Life Shortening Habits & Rejuvenation

Author(s): 
Arnold Lorand, M.D.
Publisher: 
F. A. Davis, Philadelphia
Edition / Year: 
1902

Title page of "Life Threatening Habits and Rejuvenation"

The author, as well as having a forename which is an anagram of his surname, had some unusual beliefs about what is bad and what is good for human beings. I have taken the liberty of reproducing here some short exemplary passages. First, one of the Life-Shortening Habits:-

Avoidance of Parenthood

“Impelled by their desires, many persons are quite ready to carry on their sexual functions, but unwilling to fulfil their duty of procreation. They are desirous, indeed, of experiencing the attendant enjoyment, but want to cheat nature out of the payment exacted therefor, viz., the fulfillment of the duty of procreation.

“Here again the transgressor does not remain unpunished. In men who interrupt the sexual act prematurely or use a preventive device, neurasthenia, disordered function of the reproductive organs, and in many instances even a partial or complete impotence are produced. Similarly, in women who utilize analogous devices such as preventive sponges and pessaries, neurasthenia and hysteria are of frequent occurrence. Now, to be sure, neurasthenia is not in itself a life-shortening disease, although it torments the person afflicted with it throughout life; it is capable, however, of rather frequently causing an elevation of blood pressure and, after some interval of time, of promoting the production of arteriosclerosis.

“Such a 'prophylactic' premature interruption of intercourse, affording only incomplete sexual satisfaction or none at all, may likewise have rather serious consequences as regards the reproductive organs themselves. The frequent local hyperemia resulting from the sexual excitement may very readily lead to inflammatory states of the ovaries and uterus and its covering layers, this, in turn, having a tendency to shorten life and even frequently causing death within a brief period of time.”

Not content with taking the fun out of sex by insisting on the 'duty of procreation', the good doctor considered that the treatment of his patients with iodine and extracts of animal glands was the very thing to keep them well. But these were relatively benign prescriptions beside his most revolutionary discovery:-

Radium Baths

“Radium can rightly be considered as a symbol of eternal youth. For it is constantly giving off energy, yet remains apparently unchanged all the time. In the earliest periods after the discovery of the radium, this strange fact created a great sensation among the scientists, for it seemed to contradict the natural law of the conservation of energy, well established by Robert Mayer, whose sad fate was mentioned in the first part of this book. This mystery was solved, however, when it was detected that there is in reality even in this case no exception to the general law, for even if slowly and almost imperceptibly, radium in the long run dissipates some of the energy which had been stored up in the interior of its constituent atoms. Whereas this property of radium in itself suggests to us its use as a weapon with which to combat old age, there is another of its properties which makes it especially suitable as a means for rejuvenation.

“As previously mentioned, it exerts a direct action upon the sex gland, a fact established by experiments upon animals, radium producing, if applied in a certain strength, destruction of the seminiferous cells and sterility in consequence. Judging from the effects of the x-rays, stimulation and hypertrophy of the internally secreting portion will most probably occur likewise after radium. Being averse to the employment of violent measures as long as there are milder and very efficacious ones at our disposal, I rather advocate the use of the radium emanations for our purpose. Their marked influence upon the ductless glands had already been shown years ago through the experiments of Bouchard and Balthazard. These investigators injected fluids containing radium emanations into animals, and at the autopsy these emanations were found to have accumulated in the ductless glands, especially the adrenals and the spleen. They lay special stress upon the preference shown by the emanations for these glands, i.e., the internally secreting glands.”

So as I understand it, radium can make you sterile, and tends to lodge in your glands. That's why it makes you young, fit, and virile. And gives you a positive glow, no doubt, even in the dark.

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