taken from Eco-Update section of
P.O. BOX 9547
Kansas City, Missouri 64133
$15.00 per year (12 issues)
Excellent Eco-Agriculture paper
distributed for ACRES by KeelyNet (214) 324-3501
Vangard Sciences, P.O. BOX 1031, Mesquite, TX 75150
The old expression, meaner than a junkyard dog, implies
that chronically underfed animals are hardier souls than their
pampered, well-fed relatives. It is a matter of scientific
record that they have fewer illnesses, apprarently because
their immune systems are thogher.
But though researchers know the effects of diet
restriction, they were in the dark as to why until this
summer, when Robert A. Good of the University of South Florida
in St. Petersburg and some co-researchers turned up a few
Reporting in the June issue of PROCEEDINGS OF THE
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, they demonstrated that mice
prone to autoimmune disease naturally manufacture two to seven
times the normal amount of a type of white blood cell involved
in the production of auto-antibodies, which attack the body’s
By consistently restricting the diets of the autoimmune-
prone mice to 60% of their normal food intake, they were able
to bring these potentially harmful B-cells down to an
acceptable level. This seems to explain why chronically
underfed animals are less vulnerable to immune diseases.
The Fasting Worms
Experimental tests conducted in the 1930’s at the Zoology
Department of the University of Chicago showed that worms,
when well-fed, grew old, but by fasting them they were made
In one experiment worms were fed as much as they usually
eat, except one worm, which was isolated and alternatively fed
and fasted. The isolated worm was alive and energetic after
19 generations of its relatives had lived out their normal
Professor C.M. Childs said:
“When worms are deprived of food, they do not die of
starvation in a few days. They live for months on
their own tissues. At such time they become smaller
and may be reduced to a fraction of their original
size. Then when fed after such a fasting, they show
all the physiological traits of young animals. But
with continued feeding, they again go through the
process of growth and aging (and die).
One group of worms was well fed and every three or four
months passed through the cycle of aging and
reproducing. Another group was given just enough food
to maintain the worms at a constant size but not enough
to make them grow.
These worms remained in good condition without becoming
appreciably older as long as the experiment continued,
which was three years.”
The life-span extension of these worms was the equivalent of
keeping a man alive for 600 to 700 years.
The big question, of course, is – do worms that don’t die
contribute much to the soil?
This file listed on KeelyNet as AGE1.ASC.