" for all sorts of different things (cavities, gum problems, page 20), when its correct meaning is "what the patient expresses or feels" about a disease. For example "pain" is a symptom.6

On page 44, it says that bone tissue is "self restorative", which is not true for the case of bone loss during periodontal disease. That is why untreated periodontal disease worsens with time - the bone loss in cumulative.

Dr Nara says on page 44 that "gingivosis" (periodontal disease) is the "gravest disease problem in oral health". It is a widely spread disease. However the greatest problem in oral health is without any doubt oral cancer. Its incidence varies widely between countries, due to differences in genetic background and to alimentary and social habits. In the western world it comprises about 5% of all tumours, but in other geographic areas this percentage is increased several times. Tobacco, (smoking, inverted smoking and chewing), alcohol, betel nut chewing are now known to relate to an increased risk of oral cancer.7

I found several misleading statements such as "(tooth) brush(ing) does not prevent disease" (page 40). Dr Nara seems to ignore that the purpose of teeth brushing is to disorganise a bacterial polymer complex that forms on the surface of the oral cavity called "oral plaque". Bacteria form acids as a result of their metabolism and these acids attach the surface of the enamel, dissolving it. This creates micro faults in the enamel which are not possible to brush, and subsequently these develop into larger cavities. So the main purpose of brushing is to reduce this acid attack.8

In the video, Dr Nara expresses that "the more you go to the dentist, the less teeth you have in your mouth". I would like to see what kind of statistics he has used to reach to that assertion. There seems to be a classic example of cause-or-effect misunderstanding.9

Do patients who do not have any dental treatment have more teeth in their mouths than those who do? I would like to see a proof of that,9 since the World Health organisation statistics do not agree with Dr Nara.

Oral health in modern society (mostly due to alimentary habits) does not depend on "going to the dentist", but on individual and constant behaviour regarding personal oral hygiene.

On page 72, there is a paragraph about the effect of drug abuse on oral health. Rather than explaining that drug abuse is very bad for your health, Dr Nara says instead that it is bad for your oral health and "if you are legal (user?) ask your doctor about this, if you are illegal ask your pusher". This is unbelievable.10

In conclusion, what does Dr Nara propose that is novel? I really do not know. He goes attacking dental care in the USA. I am not aware of how things work there, but there are no alternative proposals at all. All the methods proposed for oral hygiene (brushing, dental floss, water pick, fluoride, disclosing tablets, etc.) are methods currently used worldwide. Bacteriological tests like the lactobacillus count will give you a result of the status of the bacterial flora at the time of sampling, but this is altered after you have a meal or brush your teeth. Disclosing tablets (that stain dental plaque) may be of much more use (and far cheaper) since you can test your brushing efficiency as many times as you want.

I am afraid that I cannot recommend the book, for all the reasons above.

Other notes:

(These were sent in response to other questions I asked Dr Landini:)

Tooth Remineralisation

This does happen. The tooth enamel is mainly composed of a calcium-phosphate mineral called hydroxyapatite which has several radicals (parts of its molecular structure) that can be relatively easily exchanged by others. As saliva has a high concentration of calcium, teeth can remineralise, although not enough to stop dental caries.

That is the basis of toothpaste's fluoride action: to exchange an OH- radical (an oxygen and hydrogen atom) with a F- atom (fluorine) atom. If this is achieved, then the crystal (now fluorapatite) has much more resistance to acid attack, and therefore to caries. While by using toothpaste with fluoride you increase protection on the surface of the teeth, medically controlled ingestion of fluoride during childhood helps to build up all the enamel with a higher proportion of fluorapatite. For this purpose, several ways of distribution of fluoride are possible, such as fluoridated water, salt, or tablets. However one must first ask one's dentist about the requirements since more than certain amounts can produce discolourations of the enamel and massive amounts are toxic.

The use of Fluorbiprofen11 to prevent bone loss on periodontal disease.

Anti-Inflammatory drugs, as well as the immuno-suppressive drugs that are administered to patients subjected to organ transplantation, reduce the inflammatory response of the periodontally affected tissues, which in turn is responsible for the destruction of the bone tissue in the jaw. However this is not a causative treatment since you only avoid one of the terminal links that lead to bone resorption. The main cause is not the inflammation you are reducing, but mostly bacterial toxins and waste products present in the dental plaque and dental calculus. So in the end you reduce your capabilities to fight the infection. This is the reason why fighting plaque and calculus with a correct oral hygiene are the best ways of preventing caries and periodontal disease.



Comments by John de Rivaz:

1 The lack of references devalues it, I agree. I was told that though they were used when the book was written, they were never noted down in the text.

2 This was in the companion book Money by the Mouthful. Certainly one of the reasons must be greed by the profession as a whole. It is demonstrated in restricting the numbers of practitioners available to treat the public. A similar problem was noted in Britain's national news about a couple of years ago. For more reasoned comment on how professions as a whole work, see Richard Dawkins' famous book The Selfish Gene, Oxford, 1989.

3 I think that I can answer that. When one belief system replaces another, one way it can more quickly overthrow the other idea is by the use of language, and particularly by names. I cite two examples.

One is when the American colonists imported slaves from Africa, they gave them all new, English names and forbid them to use their old names. They taught them English but without words like "freedom" or "escape" in the vocabulary.

The other is more recent. When the Socialists chose to tax people to prevent their savings keeping up with inflation, thereby concentrating more wealth into government control, they called their tax "Capital Gains Tax". The intended implication was that people who got something for nothing were being penalised. The British people were quick to catch on to the fact that they were being taxed on illusory gains in terms of real value, as a result of the inflation the Socialists had also introduced, or at any rate encouraged. After a bitter political struggle within both main parties, lasting nearly two decades, the tax was index linked, with the result that today, out of a population of some 56 million people, only about 160,000 actually pay the tax. Has the Socialists been honest and imposed a wealth or capital tax, it could be with us to this day. However they were concerned that if a Wealth Tax was introduced at the same level of kill as Capital "Gains" Tax it would alienate too many of their voters in the high pay labour sector, and of course the Conservatives were more likely to repeal it more quickly when they returned to office. Ironically, the Conservatives later failed with something very similar to a wealth or capital tax - the Poll Tax! Further comment by Dr Landini.

