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HEALING THE BODY WITH A SPA EXPERIENCE
by Dr. Dorin Sarafoleanu (from Bucharest, Romania
A Word from the Editor
Now that those baby-boomers are reaching the
'Used Car Syndrome'
The New Generation of Real Spas will start shortly implementing anti-aging procedures and treatments in addition of fitness, pampering, yoga, massages, mind & body lectures etc... etc...
Why don't you, as a spa director, research this new profit center field together with a local specialized doctor!
Q: What were the circumstances surrounding the discovery of Gerovital?
A: My scientific research started when I was 20. I was blessed to be able to work closely with my mentor. Dr. Daniel Danielopolu, who entrusted me to research "The Peripheric Circulation of Humans." For two years I worked with him almost every day, experimenting with human peripheric circulation. It was a good lesson for me: learning the meaning of patience while concentrating on achieving a particular goal, and learning to logically judge research results.
Q: How did you come to discover the regenerative and rejuvenating action of procaine on the aging process?
A: We are talking about two different things now. I found that procaine, and especially Gerovital H3 acted on the process of aging and age-associated diseases. Then, I started experimenting with a drug based on procaine, which would be more active than the common procaine solutions used as anesthetics.
Q: Was this a new discovery?
A: This was an invention _ it even brought me the title, inventor. It was a new technique which I'd formulated entirely on my own.
Q: When did you experiment with procaine for the first time?
A: In 1949. My initial research continued through 1953, when the publishing house of the Romanian Academy printed my monography, "Pro-caine _ Entrophic and Rejuvenating Factor."
Q: Was this the start of world success?
A: The discovery and the invention were first made known through newspapers and the radio. Beginning in 1956, the information traveled with me. I demonstrated to doctors and the elderly that you can be elderly without being "old" in the traditional sense of the word: senile, inactive and sick. The basic ingredient of Gerovital H3 became known in Switzerland and Germany in 1956. The gerontology experts were very interested, inviting me to the annual Therapeutic Congress. Then, through lectures and papers, the results on my research spread to 57 countries, which I visited several times.
In the last 25 years, I delivered my lectures in four foreign languages. Even if my use of a language, other than my own, was not perfectly grammatical, the audience wanted to hear the lectures in their language.
Q: Would you talk to us about procaine?
A: This basic drug was originally known as novocaine. Novocaine was used as a local, regional and rahidian anesthetic. At one time it was the most widely used anesthetic in dentistry and surgery. It was synthesized in 1905 by Einhorn, in Germany, to replace cocaine as an anesthetic, because of cocaine's addictive nature. Fifty years after its invention, novocaine passed into the world pharmacopoeia as "procaine."
Procaine proved to be nontoxic in therapeutic dosages and nonhabit forming. Intensively administered, it proved to be anti-inflammatory as well. The research of a great French scholar, a reputed surgeon and member of the Institute of France, as well as the author of "La Chirurgie Sans Douleurs", Rene Leriche, showed that procaine was a vaso-dilator as well, a balancer of the vegetative nervous system. But all the medical literature of that time held that procaine was not very active at the level of the central nervous system. In a study made of this drug, published in the U.S., Granbard said:
"At the beginning, from 1905 until 1930, procaine was used as an anesthetic only; until 1939, in ailments in which pain of circulatory malfunctions predominated. It was not until 1949 that the golden age of procaine arrived. "The author was treating burns of various degrees and sizes with procaine perfusions.
Q: How did you yourself, come to use this drug?
A: I first started doing research with this substance when working in Professor Danielopolu's clinic. He treated peripheric lesions of the arteries using Rene Leriche's method, which recommended that the injections be made in the artery_the positive results of this treatment were made public.
In 1949 I invented Gerovital H3, a drug based on procaine. Then cortisone appeared on the market, a hormonal substance active in a number of ailments, which like procaine, benefits neuralgia, neuritis, and evolutive chronic rheumatism. As a result, the interest shown by the doctors in procaine started to decline.
