Dr. Robert Goldman – Anti-Aging
Dr. Robert Goldman is one of the driving forces behind the rapidly growing global phenomenon of anti-aging â€“ a comprehensive, preventative approach to medicine that also seeks to rejuvenate and extend human life.
The American, who serves as chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, research firm Life Science Holdings and the International Medical Commission, and has just published his latest book, The New Anti-aging Revolution, spoke to Bali Times managing editor William J. Furney during a recent visit to the island.
Is anti-aging more about vanity or does it have a sound scientific basis?
The strict definition of anti-aging is a medical specialty founded on the development and treatment and prevention of age related diseases. Itâ€™s a medical specialty that encompasses the best of al specialties, whether it be plastic surgery, dermatology, diagnostic medicine and radiology as well as new and innovative technology such as stem cell research.
Itâ€™s a very comprehensive specialty that tries to maximize ones performance in oneself at all ages. In essence, itâ€™s the next generation of sports medicine. We try to bring people to their peak performance.
â€œYou cannot change someoneâ€™s chronologic age, the number that you are is what you are, however, physiologically we can change things. Letâ€™s say you take a man whoâ€™s 54 years old and is 35 lbs over weight, his cholesterol is high, his blood pressure is high, heâ€™s tired, his sexual functions are not good, he does not feel good at all. We put him on an exercise program, we get him on a diet, we put him on nutritional supplements, he loses 30 lbs, his muscle mass increases, if we want to enhance his sexual functions we try Viagra, we get him a hair transplant, we cosmetically fix his teeth, so all of a sudden this person will perform and look and feel very differently than he did prior to this anti-aging program.â€
A lot of this is common sense, like exercise and diet, but thatâ€™s complemented with the different things you can do, so itâ€™s 50/50?
Well, yes. Everyone can use some kind of anti-aging treatment. Anyone can change their diet or exercise more or drink purified water instead of sugar-based drinks.
There are a lot of very healthy treatments and situations available here in Bali. From massages, spas, good air, good water, access to fresh fruit and vegetables. There are a lot of things that are very healthy about Bali. Thereâ€™s a very strong cultural aspect toward a healthy way of life in Bali. In Bali you donâ€™t see some of the problems you see in China, with the growth in popularity of fast-food restaurants.
What would you say about the sun here in Bali where the sun is very strong?
The sun is very damaging to the skin. I think that sunscreen needs to be used. A little bit of sun is important for people; in certain areas of the world people get very depressed because they donâ€™t see the sun for a number of months.
Do you consider yourself the father of anti-aging?
Well, myself and other physicians – we started the whole medical society and launch of anti-aging.
Before that, what was available?
You had basic preventative medicine, but it wasnâ€™t as comprehensive in focus. [Anti-aging] is probably the fastest-growing medical specialty in the world today. We started out with 12 doctors in 1992; now we are training between 35-40,000 doctors a year. In the last three years weâ€™ve gone from two international conferences a year to over 30, which is more than any other medical group in history in such a short period of time.
Every year we have conferences held in Bali and other parts of Indonesia.
How has anti-aging personally affected you, and what programs do you follow?
My energy level now is what it was years ago. Iâ€™m 51 years old but Iâ€™m physiologically similar to what I was in my 20s – but thatâ€™s because I exercise regularly and watch my diet.
I try to stay out of the sun and I go through a series of anti-aging treatments.
What sort of people go in for anti-aging treatments and is there a group of people youâ€™re targeting?
The original anti-aging patients were males who were concerned about their physical appearance. But now the bulk of anti-aging patients are females in their 30s.
How do you start someone off on an anti-aging program?
We do lavatory diagnostics to see what the blood and urine show in terms of deficiencies, exercise, dietary modification, behavior modification in terms of stress management. The tests are done in a very sophisticated lab.
Is anti-aging for children?
Kids sometimes need modification in their diet. I think they need less unprotected sun exposure.
What about obesity rates in children? Could dietary plans be used for anti-aging in children?
Yes, absolutely. I think thereâ€™s an awful amount of damage that is occurring mow in young people that is going to take a lot of intervention in the future that wouldnâ€™t have been necessary if the kids were more active and health-conscious.
So, why are parents allowing their children to live these lifestyles?
I think itâ€™s an education process. People are not looking at some very basic problems that are right in front of them.
Where does the future of anti-aging lie?
Stem cells are going to be as close to a silver bullet as we are going to find. I think that gene therapy and genetic engineering will also play a large part.
I think as the stem-cell research field evolves, we will be less dependent on any kind of fetal material. There are going to be a number of countries that are not as concerned with the controversial issues connected with stem cells that will move ahead of the countries that are.
Do most doctors accept anti-aging or is it viewed with suspicion?
More and more doctors are becoming aware of the benefits of anti-aging treatments. When doctors are trained, theyâ€™re trained in disease â€“ if itâ€™s not broken, donâ€™t fix it. They wait for the patient to get sick before they actually do something. So, anti-aging medicine is a very practical, intelligent form of medicine and it really is the way medicine will be practiced in the future.
What kind of reaction do you get from large drug firms who make billions of dollars from their medicines â€“ medicines to treat, not prevent, disease ?
There is a modality [with] big pharmacy. Itâ€™s focused on chronic disease because if you can replace nutritional supplementation [with] drugs, you could make 40 times the amount of money than you would with nutritional products.
Weâ€™re not anti big pharma because our whole medical society is very aggressive in its use of new and innovative drugs. We think there are times where if we can prevent the disorder in a more intelligent and natural fashion over using other things, we prefer to do that because we can prevent the disorder from occurring in the first place.
What will the average lifespan be in the next 20 years? Is it going to develop faster than it has in the last few centuries?
If things continue to proceed the way that they are, all bets will be off as to how long a lifespan can be.
If the average lifespan of a male is 75, how long do you expect to live?
If we can bring these anti-aging protocols into better utilization, I think the average lifespan can go to 90, 100 or more. But you will always have a number of the population that are not healthy, that donâ€™t take care of themselves, that are destructive.
However, there will be a larger population that does not wish to age like their parents did and they will see how they can proactively benefit from anti-aging.
Does anti-aging deal with mental issues as well?
Yes, the goal is not to live to be a 120 years old and not know whatâ€™s going on. The goal is to have peak function throughout oneâ€™s life.
What kind of diet is best for optimum health?
Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Salads. Not a lot of fatty meats.
Are treatments customized to fit each physiological makeup?
Not only their physiological makeup but their family history as well. We look to see what types of problems have there been in the past in that personâ€™s family tree.
Does spirituality play a role in the anti-aging process?
Sure. What hurts people is stress. Stress is one of the most damaging aspects in life. Stress is what really does you in.
Hollywood has long been into plastic surgery, but do you think actors are moving more away from the knife and closer to something like anti-aging?
I think Hollywood moves towards anything that will work. And Hollywood is not moving away from the knife. Hollywood is doing more surgeries than they ever have. But they are also very keen on these types of technologies.â€
You quote Arnold Schwarzenegger in your books. Is he on an anti-aging program?
I think he lives a good anti-aging lifestyle.
Would you like to talk about the anti-aging islands?
This is a very unique project because you can have a very specialized environment that can cater to the people who want to get the best of the best. I think the anti-aging islands will be very successful. There is nothing like it anywhere else.