4 At the time of writing this (early November 1992) there is a series of television programmes on how doctors are trained. I should imagine the situation is very similar for dentists. The first year is on the subject of anatomy, and the sheer volume of data is impossible to memorise. Therefore students study form, and memorise data on subjects that are most likely to come up considering past examination papers. Whether a particular student passes is therefore a combination of luck and work. However Dr Nara was writing his book as a free man, not under examination conditions. therefore I would have expected him to both have the text read by a fellow professional for such mistakes, and also to have checked facts. If he had included scientific references, then maybe the assertion about cells could be investigated further. On his video, he says that when teeth are scaled at the dentists, if the hygienist is negligent and abrades the gums (they feel sore afterwards) then the patient is at higher risk from a serious infectious illness that kills the heart. Most people infected die from this disease. Young people are not excepted, and there was recently a case of a young teacher dying from this disease here in Cornwall. Whether she had recently had her gums scaled I don't know. Further comment by Dr Landini.

5 I have heard people say that these treatments offer months of post operative pain. I am very dubious of anything that has people leaving the treatment iller than when they commenced it. If such activities were outside the cloak of professionalism, then they would not be tolerated by the public or indeed the law. In medicine, many surgical treatments have been replaced by pharmacology. I am surprised, and suspicious, that this appears not to have happened in dentistry. If the statistic is true that half the population don't submit to dental surgery, then that half is an enormous market for the pharmaceutical industry to address. (As an amusing aside, I often wonder what would happen if that half of the population suddenly decided to go to the dentist. Presumably the profession would collapse as it would be unable to provide the manpower to meet the demand.) Further comment by Dr Landini.

6 My note three may apply again to this. Or maybe it is a communication problem. Maybe what Dr Nara is trying to say is that the disease is the bacteria which have been designed to make acids that eat away at teeth, and the result is the caries, periodontitis etc. Further comment by Dr Landini.

7 The treatments for some forms of oral cancer were the subject of a television drama some years back. The surgery is horrific, and is yet another reason why people should stop smoking their lungs. As lung smoking (passive and active) and alcohol drinking often go together, the combined effect could well be greater than the sum of the two alone. Further comment by Dr Landini.

8 The Immortalist publicised a suggestion that if one brushes teeth before as well as after meals, disease levels can be kept even lower. This is because bacteria are removed and less disease process continues during the meal.

9 I wrote to Dr Nara asking for a reference on this assertion, but regretfully he has all his references for this book piled in a box and hadn't the time to sort this one out. Whereas I sympathise about the evil of time, regretfully this doesn't help us here.

10 I always assumed that this was intended to be jocular.

11 This was proposed in Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw's newsletter, regretfully now no longer being produced. Whether the action of fluorbiprofen is exactly as Dr Landini classes with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs I am not qualified to say, but there could be some other action as otherwise Pearson and Shaw would have mentioned the class of drugs rather than one specific one. The fact that its name suggests it to be a fluorine compound could be relevant.

Additional notes by Dr Landini

3&6 I think that if one is writing a book for everybody, one has to use correctly the terms, because if not, you are confusing the readers.

4 Take care on overemphasising: If you suffer from bacterial endocarditis, AND you have periodontal disease AND you have your teeth scaled, THEN you may be in a risk of reactivating your endocarditis and become seriously ill (and even die). Not every patient who is scaled is at risk because not everybody suffers from bacterial endocarditis or rheumatic fever.

5. "I have heard people ..." does not make a good scientific argument. Periodontal surgery is a very minor surgery compared with many other treatments. You cannot compare medicine in general to dentistry in particular (surgery v drugs). This is like criticising engineers because there are still no solar powered cars. Secondly, you assume that the half of the population who does not go to the dentist would use the drugs ... that still do not exist. Yet more editorial comment

7. Because all the functions the mouth has, and radical surgical treatment will compromise them, but one should not forget what the purpose of all that treatment is. We would then be involved in ethics, the quality of life etc. But this is far from the message you want to give to your readers about prevention. Yet more editorial comment

As the oral cavity is very easy to survey (just opening the mouth) the number of cases in which you can do early diagnosis even pre-malignant lesions (avoiding large surgical treatments later) is great compared for example to cervical cancer. Just imagine how much easier it is to survey the oral cavity than any other internal organ.

If you are interested in oral health, contact the WHO and ask for material on oral health and cancer prevention.

Oral Health Subdivision,

World Health Organisation,

1211 Geneva 7

Switzerland

Editorial comment on comments (this is getting complicated!)

5 "I have heard people ..." wasn't intended as a scientific comment. Dr Nara claims in his book that oral surgery for periodontal disease isn't particularly successful from the point of view of the patient: it is expensive, involves a long period of post operative pain, and the condition often recurs. No doubt if I had the time I would look in a library and see if any peer reviewed scientific papers have been written on post operative pain and recurrence amongst patients who have received this surgery. That, of course would be scientific. In the meantime, maybe one of the readers would like to oblige? (Actually I would have my doubts whether such topics such as post operative pain are covered in scientific papers as they are extremely subjective, but I could be wrong.)

7 Longevity Report is not supposed to be giving people a "brush your teeth" message, but we do want to foster debate so that people understand why they are being told to do certain things by professionals. I do not think the majority of the readership is of the "doctor knows best" brigade. Indeed Longevity Report readers should be able to assess for themselves the validity of proposals made by professionals. This would not be from the same depth of knowledge of the subject as the professional, but from the reader's knowledge of his own position and using what information he can glean from the professional.

The professions (doctors, dentists, solicitors, barristers, accountants, opticians etc) have the idea that all of their members are equally honest, trustworthy people and equally good at their job. Common sense suggests otherwise, which may be one reason why only a part of the population trusts them. Usually a professional doesn't have the time to discuss things fully with the patient or client. A recent Panorama programme on dentistry said that to meet the financial outgoings of their practice some National Health Service dental practitioners have to allow only 6 minutes per filling, including seeing the patient in and out of the surgery.





A Dental Nightmare

by John de Rivaz

The picture on the front page of the printed edition is of Cliff Cottage, Prussia Cove in Cornwall where I as a child had many happy summer holidays - apart that is from the dental nightmare to be recounted below. My room was the centre of the three dormer windows in the roof.

When I was a child, I was taken to the dentist three times a year, as was believed to be sound practice. School holidays had to contain both summer holidays and dental surgery, and one year there was a period of a few weeks before the summer holiday and a few weeks after it that dental surgery could take place.

The dental surgeon announced that he would place a temporary filling in a decayed area before the holiday, and then do a permanent one afterwards. To this day I can't understand the clinical necessity for this, but during that holiday I had nightmares about the permanent filling. I had assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that the permanent filling would be some horrendous procedure that would leave me too ill to take the holiday. In fact it was no different to any other filling.

Laser Scanning System

for Dental Surgery



An article in New Scientist 19/26 December described a prototype system that will make dental surgery more efficient.

As he cuts into your teeth the surgeon, instead of looking at what he is doing, will view the progress of the drill on a video monitor hooked to a computer. This will receive data from a laser scanning system fixed around the tooth being drilled.