April 15, 1949 was a day which witnessed an experiment crowning 35 years of work. Many skeptics became convinced that Gerovital H3 does effect the aging process in its most difficult area of influence: the function and the biologic balance of the body _ the homeostasia in other words, the adaptability of the aging body to changes in physical and psychical conditions.
Q: How did it happen?
A: I was professor of the Medical Clinic at the Faculty of Medicine in Timisoara, which is in southwestern Romania. The winter caused renewed acuteness in some rheumatic patients, or sciatic neuralgia. I had seven years of experience in the treatment of arthritis, with procaine injected intra-arterially, with many remarkable results, including the avoidance of a leg amputation. For weeks the idea of trying procaine to treat arthritis, employing the technique used in arteritis, obsessed me. I kept asking the head of the clinic, Dr. Metz, to give me a patient with knee arthritis, because the femoral artery can be reached more easily than other arteries.
On April 15 I was presented with a young medical student who had knee arthritis. He had been in a crisis state for three weeks, his knee resting between pillows, as any movement caused him atrocious pain. The medication he had been given so far could only ease the pain a little, and only for short periods of time. I had to secure a few things: the acceptance of the patient, the substance (procaine), and the correct penetration of the artery.
The artery of a young person is very thin, and I was afraid I would not be able to get into it. But, I did. To my astonishment, the patient _ minutes after the infection was administered _ raised his leg and bent it to a right angle several times. The face of the patient (a third year medical student) was radiant with happiness.
How shall I describe my state? You can imagine it: emotion, satisfaction, question. That first experiment of April 25, 1949 opened the doors to the discovery. The shock and the interest were so high that I renounced my professorial career _ which I cherished so much because the students appreciated me _ to dedicate myself to the studying of this substance. I always loved to share what I knew. The scientific unknown was so challenging that my decision was made on the spot.
My first thought was to make this fact, which looked extraordinary to me, known to my former chief, who immediately wrote a recommendation to the Academy to record it. The difficulties also started immediately: the medical section rejected this extraordinary case, because it was my only one. They wanted five cases. When I brought them five, they wanted 50. After yet another recommendation, given this time by my new tutor in gerontology, Professor C.I. Parhon, containing a report on "a method to shorten hospitalization, of great social importance," in addition to more requests on my part, the descriptional study appeared in the Bulletin of the Academy, more than a year later. Then, together with Professor Parhon, I studied the possibility of influencing the aging process in a nursing home, which later became a research institute, the first institute of geriatrics in the world.
Between 1949 and 1951 we experimented with various treatments used in controlling the aging process: hormones, vitamins, tissue extracts. At the same time, we treated rheumatic patients with procaine _ my original idea. Then, we employed a new technique that I shall describe later.
Q: Did you notice anything else, besides the local effect?
A: To my great surprise, I saw, as a result of the procaine treatment, beside the local effect, a general good affect on the physical and psychical condition of the elderly who were undergoing treatment, as well. Specifically, a regenerative sign was exhibited by a 92 year-old lady, who started to grow, on her all-white head, a strip of black hair.
This was a sign which had been awaited by Gh. Marinescu, a scholar, who had applied a rejuvenating method originating in Austria, to patients. As a student in his clinic, years earlier, my duty was to look daily for this sign. Now, I had achieved this highly dramatic moment: obtaining a biologic fact which would have been highly important to and welcomed by Gh. Marinescu, himself.
Then I became sure of what I had only suspected: that procaine was no longer a hypothetical drug. Procaine had an effect on the whole body.
On January 22, 1952, the Romanian government approved the establishment of the National Institute of Geriatrics and Gerontology, of which I have been director from the very beginning. The scientific research started right away. I believe that the existing positive results helped establish this first institute of geriatrics in the world.
