This banned “Fountain of Youth Drug” may be making a comeback in a few U.S.-based anti-aging and longevity clinics, according to Dr Thomas Perls , director of the New England Centenarian and Supercentenarian Studies at Boston Medical Center.
KH3 or Gerovital H3 contains procaine hydrochloride (novocaine), a dental anaesthetic. It has been used for "antiageing" effects including cognitive improvement for more than 50 years in Rumania based on research conducted by Dr Ana Aslan (1897 –1988)
Perls explains that by the 1970s, the National Institute on Aging commissioned a thorough evaluation of the studies and claims surrounding Gerovital H3 and had concluded that, except for a possible mild monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor effect that would potentially ameliorate depression, there was no scientifically credible evidence supporting the claims that procaine hydrochloride is beneficial in treating age-related diseases or syndromes.
Perls points out that a plausible explanation for why some subjects might have experienced some improvements in health was that, in addition to receiving Gerovital H3, they were receiving other interventions such as exercise, stress reduction and healthy nutrition.
There have to date been no double-blind, placebo controlled trials demonstrating a significant improvement in the outcomes that anti-aging doctors and entrepreneurs claimed..
Additional studies were later performed to further investigate a possible MAO inhibitory effect from procaine hydrochloride and any subsequent neurocognitive benefit but there was no evidence that procaine and its preparations could treat or preventing cognitive impairment or dementia.
The above story is based on the July 3, 2013 news release by Boston University Medical Center.
The report is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society:
Perls T. The reappearance of procaine hydrochloride (gerovital h3) for antiaging. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Jun;61(6):1024-5. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12278.
A 2008 Cochrane Review reported that there is some evidence from older studies that procaine preparations might improve memory in persons without cognitive impairment. However, the clear evidence of side effects suggests that the risks might outweigh the benefits. Yet, the rich, the famous, and the nasty continue to turn at the Ana Aslan National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics located in Otopeni, a 20-minute drive from Bucharest,
Is Mahathir a regular patient of the Institute?
We don't know but
“Famous names from around the world have received Aslan's anti-aging treatment. According to the institute, they have included Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich, world leaders such as U.S. President John F. Kennedy and French President Charles de Gaulle, and artist Salvador Dali.
"When they came, the secret police provided tight security, and all staff except for a select few were prohibited from looking at them, even from a distance," Popistasu says.
Still, the presence of many of the institute's famous clientele remains if you know where to look.
An extravagant clothes chest donated by former Philippines President Fernando Marcos and his wife, Imelda, sits in Aslan's former living room, while a guestbook features the signatures of Guatemalan Nobel Prize in Literature winner Miguel Angel Asturias and other luminaries.”
Noriko Akiyana, The Asahi Shimbun GLOBE, August 12, 2012.
Szatmári S, Bereczki D. Procaine treatments for cognition and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD005993. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005993.pub2.