The advantage of this system is that the dentist can see inside the teeth as he drills. Previously, he took an X-ray and based his entire procedure on this one image. Unlike X-rays, laser light is not ionising, and therefore can be used with safety. The computer can make three dimensional images that can be rotated and viewed from different angles.

The system will also be of use for restorative works such as crowns, giving a far better result than plaster moulds.

The laser system works because the light is scattered more by decayed areas than healthy tissue. Using a light whose wavelength is sensitive to blood, the system can also detect dead teeth for extraction. Dead teeth are identifiable by the fact that they have no blood circulation.

Teeth are a hard but porous structure, so the laser light can get through them. However it is said not to be a complete replacement for X-rays, because they are better at detecting existing fillings. (I don't understand why - I should have thought that mercury amalgam would not be porous and therefore block laser light completely.)

International Sensor Corporation, Pittsburgh, is now developing a commercial system. Trials are due to start in about a year.

Taking it With You - 2

by John de Rivaz

A cryonicist wanting a personal reanimation account and not being able to afford the Reanimation Foundation's minimum of $100,000 has an alternative in the services of Mr Adolfo S. Pichardo.

Mr Pichardo is a Licensed Accountant with a practice in Miami, Florida, and has been in this profession since 1974. He has set up a fiduciary service. This is a service, working with lawyers and other professions, that creates and manages trusts. He is also a member of The Immortalist Society and has an interest in maintaining his physical health.

I send him a very direct letter asking certain questions about the costs involved. He replied that the costs depend a lot on what people need, but he gave as an example, a trust of $50,000 with the owner managing it whilst alive and Adolfo S. Pichardo Associates Ltd managing it after his suspension. This trust would cost $1,000 to set up, and $775 per year to manage after the client's suspension. (1 hr Senior Administrator, 7hrs Junior.) The management costs during the client's life would be minimal to nil, as he would be doing the work. This assumes that the trust has no other motives, such as avoiding tax. However one need to check that it doesn't add to taxation penalties levied by most countries on owning wealth.

Mr Pichardo recommended that any securities be sold and cash transferred to the trust, as transferring stocks or other assets would complicate matters.

However, taxation of capital gains could add to costs if the sales involved tax penalties. Therefore anyone following this route may be advised to find out exactly what the difficulties would be in transferring the actual assets. Trusts in the UK are penalised separately and more harshly for capital gains, and this risk needs to be checked. However it may be that if the trust does not avoid death tax, then the additional capital gains penalty is not levied. The costs mentioned assume that there are no unusual circumstances, such as litigation. However privacy of trusts in the USA reduce the chances of hostile people discovering them. This may well be facilitated by transferring cash rather than other assets into the trust.

Taxation can be minimised by proper planning and preparation. UK and European readers should note that Mr Pichardo has access to information on double taxation treaties.

Although most states in the USA have enacted legislation depriving their citizens of the freedom to write perpetual trusts, Mr Pichardo says that by use of "the corporate form" he may have found a way to circumvent this. Again, the privacy of trusts is beneficial in this respect. Also, I would comment that cryonicists expect to be revived, so the trusts won't be left to run forever!

For clients with large funds available, I would recommend placing some with many different institutions. They may not all survive, but you won't run the risk of choosing one that fails and losing all your money.

These reanimation support organisations are unlikely to fail because of mismanagement or plain dishonesty on behalf of their managers. But as they grow they will be subject to legal attack, unless the litigious nature of society declines. One doesn't have to be a mathematical genius to work out that a trust of $50,000 or even $500,000 is unlikely to be sufficient to survive the costs of defending a legal attack, given that legal fees rise faster than deposit interest or even growth of stocks and shares. But if an aggressor has to find many trusts in different countries all hiding under secrecy laws, then you are likely to have some left when you reanimate.

For further information, please contact

Mr Adolfo S. Pichardo

3850, Galloway Road,

Suite 306,

Miami

Florida 33165

USA

Letters

From Mr Yvan Bozzonetti

I also have too many activities in too many domains and not enough time to hand. I am writing a book about large amateur astronomy instruments. I am trying to translate a bit of it into English to give a hint of it to some American publishers.

In the longevity domain, I am starting to use dried Dacrydium Cupressum (Rimu). It seems interesting to use this before strenuous exercise. I am thinking about an article on a personal cold vaccine.

On the practical side, I think that some technological components are not available for individual use. We need to think about "technology shops" with services such as high speed centrifugation or DNA sequencers. Maybe computer club activities could be expanded in this direction?

I think we need more activities in the sciences and technology for amateurs or individual businessmen. Fractals, astronomy instrumentation, biochemistry experiments are merely a few examples of what could be offered.

From here I turn to the subject of cryonics. For me, cryonics can't be a credible solution today. It relies too heavily on the work of individuals such as R.C.W. Ettinger. To be a credible solution it needs to be a mass social phenomena. To convince many people implies a more credible issue, that may be done only by a well defined research programme. And we can't expect governments to help individuals in this respect. A couple of my friends who are interested in cryonics have serious doubts as to its long term viability. There is clearly a credibility problem even for interested people. How can we solve these questions?

From Mr E. P. Suter

Those damn Swiss Banks , they're making money with everything, preferably with persons or organisations to whom they will not have to return the funds paid in. Who knows what will exist in 300 years anyhow?

From Mr Brian Haines

I certainly enjoyed the last edition of Longevity. This stuff about growing trees I think I must follow up.

I was walking home late last night and at the side of the road I saw something that made me wonder if I had wandered into another world. There were some road-works by our friends Murphy. Lying there on top of the mounds of earth were wooden water-pipes. I did a double take I can tell you. I did a bit of digging myself and found that these were the old original water mains that had been dug up. Old Elm logs some 200 years old bored out to take the water. They were still in very good condition, better indeed than the iron that replaced them.

I thought it rather sad these pipes stood a good chance of ending up on a skip. I have tried to interest the local paper in these artifacts. Of course being Camden the locals can't raise enthusiasm for any English historical remains.

From Mr Douglas Skrecky:

I agree with Professor R.C.W. Ettinger's criticism of using acetone as a substitution medium, which was suggested in my article How to Failure Proof Cryonics. Acetone has been used with good results in freeze substitution, but the reason it is often used is not due to the fact that it is the best possible solvent. It isn't. Rather the reason it is used seems to be because it is cheap. It is probably too cheap for serious use as a solvent in critical applications. Dessication as Cryonic Insurance addresses Professor Ettinger's present concerns, but I hope that he will continue to provide valuable feedback if any other concerns arise.

