The False Hopes of Recent Centuries

Evidence of the quest for extended healthy longevity can be found for any period in human history; it is a tragedy that only now are we comparatively close to success. Each of us stands near the peak of a mountain of death, suffering, ignorance and failed hopes; any glance at the history of medicine should remind us of that fact: "During the 19th and early 20th centuries there was great interest in antiaging remedies. This search for the eternal fountain of youth stemmed from the concept of aging as a pathological condition that destroyed the body and mind. In addition, great emphasis was placed on the economic challenge that the elderly presented to society. ... The history of antiaging medicine includes a variety of remedies. E. Metchnikoff advocated a diet rich in lactic acid which he thought would eradicate the body of intestinal putrefaction and decay. Others believed the fountain of youth lay within the endocrine system. ... The early 20th century was marked by a number of surgical attempts at the restoration of youth. L. L. Stanley reported on more than 643 inmates at the San Quentin prison on whom he had performed testicular transplantation. This idea of gland grafting gained international interest and led others such as S. Voronoff to experiment with the transplantation of various animal glands into humans."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17509279

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