LONGEVITY REPORT 75
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The Lone Wolf Michael Darwin
The Public Image Chrissie Loveday
As Others See Us New Hope International
Feelings of Survivors Robert Ettinger
Is There Reason to Believe Tofu May Cause Brain Atrophy? Ian Williams Goddard
Abolish the FDA! Ian Williams Goddard
24th Update on Fly Longevity Experiments Doug Skrecky
25th Update on Fly Longevity Experiments Doug Skrecky
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country.
Volume 12 no 75. First published January 2000. ISSN 0964-5659.
The Lone Wolf
by Michael Darwin <email@example.com>
Someone so dehumanized by the cruelty of this world that he calls himself "Driven From the Pack" wrote the following on Cryonet and deserves a response
Mike, I am one of those people who inspire dislike in others. In case my email address doesn't give away my thesis, here it is: I am not a pack animal. I am an atheist, and a contrarian. Humans are animals, and those whom they sense are not "of the pack," are driven away. Those outsiders ARE treated cruelly, just as the animal whose smell is wrong is savagely bitten and forced away, so too do we cryonicists feel the cruel slings and arrows of humanity.
When I was very small, perhaps six years old, I saw a print on the wall of my favourite cousin's living room called The Lone Wolf by an artist named Alfred Kowalski (a fellow Polish Jew). I felt a sense of utter understanding in looking at that print: there are no words for it.
My cousin was an outsider too. She bought me my first chemistry set (against my parents' express wishes) and she communicated something to me of what it is to so different that you will always be alone. She never married. She was a diabetic. She lived down the street from us. When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old I noticed milk and bread stacking up outside her front door, and the kitchen lights on during the day. It was a beautiful summer day and the scent of flowers filled the air.
I found her dead in the bathroom, probably from a valsalva manoeuver. She had been dead about a week in the summer heat. I dream of her often alive in her gentle sadness. I always feel I failed her in some way in those dreams. But this not so. It is just a dream.
I kill dogs and I hurt them. It is my job and I was made to do it. To do it well I have had to love them, and to know them better and deeper than most men ever know each other. I respect them more than I do most humans, and I've loved more of them than I have human beings. They are pack animals. There is community in that and for most, but not all of them, more peace and more happiness than isolation in separate runs. We live in a community house, which means that there is a social order and an alpha dog. When the caretaker is there, he is the alpha, and he is a kind and gentle man who has a wonderful way with the dogs.
Still, it is hard life, and no one, no one, escapes the constant struggle for status and for safety. Those in the middle with no ambitions can still fall lower. The alpha is always open to challenge. It is not an easy life. Sometimes this ends in death; thankfully this has only happened twice in 6 years, and not at all for the last 3 years.
The alternative is to isolate dogs, intensely social animals, for their safety, and in so doing drive them insane with repetitive behaviour, endless barking and sometimes self-mutilation. That is what happens when you isolate a social animal from the pack, be it dog or man.
Human outsiders will often band together, and will work to "tame" or "channel" the struggle for dominance and social acceptance with great success. This means that they do not inspire in each other the desire to be hateful and cruel. They usually externalize it, instead. I was listening to the French singer Edith Piaf the other night; there I was in France, carefree. Hitler was laughable little outsider who no one took seriously. Outsiders who have been treated cruelly sometimes do gain alpha status; it is a strange world we live in.
Cryonicists, as a group, disproportionately treat each other with more interpersonal savagery than any other group of outsiders I've been a part of. It reminds a little of the old movie about homosexual life before Stonewall called The Boys in the Band. It is not pretty, and it knows no equilibrium, and no end.
To be admired, or even worshipped, is not to be loved personally. Dogs do that well, and some people do it well. If you find it, hang onto it.
Just because we do not belong does not make us wrong in wanting to live.
No. And I never said it did. But self-destructive savagery and irrational acts of cruelty and denial of reality can make you undeserving of living.
And, like it or not, being at odds with the mainstream can kill you. I am a homosexual, an atheist, a manic depressive, possess an aesthetic sense and world view most people find unbearable, and am brilliant at sensing the softest, most vulnerable part in a person and using that to cause enormous pain. This mixture of traits is not conducive to one's survival.
Poor Matthew Shepherd was just gay and he was beaten and strung up in a way not even the cruelest of human society would tolerate if done to an animal. This is the reality we must live with. It must change if technological civilization is to endure and prosper. But that change is decades away at the earliest.
You used to revel in your outsider status. Did you just get wise, or just get old?
Both. The Lone Wolf does not hang above my desk anymore as it did at Alcor and at 21CM for so many, many years, and before that above my workspace at home. In its place is an oversized framed blow-up of an illustration from Time magazine from a year or so ago. It shows a human brain in an icy blue background with a ticking stopwatch overlaying the cortices, and a film of Ramon Cajahal's silver stained neurons. It is very beautiful to me; it was painted to illustrate an article on emerging modalities for treating stroke and cerebral ischemia.