Employing procaine in the treatment of rheumatism, and researching the existing literature on the possible use of procaine in rheumatism, I found another interesting thing: if one misses the artery and reaches the vein with an alkaline solution, a necrosis might occur. I got scared. I called my friends, Ion and Elena Polovrageanu and told them I wanted a solution of acid procaine. I asked what kinds of acids could be used and they recommended some.
As I used this substance in the treatment of rheumatism, and as I read that rheumatism could also be cured with injections of benzoic acid, I asked them to combine procaine with benzoic acid. That is how Gerovital H3 was born.
Later it was shown that this particular solution, the benzoic acid with metabisulfite of potassium as a stabilizer, makes procaine last longer in the body, preventing immediate hydrolisation and decomposition in the ingredients: the para-aminobenzoic acid (as vitamin H') and the dietilamidetanol _ which is claimed to be a precursory vitamin of coline and acetilcoline.
Considering that procaine is an active substance, and that the other two substances that hydrolize are also active, it appeared to follow that the longer they stayed in the body, the greater the effect. This assumption proved to be correct.
Based on research made on micro-organisms, where I could prove that procaine stimulates their growth in vitro, I asserted from the beginning that it had a vitaminic-type of action.
I had already been proven that with microorganism, the stimulation of their growth could be obtained by replacing the para-aminobenzoic acid (APAB) with procaine. I was lucky to be able to ask the discoverer of APAB (vitamin H') Professor Robert Kuhn, who had won a Nobel prize for this discovery, and whom I met at the Max Plank Institute in Heidelberg, if I could state that procaine had an action of the vitaminic type. His answer was that it was "highly possible."
In 1956, I indicated that treatment should be done by intra-muscular injections: slowly injecting a solution of 2% procaine in 5cc vials, with an acidity ranging from 3 to 4. The secret of the formula was kept by me and Elena Polovrageanu for eight years. The product was not licensed, but received a name and a trademark: Gerovital H3. Before its industrial preparation, the drug was made at the Medical-Pharmaceutic Institute, then at the Institute of Geriatrics by Elena Polovrageanu.
In the Gerovital H3, the H3 stands for a symbol of its vitamin-type action. The experiments at the Institute started on May5, 1951. The drug went into industrial production in 1959, using the research from the Institute of Geriatrics, specially founded for the treatment of aging over long periods of time. The patients residing at the Institute, for the remainder of their lives, age 60 plus, benefited from daily medical check-ups. Along with these patients, outpatients were also monitored for the purpose of this study. The outpatient clinic of the Institute was under pressure from scores of patients who demanded consultation, drugs and treatment. At about the same time, the drug was sent abroad for special cases. Before the Ministry of Health passed it, the drug was tested on 7,600 people, of whom 800 were on a preventative course of treatment. All this time the treatment was optional.
One of the people receiving experimental treatment was Mr. Bremme of Paris, who is now 93 and confirms that he is in a perfect state of health: Louis Nagel, an editor, and many others. I then made Gerovital H3 in pill form, a Gerovital cream for aging skin, and shampoo.
Q: Thank you for this briefing on the history of Gerovital H3. Could you
now tell us something about the mechanisms of the action of Gerovital on various systems, tissues, the metabolism, etc ?
A: Due to its vitaminic-type of action, the drug I invented was named Gerovital H3, with the para-aminobenzoic acid as vitamin H'. The action of procaine as a vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histaminic had already been known. The medical literature mentioned that procaine acts a little upon the central nervous system. Together with Professor C.I. Parhon, I proved the action of procaine on the central nervous system, and as a result, on the activity of the whole body, including the psychic functions.
The research on the action of procaine at the cellular level shows that procaine positively influences both the cellular metabolism and the balance of the cellular membrane. It improves the absorptive process of the potassium ion; helps breathing; influences the balance of carbon hydrates; the balance of nitrogen becomes positive , correcting disproteinemia. The action at the level of the cellular metabolism is anabolic _ it acts on the endocrine systems, balancing the function of the thyroid gland and the sexual function. It also acts on the hypothalamus-hypophise-superrenal axis, positively influencing the neuro-endocrine system.
