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Medicine: Life Extenders

2 minute read

Three pundits last week gave three different prescriptions for lengthening human life by seven to ten years. Two of the prescriptions were explicit.

¶ Said Nutritionist Henry Clapp Sherman of Columbia University to the New York Academy of Medicine: ”Simple redistribution of the present expenditures for food, and this without omitting any article of food to which any consumer is accustomed, but merely by easy shifting of relative proportions, can undoubtedly contribute greatly to the advancement of the standard of health and vitality in the coming years” Eaters for longevity should take all the milk, green and yellow vegetables and fruits which they can stomach.

¶ Said Surgeon General Thomas Parran Jr. in Washington, apropos of nothing: “I feel confident another ten years could be added to the life expectancy, entirely aside from the possibility of discovering an effective preventive for cancer or major heart disease”—if doctors could offer and people would utilize all the medical knowledge now available.

¶ Said Chemist James Kendall of Edinburgh University, onetime professor at Columbia and New York Universities, in Manhattan on his way to a convention of the American Chemical Society next week: “Fantastic as this development may sound, I believe that with the next ten or 15 years, drinking of heavy water (TIME, March 25, 1935) by those who have passed 60, as a means of prolonging the ‘reward years of life,’ will be commonplace. . . .

They will be able to add ten years or more to their lives. . . . Heavy water would behave in the system like ordinary water a few degrees lower in temperature. It would reduce and slow functional processes, thus reducing bodily wear and tear.

A person drinking heavy water would be living only half as fast as a person drinking ordinary water. Who wants to live fast at 60?”

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