That print is a reminder that I have no time for ennui or sadness. That there is very little time left at all for me, and less for others. It is a reminder of the goal I have set out to achieve and a reminder that when I achieve it I can stop killing and hurting that which I love and respect as much as I do my own life.
I will always be an outsider because I really have no choice. But time and experience have taught me a degree of ruthlessness and cunning that I will use without hesitation until I achieve the goal now illustrated above my desk. The dogs too have taught me the necessity of this; they are cunning and cruel to each other.
The universe was not designed to make us happy. It seems to allow for that possibility. But, first you must know what happiness is. Long ago I gave up on wanting acceptance from the world. More recently I learned the folly and the foolishness of fame, with or without power.
Now, I just want to achieve the goals I have set for myself. Credit is unimportant. Fame is undesirable. Power is everything. He who guides the rudder and pilots the boat back from the shores of Lethe will be the ultimate outsider. But he will also be one of the most powerful people in the human world.
That is enough for now.
The Public Image
by Chrissie Loveday firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.geocities.yahoo.com/novelation
Like it or not, we all have our own version of a public image. Ourselves as other see us ... the photo we didn't expect: unknown film or video footage: audio tape. The usual comment is something like 'Do I really look(sound) like that?' For many women it suggests it's time to begin the latest diet or vow never to wear that colour again!
For the high profile folk, it's every move they make and every sound bite that is there to catch them out. The media adores pictures of a conference delegate caught in the middle of a big yawn or the scowl of some royal, when they think cameras are out of reach. Politicians do their best to present the <united front>, the Party image, whatever is the current vogue. Occasionally, everyone is caught out. At a recent Labour Party Conference, our Deputy Prime Minister (also transport minister) was enthusiastically advocating the use of public transport and cutting out all use of the car. Now how does this tie in with his two Jaguar cars, both of which were used to carry himself and his wife on separate journeys of three hundred yards? No credible public image there! I was irrationally pleased when he had to suffer rail delays, like the rest of us mere mortals, on a recent visit to the West Country. To me, his public image has become something to joke about ... rather like so many of the politicians who believe in the old adage of do what I say not what I do. Let's face it, most intelligent people must realise that central government can never work properly, whatever public image it likes to portray. Listening to the broadcast of the first day back in Parliament, after the summer, I realised that these supposedly intelligent people were our chosen rulers. The puerile, fatuous point scoring they were shouting at each other, was certainly not behaviour I would have tolerated in my classes. And these are the guys who think they have some right to tell us all how to behave.
Maybe the people who protest the loudest that they don't care what people think of them, are often those who want their public image to be well-thought of. Many of them would be horrified if they really knew what people think of them. As a teacher for many years, I'm well-aware of what pupils think. It's the way they look at you that gives so much away! Wearing the wrong clothes, (nothing too trendy) liking the wrong music (especially last month's chart music) can destroy any credibility you may have had in teaching skills. Many folk, especially the young, are attention seekers who want to be noticed. Adolescents may dress outrageously, dye their hair in strange colours, pierce every available bit of the anatomy, tattoo somewhere to provoke adult criticism. Designer labels are essential unless you expect to lose all street cred. That's not even enough ... it has to be this week's designer or you're quite out of it. One head teacher couldn't get anyone to admit to losing some expensive PE kit, because he held up a sport's bag with the wrong designer label!
There are many people who don't like to admit to their feelings about some things ... religion, politics, personal interests, are just a few. Maybe it's merely a matter of confidence or they have no opinions. Perhaps they don't want offend someone or upset someone else's beliefs.
'What will the neighbours think?'
'What will people say?'
It takes confidence and strength of belief to admit to many things. It took me quite a while to have the confidence to talk about cryonics openly. There are still lots of folk who stare in horror at my intentions to be cryopreserved. With close friends and relations, it can be even more difficult, knowing they cannot really come to terms with the prospect ahead. However, the odd comment here and there allows acceptance without flag waving. Do I care about what people think? I suppose I mostly care that no-one, especially those close to me, is hurt by anything I do or say. Doubtless many folk think I'm strange. Those of my friends who still live in London, think I must be missing so many things they (and I at one time) find so necessary. I once blushed telling people I write romantic fiction (amongst other things) but not any more. Maybe I'm getting to the age when peculiarities are considered to be mild eccentricities. Sounds gentler, doesn't it? But then, does it matter at all, what people think? I doubt many of us are sufficiently important to be bothered. But I do admit, I still enjoy the thought of someone 'important' being caught out! I've decided, I am not important in the world and I'm now quite old enough to let my eccentricities show.
