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Writing with vivacity and humor, Mr. Clarence Day, Jr., speculates with so much whimsicality upon the possible effects of surgical rejuvenation of men that one might overlook the keenness of his observation in a hurried perusal of his article. For the sake of preserving it for more leisurely study, and because the points raised are really worthy of attention, the article is reproduced here in full, with acknowledgments to +The Literary Review+, in which it first appeared, of date November 20, 1920. Says Mr. Day:

Biologists really seem to be discovering ways of making men young again. So far, it is like making men drunk; the state that is produced does not last. But it looks as though they might succeed in adding a chapter to life. I wish it could be added to the other end: to youth instead of to the last flickers. But if we can renew and re-live middle-age, that will be better still.

A man named Steinach, in Vienna, has been experimenting for ten years with rats. Full accounts of his work were published last summer in the great biological journal founded by Roux, and these were summarized and discussed by the London +Athenaeum+, which is now the most interesting of all English weeklies. It is from the +Athenaeum's+ account that I am taking these facts.

Steinach has been studying the interstitial cells that fill in the spaces between the tubules of the testes, in males, and between the follicles of the ovaries in females. His reason for choosing these cells for his experiments is that they are a well-spring of life. Furthermore, since all our vital functions are interrelated, to make these cells active gives the whole organism new life and strength. This is not the only way of stimulating the organism, but it seems the most powerful.

An old rat is like a senile old man; he is bald and emaciated, his eyes are clouded, his breathing is labored. He stays in one place, with bent back, and has small interest in anything. If you cut one of his genital ducts, however, which is a comparatively slight operation, it has the effect of making the interstitial cells multiply actively. Waves of life flood his being. Within a few weeks he is transformed. These currents restore and rebuild him; skin, muscle and mind. Both in looks and behavior he is indistinguishable from other strong rats.

He has cast off old age. Senility, which sets in with men when they are from sixty to eighty years old, begins after twenty to thirty months in a rat. He is then about through. But when an operation is performed on a senile rat he gets from six to eight months' new life. In other words, the addition to his normal span is 20 to 30 per cent. That would be a large fraction of life for a man to live over again. The rat lives it vigorously, eagerly, back in his prime.

When senility again comes upon him it is in a modified form. His organism as a whole is in better shape. It is his mind now that tires. As Steinach has already cut one or both of his genital ducts, that method of stimulating his cells cannot, of course, be repeated. But another operation is ready. Some unfortunate young male is deprived of his testes by Steinach, and these are implanted forthwith in this hoary old rat.

A second spell of active life follows, not so long as the first. It ends in acute psychic senility. The rat goes all to pieces. It is as if the brain, twice restimulated to emotion, curiosity, keenness, had approached the very limit of its running, and was completely exhausted.

Steinach has not yet tried whether a third rejuvenation is possible. That remains to be seen. He lives in Vienna, and everything there has come to a stop. He has no assistants, no funds, with which to conduct further experiments. "May happier lands or cities carry the work on," he writes at the end.

It seems as though some rich American ought to stake the old boy.

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Steinach has naturally found it more difficult to give new youth to females. But here, too, he has in a measure succeeded. X-ray treatment and ovarian transplantation are the methods employed.

As to human experiments, there is a colleague of Steinach's named Lichtenstern, who has operated on numerous men and women with apparent success. There has not been time yet to measure how long their new lease of life is to be; but they have regained the joy of life they had lost--strength and powers of work. Still, all this needs confirming.

In a rat it is the sexual impulses that are directly reanimated. He again knows the fevers of courtship, the conflicts of marriage; and whether he is glad to repeat these commotions depends on the rat. In man, however, the sexual impulses are more or less sublimated, so that the new energy may appear in any of the other forms of psychic activity. Whatever such faculties he has in him once more grow strong.

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How wonderful it would be if we could at least prolong certain lives--great writers like H. G. Wells and Conrad, great artists, great doctors. But in practice, the men who would get hold of this would be John D. Rockefeller and W. J. Bryan. The rich uncle would walk in and tell his hopeless heirs he had been to see Steinach. Senators would live forever. The world would grow harder for youth.

Even were we able to control all this, and reserve the boon for the best, would it work? Say we did choose the right men--is it not too intimate a suggestion that we should set a man of science upon them, prepared with a little knife to slice one of their genital ducts? Men have fought all these years for the right to live. Have they no right to die? Must an old man who is needed by the public be condemned to live on, his aged cells stirred and restirred while we glean his brains bare? Some Socrates of the future may yet envy that other his hemlock.

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This, we say it regretfully, is the end of Mr. Day's article. It is admirable fooling. We will not pay his wit the poor compliment of taking him seriously at the last and pointing out to him that it was Heine who said, "Nobody loves life like an old man!" There will be no need of insistence to urge the old men, useful or useless, to submit to an operation to renew their youth. But it is to be hoped that they will never be asked to submit to the cutting of the genital duct. It seems to the writer that +The Athenaeum+ must have misconstrued Dr. Steinach's experiments in some degree, inasmuch as it is difficult to conceive of the operation of severing a genital duct as conducive to cell-formation. However, probably ligating is meant instead of severing. But this is not the point really brought out by Mr. Day's clever article. The real point is, Is it likely that if Mr. John Jones takes Dr. Brinkley's goat-gland operation for the renewal of his youth, and thereby adds thirty years to his life, and at the end of this thirty years of friskiness undergoes a second transplantation of glands, thereby gaining twenty years more, and at the end of this twenty years takes the operation a third time, securing a further lease of gaiety for ten years, will the final years of Mr. John Jones be years of acute psychic senility, as observed by Dr. Steinach in his rat? To the writer it seems a +non sequitur+. The cases are not parallel. The rejuvenated rat appears to regard his acquired vitality as impelling toward revelry and excess. It is necessary to emphasize the point that the pith and marrow of Dr. Brinkley's discovery is that since it is clearly shown that rejuvenation is accomplished by the restoration of activity to the sex-glands, therefore the preservation of this rejuvenation MUST depend upon the CONSERVATION of the seminal fluids, and cannot depend upon any other single factor whatever. It has been already explained that Dr. Brinkley puts it out of the power of the rejuvenated man to destroy the good that has come into his life, and protects him against the danger of yielding too freely to passionate impulse, by preventing the escape of the rejuvenating agent. The means of nourishing the body and brain being therefore insured as to supply, it is not reasonable to suppose that the nerve-cells of the rejuvenated man can fail to receive their proper nourishment for many succeeding years, and, passing by the rat as a fallacious parallel, we cannot see any good reason why the human body and brain, either under the guidance of self-control, or surgically safeguarded against the waste of excess, should not function at their best for fifty years of added life, with very possibly another fifty added to that. The real crux of the matter is the resistive quality of tissue, which is approximately 200 years for such organs as kidneys and heart, and, say, 150 for nerve-substance.