Skip to comments.Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever
Posted on 05/25/2006 2:20:45 PM PDT by Momaw Nadon
Immortality is within our grasp . . . In Fantastic Voyage, high-tech visionary Ray Kurzweil teams up with life-extension expert Terry Grossman, M.D., to consider the awesome benefits to human health and longevity promised by the leading edge of medical science--and what you can do today to take full advantage of these startling advances. Citing extensive research findings that sound as radical as the most speculative science fiction, Kurzweil and Grossman offer a program designed to slow aging and disease processes to such a degree that you should be in good health and good spirits when the more extreme life-extending and life-enhancing technologies--now in development--become available. This bridge to the future will enable those who dare to make the journey from this century to the next . . . and beyond.
Immortality is within our grasp. The knowledge exists, if aggressively applied, for you to slow aging and disease processes to such a degree that you can be in good health and good spirits when the more radical life-extending and life-enhancing technologies become available over the next couple of decades.
Chapter 2: The Bridges to Come
We are in the early stages of multiple profound revolutions spawned by the intersection of biology, information science, and nanotechnology. With the decoding of the genome and our efforts to decode its expression in proteins, many new and powerful methodologies are emerging. These include rational drug design (drugs designed for very precise missions with little or no side effects), tissue engineering (regrowing our cells, tissues, and organs), reversal of aging processes, gene therapy (essentially reprogramming our genetic code), nanobots (robots the size of blood cells built from molecules placed in our bodies and bloodstreams to enhance every aspect of our lives), and many others. Some of these transformations will bear fruit before the ink is dry from printing this book.
Chapter 3: Our Personal Journeys
Each of us comes to concerns about our health and well-being in a different way. Study and reflection, the experiences of relatives and friends, and our own experiences of pain and joy all play a role. These are our stories, a journey of decades of exploration and the intersection of our paths that brought us to write this book together.
Chapter 4: Food and Water
Animals spend most of their effort pursuing food as well as avoiding becoming a predators next meal. Most of human effort throughout our history has also been devoted to hunting, foraging, growing, cultivating, transporting, and preparing food. Our food choices also have a profound impact on health and disease. We start our exploration of food by looking at its most common constituent: water, a far more complex substance than is commonly understood. Consuming the right type of water is vital to detoxifying the bodys acidic waste products and is one of the most powerful health treatments available.
Chapter 5: Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Load
Carbohydrates are vital to the primary energy cycle in the biological world. But we did not evolve to consume the large quantities of refined sugars and starches that make up most of the modern diet. Sugar and simple starches, which are converted into sugar in the body almost immediately, produce spikes in insulin, which in turn create carbohydrate cravings. This process underlies much of the populations inability to control excess weight, accelerates the aging process, and increases the risk for heart disease. Sharply limiting these high-glycemic-load foods will break this vicious cycle.
Chapter 6: Fat and Protein
Fat is well known as a primary means of storing energy, both in the food we consume and in our bodys own fat cells. In an era of abundant calories, excessive energy storage in the form of fat significantly accelerates atherosclerosis, glucose intolerance, and other degenerative processes. The modern Western diet has gone to an extreme imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, so most people need to sharply reduce omega-6 fats, which encourage inflammatory processes, and increase omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to dramatically reduce heart disease. Protein is another class of caloric nutrient that we cannot live withoutit is natures primary building block for our tissues and organs. The right types and balance of protein are the mainstay of a healthy diet low in carbohydrates and that sharply restricts bad fats.
Chapter 7: You Are What You Digest
Nutrition is one of the most powerful lifestyle influences on your health. Metabolic processes underlie the paths to the primary degenerative diseases. By understanding and assessing your personal metabolic pathways, you can reprogram these processes away from disease and toward long-term vitality. Many digestive problems, such as leaky gut syndrome, will contribute to long-term degenerative disease if not diagnosed and corrected. Nutrition starts with what you eat, but the digestive process is also critical, because nutrients are beneficial only if they reach your cells.
Chapter 8: Change Your Weight for Life in One Day
You can significantly reduce your risk of all degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, by reaching your optimal weight. Youll have more energy and feel better. Youll look better tooperhaps the main reason losing weight has become a national preoccupation. Closely related to losing weight is caloric restriction, the only proven method of extending life and slowing down aging. We provide a program that you can adopt quickly while reaching your ideal weight gradually. No radical changes in diet are required. You only need to make a single change to a healthy pattern of eating.