As Others See Us
New Hope International Review - http://www.nhi.clara.net/online.htm
NHI Review, 20 Werneth Avenue, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5NL
Longevity Report #72
This seems to be a printed collection of articles from websites or email lists. Andrew Mulcahy argues that religion produces judgmentalism, whilst neuro-scientists have discovered that we humans are altruistic by nature and can only know true happiness by helping others. Somehow this leads him to extol the virtues of materialism. Most of the articles tested my capacity for understanding with talk of cryonics and memetics. I suspect most of its readers are familiar with each other and it seems hard for outsiders to grasp the concepts discussed.
reviewer: Danny Zurcofsky.
Longevity Report #73
Wanna die? No, the idea doesn't appeal much to me either. However, all is not lost. According to this all you have to do is save up a hundred thouasand bucks, then, when you die have yourself frozen as soon as possible afterwards, and then, hundreds of years later when all diseases have been cured (or at least the ones that finished you off) you get thawed out and bingo! you're back in business again. Now just run that by me again. You have to die first, right? To my feeble brain that means you're actually dead. Having once died, I'm none too sure about whether even thawed out again you'd really be alive once more. It strikes me like a cross between The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar and Night of the Living Dead. According to these people, it isn't that cryonics needs to be proven. It's just that death is and remains more popular.
More popular? Who with, for Heaven's sake? I'm sure the people who write this magazine have their hearts in the right place. I see no harm in encouraging folk to live in such a way as to prolong their lives if possible, but I'm afraid I'd have to think very hard and long about embarking on the cryonic path to immortality.
reviewer: John Francis Haines.
I don't know where Mr Haines got his hundred thousand bucks from - Longevity Report frequently mentions the Cryonics Institute's $28,000. Also he has missed the fact that death is a process rather than an absolute transition. People may be "dead" by legal definition, but that just means a point in the process after which modern technology cannot restore them to good health.
This is not surprising since he has just read one copy of Longevity Report, and these matters are not rammed home every time. Maybe there ought to be a FAQ page that is the same each month? This would probably annoy people who see the same old page every month in the printed edition and feel that they are paying for it.
This issue seems a lot more readable than some earlier ones. An article by Shiva, Religious Authority and Cryonics argues sensibly that Christianity is not opposed, at least in principle, to cryonics. Half this issue, though, is devoted to a debate on whether or not there can be or should be a right for people to opt out of having their bodies autopsied after their death. The article is based on discussions that have taken place over the Internet. A number of medical examiners share their experiences.
Although both law and practice vary from country to country, the crux of the debate seems to centre on whether one believes that the person after death leaves the body and no longer has need of it, or whether the physical body needs to be preserved in order for the person to be able to return to it. Wayne Diawa, for example, writes
I believe that Jesus the Christ will return someday as promised and when he does he will raise my physical body from the dead and I want, nay, may absolutely need, it to all be in the grave intact, albeit in a severely dehydrated form.
The editor has gone to some pains to ensure a balance of views which reflect the on-going debate, and as such is most welcome. For further reading on the subject of pioneers of thinking, please see
Strange Brains and Genius by Dr Clifford Pickover.
The basic premise of Strange Brains and Genius seems to be that real creativity, whether in science or art, requires that brain are working at the limits of their stability. Many famous scientists were therefore very odd people as compared to mainstream humanity, from unskilled labourers to lawyers, accountants and so on. The lives of several are given a potted biography. Without these eccentrics, modern civilisation would not exist - we would still be in the age of the horse and cart and mud huts, or even caves.
Feelings of Survivors
by Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute, Immortalist Society, http://www.cryonics.org <Ettinger@aol.com>
Marty Kardon asked on Cryonet about "closure" and the emotional states of survivors of cryostasis patients over the years.
No detailed survey has been made of this, and so far we only have personal impressions, plus second-hand impressions of people we know.
For myself, I have two close relatives in cryostasis. I am VERY glad it was done, and have high hopes for the long term future. There has been "closure" in the sense that they are no longer in my day-to-day thoughts, although they certainly have a background presence which occasionally emerges to the fore. The lack of finality for me is positive, not negative.
The psychology of death has many strange elements. For example, many people actually make decisions based on "what (s)he would have wanted." Obviously, nothing you do or don't do matters in the least to someone who is buried and decayed and non-existent. "Loyalty" to a destroyed person is just a neurosis or a means of maintaining your own illusions, living in make-believe.
It's a small sample, but for those survivors with whom I have had an opportunity to speak from time to time, the cryonics choice is overwhelmingly positive. It doesn't prevent a sense of loss or pain, of course, but it certainly mitigates it, and this effect persists over time, and perhaps even increases.
Charles Platt writes:
Marty Kardon has identified the problem of "closure" after a breavement which has been mentioned here and on Cryonet before, but very rarely, for obvious reasons: it is no fun contemplate the angst of losing a child, a parent, or a spouse--who becomes dead-but-not-dead. Atheists "know" that their loved ones are gone; devout Christians "know"
they will be reunited with their loved ones in the hereafter; but cryonicists can only wait in conceptual limbo and wonder what may happen 50 or 100 years in the future.
