General Considerations On The Possibility Of Rejuvenation
( Originally Published 1923 )
OVER thirty years ago the possibility of making a younger person out of an old man or woman was positively proved. Already at that time photo-graphs were published in the medical journals by Sir Victor Horsley, George Murray, and others, illustrating aged men and women who, after treatment by animal extracts, appeared much younger than their actual age. These persons were suffering from a diseased condition of the thyroid gland, myxedema, and upon giving them extracts of the thyroid glands of sheep, men and women of sixty or sixty-one were caused to appear as if they were fifty and in some cases forty-five or even less.
Upon reading these reports and studying similar cases personally, I was led to the thought that if a man or woman suffering from disease and sixty years old can be made to look much younger by means of a certain remedy, then other men or women, who are not suffering from the same disease, or not to the same extent, might likewise profit from such treatment and be made to look younger. Having tried this treatment, first upon myself and then on patients, I found, indeed, that my supposition had been correct.
The results of my observations were published in my book, "Old Age Deferred," in which are described cases which, upon treatment with extracts from the glands of animals, mainly sheep and hogs, appear younger to the extent of ten, fifteen and sometimes even twenty years. This book was based upon a communication on the causes of old age which I had presented before the Biological Society of Paris six years before. In this communication I showed that old age presents all or nearly all of the symptoms of a degenerated condition of the thyroid, i.e., that it is like a myxedematous condition.
The different noxious agencies to which we ex-pose ourselves willingly or against our will, most of them mentioned in the first' two parts of this book, are also known to be very deleterious to the different ductless glands of our body, viz., the thyroid, the sexual glands, etc., which govern all its vital functions. When these glands are attacked and caused to degenerate, a diseased condition results, the symptoms of which correspond to those of old age.
In previous experiments carried out with the collaboration of Prof. Minkowsky, in the laboratory of the Augusta Hospital in Cologne, I had shown that these different glands form a kind of a chain, so that removal of one of them, e.g., the pancreas, would result in transformation of other glands, e.g., the thyroid gland. Thus it will be readily under-stood that noxious agencies attacking one of the glands, such as the thyroid or the sexual glands, will also react upon the other glands and lead to their degeneration.
In my communication to the Paris Biological Society on the causes of old age, I showed that old age is due to the degeneration of the different duct-less glands, and recommended treatment of old age with extracts from the ductless glands of animals. That such treatment is really possible is shown clearly in my book, "Old Age Deferred," in which I not only describe the good results obtained by treatment with animal extracts, but also point out the fact that through hygienic procedures and by certain forms of diet, the vitality and activity of the ductless glands, e.g., the thyroid and sexual and other glands, can be enhanced.
Years before me the famous French savant, Brown-Séquard, born of an American father and French mother on the island of Mauritius, and for several years Professor at Harvard University, had shown by experiments on himself that a kind of rejuvenation, in the sense of an improvement of certain symptoms of old age, is possible. He employed extracts made from the crushed testicles of animals.
A few years ago a professor of physiology, Steinach, producing enforced activity or irritation of the sexual glands by surgical procedures, actually proved by experiments on rats and on man that a kind of rejuvenation is possible. The first symptoms of this change show themselves within a few weeks after the operation.
All these different methods, however, are based on one and the same means of producing rejuvenation, the one I described before the Paris Biological Society nearly two decades ago.
At that time I said that old age is due not alone to degeneration of the thyroid or the sexual glands, but to that of all the glands. It may start from a degenerated condition of one of the glands, e.g., the sexual glands or the thyroid, but afterwards, since all these glands form a chain, changes in one of them will produce similar changes in the other glands, and old age, with all its symptoms, will result.
The experiments of Steinach clearly prove the correctness of my theory as to the origin of old age.
His experiments show plainly that when a condition of overactivity of the sexual glands is produced the other glands are influenced also and that the rejuvenation he procures is due, not only to the excitation of the sexual glands, but to that of all the other glands.
Indeed, the late assistant of Prof. Steinach, Dr. Schleidt, examined microscopically not only the testicles of the old rats that had been made over into young rats, but also the thyroid gland and another endocrin gland in the brain the hypophysis and he found these glands in the previously old rats in quite a youthful and perfectly normal condition. Thus, we are certainly justified in concluding that rejuvenation is the result of an improved condition, not only of one, but of all the endocrin glands.
All that one has to do to rejuvenate a person, is, consequently, to overcome the aged and degenerated condition of the endocrin glands. This can be done in one of two different ways : (1) By a surgical procedure, as shown by Prof. Steinach. This, however, has the disadvantage that, while not efficacious in every case, it exposes sometimes, in addition, to deleterious consequences. (2) By internal methods, i.e., by ingestion of the extracts of different glands.
Aside from these procedures, we can obtain still better results, according to my experiences and observations in the last ten months, by employing the ultraviolet rays of natural or artificial sunlight (quartz light), which act as activators and powerful stimulants of the endocrin glands, especially if these glands are taken by mouth at the same time. Radium baths and certain kinds of mud baths of high radium content are also capable of bringing about rejuvenation. In addition there are avail-able certain hygienic procedures, such as abundant perspiration and purging, as I show in my book, "Old Age Deferred."