Chapter 9: The Problem with Sugar (and Insulin)
Per capita consumption of sugar and sugary sweeteners in the United States now exceeds 150 pounds per year. When sugar or high glycemic foods are eaten, blood levels of insulin rise dramatically. While insulin is necessary to health, elevated levels are highly toxic. Over time, excessive sugar consumption and high insulin levels will often lead to metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, a major risk factor for heart disease now found in one-third of the adult population. Another result is one adult in twelve now has type 2 diabetes. There are simple ways to find out if you have, or are at risk of having, these conditions, and there are dietary and nutritional strategies for effectively controlling them.
Chapter 10: Rays Personal Program
My fathers premature death at the age of 58 from heart disease and my own diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at the age of 35 motivated my early health concerns. The conventional medical advice made my diabetes worse and did little to alleviate my concern about a genetic predisposition to heart disease. Nevertheless, I have been able to overcome these challenges by aggressively applying the right ideas. More recently, I have become aware of a more insidious problem: as a biological human, I am potentially subject to aging processes. I am now engaged in the same sort of multifaceted warfare against this pervasive challenge. Although I am now a chronological 56, my goal is to be no more than a biological 40 by the time we have the means to completely arrest and reverse aging in about 20 years. So far, so good.
Chapter 11: The Promise of Genomics
Your genes provide you with a powerful set of tendencies, but you need to remember that these are predispositions only. The lifestyle choices you make control how these tendencies will ultimately manifest themselves, but to make the right lifestyle choices, you need to know what genes you carry. Personal genomics technology, which became commercially available in 2002, allows you to do so. Yes, it can be unsettling to find you have a predisposition for certain diseases, but the good news is that ultimately we will have the tools to directly block killer genes as well as creating and inserting new healthy genes directly into your cells. For now, our priority is to modify the expression of these genes by controlling how our metabolic pathways affect our proteins, enzymes, and hormones. Ignorance is not bliss, and understanding your own genetic code represents vital intelligence in the battle for a long and healthy life.
Chapter 12: InflammationThe Latest Smoking Gun
When our normal state of balance is disrupted by injury or a pathogenic invader, our bodies respond with a complex cascade of reactions to restore balance. This reaction, which often manifests itself as inflammation, is critical to our survival. But in addition to acute inflammation, which is easily noticed, there is another, less obvious type of inflammation that smolders in the body for decades. The overactivity of this silent inflammatory response can lead to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers disease, irritable bowel syndrome, several types of cancer, and other conditions. But we now have a new tool for measuring your level of silent inflammationhs-CRPand effective ways of decreasing inflammation.
Chapter 13: MethylationCritically Important to Your Health
Defective methylation processes can interfere with removal of toxins and lead to genetic damage. One major methylation process is involved in converting the dietary amino acid methionine into homocysteine, a toxic by-product. Many people have genetic defects that cause levels of this toxic metabolite to rise. This can accelerate numerous disease processes and aging. However, by appropriate nutritional supplementation you can optimize methylation reactions in the body to avoid these diseases and optimize health.
Chapter 14: Cleaning Up the Mess: Toxins and Detoxification
Every system in your body has its own method of detoxification, with the liver doing the lions share of the job. Over time, the onslaught of toxic materialchemicals, pollution of various kinds, pesticides, gasoline fumes, heavy metals, plastics, and drugs, just to name a fewand the inadequacies in your bodys ability to deal effectively with the massive cleanup task takes its toll. Avoidance of toxins and optimizing the detoxification process is crucial to maintaining health and slowing down the aging process.
Chapter 15: The Real Cause of Heart Disease and How to Prevent It
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. About 68 million Americans have heart disease, and more than a million suffer heart attacks each year, 40 percent of them fatal. But there has been a recent revolution in our understanding of the underlying process. The primary cause of heart attacks is not the large, hard, calcified plaque that has been the focus of medical treatments such as angioplasty and bypass surgery. Its the less obstructing but more volatile and inflammatory soft plaque. The good news is that soft plaque can be dealt with more effectively than hard plaque. There is an intricate sequence of events that leads up to heart attacks and you can effectively attack the risk factors associated with each step along the way.
Chapter 16: The Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer
We dont catch cancer; our bodies create it. While age-adjusted death rates for heart disease have fallen almost 60 percent in the past 50 years, the percentage of Americans dying from cancer has barely changed since 1950. You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer with the right diet, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle choices. Routine screening tests for cancer detection require that the patient already have a moderately large tumor before they can detect it. Well tell you about a novel test that can identify cancer when only a few cancer cells are found in the body.