The problem is especially acute where a relatively young person loses a spouse or significant other. To what extent does the survivor retain a primary loyalty to the person who has been cryopreserved? I have seen at least one person deeply affected by this uncertainty. Should the survivor become involved with someone else? Presumably, yes; but if the "someone else" signs up for cryonics, we have the prospect of all three people eventually being cryopreserved, and emerging together at some point in the future. When I proposed this dilemma to Keith Henson years ago, he said the answer was simple: After resuscitation, if we have, say, one husband
and two wives, simply grow or build an extra copy of the husband. I tend to feel however that even if this is possible, it will complicate, rather than resolve, the issue, since both copies are likely to feel the same conflicted loyalty, and both may be oriented more toward one wife than the other, thus creating a SECOND romantic triangle.
Of course these issues only are troubling if you take the concept of cryonics very seriously. If you believe, as I do, that current techniques allow only a very small chance for resuscitation, there is much less potential angst, especially since the slim chance of one person being resuscitated must be multiplied by itself, and then by itself once again, to get the net probability of all three members of a romantic triangle being resuscitated together.
The "lack of closure" problem, as I see it, is relevant primarily to anyone who is in the business of helping to run a cryonics organization. Such a person (e.g. me) has an obligation to warn prospective members of this kind of risk, and to advise them to think about it seriously. Also,
we may find ourselves in a position of having to comfort surviving family members (as I have), at which point we have an obligation to be properly prepared for their concerns.
Is There Reason to Believe Tofu
May Cause Brain Atrophy?
Ian Williams Goddard (c) 1999
The recent study suggesting a link between tofu and brain atrophy1 calls to attention animal research showing that the soy-phytochemical genistein reduces DNA synthesis in the brain and inhibits the proliferation of brain cells.2,3,4That research tends to support the tofu study, for, since cell replication requires DNA synthesis, genistein-induced synthesis reduction leading to fewer new cells could manifest as atrophy.
The only counter I've seen is that cell-proliferation physiology does not apply to adult brain cells, since they don't replicate. That claim, however, has been invalidated, for it has been shown that neurogenesis--the replication of new brain cells--appears to occur in the brain throughout life. As Dr. David Amaral told The Washington Post (11/21/99): "A decade ago, we still had the notion that you acquired all the neurons you would ever have by the sixth month of pregnancy... It turns out that nothing could be further from the truth." The Washington Post continued:
"Last month, biologists at Princeton University demonstrated that monkey brains constantly produce thousands of new neurons which travel to the cerebral cortex, the centre of higher intellectual functions. Earlier studies had documented other examples of neurogensis... The same process occurs in humans. ...researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., found evidence of recent cell division in a part of the brain called the hippocampus in every person studied."5
Research in animals shows neurogenesis occurs in several areas of the adult brain.6,7,8 Research also shows that reduced DNA synthesis decreases the number of new brain cells produced.9 Based on the available data, I would dare to posit that IF in fact genistein inhibits DNA synthesis in the adult human brain as it has been shown to in developing rat brains2 (and based on human/animal/soy studies, I see no reason to believe the rat/soy-to-human/soy extrapolation is unfounded), it stands to reason that soy products would reduce neurogensis and/or initiate apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the human brain, which could manifest itself as brain atrophy. In short, there's reason to believe the tofu study1 may be accurate.
Of course I hope the tofu study is not true, and that soy products ARE the healthy panacea I've always assumed! I've been a vegetarian since I was 13-years old because I believe we need to advance beyond the systematic mass murder sentient beings simply for pleasurable taste sensations. With my refrigerator full of soy stuff, I wish I could be sure now, but until the soy picture gets clearer, the evidence is enough for me to be inclined to err on the side of caution. However, it should be noted that the research indicating an anticancer potential for soy is consistent, and research shows that the cytotoxic properties of soy products are strongly specific, but apparently not entirely exclusive, to cancer cells. If I had terminal cancer, I would consider using soy products!
 Experimental Neurology, 1999 Sep;159(1):164-76. Early effects of protein kinase modulators on DNA synthesis in rat cerebral cortex.
 Brain Research, 1998 Jan 19;781(1-2):159-66. Transmural compression-induced proliferation and DNA synthesis through activation of a tyrosine kinase pathway in rat astrocytoma RCR-1 cells.
 About glial cells: NeuroNews: Modulation of neuronal activity by glial cells. June 15, 1998
 The Washington Post: The Brain's Power to Heal. D. Hales and R. Hales, Parade section, 11/21/99, page 10.
 Science, 1999 Oct 15;286(5439):548-52. Neurogenesis in the neocortex of adult primates.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 1999 Sep 28;96(20):11619-24.Regeneration of a germinal layer in the adult mammalian brain.
 Journal of Comparative Neurology, 1999 Aug 30;411(3):495-502. Neurogenesis in the adult rat dentate gyrus is enhanced by vitamin E deficiency.
