Posted: Mon, March 11, 2013 | By: Authors
Marios Kyriazis is a medical doctor and gerontologist who helped launch and formalise the concept of anti-aging medicine worldwide. He has also contributed to the topic of human biological immortality and to the transhumanist movement aiming to abolish involuntary death by ageing.
He received primary and secondary education in Larnaca (Cyprus), and after military service with the Cypriot National Guard, he studied Medicine at the University of Perugia and then the University of Rome (Italy). In 1982 he received his medical degree and went on to train as a junior doctor in a variety of hospital posts in Cyprus, New York (USA), Sheffield and Northampton (UK). In 1987 he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree and then studied for a Master of Science degree in gerontology at King’s College London (1990). He was awarded a Diploma in Geriatric Medicine by the Royal College of Physicians in 1990, and subsequently became a Chartered Biologist, Member of the Society of Biology (UK).
In 1992 Kyriazis founded the British Longevity Society, a non-profit organisation aiming to provide research-based information on healthy ageing to the general public. He wrote on the subject of free radicals and antioxidants, and his paper on Free Radicals and Ageing (Care Elderly 1994;6(7):260-262), was the first to address the subject in a formal mainstream UK medical journal. He was the medical columnist for the consumer periodical “Yours magazine” for a period of four years, reaching over a million readers every month. In a series of almost 700 articles, lectures and media appearances worldwide, he discussed the subject of healthy ageing and longevity, both for scientists and for the general public.
His work received media attention nationally, and internationally. He has been interviewed widely by the daily and weekly national newspapers, television and radio in the UK on matters related to healthy ageing. He has also featured on other media in several countries.
As a Biogerontologist Kyriazis did not share the view that anti-ageing medicine comprises cosmetics, beauty products and quick-fix remedies. Instead, he defined anti-ageing medicine as: “a branch of medical science and clinical medicine, aimed at treating some of the underlying processes of ageing and at alleviating or postponing any age-related ailments, with the ultimate goal of extending the healthy lifespan of humans.”
Kyriazis has written several books, including The Anti-Aging Plan (Element Books 2000, republished as Stay Young Longer, Vega 2001), The Age Defying Cookbook (Lorenz Books 2001, and several editions worldwide), The Look Young Bible (Foulsham 2002), and Anti-Aging Medicines (Watkins 2003, and Italian edition 2007).
He introduced the di-peptide carnosine as a general antiageing supplement to the lay public. His two books on this subject were Carnosine and other Elixirs of Youth (Watkins Publishing, London 2003, and Chinese edition 2005) and The Cataract Cure, iUniverse, New York 2005 and 2012).
Applying the concept of hormesis on anti-ageing medicine, Kyriazis controversially suggested that leading a stressful, irregular and constantly stimulating lifestyle may be a way of reducing the impact of age-related dysfunction. The rationale for this was based on the suggestion that ageing is accompanied by a loss of physiological complexity, and it is thus necessary to increase the amount of external stimulation in order to restore the loss.
Kyriazis also wrote on the subject of Calorie Restriction Mimetics, compounds that reproduce the biological effects of calorie restriction. His first article appeared in 2003. In another paper he described several of these compounds and suggested ways of classifying these.
In the book Mavericks of Medicine, he was collectively described as “a creative and controversial thinker who is changing the future of medicine” and one of those who “are shaping and re-defining the limits of medical thinking”.
Following a Kuhnian line of thinking, Kyriazis uses a post-positivist approach in his discourse, nevertheless acknowledging a belief in objective scientific truth, the value of experimental methodology and that of ontological realism. In addition, he belongs to the Stoic philosophical school of thought supporting determinism and a non-dualistic approach to science. In relation to human biological immortality he uses the Stoic notions of reason and logic in order to study and modify the process of human evolution.
He states that:
It is nonsensical and counter-intuitive to believe that Nature (or God) created human life only to allow it to end after a definite period of time. A human being must be able to live indefinitely, or to put it in another way, it should not be allowed to die through ageing. There must be something inside us, that can be modified (perhaps at conception) that will shift the entire death pathway into another, parallel pathway, that will have no predetermined end. This something is in fact, the evolutionary impetus to achieve higher levels of complexity in the quickest way possible. There should be a way to enhance this process and accelerate our transition from the process of evolution by natural selection to a post-Darwinian, transhumanist domain where indefinite life-spans are the norm.
“Thinking within the boundaries of hard empirical science is safe and constructive, but these boundaries thwart true enlightenment”.
“Vision, ambition and persistence are the tools that lead to human excellence, and thus eventually to indefinite life-spans”.
“Mediocrity and routine dampen the intellect and obstruct the process of longevity”.
In 1995 Kyriazis created the Historical Medical Equipment Society, which aims to study old medical instruments related to the history of medicine in the UK. The first public lecture was given at the University of London with support from the Welcome Trust. In 2001, in association with the Larnaca Municipality, he organised a major exhibition on the medical history in Cyprus with the theme “Medicine in Ancient Kition and Old Larnaca”, accompanied by a book on the matter with the same title.
Following the tradition of other benefactors in the family (such as his grandfather Dr Neoclis Kyriazis and his great- uncle Damianos Kyriazis), in 2008 he founded the Kyriazis Medical Museum, a cultural charitable foundation aiming to safe keep old medical items and traditions of Cyprus, and to educate the public on the Cypriot Medical History.
Partly in an attempt to diversify and apply the concept of hormesis in real life, Kyriazis set up the Caridi Estate in Liguria, Italy, transforming 13 acres (53,000 m2) of abandoned scrap-land into an organised estate of vineyards, orchards and woodland. Students and young people from abroad visit the estate in order to work the land and gain life-enhancing skills.