Table Speech

The Idea and Necessity of Anti-Aging Medicine:

July 27th,2005

Head of the Orthopedic Surgery Department of the Tokyo Police Hospital
Dr. Kitaro Omori

We used to say that a person’s lifespan was 50 years, but this is now 90.
Therefore, there is no doubt that we Japanese live longer, and we must now search for a better anti-aging quality of life. We must not equate aging with illness, but aging with vitality, which will help our economy from not becoming bankrupt.

The United States also is developing a high age society. For them it is an age where the level of education has been also heightened. Therefore these persons will do everything they can to extend their lives.

They will form a huge anti-aging market, and when there is an academic meeting of anti-aging tens of thousands of persons from various fields gather, and it is now becoming a flourishing business.

The term anti-aging, I understand derives from a life insurance company in the 1990’s. At its base were the four principles of diet, supplements, exercise and hormones. How could these stop aging keep persons in good health were the targets for study.

From long ago anti-aging treatments were such as those which used hormones to retain youth. Such hormones are needed for children to grow, but become zero when a person nears 90 years of age. This particular hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and is necessary for physical growth and also controlling other hormones. It has been said in the past that by maintaining the supply of this hormone into a later age wonderful things would occur. Research is continuing, and we may learn of such results in the future.

Although we are speaking of anti-aging treatment concerning internal medicine, there are surgical treatments which have been used for many years to make persons appear younger.

Especially for women aging causes blemishes on the skin which are related to sex hormones. This is caused by the worsening of the environment, by aging, and also by cosmetics. In Japan, skin cosmetics are mainly for skin protection, and it is forbidden by law to add medicines to improve skin quality.
Skin is maintained by replacement, but when this process slows, complications arise.

There are 4 normal steps for skin care: washing, stimulation, medicine and protection.

There is the world famous Obagi Nu-Derm System. A Syrian doctor working in the U.S. Dr. Obagi started a system which makes the most troubled skin quite clean after 49 days. And although it is widely accepted as a skin treating method overseas, it has somehow not reached Japan.

It is quite easy using laser beams to remove blemishes, but this does not improve skin quality at all. One must apply other methods in order to improve skin quality.

Then there is a process called face lifting. In America, this is often used to adjust the body after a massive weight loss caused by surgery which strips the body of excess weight. Although we wonder if such drastic measures are needed there are about 15,000 cases of such surgery in the U.S. every year.

There are also the Filler method and Botex. The Filler method inserts a filler to stretch out wrinkles and Botox uses a poisonous to stiffen the muscles thus eliminating wrinkles.

Thus there is a great demand for anti-aging methods, and the market for face surgery in the U.S. in some 5 trillion yen of which 70% is for anti-aging. With half of their population, our market should be some 2.5 trillion yen.
Using of the Botox reaches 3 million cases a year in America, but is not allowed in Japan.

I hope that our government will allow the use of Botox as today it is only available through the Internet, and is only effective if stored under 4℃ and this can be maintained only through regular routes.

With its many problems, anti-aging methods are becoming more popularized. If questionable matter is used, we may find another asbestos problem arising in 20 or 30 year.

Anti-aging is a desire of the people, and not treatment for a disease. We must give thought to how far to go and what is permissible, and I will be grateful if you will further your understanding on the matter.