 Brain Research. Developmental Brain Research, 1998 Jun 15;108(1-2):39-45. Developmental neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos: delayed targeting of DNA synthesis after repeated administration.
As a vegetarian, I present the following with great regret. Soy products like tofu have provided the staple alternative to eating murdered animals. Unfortunately the study reported here: http://starbulletin.com/1999/11/19/news/story4.html has found a significant link between eating tofu and brain aging and atrophy! My first reaction was to hope that the study was flawed. Unfortunately, a quick study of published research at the National Library of Medicine indicates that there is a STRONG physiological basis for the findings in that study. It seems that a main phytochemical in soybeans, genistein, reduces DNA synthesis in the brain, and reduced DNA synthesis promotes apoptosis, which is also known as "programmed cell death." Multiple studies I found indicate that drug-induced reduction of DNA synthesis is routinely assoicated with reduced cell proliferation and death. DNA synthesis is a critical part of the life cycle of a cell:
It appears that the ability of genistein to reduce DNA synthesis may be why it is a promising anti-cancer agent, for research suggests genistein can kill cancer cells and other drugs that reduce DNA synthesis kill cancer cells. Unfortunately, genistein's cytotoxic properties appear to be nonspecific, ie, it doesn't only kill cancer cells. In the first abstract below, it was found that genistein "induced significant testicular cell death." Ouch! The second study finds that genistein reduced DNA synthesis in the brain. To get the full picture of what I've stated here, I recommend using the National Library of Medicine's search engine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed
It is easily the most powerful tool on the Internet, accessing most of the published medical research since around 1965.
Too much tofu induces ''brain aging,'' study shows
Soy-phytochemical genistein "induced significant testicular cell death."
"Genistein decreased the DNA synthesis within less than 30 min."
Age-related changes of DNA repair and mitochondrial DNA synthesis in the mouse brain.
For the latest version of these reports, please see:
Abolish the FDA!
Ian Goddard <Ian@Goddard.net>
Should We Abolish the Food and Drug Administration?
Ideas like abolishing the FDA may sound absurd on their face, but unless cases against a given system are examined, supporting it is probably irrational. Many people accept the case for the FDA on its face, after all, who would want unsafe and/or bogus drugs? But the claim that the FDA ensures safety and a system of tort liability does not is not automatically true.
The following are a few features of what may be valid and unique points against the FDA, posted in order to acquire critique and/or supplemental supporting points:
FDA Approval provides promotion and legal protection for the wealthiest members of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex (PIC). The illusion is that the FDA is a watchdog of PIC, and to some degree this is true, but the bottom line is that
(a) the FDA maximizes the profits of a few manufacturers,
(b) minimizes profits of or eliminates smaller manufacturers and
(c) steers consumers to drugs that are marketed primarily because they are patentable (which ensures maximum profits due to exclusive sales rights) NOT primarily because they are safe and effective.
* The FDA causes patentable drugs to be favored over non-patentable drugs, even if the non-patentables are shown to be as or more effective and safer in any number of studies conducted by research facilities not associated with the company that plans to sell the drug (FDA over- sight is merely the review of testing funded by the same company seeking approval and the resultant profits). No company will fund research for FDA Approval of a non- patentable drug if all other companies can also sell the drug without having paid for the Promotional approval. Patent rights and the surety of large profits derived therefrom, not safety and efficacy, define the structure of contemporary medicine. The fact that FDA-Approval protocols inherently favor patentable drugs is the single largest feature promoting this harmful situation. This situation causes safer and equally-or-more effective non-patentable therapeutics like SAMe (which has been more thoroughly tested in the sum of studies done by independent research facilities than many FDA-Approved drugs) to be valued and prescribed less than dangerous FDA-Approved drugs like Prozac. The result is that consumers are steered away from safer products that haven't been FDA Approved toward far-more-dangerous products that are being promoted by their FDA-Approved status. This ensures that patent holders make maximum profits while consumers are exposed to maximum harm. The irony is that this is done in the name of consumer safety and keeping businesses in line! Notice that this perversity is not an attribute of FDA corruption, but of the FDA working according to plan.