Chapter 17: Terrys Personal Program
It is said that among the things you can do to enjoy a long and healthy life, it is best to start by picking your parents wisely. I am fortunate, on many levels, that both of my parents are alive and well at 80 years of age. They are physically and mentally active and enjoy a rich and varied social and cultural life. So it would appear that I started life with a leg up on longevity, thanks to their genes. Things arent always so straightforward in medicine, however. My genomic testing revealed that I harbor several harmful genetic tendencies. Although I have enjoyed excellent health so far, I am now at the stage of my life where ones genetic predispositions have a way of manifesting themselves as full-blown diseases. But with the genetic information I now possess, I have been able to take specific measures to maintain my health, using the best of the Bridge One therapies. I am very optimistic about what the future Bridge Two and Bridge Three therapies will be able to do for both myself and the rest of humankind.
Chapter 18: Your Brain: The Power of Thinking . . . and of Ideas
We now know that the brain is continuously rebuilding and reorganizing itself. While its true that we are what we eat (and digest), it is also the case that we are what we think. The brain represents more than half of our biological complexity. The most important way to keep the brain healthy is to keep it busy. Incidentally, one important topic that we can keep it busy thinking about is the health of our bodies and brains. There are also nutritional steps we can take to provide the metabolic foundation for cognitive health. The most important ally we have in maintaining our health is the power of ideas. Our primary adversary is ignorance. It is our view that the right ideas can overcome any problem and conquer any challenge.
Chapter 19: Hormones of Aging, Hormones of Youth
A decrease in hormone levels has long been associated with aging. The hormones most commonly associated with youthfulness gradually diminish over time, and some fall off rapidly, such as during menopause. Other hormones decline only slightly or even tend to increase with age. Aging results from a combination of these effects: the decrease in the hormones of youth and the relative increase (or slower decrease) in the hormones of aging. Well discuss methods to maintain a healthy balance of hormones as you age.
Chapter 20: Other Hormones of Youth: Sex Hormones
The sex hormonesestrogen, testosterone, and progesteronehave powerful youth-promoting effects. But theres a lot of controversy over the merits and dangers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Most of the negative results coming from recent studies have involved chemically altered hormones. By utilizing bio-identical hormones, which are the same hormones as are found naturally in the body, research suggests you can still receive the benefits of HRT without the risk. Well discuss a program of testing for hormone imbalances and methods of remediation with bio-identical hormones as well as herbal remedies and other supplements that will help you maintain a youthful balance of hormones throughout life.
Chapter 21: Aggressive Supplementation
Recent studies have proven that almost everyone requires one or more vitamins far in excess of FDA-suggested RDA amounts to avoid illness. An optimal supplement program goes beyond just taking vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By utilizing genomics testing to diagnose your individual metabolic requirements, you can restore healthy balances and maintain optimal health with a personalized program of aggressive supplementation.
Chapter 22: Keep Moving: The Power of Exercise
Primitive man and woman were not couch potatoes. In fact, they were more like marathon runners. The evidence is overwhelming that exercise enhances every one of your bodys systems and reduces the risk of virtually every degenerative disease. Exercise works synergistically with a healthy diet and other lifestyle choices to enhance your sense of well being and prevent disease. Aerobic, anaerobic, and stretching exercises are all important and have distinct benefits.
Chapter 23: Stress and Balance
The ability to confront danger is critical to our survival. But chronic activation of this mechanism can lead to increases in blood pressure and cholesterol, decreased blood flow to the liver and digestive organs, suppression of the immune system, and serious illnesses such as heart disease. Simply avoiding stress isnt the complete answer. We need a certain amount of challenge in our lives to avoid apathy and boredom. Our lives should be animated by the four Cs: challenge, commitment, curiosity, and creativity. We present 12 effective ways to manage stress and achieve balance.
FYI and discussion
It'll never happen
...and the best way to live to 90 is..
eat a low-fat, high fiber diet, eat in moderation, don't smoke, don't drink to excess, exercise regularly, AND..
get your self a father and grandfather who lived to be 90....
"I am (Jesus) the living bread that came down from heaven.
If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Here is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone without any hesitation. For those who are interested in attaining and maintaining good health in all its aspects, I would even go so far as to say this book is essential reading and a necessary resource to keep close at hand. If you even entertain the possibility of living forever, then this book is a must for you. The authors are, without a doubt, knowledgeable about the topics of which they write and provide literally hundreds of facts, proposals, insights, suggestions, and recommendations regarding everything from developments in medical nanotechnology and biotechnology to disease prevention, nutrition, food preparation, living a healthful lifestyle, and, in fact, more information than you will assimilate during a first reading.