Yvan Bozzonetti caught an error on my part in my article The Cause of Aging. In this article I implied that if a supplement didn't increase lifespan there was no point in taking it. In order to rectify this I am currently researching the effect of micronutrients on mood and have been quite fascinated by what I have uncovered thus far. I hope to share these findings before long in an upcoming issue of Longevity Report. As regards the effect on exercise I would like to mention that coenzyme Q10 has been found to be very effective in attenuating muscular injury.1 As coenzyme Q10 has also extended lifespan in two published trials it seems a fairly useful supplement overall to take.

1 Protective Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Exercise-Induced Muscular Injury 349-355 Vol.176 No.1 1991 Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

From Mrs Joy Cass

Thank you very much for sending me Longevity Report 36, which I have read cover to cover, with great interest. I think your article How You Can Take it With You is absolutely splendid, wonderfully clear and very helpful. I imagine that you have spent a great deal of time collecting such detailed information.

I was particularly interested in the articles by Mr Yvan Bozzonetti. Although I could not entirely follow his statements, I was most impressed by the way he writes of his experiments for the "onlooking layman" like myself. He has a way with expression that makes him "likeable".

Thank you for publishing my letter1. In re-reading it, I must apologise for the "awful moan"2 of the last two paragraphs. But the story takes a new turn after 3 October - when, quite suddenly, I felt renewed. And, looking through my diary, I note than on 4 October I was taken to church. I walked up to the altar rail quite steadily. On 15 October I walked quietly to the garage, sat in my car, started it and gently reversed out. The next day I drove around the long drive we have here. On 18 October I drove myself to church and since then have been happily driving to and fro, with ease. On 12 November I had an appointment to see the consultant at Barnet hospital. I am now right off the pills3 and do not have to visit the hospital for a check-up until 9 February.

Comments:

1 Thank you for sending it: readers' letters are the best way of exchanging views amongst the readership.

2 I disagree that it was an "awful moan" - Longevity Report is here for people to discuss their health problems.

3 Your pills seem to have done you a lot of good. I know that you believe in God and all that, but you should think of pills as being part of his healing work. After all, if you did not need to do anything but let God provide, then you wouldn't eat and drink or even breathe for that matter! I think that you could consider taking a good multivitamin such as Life Extension Mix [from Life Plus, FREEPOST PO Box 24, Dunstable, Beds LU5 5UX - build up the dose gradually.] Another anti aging substance I can recommend is KH-3 [buy from Boots.]

From Mr M.Sankey:

I hope that you will be kind enough to print the following press release:

One of our authors, M. Sankey, has been successful in getting a poem published. The poem, Geko, touches on the aspects of longevity and regeneration and is included in an anthology of various new poets, encompassing a wide range of subjects. The anthology, Spring Collection, is available in bookshops or by post from Arrival Press Unit 3 Wulfric Square North Bretton Peterborough PE3 8RF 7 paperback, 11 hardback.

Congratulations to Dr Donaldson for the most intelligent article I have seen on Christianity. A flaw: The Gospels could only be read as they do if they had been carefully constructed to tally, or if they were true?1

I really feel that Yvan Bozzonetti should explain why he prefers to drink photographic fluid to obtain tocopherols, when there is a perfectly good natural source in the soybean. Does he prefer the taste?

I fail to understand your joy in the inconsequential ramblings of Mrs Joy Cass. I think Longevity Report is worthwhile because it is like getting a letter from some close friends every quarter2, like minds in a sea of chaos. I am less interested in evangelism than survival. However, in the way of such people, Mrs Cass has inadvertently touched on an important point: if I live two hundred years I will probably not achieve what Mozart or Schubert, for instance, achieved in thirty. So quality or quantity? Or is life all that matters? These are philosophical questions to concern all immortalists. I am reminded of pictures in the old Venturist Voice, of people kicking ball and playing tennis, presumably for eternity.

Comments:

1. I am not sure what this means. As far as I am aware The Gospels don't tally exactly.

2. Longevity Report appears every other month, six times a year.

Longevity Report is here to discuss all points of view. As religion occupied the place in people's minds that concerns death, then it seems eminently correct to include the thoughts of religious people who take the trouble to write to us. I don't really think that they have the absolute answer, ie lie back, die, and rot or be burned in the hope that God will provide. However as Dr Donaldson and others have written, they have been pondering the things that trouble us for far longer than we have and may well have many ideas to contribute to the debate. Also their input may explain to us the hostility felt by many people, particularly those successful in the establishment, feel towards cryonics and life extension.

Ivory Castles



by Brian Haines

My shelf life is fast reaching expiry date. Nothing concentrates the mind so much we all know as the fact that we are to be hanged on the morrow. I am fully aware that my choices are at present to be burnt, frozen or box-up beneath the sod. By far the most resilient parts of my body to these various means of treatment of the cold corpse are the teeth. In order then to be sure of some form of immortality, to say nothing of enjoyment in the present I have taken a great interest in dentistry.

My experience may be familiar to many. I was part of the post war baby boom. Sadly the war was not the second world war and the quality of health care ranged through many of folk treatments then in vogue. Perhaps I was lucky to escape the more experimental that came later and was left to the more tried and tested country remedies available to poor families in the West of England. Not until I was nine or ten years old was I exposed to the hands of the self appointed dental surgeon. I remember that visit well, it lingers around my memory.

There were at that period many dentists who had no formal qualifications. My man was very much of the old school, his experience garnered through practice in the slums of the 1870's and 80's of old London. I sat in his high upright chair stuffed with horse-hair. His treadle machine ominously near. Injections to sooth the pain of grinding a mere rumour of what might be available in the rare air of Wimpole Street or Belgrave Square.

"No need to be alarmed " my jolly dentist assured me. "A good dentist (such as himself) can tell from the colour of the tooth when you get near to a nerve. You only get pain if you drill the pink tissue near the nerve"

So far as I recall he didn't hurt me. But I remember the words so well. Successive dentists have plunged needles into my mouth without questioning my desires in the matter. They have drilled away enthusiastically in all directions. Even through the anaesthetic I have felt the twinges of pain and I know they are hitting the nerve pulverising it to a premature death.

My belief is the coming of easy anaesthetic systems has brought a haphazard carelessness. An encouragement to the lazy and inept. I have always been told I have good strong teeth. But they now present a dismal picture of holes and craters created by the mal-practice of crude dental procedures.

And worse I have lost five or six crucial teeth which should have been able to last me a life-time with better attention. It is only within the last ten years or so I have come realise how many incompetent people have been released by the dental schools upon an unsuspecting public.