During the longitudinal studies made at the clinic of the National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics for 25 years, it was noted that in 1953 I had heralded the Gerovital H3 therapy as positively influencing both the functions of the body and certain aging diseases: degenerative rheumatism, cerebral and peripheric arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, arthritis, gastric ulcers, asthma, Parkinson's disease, neuralgia, neuritis, post-hemiplegic disturbances, skin diseases afflicting young and old, alopecia, the prevention of hair whiteness, eczema, psoriasis, scleroderma, vitiligo.
Also influenced are a series of ailments affecting children and young people: post-encephalitic disturbances with children, mental retardation, arrested growth or intellectual development. With adults, improvement was obtained with Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia, multiple sclerosis. The treatment slows down the aging process and helps the regeneration process.
The in-depth study of the body's functions and the aging process, as well as records which were maintained for 25 years on a number of people, show that the Gerovital patients regain their desire to live and their optimism, suffer less from depression strongly improve their memories, increase their physical and intellectual capacities.
Improvements _ to a certain degree_can be noted in their hearing and smelling. Brittleness (in the bones) specific to the elderly is reduced. The skin's elasticity and appearance improves, the hair starts to grow again, there is a tendency to repigmentation _ fewer liver spots appear on the hands and face, and muscular strength and mobility of the joints increases. The patients' weight and arterial tension stabilize, and wounds, burns and fractures heal rapidly.
I have already mentioned the importance of the action of procaine on the central nervous system, which I confirmed together with Professor C.I. Parhon and Dr. Al. Vrabiescu, and then with other colleagues of mine, by the conditioned reflex method. We were the first to use this method comparatively on young and old, a fact confirmed by German authors, who stated that Romanian scholars were the first to show the action at the level of psychic functions.
Of our experimental stages I would like to mention the research done on 1,800 rats, half treated, half not. Some of them, showing lesions or deficiencies, were sacrificed after several months. Others developed deficiencies much later _ the animals under treatment lived 20% longer than those that were not. These are facts, proving that the drug acts to prevent the process of aging, or to delay it.
Q: Does Gerovital limit its results to the prevention of the aging process?
A: It also works on a series of diseases whose frequency increases with age: rheumatism, arthrosis, and circulatory problems, including lesions which induce a lack of circulation. Gerovital's anti-thrombotic action recommends it in cerebral and vascular accidents.
Q: Have others experimented with your drug, too?
A: It is interesting to note that Teiter, a professor of pharmacology, working with it on isolated organs, discovered that it can prolong muscle contraction by 20%. Aslan and Yan showed an increase of 20% in regeneration ability with tissue cultures. We noted a 22.7% increase in the life span of Drossophila melanogaster. Gerovital H3 prolonged the life of post-miotic cells by 17% in cultures of monkey kidneys, while delaying their aging process. This represents only a small part of the data collected regarding the action of procaine on aging, but it does help to demonstrate the large range of its application.
Q: As with any drug, should we be aware of Gerovital's side effects?
A: Because of its vitaminic-type action, Gerovital H3 has no side effects.
Q: Can we talk then about allergies and adverse reactions connected with taking this drug?
A: We have treated hundreds of thousands of patients with Gerovital H3 and never encountered any serious adverse reactions. In long-term treatment (from 60 on treatment is long-term) there were no side effects whatsoever. Those who experimented after us said there were almost no side effects. A slight dizziness may occur, which simply means the dosage has to be reduced. To clarify: An allergy to procaine could prevent treatment. But, there are fewer cases of allergic reaction to Gerovital H3 than to procaine. According to our statistics, one person in 7,000 may be allergic to GH3. Then the treatment has to be given up, or made only after special desensitizing measures have been taken.