The authors are well-known within their fields of expertise. Ray Kurzweil, a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and an inductee into the Inventors Hall of Fame, is one of the world's leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists and the author of three previous books on technology. Terry Grossman M.D., the founder and medical director of the Frontier Medical Institute in Denver, Colorado, a leading longevity clinic, is certified in anti-aging medicine and lectures internationally on matters related to longevity and anti-aging strategies. These two experts, one in technology and one in medical science, have joined together to write about how you can "live long enough to live forever."
While I endorse and highly recommend "Fantastic Voyage," the subtitle of the book presents a problem for me. The very idea of "living forever" is a proposition with which I am not entirely comfortable. I am philosophically oriented both by training and by disposition and I have to wrestle with this question: "Is living forever a suitable and desirable goal for any human being?" I believe this is fundamentally an ethical question and at this moment I cannot answer it, at least for myself, because I haven't had time to consider it in depth and in all its possible ramifications. To be frank, I haven't really given any thought to it until reading this book. So now, thanks to the authors, I'll have to explore this problem. But I think it's an important issue to raise and debate, particularly considering that, while we may be able to prolong life indefinitely in a physical sense, there are psychological, sociological, and political factors which must also be considered.
Once we put this matter aside for further thought and discussion, the authors do indeed take us on a fantastic voyage into the world of cutting-edge technology, a place where modern biology, information science, and what is called "nanotechnology" intersect and impact each other. Their discussion of "nanobots" is especially interesting. These are robots, the size of blood cells, built from molecules placed in our bodies and bloodstream to enhance every aspect of our lives. Nanobots, suggest the authors, will even be used for surgery. For example, teams "of millions of nanobots will be able to restructure bones and muscles, destroy unwanted growths such as tumors on a cell-by-cell basis, and clear arteries while restructuring them out of healthy tissue." This especially caught my attention, as one who suffered a heart attack a couple of years ago and had to undergo an emergency angioplasty. If a nanobot could continually keep my arteries clear, I'd be more than happy to let it do so!
But correcting a medical problem after the damage has been done is not the major thrust of this book. I would guess that more than ninety-five percent of "Fantastic Voyage" is devoted to preventing disease, promoting good health, and dealing with the aging process. (I should warn the reader that there is some discussion of chemistry involved here, but I found that one can skip through the various chemical formulas discussed and not miss anything vital to understanding the point being made.) In line with the major thrusts of the book, the authors present "Three Bridges" which are "emerging transformations in technology that will usher in powerful new tools to expand your health and human powers."
The First Bridge is "Ray & Terry's Longevity Program" which includes "present-day therapies and guidance that will enable you to remain healthy long enough to take full advantage of the construction of the Second Bridge." The reader will learn about carbohydrates and the glycemic load, the importance of fat and protein, why the modern diet is out of balance, how to eat nutritionally, why sugar is the "white Satan," the real cause of heart disease and how to prevent it, and much, much more. The Second Bridge is the "Biotechnology Revolution" where "we learn the genetic and protein codes of our biology" and "the means of turning off disease and aging while we turn on our full human potential." The reader will learn about gene expression, somatic gene therapy, recombinant technology, therapeutic cloning, and how human aging can be reversed. The Third Bridge is the "Nanotechnology-Artificial Intelligence Revolution" which will "enable us to rebuild our bodies and brains at the molecular level." The reader will learn about programmable blood, nanopower, nanosurgery, "intelligent" cells, and a lot more.
I could go on and on; I've only scratched the surface of the information provided in this interesting and valuable book. Kurzweil and Grossman are to be commended for making this important information available to the public, written in an easy and understandable style, with recommendations that the reader can implement immediately. At the end of the book they provide a page of resources and contact information and the standard index to topics. More importantly, however, they provide over sixty pages of notes, references, and citations so the reader can consult the primary sources for more detail. I wish more authors would do that.
This is a serious book to be read once and then consulted continuously for its suggestions and recommendations. But, now, the real question: Do I really want to live forever? Well, let me think about that for a few years!
Well yes, that's what they're working on. It's "just" an engineering problem.
Retire at 65, live another 200 years until you get run over by a car. Bottom line: corporate America is bankrupt after the payout of record retirement benefits. If this guy is right sell your GM stock. Actually maybe you should sell it even if he's wrong.
I'm with you.
Of Possible Interest Ping!
"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon." -Susan Ertz
"In a related story, inventor Raymond Kurzweil was electrocuted in his lab yesterday..."
Yes it is. But the engineer is God and men talking about doing this today is about on a par with King Khufu working on a Moon shot instead of the Great Pyramid....