As I say, it is possible I had a subconscious knowledge planted in my mind that all was not well from that early conversation. It hardened to a certainty when I had continued pain in teeth that had received 383 unhappy attentions under the National Health service. Unable to bear the pain any longer I was recommended by a friend to a 'whiz-kid' in Wimpole Street. My friend said "surely it is worth any amount of money to be free of pain, whatever it costs". You have to be in agony to understand the truth of that.

The man was expensive! very expensive, but oh! what a difference. It was a whole new ball game. None of your pick and shovel stuff. The work was of a different order. It didn't seem like dentistry anymore, at least not what I had been used to. It was almost a pleasure to sit and open my mouth. It was sheer artistry. And the pain went. Subsequently I learned he was regarded as one of only six dentists in Britain who were recognised as being at the top of the tree.

From that time I studied what was available and what should be done.

Which brings me to the present. I received from Longevity books three interesting paper backs. Money by the Mouthful, How to be Dentally self-sufficient and Engines of Creation. They really were presents but that is by the way.

As you might expect from the titles of two of them they are about dentistry. They are about the poor state of the dental profession in the United States. There was accompanying the book the criticism by an established dental practitioner printed before this article. Engines of Creation has a section upon dental and health treatment: it is of a different order being a look into the future.

I found all three books absolutely fascinating. I had hoped the dentistry books would have some form of "alternative dental therapy" on the lines of "new age" medicine. They don't. They are more concerned with fairly standard routine preventative dental health. And to that extent I do agree with the criticisms offered by Dr. Landini when he states that the books offer nothing new. But I reject the rest of his criticism because I feel he has missed the point of the books.

These books are not meant as medical text books, they are written in a racy easy to read style aimed at the general public. So far as I can see there is nothing in the books that could bring harm to anyone following the advice therein. And I notice the good Doctor does not say that following the advice you could come to harm. From the point of view of bringing the subject of oral hygiene to the attention of the public they do an excellent job.

As an aside I should mention that there is at Bristol Dental Hospital a Professor Elderton who has written about the possibility of allowing teeth to heal themselves. As I understand him, he is of the opinion that there is a lot of over-drilling. Where teeth have started active decay all that should be done is to clear off the parts which have become soft and then seal off the area with a plastic preparation to allow the teeth to recover. There seem to be one or two other highly placed dental surgeons who offer similar teaching. There was a public lecture at University College a few years ago suggesting a change in attitudes.

In all these matters you have to make up your own mind upon what you think is best. The time has long gone when the public is obliged to accept in blind faith everything proffered by the professions in any field. Education has brought with it the means to make a judgment. The States have always one jump ahead in producing books to explain how things are done. But we have the information here if you search for it.

There is a book called Preventative Dentistry by J.O.Forest published in this country in 1981 that covers the same ground, and another Clinical Dental Hygiene published in 1992 by Walsh, Figures and Lamb which contains numerous illustrations. Both are excellent publications but neither are best sellers. For the average member of the public they are lacking that element of excitement that will draw a positive response. I have no doubt the two British books are more dentally correct and academically precise. The problem is they don't have pizzazz. No oomph. However they get you there in the end.

After reading How to be dentally self sufficient I went straight to the bathroom and cleaned my teeth with floss (I find floss better than tape contrary to the instructions) and gave my teeth a good brush with salt. The results were as good as I could have wished. If the books had been available way back in my younger days I have no doubt at all I would be better off. I'm sorry to say the British versions did not do that.

To my mind, the remarks in Engines of Creation hold true. There surely will come a time when dental repair can be effected by medical means instead of mechanical drilling and filling. The further political points made in the books hold true also. Apparently Karl Marx made the point that we are servants of our creations and not masters of them. We have to be very careful of how we approach all new discoveries or we stand in danger of being oppressed. It may be that the ability to cure dental problems by giving pills and potions could lead to even worse excesses in the dental profession than we have at the moment. My original dentist who had learned a few simple practical methods would not recognise what went on today, at the same time his methods did not lead to unnecessary work or active destruction. At least I do not think they did. I know that when I have repeated his maxim to present day dentists, there has been reluctant agreement to the idea pain does not have to be caused to the patient if the dentist takes care and time to see what is being done.

The need to make money takes precedence over the human condition. It is a common cry by doctors and dentists alike that they do not have the time to give proper care because they are not paid enough!

As Karl Marx said, it is the money that dictates and controls human activity. It should be the other way round. This is the question addressed in the book, it is all very well putting people into suspended animation, the question is, can you rely upon future generations wanting to bring them out? We must plan systems of democracy that are in control of the State. At the present time there is no State where the people have full power in reality. Much of what goes on seems to be in spite of the desire of the public. We got a National Health service certainly, but is it the service we wanted?

I think these three books gave me something to get my teeth into. When you think about it your teeth are the most important part of your life. If you don't put things in your mouth you head for very early extinction. If you feel the need to know more about dentistry try reading The Roots of Dentistry published by the British Dental Association, that is another good read for a rainy week-end.

A One-a-day May Keep the Doctor Away

by Douglas Skrecky

For years mainstream medicine has looked down on the humble one-a-day multivitamin & multimineral supplement. Eat a healthy diet and forget supplements has been the standard recommendation. The problem with this advice is that it is literally pie-in-the-sky. Few people are going to be willing to restrict themselves indefinitely to things like fruits, raw vegetables, wheat bran and soybeans when richer fare is available. Few people as a result are ever going to obtain the optimal amount of all micronutrients from diet alone.

In a recent landmark study elderly individuals over 65 years of age were given either a supplement or a placebo for a year. The supplement was found to strengthen immune system responses and reduced the number of days of illness due to infection from 48 days/year (placebo) to 23 days (supplement). This impressive result was obtained without using megadoses of single nutrients. The supplement contained just 400 IU of vitamin A, 16 mg beta-carotene, 2.2 mg thiamin, 1.5 mg riboflavin, 16 milligrams niacin, 3 mg B6, 0.4 mg folate, 0.004 mg B12, 80 mg vitamin C, 0.004 mg vitamin D, 44 mg vitamin E, 16 mg iron, 14 mg zinc, 1.4 mg copper, 0.02 mg selenium, 0.2 mg iodine, 200 mg calcium and 100 mg magnesium. The placebo contained 200 mg calcium and 100 mg magnesium.1

CONCLUSION: The humble ONE-A-DAY supplement deserves to become a staple of medical advice.

1 Effect of Vitamin and Trace-element Supplementation on Immune Responses and Infection in Elderly Subjects 1124-1127 Vol.340 November 7,1992 Lancet

Cold War

by Yvan Bozzonetti.