There are some incompatibilities, though. For example, if a patient is being treated with sulphamides, the administering of Gerovital H3 is stopped. But this incompatiblility only occurs when infections are being treated, not when antidiabetic oral treatments with sulphamide are given. Neither the pharmaceutical company, nor the exporting company recorded any complaints regarding GH3.
Q: What is the optimum age recommended for beginning treatment; what is the schedule of treatment; and the conditions of the treatment?
A: Our research covered all ages. The pharmacological literature available prior to our research stated that procaine should not be given before age 7. But experiments with children under a year old showed they had a very good tolerance for the treatment. We currently administer this treatment to two and three year-old retarded children, and children with ailments of the nervous system. We also created "Aslavital for children. "Children's problems are particularly important. Pediatrics should experiment more with those cases where we have obtained good results. After our research findings became known, many children from abroad came to Romania for treatment.
Now, generally speaking, we recommend that preventative treatment start between the ages of 40 and 50. The drug is equally well-tolerated by all ages, but of course, the results are more visible with those who are further advanced in age.
At the age of 90 or 100, it is much easier to see the signs of regeneration. In the preventative treatment, originally researched and recorded over a two year period, we noticed a slowing of the aging process, an increase in work efficiency, a stabilizing of arterial tensions and weight loss, an increase in muscular strength, and most important of all, a balancing of the homeostasis, all the way to an advanced age.
To sum up, the treatment can be administered to a person of any age following the indications and the recommended technique under medical supervision. Presently the preventative treatment is being administered to 12,000 people, from workers to intellectuals.
Q: Can we talk now about the international fame of the drug, the treatments and your research? Please give us a few significant examples.
A: One of the most important journalists with Frankfurter Zeitung came to our Institute to report on what he saw. This is what he said: "I asked the library service of the Hoechst Company (the producers of novocaine) whether any of the results achieved at the Institute had been published previously. They answered that nothing of the kind had been published. All they had was a small monography on the use of novocaine in therapies. Their monography lacked four Romanian discoveries:
1. The action of procaine on the aging process and the prevention of aging.
2. The action in alopecia _ its cure in 85 cases.
3. The action in vitiligo.
4. The psychical action.
These are discoveries I made myself at the National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics"
We were visited several times by Mr. Wiecke, head of Hoechst's library service. When he saw the achievements, he would say "donner wetter," a major German exclamation.
Then an invitation to attend the yearly Therapiewoche congress in Germany, the first week of September 1956 arrived. A second invitation followed the next year, and I was elected president of an international day of geriatrics, within the congress. At the second congress, the first imitation of my drug Gerioptil + H3, appeared. The confirmations of my work were starting to pour in. The interest was by far greater the second year than it had been the first.
In the meantime, in London, the Daily Mail published a series of illustrated reports on the achievements of the Institute as a result of a week-long visit made by a woman journalist from the paper. She even wrote a book, H3, published by Arthur Becker, on the results obtained at the Institute, with illustrations of elderly patients who had taken five to six years of treatments, beginning in 1951.
While I was in London, the criticism offered by the British Medical Journal, was very much like that which might be received in Romania at a public meeting. Dr. Canon told me that it was impossible to publish anything on the subject in the British Medical Journal, and another researcher, a woman, said it was 'impossible of such a serious paper to publish such a review."
Fortunately, other papers, like the New Scientist had a very different opinion, but my departure from London was not a happy one. My satisfaction in Paris and Rome was much greater. In Paris I was introduced by two professors, Justin Besancon and H. Sesoille, prior to my addressing members of the Academy and the Institute of France.
In Rome I lectured in the Forum _ it was particularly rewarding to be able to speak in this eternal seat of civilization.
Among the first scientists who visited the Institute were a Russian delegation comprised of the academician Vishnevski, who had proven that cocaine is active in lumbar infiltrations; Professor Chebotarev (who later became director of the Institute of Gerontology in Kiev); a professor of endocrinology; and a chemist. Summing up, Vishnevski said: 'Novocaine was formulated as an anesthetic. I showed its trophicaction, Mrs. Aslan _ the umoral actions."
