Tired of waiting for a magic potion that will make you look and feel 20 years younger? Hang on. Scientists have discovered what causes the body to age and are busy working on ways to reverse the aging process. Dr. Olivier Meyer, who is a medical doctor, a native of Switzerland and a resident of Thailand, spoke at the Sunday, January 5 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. His topic was about Anti-Aging Medicine. He said that the goal of anti-aging medicine is not just adding time to life, but also “giving better life to time.”
Some people at 90 years of age are fit and have no or few chronic diseases, whereas for others getting old is a challenge, Dr Olivier stated. He said that when he went to medical school, we did not know what causes aging. However, some ground breaking research at Harvard Medical School in the first decade of this century changed that. Scientists discovered that the chromosomes in the cells in our body are capped at both ends by something called telomeres, and that it is the shortening of these telomeres over time that leads to aging.
Dr Olivier Meyer, Swiss doctor practising in Pattaya mainly to expats, was PCEC’s speaker for the 5th of January. Dr Olivier’s talk was about Anti-Aging Medicine, the goal of anti-aging medicine being not just adding time to life, but also “giving better life to time.”
The scientists also discovered a natural enzyme in cells called telomerase that can prevent telomeres from shortening, except that that the telomerase is repressed by a protein in the cells. Researchers are using a process called telomerase activation to rejuvenate organs in animal experiments. There is a good chance that in the future telomerase activations will be used in humans to slow the aging process.
Not unsurprisingly, there were many questions from the members of PCEC about the methods and benefits of anti ageing regimes.
In the meantime, Dr Olivier said, we already have strategies to combat the effects of aging. He described a three-step process: Step 1: Healthy lifestyles; Step 2: Medical interventions; and Step 3: Use of stem cells.
With respect to health lifestyles, Dr Olivier described several steps we can take, including practice good nutrition, take anti-oxidants, don’t smoke, drink alcohol moderately or not at all, get regular exercise, keep your weight under control, and be sure to get good quality and enough sleep.
The second step involves medical interventions, such as keeping chronic diseases under control; having regular check-ups (at least once a year for people over 50); visiting the dentist regularly; taking multivitamins; taking a low daily dose of aspirin to keep the blood thin; and achieving good hormonal balance. He then described the different hormones and their purpose.
Dr Olivier referred to “andropause,” the male equivalent of menopause. He said that as men age, the decrease in testosterone is more gradual than what occurs in women. Half of the men aged 50-70 will have low testosterone levels. Common symptoms of andropause are lack of energy, depression, diminution of memory; loss of strength; increased body fat; irritability, mood swings, bad sleep; low sex drive; and difficulties getting erections or erections not as strong as usual.
The third step involves the use of stem cells. These cells are able to differentiate into more specialised cells and are one of the body’s fundamental tools and mechanisms for self-repair, Dr Olivier explained. Stem cells improve the immune function and regenerate and repair damaged organs. As we age, however, the bone marrow releases fewer stem cells, giving us less power to repair the damage of ageing. Treatment with stem cells reverses this process.
PCEC Chairman Pat Koester details the trip to Bangkok’s Chinatown during Chinese New Year for their colourful celebrations.
Some of the benefits of stem cell therapy are less weakness and fatigue; less aches in the head, neck, back and limbs; reduced stiffness in joints; a more youthful appearance; fewer wrinkles on the skins and face; thickening of the hair; more energy; and mental and emotional improvement. Stem cell therapy can even change the colour of one’s hair from grey back to its normal colour.
The future of anti-aging medicine, Dr Olivier said, is almost limitless. Before long, he added, really tiny (nano) machines will crush small blood clots in the body and deliver medicine directly to the organ for which they are intended. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Dr. Olivier then answered several questions from the audience. The Dr Olivier Clinic opened in 1999 and is located just off South Pattaya Road (website: http://www. dr-olivier-clinic.com).
Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
Learn more about the Club’s meetings and other activities by visiting their website at www.pcecclub.org.
Former Chairman Richard Smith advises members & guests of the sign up sheets for the Android and the iPhone users groups meetings; meetings TBA.
A club member discusses with Dr Olivier details of his presentation.