stem cell immortality russia godless
March 19, 2005 4:51 PM   Subscribe

"Russian Oligarachs Want Immortality". Vladimir Bryntsalov has had a course of stem cell injections and feels no older than 20, though his biological age is about 60. Treatment will cost you $10,000-20,000 in Moscow. In many Western countries, such clinics would not even get the opportunity to open their doors. During a recent speech, President Bush denounced stem cell therapy as "godless."
posted by stbalbach (26 comments total)
Proclaiming that someone "feels no older than 20" without even a photograph is really really bad science journalism.

Can someone find the Bush quote? I would imagine he was talking specifically about getting stem cells from living embryos, unless he's really lost it.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:56 PM on March 19, 2005

My plan--

1. Become Oligarch

2. Endure stem cell therapy

3. Take over the world!
posted by gagglezoomer at 5:10 PM on March 19, 2005

mmmm, stem cells
posted by kuatto at 5:25 PM on March 19, 2005

Yes, but we have Enzyte, for natural male enhancement! Take that pinkos!
posted by fungible at 5:35 PM on March 19, 2005

Kinda reminds me of another notable lab rat who's trying to take over the world.
posted by wendell at 6:14 PM on March 19, 2005

This article has about as much truth as a penis enlargement spam.
posted by gwint at 6:38 PM on March 19, 2005

On the other hand, Kim Il-sung, now there was a guy who knew how to spend some dough on life-extension.
posted by gwint at 6:41 PM on March 19, 2005

Ugh... microbiologists, a little help? The idea that you can reverse the effects of aging by injecting yourself with "a substance... [taken] from aborted or miscarried human fetuses [and] blended" is every bit as Bond-villian-stupid as it sounds. We know that the undifferentiated cells found in zygotes somehow become nerve cells, and we know that certain injuries and diseases are primarily problematic because nerve cells refuse to grow, but as far as I know we have no way yet to go from point A to point B and, say, cure nerve damage or degeneration (or, hypothetically, reverse aging effects). To think it could all be done with a shot of aborted-fetus-juice... gah. I mean, wasn't there a South Park about this, fer chrissake?

(I retract my histrionics if this thread gets a "humor" tag appended to it later.)
posted by rkent at 6:53 PM on March 19, 2005

rkent, look at it this way: freebasing dead babies is probably more ethical then bathing in the blood of virgins.
posted by kuatto at 7:41 PM on March 19, 2005

Great link if goofy. Sci-fi awesome.

Link to a picture of the "baby's cheek" guy
posted by inksyndicate at 7:45 PM on March 19, 2005

Stem cells dither the flesh! They dither fleeeeeesh!
posted by gwint at 7:53 PM on March 19, 2005

I'm not sure about South Park, but the first thing that came into my mind was Futurama:
"Farnsworth: As a man it has become too much of a chore for me to clean out my wrinkles each day. Is it true that stem cells may fight the aging process?

Geneworks Woman: Well yes, in the same way an infant may fight Muhammed Ali! But -

Farnsworth: One pound of stem cells please."
posted by Freaky at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2005

Democracy really isn't working out over there is it...
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 PM on March 19, 2005

Democracy really isn't working out over there is it...

And it's working out so well over here?
posted by afroblanca at 8:42 PM on March 19, 2005

Allegedly all this stem cell technology in Russia has been developed as by products of a vast scientific project to resurrect Boris Yeltsin's liver.
posted by sien at 8:58 PM on March 19, 2005

This article is about class warfare in Russia.

"I always tell my patients: Spend something on yourself, and not just on your planes and yachts," said Dr. Teplyashin.

This is not a problem for many oligarchs. More and more of them can have a private jet, a football club, and the not quite fantastic dream of immortality. Forbes reported recently that Russia has the world's second largest group of billionaires after the U.S. The personal income of 27 Russian citizens is above $1 billion (69 in the U.S.) and their aggregate assets are $90.6 billion.

The third man on Forbes Russian rich list is Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate worth $5.5 billion. He would not like to leave behind the results of his hard work when his final hour beckons. In a bid to put off this day, he gave $120,000 for research into "the youth elixir" at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology of Moscow State University.


