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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Aging in America Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy What follows is an overview of where we will be in the next century with aging and the results of aging in America, barring any changes in the way we approach health care in America.

The Situation We Face

By 2011 the first baby-boomers will be ready for retirement and by the year 2025, as the baby-boomers finally mature, there will be twice as many people over 65 as there will be teenagers. In that year we will need at least 31,000 geriatricians, compared to the 1,000 we have today. Right now there are over 70,000 centenarians; by 2006 there will be 100,000 and by 2025 there will be two million.

Right now, today, there are 100 million people with degenerative diseases: cancer, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. That number will double early in the next century.

In the next five years we will see a 14% increase in amount of medical care needed. By 2001 Medi-care will be completely bankrupt and by 2029 Social Security will be bankrupt. The children and grandchildren of the baby-boomer generation will have to work 12 hour days to support their parents and grandparents. Alternatively, the older generations may be cut loose to survive on their own as best they can, a sort of modern day economic survival of the fittest.

However, increasingly common preventive health practices will dramatically slow the expression of aging in our society. Many more "seniors" are no longer feeling old, do not want to "retire," and are remaining active and productive. This group will grow dramatically in coming years and this will change the economic equation completely as people who were expected to be recipients continue to be contributors.

The intense research into the causes of aging is reaching the public consciousness. A recent Time Magazine cover story explains part of that research in detail. If Time magazine writes about it even main stream medicine must have heard about it and will have to extend to this new brand of medicine grudging acknowledgment. Even barring any further advances, the upper limits of what is possible in longevity are quite unknown. In the first quartile of the next century we will surely see people living to 150 or beyond with great vitality.

What is making this possible is a shift in the paradigm of aging. Increasingly, people are no longer willing to roll over and accept an early death as inevitable. What was inevitable in the old paradigm is not even acceptable in the new. Now we see aging as not just one thing, but rather a complex of diseases, each of which is treatable and preventable. This is truly the end of aging as we know it. We now believe that these diseases are partially the result of genetic coding expressed at the interface between the genes and the environment, with the environment as a full partner in the aging process. The environment includes the food we eat, the nutritional supplements we take, our life styles and relationships.

Help Is On the Way

Geneticists are finally unraveling the genetic component of aging, and it is amazingly easy to understand. Chromosomes are the double-helixed, intertwined base pairs which encode the instructions for the processes of life. These base pairs are incredibly long, numbering in the millions per chromosome and our species has 46 chromosomes. At the end of each chromosome is a string of base pairs—called telomeres (literally "tail pieces")—which do not code for anything, but rather serve to count the numbers of cell divisions. With each cell division an enzyme called telomerase is made which clips off the base pair from the end of the telomere. When the last base telomere is clipped off the cell can no longer divide and the cell line dies of old age. Human cell lines can divide about 100 times before dying of old age.

The newest research in treating AIDS is the development of protease inhibitors. These are enzymes which prevent the formation of protein by HIV cells when they try to replicate. A similar enzyme can be developed which would be called a telomerase inhibitor. This enzyme would prevent the clipping away of the telomeres and make human cell lines immortal.

In fact nature has already devised immortal human cell, the gonadal cell. These are the sperm and egg cells and they do not have a telomerase enzyme. Placed in cell culture, these cells divide indefinitely without aging! The solution to human aging will come when all cells in the body can be made immortal as the gonadal cells are already immortal. This development will come within 15-20 years according to conservative estimates of the best geneticists.

It will also be possible to rebuild the telomeres to their original length with enzymes designed for this job and it will also be possible to do genetic repair of the damage to chromosomes which has accumulated over the years. Brace yourself: what the geneticists are telling us is that not only can aging be halted, it can be reversed! We will be able to choose to grow young instead of grow old, to choose your favorite age, youth to that point and remain there. Dying will not be necessary!

When this happens, the entire philosophical basis of living will have to change. In fact, with the knowledge that this technology is on the way, that change is already beginning. Until now, living rested upon the certainty of dying. If this becomes no longer necessary, the way we live must change in ways that are unforeseeable at this time. Those of you who know me know that I am first a philosopher and secondly a doctor. For me, this is exciting business.

The Job Is To Hang On For Twenty Years

In case you think life is worth living, the job is to last for 20 more years in reasonably good shape and be among the people who have the choice to live on indefinitely or not.

The practice of anti-aging medicine at this time is geared toward successfully negotiating those 20 years by halting, slowing or reversing the aging process right now. The rest of this part of the newsletter is devoted to explaining where we are with present day technology to accomplish this goal.

Current Trends in Anti-aging

The relationship between anti-oxidants and aging is now well-appreciated, even in the lay community and many people are acting on this understanding by loading up on vitamins A, C, E, and other anti-oxidants every day.

What is changing in health care, even at this moment, is the revolution in the approach to the prevention and slowing of aging. The best chance we have to do this lies in the following four areas: lifestyle, diet, nutrients, avoidance of toxins, and total hormone replacement therapy.


For a more general discussion of aging, see Hormones and Aging. For the impact of aging in our society: Hormone Replacement Therapy. For a general introduction to HGH, follow this hyperlink: Human Growth Hormone (HGH). TheRudman Study of Human Growth Hormone was the landmark study, published in 1990, and more than any other study propelled HGH to the forefront of anti-aging medicine. For a more clinical discussion of HGH deficiency: HGH Deficiency Syndrome of Adulthood)

The most important approach to anti-aging is rejuvenation of the immune system. The immune system is critically important in achieving vitality and longevity. When the immune system quits, you are done for. Dust to dust. The path to rejuvenation of the immune system is summarized in this article: The SanPharma Protocol.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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