The Fountain of Youth
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The Fountain of Youth : Cultural, scientific and ethical perspectives on a biomedical goal

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A wide variety of ambitions and measures to slow, stop, and reverse phenomena associated with ageing 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 ageing continues to expand. Charlatans, quacks and entrepreneurs proffering anti-ageing 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 scientific activity. Many biologists are substantially funded by the government and the private sector to conduct research that they believe will lead to effective anti-ageing interventions. While many embrace this quest for "prolongevity" - extended youth and long life - others fear its consequences. If effective anti-ageing interventions were achieved, they would likely bring about profound alterations in the experiences of individual and collective life. What if ageing could be decelerated 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 modern equivalent to the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon sought? This book addresses these questions by exploring the ramifications of possible anti-ageing 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 a sweeping view into the future of ageing.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 487 pages
  • 157.5 x 236.2 x 40.6mm | 839.16g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • New.
  • numerous line drawings and tables
  • 0195170083
  • 9780195170085
  • 2,043,203

Review quote

"This timely book, consisting of 17 chapters, a highly commendable annotated bibliography, and a review of selected primary articles, was assembled to review the history of the quest for extended and eternal life, the contemporary science of prolongevity, ethical and social perspectives on radical life extension, and the legitimacy of the antiaging movement . . . I would highly recommend this book as a most readable, provocative, and informative primer for all serious observers of biogerontology (including geriatricians) as they examine the progressive aging of the world's population - a trend that is certain to pose a central challenge to 21st-century civilization." --William R. Hazzard, M.D., in The New England Journal of Medicine"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 & Theology News "This timely book, consisting of 17 chapters, a highly commendable annotated bibliography, and a review of selected primary articles, was assembled to review the history of the quest for extended and eternal life, the contemporary science of prolongevity, ethical and social perspectives on radical life extension, and the legitimacy of the antiaging movement . . . I would highly recommend this book as a most readable, provocative, and informative primer for all serious observers of biogerontology (including geriatricians) as they examine the progressive aging of the world's population - a trend that is certain to pose a central challenge to 21st-century civilization." --William R. Hazzard, M.D., in The New England Journal of Medicine"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 & Theology News "This timely book, consisting of 17 chapters, a highly commendable annotated bibliography, and a review of selected primary articles, was assembled to review the history of the quest for extended and eternal life, the contemporary science of prolongevity, ethical and social perspectives on radical life extension, and the legitimacy of the antiaging movement . . . I would highly recommend this book as a most readable, provocative, and informative primer for all serious observers of biogerontology (including geriatricians) as they examine the progressive aging of the world's population - a trend that is certain to pose a central challenge to 21st-century civilization." --William R. Hazzard, M.D., in The New England Journal of Medicine "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 & Theology News "This timely book, consisting of 17 chapters, a highly commendable annotated bibliography, and a review of selected primary articles, was assembled to review the history of the quest for extended and eternal life, the contemporary science of prolongevity, ethical and social perspectives on radical life extension, and the legitimacy of the antiaging movement . . . I would highly recommend this book as a most readable, provocative, and informative primer for all serious observers of biogerontology (including geriatricians) as they examine the progressive aging of the world's population - a trend that is certain to pose a central challenge to 21st-century civilization." --William R. Hazzard, M.D., in The New England Journal of Medicine "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 & Theology News "This timely book, consisting of 17 chapters, a highly commendable annotated bibliography, and a review of selected primary articles, was assembled to review the history of the quest for extended and eternal life, the contemporary science of prolongevity, ethical and social perspectives on radicallife extension, and the legitimacy of the antiaging movement . . . I would highly recommend this book as a most readable, provocative, and informative primer for all serious observers of biogerontology (including geriatricians) as they examine the progressive aging of the world's population - atrend that is certain to pose a central challenge to 21st-century civilization." --William R. Hazzard, M.D., in The New England Journal of Medicine"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 & Theology Newsshow more

Table of contents

Introduction ; PART I: THE PERENNIAL QUESTS FOR EXTENDED AND ETERNAL LIFE ; 1. The search for prolongevity: a continuous pursuit ; 2. The quest for immortality: visions and presentiments in science and literature ; 3. Decelerated ageing: should I drink from a Fountain of Youth? ; 4. A Jewish theology of death and the afterlife ; 5. In defence of immortality ; PART II: THE SCIENCE OF PROLONGEVITY ; 6. In search of the Holy Grail of senescence ; 7. The metabiology of life extension ; 8. Extending human longevity: a biological probability ; 9. Eat less, eat better, and live longer: does it work and is it worth it?: the role of diet in ageing and disease ; 10. Extending life: scientific prospects and political obstacles ; 11. An engineer's approach to developing real anti-ageing medicine ; PART III: ETHICAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES ON RADICAL LIFE EXTENSION ; 12. An unnatural process: why it is not inherently wrong to seek a cure for ageing ; 13. Longevity, identity and moral character: a feminist approach ; 14. L'Chaim and its limits: why not immortality? ; 15. Anti-ageing research and the limits of medicine ; 16. The social and justice implications of extending the human life span ; 17. The prolonged old, the long-lived society and the politics of age ; Epilogue: extended life, eternal life: a Christian perspectiveshow more

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