Influenza comes in three main kinds labelled A, B, and C. Only the A species, the worst of the three, is countered by a specific vaccine. This has been distributed for some time now. In the recent years, the flu vaccine has been extended to a mixture of A and B strains. The most threatening A kind is now well known: Mutations give a new coating to the viruses and a new vaccine is called for nearly every year. In fact, the concept of mutations may only be a theory. Another view assumes there are many strains more or less in dormancy in some "storage species". They jump on the homo sapiens on chance encounter and produce an epidemic if there is no built-in resistance. There may be a hierarchy of viral infectiveness, one specific kind taking over another precisely defined. Indeed, influenza seems cyclic, the same "mutation" recurring every 60 to 80 years or so.

As all viruses, the influenza one is made of a tiny strain of genetic material, here a DNA molecule, encapsulated in a protein icosahedron. Outside, contrary to most simple viral particles, there is a second coating made of denatured cell wall. That phospholipid membrane retains some proteins recognized by the immune system, this is the basic material recognized by the defence system of our organism.

At the origin, the flu virus seems to have evolved from a detached genetic fragment picked up in some avian or avian-like species. Some think they are the last genetic trace of the dinosaur world. Today, many birds are the natural storage house of the flu virus. In our countries, these strains don't jump on mammal species, only a poor country way of life produces the prolonged close contact with domestic birds needed to raise a human tolerant virus. Flu is definitively a third world pollution.

Present day vaccines are made of killed viruses. They reflect a state of the art prevailing twenty years ago. Today, molecular biochemistry allows more sophisticated solutions. The first is to select only the coating proteins with antigenic action. That allows the creation a risk free vaccine without allergic side effects or contamination by escaping living viruses. Another possibility is to use the DNA molecule coding for these proteins, something simpler on the technical ground. Even a protein fragment, or the DNA molecule coding for it may be the basis for a modern vaccine.

Cold encounter.

A common cold looks at first as a "small flu". Unfortunately, a cold is not a single illness, it stands as the generic name for a full spectrum of viral strains. More than ninety viruses are known, each with as many kinds as the A, B, C, ones of the flu. Countless mutations or sub-species clog the way towards a solution.

Nobody know where the viruses come from or even if there is an animal species storing them.

To invade a cell, a virus needs first to stick to it, this is done by denaturing a protein at the cell surface with the help of an oxidative process. Most viruses find that hard and rely on bacterial attack to do the job. Staphylococcus species are the main culprits.

Lung smoking is the best way to oxidise protein at the cell surface, a single puff of tobacco smoke contains up to one million of billions of oxidizing particles. To compound the effect, tar burns out epithelial cells of the lung. These cells normally clear out the bronchial tree from dust and bacteria. In our modern society, smokers are therefore the main storage site of cold viruses. Can we hope to suppress tobacco or put all smokers on antibiotics on a life long basis? If the answer is no, colds can't be overcome... At least if we have no vaccine.

To stop a progressing viral attack is very hard. High doses of vitamin C are said, by Linus Pauling, to do the job. Guanidine kills most viruses in the test tube, unfortunately that works at doses producing very acute inflammatory responses, another compound must then neutralize that effect. Whatever the prospects of a cure, nothing will come close to the vaccine action. Vaccination, not only protects the vaccinated person, it also impedes the viral diffusion and so may be useful even for people not vaccinated.

With the killed virus technology of the flu vaccine, there is no hope to find an effective cocktail made of more than ninety viral species. The DNA fragment coding for a protein domain opens some possibilities. We can string-up many such domains to order the building by the cells of an antigenic protein able to elicit a reaction against a full set of viruses. Each domain in the protein will display a particular form similar to the one found on a given virus coat. In that way, a small number of proteins may confer a good protection against many viral species. Many natural proteins are made from up to twenty domains, five such engineered components may then protect against one hundred different viral attacks.

That vaccine, as the flu one may be produced in large quantity many month in advance. Unfortunately, it forms only a first defense line, it cannot cope with all possible mutations or variations in a given cold virus. When an outbreak comes to light, a blotting test may recognize in some minutes the virus implied.

A denaturing agent such urea or guanidine allows to get the viral DNA, after cutting by some restriction enzymes, the fragment coding for the protein recognized by the immune system may be isolated with the help of a complementary single strand DNA. The complementary strand recognizes a stable part of the coding DNA. The variable one defining the specificity of the virus is not known at that step. To include it in a vaccine, we need to produce it in large quantity. Fortunately, the polymerase chain reaction, PCR for short, allows duplication by many millions times any DNA strand in only a few hours.

Often, a wild cold is not so simple, many viral kinds are implied in a single case. The PCR will then produces a cocktail including all the different strands. Glued together, these DNA will form a ring or plasmid able to vaccinate against the particular cold implied. All production steps are done with small apparatus and may be completed before the virus expands too much. On the other hand, that kind of "local vaccine" cannot be produced by a laboratory, everybody must buy the basic products and "cook" their own formula when needed. The worst problem it to give some biochemical literacy to everyone.

If you want to read, you need to learn it first, if you don't want colds, you need to read biochemical molecules... Scientific literacy is not a cultural choice, it stands as a way of life... or death.

Comment

I hoped that more will follow on this topic. So much has been tried, and failed, to stop the spread of colds. Maybe the method of customised self vaccination may be the solution we all seek. Read about it by clicking here: Specific Cold Vaccine Cook Book

Deprenyl, Morton Shulman and Me

By Ben Best

Editorial Introduction:

This article is reprinted from Canadian Cryonics News by kind permission of its editor. Canadian Cryonics News is a newsletter similar in circulation to Longevity Report and in some respects its contents have a similar feel. In particular, it will report on subjects such as Permafrost Burials and other topics that are eschewed by mainstream cryonics periodicals. It appears quarterly, is on average 20 pages long and the subscription is only $14/year ($10 in North America). The article that follows is typical of the standard and quality of the newsletter. I would urge Longevity Report readers to support this newsletter as well, as it seems to stand for similar ideals. Unfortunately they seem short of non-editorial authors, so contributions are also welcomed, but at the low price they are unable, as far as I know, to offer free subscriptions to authors. Canadian Cryonics News PO Box 788, Station "A", Toronto, Canada M5W 1G3

Deprenyl (also known as L-Deprenyl, Selegiline and Eldepryl) is a prescription drug for use in Parkinson's Disease. Outside of its medically-approved use, however, are claims that it can slow aging, treat Alzheimer's Disease and enhance sex drive. The foremost North American promoter of Deprenyl has been none other than the Toronto-based Canadian celebrity Morton Shulman, founder of Deprenyl Research, Ltd.

