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  • Survey Says Public Now Wants A Pill That Cures One-Hundred Diseases

    May 28, 2014: by Bill Sardi

    Over a decade ago the public chose biodegradable plastic, a driverless car and a fully automated home over an anti-aging pill as the most desired inventions.  [MIT survey 1997] Today we have driverless cars, semi-automated homes, smart eyeglasses, and humanity is just a step shy of having Dick Tracy wrist radios.  So what technologies does the public now want technology to develop?

    Philips UK [], largely known as a leader in lighting but promotes itself as an innovation company, conducted a survey of 1000 adults in Britain and reports that two-thirds of Britons hope for a cure-all pill over other possible inventions technology can deliver over the next 100 years.  [Daily Mail UK May 27, 2014]

    Another survey conducted a few years back indicated Britons might be interested in an anti-aging pill, but more so if someone else paid for it.

    The development of such a pill might not be that far off, in fact, it might already be available.  But modern medicine is not about to upset the apple cart and take money out of its own hands.  Currently modern pharmacology develops measures of diseases (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol) and then develops a different drug for each and every disease.  What has resulted is a problem called polypharmacy where an excessive number of drugs are taken, some to counter the side effects of the others.  [American Journal Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Dec 2007] In essence, every disease is treated as if it is induced by a synthetic drug deficiency.

    However, it is now recognized that the many chronic diseases of aging are linked by networks of genes triggered by a few key genes (NF-kappaB, FOXO, p53) that control most of the others.  [IEEE/ACM transactions on computational biology and bioinformatics March-April 2013]  So it is possible that a single molecule or a multi-molecule medicine could be developed to address the genes involved in aging.

    In 2008 anti-aging researchers set out to measure the number of genes in laboratory mice activated by a life-prolonging calorie restricted diet (which about doubles their lifespan) compared to resveratrol, the red wine molecule posed as an anti-aging by virtue of its ability to molecular mimic a limited calorie diet.  Out of about 25,000 genes in the mouse genome (library of genes), only 831(3.3%) are significantly are activated by a calorie restricted diet over the lifetime of the animal.  So it’s possible a pill could be developed to target that small number of genes.

    What researchers discovered was that a short-term (12-week) calorie restricted diet activated 198 genes, resveratrol 225 genes and a matrix of molecules that included resveratrol with other natural molecules activated 1711 genes (82% of the 831 longevity genes activated by life-long calorie restriction were switched in the same direction {on or off} as a calorie restricted diet by this matrix).  In other words, what would take a lifetime to accomplish with a limited calorie diet was almost duplicated in 12 weeks by a commercially available nutraceutical (Longevinex®).  [Experimental Gerontology Sept 2008]

    But that laboratory study has gone ignored and modern medicine has been able to confuse the masses over the promise of these natural molecules time and again.  If the public ever does adopt an anti-aging pill it will have to do so without the blessings of pharmacologists and clinicians.  There are just too many jobs that would be lost should the masses adopt such a pill.  Don’t expect an anti-aging pill to catch on in your lifetime or the next.  – ©2014 Bill Sardi,

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