* FDA Approval acts as a legal shield in cases where FDA- approved drugs are causing harm to some. The fact that a drug is FDA Approved and has not been revoked is seen by jurors in court cases against a drug manufacturer as powerful evidence that the drug is not culpable in the case at hand, regardless of the facts in that case. The fact of this is verified when the FDA does revoke approval, as it did of the drug Fen-Phen, whereupon a flood of libel suits followed, even though Fen-Phen was just as harmful the day before and numerous studies showing its harmful nature were published years before FDA revocation. The fact that law suits start en mass after approval is revoked is the very measure of the legal protection provided by FDA Approval. Lawyers know that juries will be swayed by FDA directives more so than by any research or the facts in a given case. There are many FDA-Approved drugs that are causing serious harm to individuals who should be compensated for such harm, but are not because judges throw out evidence and juries are prejudiced simply because the drug is "FDA Approved." * FDA Approval and the "bullet proof" legal status it provides approved drugs establish logical incentives for fraud that would be expressed in the following thinking on the part of a drug manufacturer: "Gee, in our studies that we will submit to the FDA for approval it looks like this drug may be harmful, but if we simply fudge the numbers a little to get it past the FDA-review panel, then it will be 'safe' and insulated from liability, and it will take years for the FDA to revoke it, if they ever do, and by then we'll have made millions anyway." However, in a free market they would think: "Gee, it looks like this drug might not be safe, we'll probably get sued if we sell it, better trash this one." In this case "safe" is a matter decided by independent research and in the courts per case, not by authoritarian decree. This shows how FDA-Approval status provides an incentive that could/should lead to unsafe and/or ineffective drugs. * FDA Approval defines what 99% of medical practitioners will prescribe BECAUSE FDA Approval is a legal shield. Doctors are more vulnerable to a lawsuit if they prescribe a non-FDA-Approved medicine than if they prescribe an FDA- Approved medicine. If an FDA-Approved drug is prescribed and it causes harm, the doctor can say "it was approved," but if they prescribe a non-FDA-Approved drug that causes harm or fails to save the patient, they are more vulnerable to law suits. Doctors know this, and will therefore tend to stick with the FDA program. The result once again is that consumers are led towards therapeutic options that EXIST PRIMARILY BECAUSE THEY CAN BE PATENTED, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAFEST AND MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS. The result is that the function of the FDA is the promotion and protection of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex at the expense of consumer safety and access to options. No wonder that safe and effective alternative therapeutics, such as vitamins and herbs, that are not patentable have been under attack from the FDA, with looming threats of their being banned and forced to go through the FDA- Approval protocol and then placed into the hands of the wealthiest members of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex who will sell those products at fantastically inflated prices, as has happened in nations that have followed through with vitamin restrictions. The con, by design or default, is that the FDA is the champion of anti-capitalist idealism when in fact it is the vehicle of the most vicious and predatory capitalism imaginable, a form of capitalism is that anti-free-market and pro- mercantilism, ie, a form of capitalism directed not by consumer demand but by authoritarian decree and force where consumers, rather than being the directors of the economy, are ripped off and plundered via State power.
* To prove that the FDA is working to benefit society, we must show that there has been a decrease in harmful drugs after the FDA's existence and a steady rate or increase of new effective drugs coming to market. A problem here is that the standard by which most will measure the FDA is the FDA itself, that is, to determine the number of unsafe drugs approved by the FDA we have to count the number of drugs the FDA has revoked its approval of. Like any enterprise, the FDA would have a disincentive to admit that it is making things worse, and thus would have an incentive not to revoke too many approved drugs, just as laws that prove to be more harmful are rarely ever revoked. Of course, there can be other means of measuring drug safety, such as adverse reaction reports. IN SUM: People usually think of life without some large government institution as a return to the jungle. They seem to forget that tort liability still exists in the free market and it exerts a powerful effect on actors in the market, such that the threat of law suits for bad drugs will cause manufacturers and sellers to be careful. We also tend to forget that it's EASIER to bribe or slip bad data past an inspector or a small review panel than to do the same to a myriad randomly-selected juries and hundreds research facilities operated around the world. Knowing that, companies would have an incentive to be more careful when it's more difficult to bribe or lie, which suggests that a free market would regulate better. The result of slipping bad drugs past an organization that issues authoritarian decrees of safety is by far the greatest threat to public safety for it then gives a bad drug bullet-proof status and the drug will have free reign to harm the people while it makes the manufacturer millions and millions. If you study the case of Prozac and other SSRI drugs, the idea that the FDA will revoke approval of drugs due to extraordinary rates of reported adverse reactions is not indicated. A drug may be revoked if a negative study appears in one of biggest medical journals, and if you look at these journals you will find them filled with advertisements from the very companies the journal would harm if it were to publish a study showing that one of the drug manufactures it does business with is selling a bad drug. In short, if a drug manufacturer like Eli Lilly sends a journal X thousands of dollars per year, this payment is, on its face, a de-facto form of bribery to one of the main entities we have to rely upon to keep the pharmaceutical-industrial complex honest.
There is quite a lot more to be said in terms of how the FDA causes harm, which is perhaps most evident in the cases of the routine delay of life-saving therapies, which potentially causes more harm than harm caused by bad drugs getting out in the free market. The argument is convincing that tens of thousands died of a heart condition that could have been easily treated by the drug propranolol when the FDA kept it off the U.S. market while it was available in Europe; and that up to 100,000 die each year due to the FDA's ban on truthful health information about food and supplements (See Freedom of Informed Choice: FDA Versus Nutrient Supplements, by Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw, 1993).Web Pages Questioning The Safety & Efficacy Of The FDA:
Goddard's Journal: http://www.erols.com/igoddard/journal.htm
24th Update on Fly Longevity Experiments
by Doug Skrecky <email@example.com>
The 23rd update of my fly longevity experiments was on August 1998. I had discontinued these experiments after run #11 was completed, but have reconsidered and am now back in business.
