Friday, March 30, 2012

I Am Not Alone

For over a decade, Thomas Perls, MD, the founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, has been studying longevity. A Harvard trained geriatrician, Dr. Perls arguably is one of the foremost expects in the U.S. on the topic. Therefore, given my own growing interest in life expectancy and the factors that influence a long life, it was a special delight for me to have spoken to him for over an hour the other day.

I found Dr. Perls to be both a kindred spirit and a validator of many of my conclusions. For example, he is a staunch critic of the Anti-Aging Medicine movement. All of my research has led me to the conclusion that anti-aging is a hoax. Although some interesting areas of study have emerged such as the role of telomeres and what happens to all human cells (apoptosis (death), senescence (shut done), and cancer) and how this may one day lead to actual treatments to stop or reverse aging, today there is no validated science to conclude that any anti-aging treatments or processes exist.

Dr. Perls is also no fan of general supplementation. He believes, as do I,  that the supplement industry is perpetuating a hoax on the American people that supplements contribute to greater health and longevity. They do not and may, in fact, accomplish the opposite.

We also discussed his life expectancy calculator which exists in three versions. One for children, one for adults, an one for seniors. We discussed the science behind the calculator and how it can be improved to make it more than an interesting insight into one's longevity and more of a motivator to make lifestyle changes likely to lead to improved health and increased longevity.

It was really great for me to speak with an educator, scientist, and physician who has expertise that far surpasses my own in a field of study that for over a year I have devoted myself to gaining some expertise, and to hear that all of the conclusions I have reached in a far shorter period of intense review have been vindicated.

The disciples of supplements are many and they include many of the thought leaders in the U.S. when it comes to health, such as the celebrity doctors (and NY Times best selling authors) like Furman, Oz, Weil, and Hyman. They have assumed the bully pulpits and have developed large audiences for much of their nonsensical advice.

Accordingly, I have felt at times like Sisyphus, the tragic Greek mythological figure, futilely pushing a boulder up a hill never to reach the top.  My conversation with Dr. Perls, which we are scheduled to continue, has re-energized my efforts to educate an unknowing public to the dangers of supplements and anti-aging medicine. My goals remain to inform the masses of the only true evidence based science that is known with some scientific certainty concerning what it takes to improve one's health and live longer--practicing a healthy lifestyle. I say thank G-d for the likes of Dr. Perls who is also waging the good fight against the immeasurable, but growing odds against us to spread the evidence-based facts.

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