Deprenyl was discovered in the 1950s and studied since the 1960s by Dr. Joseph Knoll, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Semmelweis University of Medicine in Budapest, Hungary. In 1988 he published a paper in Mechanisms of Aging and Development (Volume 46, pages 237-262) in which he reported that the average lifespan of rats treated with Deprenyl exceeded the maximum lifespan of rats not treated with Deprenyl.

Parkinson's Disease (also known as paralysis agitans or shaking palsy) is a progressive disease of later life which is characterized by tremor of resting muscles, the slowing of movement and general muscle weakness. Since Parkinsonism is known to be the result of dopamine deficiency in the substantia nigra area of the brain, the most common drug treatment since the 1970s has been Levodopa (L-dopa), a chemical which is readily converted (decarboxylated) to dopamine.

The average adult experiences a decrease in the level of substantia nigra dopamine at an average rate of 13% per decade after the age of 45. Parkinsonian symptoms typically become manifest when the dopamine level has dropped to 30% what it was in youth. The natural breakdown (or oxidative polymerization) of dopamine by the enzyme MonoAmine Oxidase (MAO, type B) in the brain is what gives the substantia nigra its distinctive black striated appearance. Breakdown products of dopamine oxidation are evidently toxic to the very neurons that produce dopamine in the substantia nigra. Deprenyl evidently not only inhibits the activity of MAO-B, but elevates substantia nigra levels of the human body's most potent natural antioxidant enzyme, SuperOxide Dismutase (SOD) [Journal of Neural Transmission, Vol.86, p.77-80 (1991)].

Parkinson's Disease struck Canada's most famous physician, Morton Shulman (known affectionately as "Morty") in 1982. After a number of years of taking Levodopa, he became unable to move without assistance. Although Deprenyl was not an approved drug in North America, it had been available on prescription in Europe since the late 1970s. Like a quarter of the Parkinsonian patients who take Deprenyl, Shulman experienced a dramatic recovery. "Within 24 hours of taking the drug I stopped shaking and shuffling, returned to normal and went back to work," Shulman said.

Shulman purchased 15% (later increased to 28%) of Somerset Pharmaceuticals, a New Jersey company which was struggling to get FDA approval for Deprenyl in the United States. Then he set up Deprenyl Research in Canada to acquire the Canadian rights to the drug. He wrote a nasty letter to the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare, which was followed by an article on Shulman's dramatic recovery in Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Health and Welfare Canada took the unusual step of allowing patient's access to Deprenyl if their doctor ordered it directly from Shulman's company. Since non-Canadians probably don't understand why government officials tremble when Shulman shouts, it is worth providing some biographical information on the man.

Shulman's career as a public figure began when he became Chief Coroner of Toronto in 1963. His 1975 book Coroner (published by the Canadian publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside) details this period of his life. Unlike the coroners who preceded him, Shulman was not satisfied to merely determine the cause of death. He lobbied actively for legal changes to prevent the recurrence of death due to many observed causes. He published yearbooks and called press conferences which propelled him into the national limelight as a progressive crusader. (Possibly Shulman was a role model for the Riverside Coroner who initiated the homicide charges against Alcor by calling a press conference. This coroner, Raymond Carrillo, had earlier propelled himself into the American media limelight by calling a press conference to reveal that Liberace had died of AIDS.)

When Shulman crusaded against cancer quacks, he received widespread support from the Establishment. But when he revealed a death due to forceps left in an intestine during surgery, many in the medical profession were outraged (since such errors were usually discreetly covered-up). The media supported Shulman, and the counting of medical instruments during surgery soon became standard medical practice in Canada. The media turned hostile when Shulman crusaded for alcohol breathalyser tests, but the arousal of feelings and publicity eventually led to breathalyser legislation. Shulman was invited to Detroit by Ford and GM, where he toured their plants and was invited to give suggestions about how to build safer cars. GM gave him a Cornell University study on how to build safer highways, which Shulman used to excoriate the Toronto Road Commissioner on his return home.

Never one to shrink from controversy, Shulman attempted to change Canada's abortion laws by publicizing the deaths of women who died as a result of pumping lysol into their wombs. To assist in his investigation of suicides under the influence of LSD, he took the drug himself. After observing no effects after two hours, he relaxed and tried to watch television. He began to imagine he was a character in the movie he was watching, and had to be physically restrained from attacking the TV. Thereafter, he sought for LSD to be banned. Shulman's chapter on suicide begins with the interesting statement: "Life to me is so precious that I cannot conceive of anyone voluntarily surrendering it and each suicide I had to investigate deeply disturbed me."

In 1967 a fire broke out in a "fireproof" hospital of the Workman's Compensation Board, resulting in the death of a patient. Although the federal Minister of Labour had given speeches about the fireproof construction of this government-built hospital, Shulman received information that the ceiling was inflammable, plans had not been submitted to the Fire Marshall before construction, and that the hospital had not been properly inspected in the eight years since it had been built. The investigation led to a political ruckus which ended in Shulman getting fired as Toronto's Chief Coroner.

Shulman then decided to go into politics, and run for the federal legislature. Although Shulman had always been a Tory (he candidly admits that his role as president of a Progressive Conservative Association Riding led to his appointment as Chief Coroner), his political confrontations with the Tories in power meant he had to switch parties to get elected. He was courted by both the Liberals and the NDP. Although he regards himself as pro-capitalist, he chose the socialist NDP because they told him he could run in any Riding he chose. Shulman's views are not incompatible with those of the NDP insofar as he has been a strenuous advocate of legislation to enforce his views of public safety. He won a decisive victory as an NDP candidate in the traditionally Conservative High Park Riding in Toronto.

Shulman was as flamboyant in the legislature as he had been in the Coroner's Office. He took clandestine photos of government members sleeping during debates, and horrified legislators by brandishing automatic weapons at them in his campaign for more stringent gun control laws. In 1975 he decided not to run for a third term, but he continued his political column in the Toronto Sun newspaper. From 1977 to 1982 he hosted The Shulman File, a confrontational talk show on Toronto's independent TV station CityTV. In 1982 he was stricken with Parkinson's Disease.

Morton Shulman was no stranger to business practice. As a Toronto coroner, Shulman had made several hundred thousand dollars from stock market investments. Although he was not a millionaire, in 1966 he wrote an introductory book on stock market operation and other investments, under the pretentious title Anyone Can Make a Million. The book became a best seller, first in Canada, then in the United States. And Shulman became a millionaire. By the 1990s his fortune was estimated at $40 million.

Shulman marketed Deprenyl in Canada under his special dispensation from Health and Welfare Canada, until formal approval as a prescription drug was given by the FDA in September, 1989, and by the Canadian authorities four months later. Deprenyl continues to sell proportionately better in Canada than in the United States. At the end of 1991, Deprenyl Research stock closed at $20.875 per share, a 255% gain from the first of the year -- making it the second highest growth stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange for 1991.