In 1960 I went to San Francisco for the first time to attend the International Congress of Gerontology. After my lecture some chemists demanded the formula of the drug.
In 1978 I was invited by China's Ministry of Health to lecture in Beijing and Shanghai.
Governmental invitations, symposium participations, invitations to special congresses followed. Interest in creating special clinics, to use the drug on an ever larger scale, was shown.
The beginning of my creation was at 52, and my trips connected with Gerovital H3 at 59.
In 1970, a booklet printed in the U.S., "The Discovery of GH3," stated: "Aslan receives no compensation for her work with GH3. She lives in a socialist country. Her zeal for the promotion and acceptance of Gerovital H3 is strictly humanitarian: devotion to helping the debilitated, the senile, the victims of old age. My vote, my acceptance, and my heart go to Aslan. The world is very lucky to have people like her."
A chapter in David Rathbone's book, entitled "Gerovital H3 _ the Fountain of Youth," speaks about Professor Dr. Ana Aslan as a citizen of the world:
"By all standards, this remarkable lady is a credit to herself, to her profession, to her nation, and even to the human race."
Q: We know of scores of patients treated at the Institute, both Romanians and people from abroad. What were the results? What were the comments made by patients, by scientists?
A: After the formula had been made public, many imitations sprang up, generally for oral use. Some used the same name, "Gerovital," and even bore my signature, without my permission. There are over 100 such products around the world.
Let me quote from some correspondance I received, as it relates to this issue. A letter came from the U.S. 'There is a drug for sale by Medical Research Products in Nassau, the Bahamas, called 'GH3." They assert it is made from your original formula. I would like to get it for my mother and for me. If possible, I'd rather get it from your clinic, I could send you medical report from my doctor. Thank you for the help you have given to so many elderly people."
As I said, hundreds of thousands of patients from Romania and abroad were treated at the National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics. The efficiency of this method of treatment has been illustrated by the ever-increasing number of inquiries and applications from all corners of the world, We already mentioned that Gerovital H3 acts to slow the aging process, as well as treats some chronic ailments. Let me quote from the letter of a woman patient of the Institute, who is enjoying a healthy and active old age:
'Last September I celebrated 18 years of nonstop treatment with Gerovital _ Aslavital. I feel very well, spirited, contented. My daughter takes very good care of me. My eyesight is still good. I read a lot and my sleep is serene. My hair has not turned white yet, and there are few wrinkles on my face. My back has not bent yet _ I walk straightly and alertly. I have no ailments at all. I do calisthenics. I have learned how to defend myself against my former ailments _ the drugs are handy. I am proud of my age : 84 on March 20, 1987. I think I have a happy old age the state of my body and my alertness compares to age 70. I feel your care from afar and do not have the courage to give up your wonderful treatment, which prolongs my life. Thanking you."
Q: Could you talk to us about specific diseases which have been treated with Gerovital H3?
A: It is known that anchilopoetic spondilarthritis is a progressive disease, with a very grave prognosis. Here is the history of such a case as described by the patient:
"Dear Mrs. Professor: I wrote to you in September 1970 to explain my case: I have suffered from evolutive anchilopoetic spondilarthritis since 1944. You were kind enough to answer, which encouraged me to use Gerovital H3 only (I had started using it in 1967), adding Aslavital later, In 15 years I took about 1,250 injections of Gerovital H3 and 300 injections of Aslavital. I never noticed any side effects, any allergies or addictive effects. I gained a good nervous and physical balance, a better alertness and metabolism, my hair started to grow again _ I had the impression I was being reborn.
Most people think I am 12 years younger than I really am. I never interrupted the curative treatment with Gerovital _ injections and pills _ and with Aslavital. Thanks to this continuing treatment, I had the physical ability and willpower to entirely renovate my three-story hotel with my own hands and my wife's help, in five years."
