Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Uncovers Truths Behind Longevity, Anti-Aging Claims

‘Chasing Life,’ Premiering April 14 in Conjunction with Gupta’s First Book, Explores Pursuit to Live Longer

Advocates for stem cell therapy, human growth hormone therapy and dietary supplements all claim those efforts help people live longer, healthier lives; yet, there’s only one scientifically proven method to prolonging life. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reveals it and tells what works and what does not in a surprising new documentary CNN: Special Investigations Unit – Chasing Life, premiering on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (ET).

The special is based on Gupta’s first book, Chasing Life, which will be released on Monday, April 9.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the endless quest for immortality and extending youthfulness,” Gupta says. “This book and special allow me to shed light on some of the myths behind claims of long life and report on some of the hot spots where reaching 100 is more common than the rest of the world.”

Scientists have known for more than 70 years that calorie-restriction diets show remarkable results in the laboratory for extending life. For example, rats following this regimen live 30 percent longer. Yet, these strict, near-starvation diets have not caught on. Gupta sits down for a 639-calorie meal with a couple who swears by the health benefits and possibilities of fighting off degenerative diseases that a calorie-restriction diet provides.

Stem cell research in the United States remains a hotly debated political issue and is illegal in most countries, but claims of body rejuvenation and mind reanimation are compelling to those wishing to find a virtual fountain of youth. Gupta reveals the facts behind these claims by traveling to Russia to get a rare glimpse inside a Moscow clinic that offers these controversial – and possibly dangerous – stem cell treatments and introduces one doctor who swears by them. Alexander Tepliashin, who runs the clinic, shows Gupta how it operates and explains why millions of dollars could be made in offering stem cells to the public.

Dr. Andrew Weil, an expert on alternative forms of medicine and avid user of dietary supplements, offers his viewpoints on the ones he feels are most beneficial. However, even Weil admits that he has second thoughts about which supplements and how many to take. To date, an estimated 15 to 40 percent of Americans take supplements as a part of their daily regimen, even though there is no concrete evidence that they work any better than eating a healthy diet.

Gupta also investigates whether the hype behind human growth hormones may be putting users at a higher risk for complications such as joint pain or, worse, cancer.

In addition to the special, an online report (www.CNN.com/chasinglife) features user-generated iReports and photo galleries, a longevity health quiz, a sample menu and recipe for a calorie-restriction diet, and a special drawing for viewers to win free copies of Gupta’s book, Chasing Life. Viewers will also have an opportunity to watch online as Gupta ages 10 years each night during the week of April 9.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery, plays an integral role in the network’s medical coverage, which includes American Morning, the weekend show House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, contributes health news stories to CNN.com, writes a column for TIME magazine and is a contributor to CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; four Web sites, including CNN.com, the first major news and information Web site; CNN Pipeline, CNN.com’s premium live video news service; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and partnerships for four television networks and two Web sites.


Blogger Jeffrey Dach MD said...

Dr. Andrew Weil Says Human Growth Hormone is "Snake Oil"

You may have seen the June AARP magazine article by Dr. Andrew Weil, which gives the mistaken impression that there is only one medical publication which reports the beneficial effects of growth hormone on the physical parameters of aging, namely Rudman, NEJM 1990.

In reality there has been over 20 years of research with thousands of medical studies showing benefits from Growth Hormone therapy, and extremely high safety profile.

Growth Hormone is a patented FDA approved pharmaceutical with proven efficacy, and therefore Dr. Weil's "snake oil" label for growth hormone is hardly appropriate.

Benefits of (HGH) growth hormone include improved body composition, improved bone density, improved wound healing, improved cognitive function, and improved sense of well being.

Burn victims heal faster with growth hormone and have increased muscle protein synthesis. Patients with Crohn's disease and short bowel syndrome show improved nutritional status with HGH treatment. Cardiac cachexia patients gain weight, get well and leave the hospital. Hip fracture patients heal with fewer complications.

The AARP Dr. Andrew Weil "the Debunker" article fails to tell us that our hormone levels decline dramatically after age 50, and by the age of 60 most adults have Growth Hormone levels indistinguishable from those of hypopituitary patients with organic lesions in the pituitary gland.

For more info and references, see

Dr. Andrew Weil Says Human Growth Hormone is "Snake Oil"

Jeffrey Dach MD

5:10 PM  

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