For run #11 I tested the effect on fly longevity of various fruit juices, used in place of the water used with the two controls. The most outstanding result was the extreme toxicity of Barker's blackcurrant juice. I have no ready explanation for this, but note that a mixture of apple and black current juice given to humans had a pro-oxidant effect on their plasma proteins. I suspect it was the black current juice which was the active ingredient in this mixture. (Am J Clin Nutr 69(1): 87-94 Jan 1999)
Grape, both red and white grapefruit, and pineapple look modestly beneficial, but all flies were dead on a day 25 census.
# of flies
|Percent Survival on Day|
After run #11 all of my breeding bottles for flies independently developed a variety of mould infestations that destroyed my breeding stock. I attributed this unfortunate turn of events to the storage conditions of the 4-24 fly food, which contains a mould inhibitor. This may have deteriorated with time, till insufficient levels were still present to completely inhibit the growth of mould spores. My attempts to secure an independent supply of mould inhibitor proved to be fruitless, as I do have the medical degree or the institutional affiliation needed to obtain these restricted chemicals.
So I abandoned my attempts to do fly longevity experiments. Time passed, and eventually I changed my mind, obtained a fresh supply of 4-24 fly food, and fresh breeding stock from the fly lab at a local university. The results from run #12 were astonishing in the extreme, with a number of fruit juices proving to double the life span of my flies. (All fruit juices were from Ceres, with the exception of Knudsen Black Cherry juice.) Although the fly food in some of the fruit juice bottles showed some mild discolouration, a casual examination of the control bottles did not yield any visual evidence of pathogen growth, so initially I was rather excited at these results, as follows:
|RUN #12||Total #
Percent Survival on Day
The next run issued a warning that all was not well with the fly experiments. In run #13 all of the bottles were infected with a pink mould which I believe destroyed the flies long before they had a chance to grow old and die of old age. This cast a considerable doubt on the results in run #12. Fruit juices tend to be somewhat acidic, and I learnt from reference foods on food preservation that acidic pH tends to inhibit pathogen growth. Moreover 2 months is a typical life span for the Oregon-R drosophila flies that I was using. The scientific literature yields life spans for these from anywhere from 1 month to 3 months at room temperature. Although different sub-strains of Oregon-R have different life spans the literature notes an impressive cluster of longevity results at 2 months.
I finally obtained some sodium benzoate for run #14. Benzoate is a food preservative that inhibits both bacteria and mould growth, particularly at acidic pH. I tested 1/32 tsp of this in 20 gm 4-24 fly food, in conjunction with various fruit juices as follows. Keen eyed readers may spot a minor anomaly in the survival figures.
|Run #14||no of
Percent Survival on Day
What I found interesting is the consistency of the beneficial effect of benzoate. Maximum survival was always increased, and when combined with fruit juices the fly food discolourations which occur with time were eliminated. Only in the control bottles, and the benzoate-only bottle did the pink slime reoccur, which was associated with a quick demise of the inhabitants of said bottles. Drosophila are similar to vultures in they feed on decaying fruits, so they are naturally resistant to bacteria, and yeasts. However they are very vulnerable to moulds, and I believe the pink slime I have often observed is such a mould.
As negative controls, I included bottles using the same brand of apple and grape juices as those used in run#11. It is interesting that once again grape juice improved survival over that obtained with apple juice. However the huge increase in survival obtained with the fruits juices
used in run#12, were no longer evident, if apple and grape juices are used instead as the controls. In seems likely therefore that the huge increases in run #12, were due to an anti-pathogen effect of the fruit juices, and not due to any anti-aging effect. Since no visual evidence for pathogen growth was noted in that run, in the short lived control bottles, I presume that aged flies are vulnerable to even small amounts of mould, which are not readily discernible.
In Run #15 I tested some Libby's (L), Rubicon (R), and Ceres (C) fruit juices. None of these had benzoate in them, since I had started this run before the benefits of benzoate had become apparent in run #14. As usual the control bottles developed a pink slime, and the flies in them died early. It looked like the Libby's fruit juices had a survival advantage. Libby also includes citric acid in all their juices, and I wondered whether this might account for the difference.
|Run #15||no of
Percent Survival on Day
Run #16 tested the effect of citric acid in conjunction with benzoate, as well as higher doses of benzoate. The only bottle that developed pink slime was one of the 1/32 tsp benzoate bottles. High doses of benzoate were toxic, but the addition of 1/8 tsp citric acid proved to be safe.
|Run #16||Percent Survival on Day|
|benzoate 1/32 tsp||80%||0%||-||-|
|benzoate 1/32 tsp||100||81||19||19|
|benzoate 1/32 + citric acid||91||65||26||13|
|benzoate 1/16 tsp||100||56||11||11|
|benzoate 1/8 tsp||92||25||0||-|
|benzoate 1/4 tsp||71||0||-||-|
Run #17 proved to be a disaster. This was a large run, testing a wide variety of supplements. I had intended to add citric acid to all of the bottles, but by mistake I used a bottle of sodium citrate instead, which does not possess the acidity of citric acid itself. Pink slime destroyed
the flies used in this run, with the exception of a bottle using passionfruit juice, in place of water, one using a high and toxic dosage of pyruvate (which is acidic), and bottles with added mustard powder, which also proved to be toxic, as evidenced by reduced mortality. Homer
Simpson could sum it very nicely. I can only repeat his refrain: Doh!
