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Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 18 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:715
  1. Fred Charatan, retired geriatric physician (
  1. Boynton Beach, Florida

    Hall, a US journalist and historian of modern science, presents an overview of ageing as a biological phenomenon. In his introduction he writes, “Because we've done such a spectacular job of minimizing the agents of premature death—diseases, accidents, poor hygiene, injuries, not to mention predation, starvation, exposure—we are living so long that aging itself has only recently emerged as a subdiscipline of medicine.”

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    Stephen S Hall

    Houghton Mifflin Company, $25, pp 448 ISBN 0 618 09524 1

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    He quotes the eminent US cell biologist Leonard Hayflick, “Aging is an artifact of civilization.” Hayflick is …

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