Russian society, a third of which lives below the poverty line, is divided on the need for immortal oligarchs. Mikhail Rechkin, an expert on the paranormal, thinks that Russia does not need eternally young oligarchs. "There is a gulf between the rich and the poor in the country," he said. "And so, the rich will not be allowed to live eternally. There will be a revolution."

I think the quest for immortality is supposed to be emblematic of the excesses of the wealthy or something like that.
posted by kjh at 9:28 PM on March 19, 2005

A rather more objective assessment, of what is both a disturbing fad and a risky social experiment:

Moscow: Stem cell capital of the world -- Scientists do have some thoughts on how stem cells actually work. But in Russia, the practice has strayed far from the theory.... “Once I woke up and found that my ass looked like that of an old Indian,” said [one patient]. “When you’re 38, it doesn’t matter anymore ... whether you got enough sleep. There’s still this ass. So I ... read a lot of literature ... and decided on using my own cells. At a state-run clinic they extracted some of my bone marrow, and grew a colony of stem cells. In two months I got my first shot. The sensation is completely narcotic: the hit of your life, I even stopped my car…. The next morning I looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself at 34. The wrinkles were gone, my eyes were bright, I was full of energy.” ... It cannot be determined with all certainly what exactly was in the injection she was given — you have to take the doctor’s word for it.
posted by dhartung at 9:59 PM on March 19, 2005

In two months I got my first shot. The sensation is completely narcotic: the hit of your life, I even stopped my car

What, he got the shot in the arse while he was driving his car?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 PM on March 19, 2005

It seems like injecting yourself full of fast-replicating, partially undifferentiated cells would be a lot less likely to make you young again and a lot more likely to just give you cancer. Assuming the cells took to being injected into the wrong tissue and didn't just die off.

You can reverse aging somewhat with certain recent medical treatments, such as growth hormone and certain vitamins, but it's not indefinate. That sounds more like what the patients were getting.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:55 PM on March 19, 2005

Ah, here's what I was thinking. It doesn't have stem cell injections, but it does have Christopher Reeve sucking the juice from dead fetuses, which turns him into Superman.

Yeah, that's South Park... at least they know it's asinine.
posted by rkent at 12:00 AM on March 20, 2005

I thought magnets gave immortality.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:56 AM on March 20, 2005

Bracelets. Copper bracelets.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:52 AM on March 20, 2005

Russian society, a third of which lives below the poverty line, is divided on the need for immortal oligarchs.

I have to say, this line is pretty hilarious.

"NTV is here with a starving old Russian lady from a small village in the Urals. Ma'am, what are your thoughts on the need for immortal oligarchs, possibly with metal skeletons and lasers grafted onto their eyes?"

"Well, it depends... one has to weight a lot of factors..."
posted by Krrrlson at 9:51 AM on March 20, 2005

this reminds me of a movie I've seen:
Crunch, crunch, crunch…sluuuurp. What’s that, you wonder? Oh, just the sound of Miriam Yeung eating fetus dumplings. Bleeeeech!!! If you’ve got a weak stomach, this horror movie is not for you, but if you can take it then buckle up because you’re in for one of the sickest and most disturbing tales of terror you’ve ever seen. Miriam Yeung plays Mrs. Lee, a middle-aged actress who was popular when she was younger. She married well, to Mr. Lee no less (played by Tony Leung Kar-fai). As Mrs. Lee has gotten older she spends her days seeking beauty treatments to no avail, while Mr. Lee spends his days eating fertilized eggs and screwing around with the help. So Mrs. Lee goes to Aunt Mei (Bai Ling) a nutty Mainlander who claims that she can keep you young forever if you eat her fetus dumplings. She likes to whip ‘em up when they’re at about three months, but Mrs. Lee isn’t getting young enough fast enough, and so they need a five-month-old baby. “It’s just like a kitten,” Aunt Mei purrs. One back alley abortion later they’ve got it: “The most nutritious thing in the world.”
posted by matteo at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2005

I welcome our Immortal Rich Russian Overlords!
posted by john at 5:15 PM on March 20, 2005

If the rich wants to be labbratory mice for a not-yet-proven technique, I say let them.
Maybe some benefit to science will come from it.
posted by spazzm at 5:45 PM on March 22, 2005

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