Antiaging Research Priorities [was Re: Major Criticisms of
dlj at pobox.com
Fri Sep 18 18:58:02 EST 1998
On calorie restriction:
I think it is hilarious, and very American, that one of the Toms (TomLEF?)
suggested studying CR so that its essence could be discovered and then
perhaps injected into or fed to the population at large. Why not just
The other guy (TomExcelife??) cannot write a parsable sentence, which is
part of his problem. Another part is his notion that ice in the wild live a
long time. Fact is they normally get picked off by voles, hawks, dogs and
cats. Microbes. McCormick Harvesters. All his theorizing is out in
This same guy thinks that the French lady who lived to 121++ was in nature
in some way. Does he think she spent her last fifty years without
antibiotics? Hell, her whole life was post-Pasteur.
How wonderful it is to find that there is a machine called assets.wharton!
(My wife used to have an office on the second floor of the Annenberg School
which looked out over all the little kids whining their way into Wharton. At
the time I was a Japanese industrialist, creator of the Japanese coin
laundry industry, and we used to sit around and laugh at them).
As I read things, we have the same guy claiming that too much old type
cell-shell bran can rasp you out too much, but at the same time it has no
value. (If this is a misreading, or a confusion of different posts, on my
part, somebody please correct me.) If this is what is being said, it's
obvious nonsense: from the point of view of the colon cancer stats, quite
apart from the absorption of bile fluids question, the gross bulk throughput
and the rasping out of the vilii are also worthwhile things. Eat a sheet of
Kleenex this week!
All the stuff people have written about the sourness of oily flour in olde
tyme conditions is no doubt true.
This may account for the fact that poor peoples demand white flour as soon
as they can. The Japanese abandoned millet and brown rice for white rice in
the 13th Century. In East Africa and Northern China there has been an
explosion of demand for white flour in the last three years -- which Lester
Brown's Washington doom institute has misinterpreted as a sign of grain
running out. Once people get *really* rich, and have refrigeration, they go
for brown bread, again, but that takes another couple of steps up in
technology, income-level, and sophistication of household analysis.
Let me flick in the fact that Consumers Reports did a nutrient comparison of
nearly every bread in the world a few years ago. American Wonder (tm) Bread
was second best in the world, behind only some Finnish or German black brot
made out of everything but the kitchen sink. (No. Not pumpernickel. Although
pumpernickel bagels are my modal breakfast, they are only mediocre from a
vitaminandmineral point of view. Real pumpernickel not much better.)
Baguettes, the good ol' French stuff that we eat warm with our morning
espresso, cassis, and the day's Liberation, turned out to have a nutritional
value just slightly northeast of wallpaper paste. Smells nice, though.
Most of the time, two other meals a day, I eat commercial seven-grain.
I was interested to see somebody posting that ginger is an anti-oxidant. My
partner, who is African, believes that you ought to eat ginger and garlic
every day. She is from a tough, smart, survivor culture: her grandfather
told the English in 1906 "Your piss makes my land stink. Get out." The
English imperialists never got more than a fingernail hold.
One of our favourite foods is Pearl Brand chile-garlic-tofu on toast.
This is an interesting product from a marketing point of view. Your normal
average shui-ko factory puts this stuff out as a delicacy, and it arrives on
our shores and stores at about three or four bucks for a 250 gram bottle.
Nice decoration on the side of a bowl of rice and all the other stuff.
Our guy, however, hasn't gotten his factory under control yet. It always
arrives in the stores with red stuff running out over the label, the plastic
seals broken, or half the liquid spilled out and the top half of the jar
turned black. If the poor bastards at Customs were functioning they would
probably tell the ship's captain to take it back out to sea and dump it in
the Mariana Trench on the way back to Guangdong. Instead it sneaks through
Customs and arrives in the local store, and they don't know what to do with
it -- so they sell it off cheap. And a very good deal it is.
Soy-chile spread, plus three-fruits marmalade, on a toasted bagel, is a
I don't use butter or margarine spreads on bread; on the other hand when I'm
in bed with a book and have an interesting loaf of bread in the house, I
sometimes mix Chinese bottled minced garlic (Le Kum Kee Brand) with olive
oil, chopped ginger and any random hotsauce, and dip bread in it while I
Ajok refuses to eat these outrages because she thinks it will make the
baby's milk taste odd.
Enough for now. Oh. Not quite.
I've read Hayflick and a few of the things that followed, and I read all the
rest of this telomere stuff in a desultory sort of way. (Crap, I may start
making money again some day soon, and again subscribe to Science and the
NEJM and all the good magazines as a matter of course...) My antennae will
probably perk up at the right time if anything interesting happens.
For you metaphysicians (or is the word dogmatists?), however, I want to
scream! Solving the cell thing would only be a solution of cells' life
problem. The human being is, pace Lynn Margolies, an alliance of many cells,
and has interests other than those of the individual cells.
Its longevity depends upon that of the cells, but is not assured by it. Cell
longevity is necessary but not sufficient for organism longevity.
To be very grim about it: if you solved all the teomere stuff, and could
reel out new length like fishing line, this would only reduce human
mortality to the extent that death is caused by direct cell death. What
would this add up to? Not much, I think. We die a lot from growing cells,
cancer, and screwed up structures, all the blood system things. I don't know
that we die very much from plain died off cells.
PS: Since the world seems to be caught up in the sexual politics of the US
this week, I feel I have to pass on the comment of some Reublican lobbyist
on the subject of the nubile Ms. Chernowyth, the very very Christian/family
values/anti-Clinton Republican congresslady from Nebraska: "She is living
proof that you can fuck your brains out."
Let them that are without sin...
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