A couple of months ago, the journal Nature published a study showing that mice that ingested a substance found in red wine demonstrated remarkable longevity. There is, so far, no evidence that the substance, resveratrol, has a similar effect on humans. Nonetheless, there has been a rush on the product; health food store owners say the stuff is flying off the shelves.
Moment in History
So many Americans say this is a decisive moment in our political history. But what about other endeavors? From military history to science and culture, how do we know what's really historic -- and what's not? We discuss how to define the moment.
Michael Eric Dyson, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; author, Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, author, Just War Against Terror : The Burden of American Power in a Violent World; University of Chicago ethics professor
scientist, futurist; author of Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough To
Ray Kurzweil hasn't given much thought to his epitaph or spent an afternoon shopping for a burial plot. It's not that the idea of death hasn't occurred to him; he's 56, his father died of a heart attack at 58, and heart disease claimed his paternal grandfather. Kurzweil just doesn't plan on dying. Ever. "I think death is a tragedy," he says. "We've rationalized that it's a good thing, because we've had no alternative."
Kurzweil, one of the most influential
living inventors, expects that rapidly accelerating progress in the
fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and medical devices will eradicate
the scourge that is human expiration sometime within the next 50 years.
His latest book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever,
coauthored with Dr. Terry Grossman and published this month, is almost
certainly the first diet book that promises not just to help readers
drop excess pounds but to render them immortal.
Quest For Eternal Youth Sets Group Abuzz
"I really do believe it is feasible to slow down the aging process," Kurzweil told Technology Review magazine's Emerging Technologies Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology here last week. "We call that a bridge to a bridge to a bridge -- to the full flowering of the biotechnology revolution."
Kurzweil, a well-regarded scientist
who invented the flatbed scanner and a reading machine for the blind,
claimed his pills appear to be helping: Biological tests conducted at
a clinic in Denver found his body resembles that of a man in his early
forties, he claimed, rather than his true age of 56.
praise for FANTASTIC VOYAGE
VOYAGE is truly breathtaking—a concise yet comprehensive
journey that accurately recounts the past and present state of our collective
knowledge in the diverse fields of biology, medicine, and information
technology. Whether you are driven by intellectual curiosity or concern
for your own personal wellness, you will find this book fascinating
and educational. A must read.”
In FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (Rodale; November 3, 2004; $24.95) Ray Kurzweil, bestselling author of The 10% Solution to a Healthy Life and The Age of Spiritual Machines, and Terry Grossman M.D., an expert on cutting-edge life-extension therapies, present the ultimate user’s manual to the human machine. Together, Kurzweil and Grossman detail how genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology have vastly improved our knowledge of the biological processes of life, and they reveal how startling scientific advancements in these future-looking fields have brought the possibility of immortality within our grasp.
The fact is, it is now possible to prevent nearly 90 percent of the diseases that kill humans, and within the next twenty years scientists will be able to stop and even reverse the aging process. By following the techniques outlined in FANTASTIC VOYAGE, anyone can immediately and dramatically slow the aging process to a crawl.
“Ray Kurzweil has a knack for spotting the next new thing. He has been charging into the future for nearly 40 years,” Wired magazine has written. And the next big thing, particularly among the baby boomer generation (but practically for all those in their thirties and beyond) is maximizing the quality of life while at the same time extending it. Kurzweil and Grossman’s Longevity Program is designed to keep your body and brain in optimal health while warding off chronic diseases before they can develop. Based on decades of intensive research, the program combines the best of conventional and alternative medicine and enables readers to pinpoint where they are in the progression of disease and aging so they can begin to reverse the harmful effects of each. Dr. Herbert L. Jacobs, Chairman, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Task Force of the Colorado Medical Society describes Dr. Grossman as “one of a handful of modern-day physicians who are laying the foundation for a new paradigm in medicine, combining cutting-edge medical knowledge with the best evidence-based complementary therapies.” To that end, the authors offer dozens of easy-to-follow ideas that can reduce the risk of disease in the future while improving well-being in the present. There are many new and surprising insights: for example, taking the supplement phosphatidylcholine can reverse aging of the cell membrane; and there are novel, non-invasive tests able to detect cancer and heart disease before they have a chance to strike.
Divided into what the authors identify as three bridges to the future, FANTASTIC VOYAGE takes readers through the stages that can lead to longer, healthier lives. The first bridge, Ray & Terry’s Longevity Program, consists of present-day therapies and guidance that enables people to stay healthy long enough to take advantage of the Biotechnology Revolution—the second bridge—which is when we will be able to reprogram the genetic, proteomic, and metabolic processes of biology to “turn off” the root causes of disease and aging. The third bridge is the Nanotechnology-AI (artificial intelligence) Revolution. The “killer app” of nanotechnology is “nanobots,” blood cell-sized devices that will go inside the human body to destroy pathogens and toxins, and repair DNA errors, leading to the potential for humans to live indefinitely.
FANTASTIC VOYAGE gets specific about a wide range of practical issues such as nutrition, weight loss, and the prevention of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. Other topics that Kurzweil and Grossman address and offer specific guidance on include:
Health, say the authors, is not merely the absence of disease but rather relies on the proper functioning of every aspect of existence, and as such it is something that always can be improved. FANTASTIC VOYAGE promises a personal journey of discovery, an adventure leading to unprecedented good health and vitality. Kurzweil and Grossman predict that the coming scientific advances in the 21 st century will turn the very conception of human life on its head. “The result will be profound changes in every facet of our lives, even our concepts of who we are and what it means to be human,” the authors write.
Additional advance praise for FANTASTIC VOYAGE
FANTASTIC VOYAGEgives us a wonderful and exciting vision of
what new advances in the biological and physical sciences will bring
to the health and quality of human life. Kurzweil and Grossman’s
program of simple lifestyle modifications to forestall chronic diseases
is so comprehensive that anyone can find easy-to-implement actions that
will enhance their health.”
wake-up call to even the most health-conscious people, FANTASTIC
VOYAGE boldly challenges conventional wisdom about aging and
illness and offers groundbreaking solutions to remain young and healthy
Terry Grossman, M.D. , practices nutritional and anti aging medicine and has written several popular articles on natural treatments for ailments. An expert in longevity medicine, he is the author of a leading book on life extension, The Baby Boomer's Guide to Living Forever. He lives in Denver .