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Eighteen years have passed since the first edition of
this book was published and while much has happened during that time in the field of old age care, much has also remained the same. While the number of our elderly-those past their 65th birthday-is constantly rising, and with it also the life expectancy of this
group, we still keep them on the fringes of our society.
Medicare has been introduced in the sixties-and with the improvement it has brought in the lot of the elderly, it has also led to the nursing home scandals we were satisfied in treating cosmetically without changing the system which bred them. Blue Cross/
Blue Shield insurance has priced itself almost out of
reach of most retired persons who still suffer from the growth of hospital costs. Social insurance still discriminates against people working beyond their 65th year by withholding the full amount due them until they reach 72.
With the retirement age now legally raised from 65 to 70 years, it becomes apparent that we must do everything in our power to keep the elderly healthy longer. The drag to the taxpayer for not doing so is
considerable: old people, who make up ten per cent of the US population, account for 29 per cent of all medical bills, much of it coming from the public Treasury
(which in a recent 18 months-period, from January 1976 to July 1977, paid some 140 million bills amounting to $7.5 billion).
As long as the medical establishment and our medical policy generally remain sickness- instead of health-oriented, as long as almost all money goes into the search for elusive cures for often fatal diseases and almost none into ways to prevent them-little will be done to cut down on the ever increasing health bill. Merely to exist, as is the fate of so many oldsters, is not to live. Now that medical science has been able to extend man's life span, it must also arrest the dissolution of body and spirit that often occurs in the final years of life. Until it succeeds in making these years worth living, it will have achieved only a Pyschic victory.
I believe now, as I did eighteen years ago, that with procaine - thanks to oral Gh3 therapy more easily administered now than in 1960-we possess a tool to make life for our senior citizens a real "third age" of vitality, usefulness and independence. Little did I anticipate then that in spite of the many reports confirming Professor Ana Aslan's work, our medical bureaucracy would still maintain its negative attitude towards this promising GH3 therapy in 1978, setting up one roadblock after another to prevent GH3 from bringing possible relief to millions of people.
Unfortunately, much of what has been written in newspapers and magazines or that has been broadcast on radio and TV about procaine were either ignorant denunciations, great distortions, half-truths, wishful interpretations or irresponsible exaggerations. My aim in presenting this book-then and now-is to tell the true story of GH3, one of the most exciting medical developments of our time. In close to eighty countries of the world, GH3procaine therapy has become a way of life for older people. On the basis of this book the American public should be able to judge how much hope and how much hokum lie behind the headlines.
Before writing the first edition I twice visited the Institute of Geriatrics in Bucharest and enjoyed the fullest cooperation of Prof. Aslan and her associates. I have also consulted non-Romanian physicians with clinical H3 procaine therapy experience, and have read scores of scientific papers published in the interim.
As I said in 1960: I hope I have succeeded in my attempt to present the H3 material so gathered without prejudice and without emotion.
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