Finally Run #18 gets it right. Here I tested citric acid, both by itself, and in combination with benzoate, and passionfruit juice. Here it is shown that citric acid alone can carry the day, and that neither benzoate, nor passionfruit juice has any beneficial effects on longevity in comparison to flies fed a sufficiently high dosage of citric acid. The only instance in which the fly food showed any discolouration was in the passionfruit-only bottle, and even here no pink slime was evident. In soon-to-be-released follow-up experiments I have used citric acid
as a standard supplement to eliminate pathogens from consideration. In addition to further longevity experiments, I am also investigating ways and means for reducing cryoprotectant induced toxicity in flies. I am hoping that this data may be of some small use in the future development of usable vitrification solutions for organ cryopreservation.
|Run #18||Percent Survival on Day|
|citric 1/8 tsp||79%||63%||58%||37%||26%||11%||5%||0%||-|
|citric 1/8 + benzoate 1/32||87||67||60||47||27||20||20||7||0|
|citric 1/4 + benzoate 1/32||91||73||73||41||36||23||18||5||5|
|passionfruit + citric 1/8||76||53||53||35||18||12||6||0||-|
|passionfruit + benzoate 1/32||82||71||71||35||24||18||12||6||6|
|passionfruit + citric 1/8 + benzoate 1/32||55||45||35||25||20||20||15||5||5|
25th Update on Fly Longevity Experiments
by Doug Skrecky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the 25'th update on my fly longevity experiments. Runs #19 and #20 investigated ways and means for blocking short-term glycerol induced "metabolic" toxicity. In place of the water normally used in these experiments, a 1:2 mixture of glycerin (glycerol) and water is used. This is quite dehydrating, so I expected the flies to die of dehydration after a short period, which is what happened.
In run #19 good results were obtained by a grape proanthocyanidin mixture called leucoselect. The glycerol induced increase in mortality evident at the census on Day 5, 9, and 12 was completely reversed by leucoselect, so that survival rates were similar to a control bottle which used water in place of the glycerol mixture. Please note that all bottles included taurine, as a non-toxic larvicide, so as to avoid having to regularly change the fly food.
Benzoate, and citric acid were also included to help eliminate pathogen growth on the 4-24 fly food, which itself already includes a not completely effective mold inhibitor.
|RUN #19||Percent Survival on Day|
|glycerol 1:2 cntl||62||29||10||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|+aloe vera 450 mg||81||52||43||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|+lavender 300 mg||73||40||20||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|+leucoselect 50 mg||91||87||83||30||4||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|+oleuropein 50 mg||57||20||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
I was so impressed with the results with leucoselect that the glycerol experiment was immediately repeated. I also tested the effect of a higher dosage of leucoselect, as well as some related chemicals. For some reason the day 12 results were not quite as good, possibly because the flies used were a little older to start with in this run. However the higher 100 mg dosage of Leucoselect offered survival rates not significantly different from the water control on the day 4, and day 7 census.
|RUN #20||Percent Survival on Day|
|glycerol 1:2 cntl||91||27||9||0||-||-|
|+leucoselect 50 mg||87||67||40||0||-||-|
|+leucoselect 100 mg||100||82||27||0||-||-|
|+resveratrol 50 mg||95||70||40||0||-||-|
|+pycnogenol 50 mg||93||60||33||0||-||-|
|+green tea extract 75 mg||95||70||35||0||-||-|
It looks like a sufficiently high dosage of the grape extract leucoselect can eliminate glycerol induced increases in mortality rates, at least in the short term. I suspect quite a few other antioxidant mixtures would have similar effects if a high enough dosage were to be used.
The metabolic toxicity of glycerol investigated here may have little to do with the toxic effects induced by the concentrated glycerol solutions used in cryopreservation. These are administered at a lower temperature, where metabolism is greatly reduced, so leucoselect might or might not have any beneficial effect in this case.
In cryopreservation the major toxic effect of glycerol is known to be osmotic, since glycerol only slowly passes through cellular membranes. This feature renders glycerol of limited use for whole organ cryopreservation, which requires cryoprotectants possessing much greater permeability, so that organs can be protected from freezing injury in an acceptable time frame.
Next I'll try to block the metabolic toxicity of alcohol.
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