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

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

by Stephen Garrard Post
     
 

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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 to expand. Charlatans, quacks, and entrpreneurs proffering anti-aging products and… See more details below

Overview

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 to expand. 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 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-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 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-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 a sweeping view into the future of aging.

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Editorial Reviews

Reviewer: Mary Jeanne Clark, BSN, MA (Condell Medical Center)
Description: This is a compilation of essays by the foremost academicians in the field of aging research in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The topics are well defined and focused and appropriately separated into two sections: scientific research and the social/ethical ramifications that such research engenders.
Purpose: The editors sought to demonstrate the interdisciplinary span of opinion that exist in the field of aging and stimulate the discussion about what the future might hold for elders individually and for society as a whole. The field of aging research is broad and touches on many fields of inquiry. The book demonstrates that aging has become an unusually broad field of study demanding the erudition of many disciplines to sort out the impact and meaning.
Audience: Highly academic, the book offers scientific and academic insight to students who may be enticed to make a career following a particular research focus. Or it may produce that particular bit of insight a practitioner needs to be successful in practice. The essayists are the leading researchers and philosophers in the aging field.
Features: The book covers in-depth the shorter articles that we read in the professional journals and even in the popular press. The topics of anti-aging, longer life expectancy, and an extended lifespan and ethical considerations are only defined, discussed, and dissected so vigorously in the myriads of scientific and philosophical papers hidden so well in the journals of academia. This book brings all of the issues together. In a logical progression from a historical perspective, to modern science and contemporary philosophy, readers can get a taste of the entire field of study.
Assessment: If you are interested in the subject of aging this book will keep your interest. If you can read through the academic style and take what information and thought you need from the topics discussed you will not be disappointed. The book is meant for those who care about the topic. It is the kind of book that may be an inspiration to greater work or study; or just a fascinating read; or a true bore if the writing style is not your favorite.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198038047
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
04/08/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

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