Shulman had also launched Deprenyl Animal Health, to market Deprenyl for extending the lives of small companion animals (dogs and cats), agreeing to pay 3.5% of the profits to Dr. Knoll. In January, 1992, Deprenyl Research was incorporated in the United States. 1992 saw a dramatic drop in stock price, however. When Shulman resigned as Deprenyl's CEO in September 23, 1992, the share price stood close to $5 per share. Shulman had been criticised for earning most of the company's money through outside investment and currency market dealings.

I first learned of Deprenyl from Dr. Thomas Donaldson's January 1990 column in Saul Kent's Life Extension Report. In the November 1990 issue of the same magazine, Saul Kent reported that studies at the University of Toronto by Dr. William Milgram had confirmed Knoll's work on extended lifespan through Deprenyl [Life Sciences, Vol.47, p.415-420 (1990)]. Although the rats in the Milgram study and those in the Knoll study were both started on Deprenyl at 24 months of age, the strains were different. In Knoll's study, control rats lived 35 months, whereas Milgram's only lived 28 months. Therefore, it is not surprising that Milgram's Deprenyl-treated rats lived only 16% longer than the controls (versus 210% for Knoll's Deprenyl-treated rats) -- because the Milgram rats were so much closer to the end of their lifespan when treatment began.

In the Fall of 1990 I attended the first European Cryonics Conference in England, organized by Saul Kent. Saul had invited Dr. Joseph Knoll to appear as a featured speaker, explaining the scientific case for Deprenyl. I was told that Dr. Knoll did not attend the conference because tumultuous events in Hungary had required his assistance in reorganizing the Medical Association of that country.1 One of the journalists was an ex-pharmacist who started spewing accusations of criminal irresponsibility at Saul Kent for advising the use of a prescription drug, Deprenyl. Having been to pharmacy school myself, I knew the kind of brainwashing she was parroting, and she made me very angry. I attempted to diplomatically confront her, but she was restless and fleet-of-foot, so I never caught up with her.

Upon investigating the Life Sciences article in the University of Toronto Biomedical Library, I discovered that the Milgram study had been financed by Shulman's company. I was seriously considering taking Deprenyl, but was aware that a prescription might be difficult to obtain. Bruce Waugh (currently our Cryonics Society of Canada Vice President) informed me that he had gotten a prescription for Deprenyl from Dr. Shulman.

The April 1991 issue of Cryonics magazine carried a reprint of Saul Kent's Deprenyl article. Things were coming together in my mind and I made an appointment with Dr. Shulman's secretary to see Dr. Shulman.

Dr. Shulman's office looked more like a large study than a medical office. There were bookcases laden with books, and there was little or no medical equipment in sight. Shulman sat stiffly behind his desk, and I got the impression that he had no intention of leaving his chair. When he asked why I had come, I began a description of my long interest in life extension, until his eyes brightened and he exclaimed, "You want some Deprenyl!" He immediately began writing a prescription. His prescription included enough refills to last me for years (somewhat disappointing because I would have liked an excuse to revisit). He prescribed 5 mg every 3 days, which caused me to point-out that Dr. Knoll recommends 5 mg three times weekly. He said that Knoll had been in the very chair in which I was sitting only a week earlier, and that they had discussed their disagreement about dosage frequency.

I tried to shift the conversation to cryonics by showing him the Deprenyl article in the April 1991 Cryonics magazine. He had never seen the article, and had never heard of Saul Kent or The Life Extension Foundation. He was eager for me to give him the magazine, which I did -- along with a copy of the Alcor "Blue Book". He said he knew very little about cryonics, but that he was up to his neck in work associated with his role as CEO of Deprenyl Research (still a small company, numbering less than forty employees). Nonetheless, he said he looked forward to reading the cryonics material very soon. The telephone then rang, Dr. Shulman became engrossed in a business-related call, and I decided I should be courteous and leave.

With a few initial interruptions, I have been taking 5 mg of Deprenyl twice a week since the middle of 1991. This is slightly more conservative than the prescription I was given, and it is also much easier to remember to take my pill if it is always on the same days of the week. Tuesdays and Fridays are "Deprenyl Day" for me -- and these are also the days I empty Box 788.

My initial interruptions represent doubts I had about taking the drug -- and suspicions that it was causing me mental fatigue. I eventually decided that the mental fatigue was due to causes other than the Deprenyl (the stress of a Gestalt Weekend and the Alcor Transport Course). When I expressed doubts to Saul Kent, he said that Deprenyl has a relatively long history of use in Europe at higher doses, with no documented harmful effects. True enough, the dose for Parkinsonism treatment is 10 mg per day. But I am still wary of toying with brain chemistry. The brain of a rat is probably much simpler than that of a human being. I have long made a hobby-horse of the fact that drug alterations in brain function are very difficult to detect due to the epistemological problems involved, unless the alterations are VERY gross. Moreover, I do not see the relationship between precluding Parkinsonian symptoms and such an enormous lengthening in lifespan (which I would expect would require alterations in most cells of the body). How does Deprenyl extend lifespan, if it indeed does?

The January 1992 issue of Life Extension Report contains an article by Saul Kent on the use of Deprenyl in Alzheimer's patients. Saul cites increasing concentrations of MAO-B in humans with advancing age -- even more so in Alzheimer's patients than in healthy, elderly people. Ten milligrams of Deprenyl daily reduced MAOB-induced oxidation of dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine by 90%. Saul cites a number of double-blind studies in which Alzheimer's patients displayed noticeable mental improvement with 10 mg of Deprenyl daily.

I have avoided experimenting with many psychoactive drugs for the sake of protecting my mental hardware. I do not drink alcohol and have never taken LSD or even smoked hash. As a cryonicist, I am concerned with preserving my life, but my foremost concern is with preserving my brain, and hence my mind. Nonetheless, when it is evident that the course of nature leads to predictable brain chemistry deterioration, "tampering" in ways that have a cogent rationale does not seem imprudent. The experiment continues ... with trepidation.

Editorial Note

1 I have heard that Dr Knoll did not attend because he discovered that the conference was mainly about cryonic suspension, and he did not want his name associated with it.

Also it is amusing to note that Steve Gallant reported on Deprenyl in Longevity Report (no 16, page 6) before it appeared anywhere else in the immortalist press! The timing was pure chance admittedly, as the news was available to everyone. It does go to show, though, that buried within the vast amount of scientific papers generated each year there must be much still untapped knowledge for life extenders to use.

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