This case was presented to responsible experts on rheumatology in this country. As a result, the number of patients being treated with GH3 for anchilopoetic spondilarthritis has increased, and our Institute is the only place they can go to improve their condition. This is also true for sufferers of scleroderma, vitiligo, multiple sclerosis, senile dementia _ aliments regarded today as incurable.
Today I also received a letter from a baroness in West Germany. She has been treating herself with the original drug ever since she was 40. She is now 79. I quote: "I do not yet need glasses. I have all my own teeth, a fact which can be confirmed by my dentist. I can serve as a living advertisement for Gerovital."
Here is a letter from a patient in Pakistan: "I have taken Gerovital injections and tablets during the past four years, from 1982-1986, and the effects are very good. I have no wrinkles on my face or body and I feel energetic and young."
We have a doctor's testimony in Patrick McGrandy's book, The Youth Doctor. He is Dr. Albert C.J.Simard, 78 years old, of French origin, distinguished by the Legion of Honour, Member of the American Medical Association, the Medical Society of New York, the Academy of Science of New York and the American Society of Geriatrics. He administered Gerovital H3 to himself. His testimony is categorical: "I don't' think I show my age, and I am sure by behavior is different from others my own age. I fish. I hunt. I ski. My sex life has improved. I feel perfect. I work a lot. The more I use treatment, the more I am surprised by the results, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally." Then he ends on a quizzical note: "When two astronomers dispute the placement of a star of some magnitude, it matters little. What is horrifying in the medical profession is the objection raised by doctors to a valuable achievement _ an objection which fills up hospital beds and cemeteries."
A French doctor who visited the Institute in Bucharest summed it up this way: "Madame, we all handled procaine, but you alone revealed its potencies."
Q: What is the place of Romanian gerontology and especially yourself in world gerontological science? What is the Romanian priority?
A: Nobody questions the priority of Romanian gerontology in world gerontological science, as all responsible scholars acknowledge that the first Institute of Geriatrics was established in Bucharest. But that isn't all. Scientists have started to change their attitudes toward old age. Before the Romanian breakthrough, the saying was: "Old age is a fatal process and nothing can be done about it." Today, no scholar would say that. Even if they don't accept the Romanian treatment, this stand has not changed.
Clinical gerontology developed alongside gerontological studies. Many more institutes came into being after ours, with almost the same type of organization. As a matter of fact, our institute served as a model for the setting up of all the others. The number of gerontologists has also increased. Young doctors are becoming interested in the problems of the aging. Optional universities were created for the elderly. Six or seven books have been written abroad about the Romanian method of treatment.
Q: A more indiscrete question: How do you feel and how do you evaluate yourself, now in your 90's?
A: The reason for my existence has been the stubborn search for the truth. I look for the truth and hate the lie _ which in my vies, is the greatest insult to the intellectual dignity of man. The lie is infinitely graver than the error. I want to believe that the school of gerontology I founded will outlive me, and that those who carry on my work fully understand that honesty and morality are the basis of any serious work. Science is hardly worth anything without morality.
Q: What message would you leave to those who will carry on your work?
A: Talking to the young researchers. I would stress that they work passionately. To work without pleasure means you will not achieve results. I would ask them to be correct in their research and in their behavior. To be critical of others and also of themselves, to fight for what they believe in, to persevere, never to abandon their projects, and to formulate them with a lucid mind. No difficulty should ever make them give up.
Q: Do you believe in the affirmation of the human being?
A: I am a born optimist. But my optimism is tempered with enough common sense to grasp the reality of the world we live in, and the grave dangers looming ahead in this nuclear age. First of all, mankind needs peace not countries with nuclear bombs.
Q: Do you care that much about your old people?
A: We must love our elders, honor and protect them. They are part of the wealth of every nation!
© SPA MANAGEMENT . October/November 1996