The Fountain of Youth: Cultural, Scientific, and Ethical Perspectives on a Biomedical Goal

Hardcover | May 6, 2004

EditorStephen G. Post, Robert H. Binstock

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A wide variety of ambitions and measures to slow, stop, and reverse phenomena associated with aging have been part of human culture since early civilization. From alchemy to cell injections to dietary supplements, the list of techniques aimed at altering the processes of aging continues toexpand. Charlatans, quacks, and entrpreneurs proffering anti-aging products and practices have always exploited uniformed customers and instilled doubt and apprehension toward practices intended to extend life. Recently, however, the pursuit of longevity has developed into a respectable scientificactivity. Many biologists are substantially funded by the government and the private sector to conduct research that they believe will lead to effective anti-aging interventions. While many embrace this quest for "prolongevity"--extended youth and long life--others fear its consequences. If effective anti-aging interventions were achieved, they would likely bring about profound alterations in the experiences of individual and collective life. What if aging could bedecelerated to the extent that both average life expectancy and maximum life span would increase by forty percent? What if all humans could live to be centenarians, free of the chronic diseases and disabilities now commonly associated with old age? What if modern scientists could find the modernequivalent to the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon sought? This book addresses these questions by exploring the ramifications of possible anti-aging interventions on both individual and collective life. Through a series of essays, it examines the biomedical goal of prolongevity from cultural, scientific, religious, and ethical perspectives, offering asweeping view into the future of aging.

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A wide variety of ambitions and measures to slow, stop, and reverse phenomena associated with aging have been part of human culture since early civilization. From alchemy to cell injections to dietary supplements, the list of techniques aimed at altering the processes of aging continues toexpand. Charlatans, quacks, and entrpreneurs ...

Stephen G. Post and Robert H. Binstock are both at School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 6.5 × 9.29 × 1.3 inPublished:May 6, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195170083

ISBN - 13:9780195170085

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionI. THE PERENNIAL QUESTS FOR EXTENDED AND ETERNAL LIFERobert H. Binstock: One: The Search for Prolongevity: A Contentious PursuitMark B. Adams: Two: The Quest for Immortality: Visions and Presentiments in Science and LiteratureStephen G. Post: Three: Decelerated Aging: Should I Drink From a Fountain of Youth?Neil Gillman: Four: A Jewish Theology of Death and the AfterlifeCarol G. Zaleski: Five: In Defense of ImmortalityII. THE SCIENCE OF PROLONGEVITYS. Jay Olshansky and Bruce A. Carnes: Six: In Search of the Holy Grail of SenescenceMichael Rose: Seven: The Metabiology of Life ExtensionRobert Arking: Eight: Extending Human Longevity: A Biological ProbabilityGemma Casadesus, George Perry, James A. Joseph, and Mark A. Smith: Nine: Eat Less, Eat Better, and Live Longer: Does it Work and Is It Worth It? The Role of Diet in AgingRichard A. Miller: Ten: Extending Life: Scientific Prospects and Political ObstaclesAubrey D.N.J. de Grey: Eleven: An Engineer's Approach To Developing Real Anti-Aging MedicineIII. ETHICAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES ON RADICAL LIFE EXTENSIONArthur L. Caplan: Twelve: An Unnatural Process: Why It Is Not Inherently Wrong to Seek a Cure For AgingChristne Overall: Thirteen: Longevity, Identity, and Moral Character: A Feminist ApproachLeon R. Kass: Fourteen: L'Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?Eric T. Juengst: Fifteen: Anti-Aging Research and the Limits of MedicineAudrey R. Chapman: Sixteen: The Social and Justice Implications of Extending the Human Life SpanRobert H. Binstock: Seventeen: The "Prolonged Old," the "Long-Lived Society," and the Politics of AgeDiogenes Allen: Epilogue: Extended Life, Eternal Life: A Christian PerspectiveRoselle S. Ponsaran: Annotated BibliographyCarol A. Donley: Primary Literary Sources on ProlongevityIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The editors tactfully and unobtrusively present scholarly apparatus and the language is sophisticated but clear, opening the views of scientists, religious thinkers, bioethicists, historians and social scientists to a broad range of readers." --Science and Theology News