The Longevity Crisis

*This is an article from the Fall 2022 issue of Contentment Magazine.

By Lewis Coleman, MD, FAIS 


“It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relations of man-social and political-and to the entire universe as a whole.” – Dmitri Mendeleev 


What a difference a day makes! Wasn’t it only yesterday that Paul Ehrlich predicted a population explosion?1 Now, only a few years later, fertility is declining, and populations are shrinking throughout the world with few exceptions. The United States has maintained its population only by attracting immigration, mostly from Mexico, but now it suddenly faces an unexpected and even more ominous menace: declining longevity.  

For decades American experts have noted exponential increases in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and rheumatoid diseases, but the implications are ignored.2 Now, insurance companies are suddenly reporting increased death benefits that reflect declining average life span in the American population for three years running.3 The CDC attributes these changes to suicides, drug abuse, and COVID, but these tragic factors alone cannot account for the decreasing longevity of the entire population, nor can conventional medicine explain the cause.4 The implications are not rocket science, and they are not new. Hippocrates would have understood: 

“Disease is not an entity, but a fluctuating condition of the patient’s body, a battle between the substance of disease and the natural self-healing tendency of the body.” — Hippocrates 


“Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against Nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear.” — Hippocrates 


Stress theory, now empowered by the recent discovery of its long-sought stress mechanism,5 explains the cause-and-effect relationships of environmental adversity, disease, and longevity. It warns that the decline in American health and longevity will continue, because the combined onslaught of multiple environmental stresses has exceeded the limits of human tolerance. These include pesticides, herbicides, automobile exhaust, smoking, toxic drugs, drug abuse, drug toxicity, food preservatives, food additives, nutritional deficiencies, chlorinated water, toxic industrial wastes, and air particulates, all of which are largely free of restriction in the United States. Furthermore, stress theory explains how emotional adversity harms health, which has long been obvious but until now has been discounted for lack of an effective explanation.6 Examples include generational poverty, alarming propaganda, joblessness, homelessness, abusive taxation, warfare, lawsuits, divorce law, crime, violence, child abuse, incest, and the increasing injustice of government justice. Such stresses afflict rich and poor alike. 

Normally the stress mechanism functions efficiently and unobtrusively to repair tissues and regulate organ function, but like any mechanism, it has operational limits. When those limits are exceeded by unremitting combinations of environmental stresses, it becomes hyperactive and begins to waste body resources, and produce excessive and defective products that damage tissues and disrupt organ function. Such harmful stress mechanism hyperactivity manifests as disease. Thus, stress mechanism hyperactivity is the universal cause of disease, and what appears to be distinctly different and unrelated diseases is determined by fluctuating stress mechanism hyperactivity. For example, chickenpox and smallpox viruses cause pustules; mumps virus produces parotid swelling; measles manifests Koplik spots, and diphtheria forms fibrous membranes in the pharynx. However, most disease instigates generalized symptoms including fever, fatigue, rashes, edema, malaise, and exudates that defy definitive diagnosis. 

All forms of disease threaten health and longevity by damaging tissues, disrupting organ function, and squandering bodily resources. Borderline stress mechanism hyperactivity may undermine longevity without causing obvious symptoms, but the greater the duration and degree of disease, the greater its threat to health. Stress theory thus predicts that environmental stresses will continue to erode longevity until they are alleviated. 

Three independent, synergistic pathways activate the mammalian stress mechanism and focus its powerful effects to repair tissues and regulate physiology. Their activities cause the stress mechanism to generate a bewildering blizzard of fluctuating symptoms that obscure the relative simplicity of stress mechanism function. Painful nervous stimulation activates the Nociception pathway; tissue damage activates the Tissue Disruption Pathway (trauma); and the Cognitive Pathway pre-emptively activates the stress mechanism in accord with dangerous environmental circumstances.  

Stress theory suggests new ways to detect harmful subclinical stress mechanism hyperactivity, and simple, safe, effective, and affordable treatments. These will be elaborated in future essays. Improved means of detection and treatment, however, are no substitute for controlling the environmental stresses that cause disease to begin with. 

Pervasive Pollution 

It is hardly surprising that pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated water, automobile exhaust, food preservatives, and industrial wastes that pollute the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe are the main cause of increasing illness. All are known to be toxic to humans and animals, and their enduring environmental presence coincides with increasing disease. Herbicides and pesticides are often combined with additional toxic chemicals to adhere them to plants, and otherwise increase their utility. The chemicals are absorbed into animal feed crops, so that they contaminate nearly all foods, including meat and milk.  

I am no stranger to pollution. I grew up in the Ohio Valley, downstream from Pittsburgh. This location attracted several horrific corporate polluters, though I remained blissfully unaware of this in my youth. My best friend in high school was the son of the DuPont chemical plant manager in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He told me that the DuPont plant manufactured “Delrin,” a space-age plastic. None of us knew that it produced Teflon, which generates notoriously toxic waste. I dated the daughter of the Union Carbide Metals plant manager, where my father worked, and a girl whose father worked at Union Carbide Plastics. I played basketball and football with a classmate who lived around the corner and whose father became the Union Carbide Metals plant manager. Despite their prominent positions, these men earned pittances compared to the multi-millions paid to corporate CEOs. They were modest minions who had families to feed. My own father was a star athlete in high school who financed his mechanical engineering education with a football scholarship at Auburn University. He began his career at Union Carbide after serving as a lieutenant in a tank division in Germany in WWII. I was in awe of his accomplishments and understood his frustration at being sidelined as a “maintenance engineer,” which he attributed to corporate politics. 

Beware of what you dream. My father’s frustration convinced me to avoid the politics of a corporate career. Even as a small boy I listened to the radio and concluded that the world is so rife with violence and injustice as to question the worth of human existence. Thus, I dreamed of a livelihood in research or medicine where I might somehow contribute something to science. I worked during summers at Union Carbide Metals, Union Carbide Plastics, and Shell Chemical to help pay my Ohio State tuition. Major explosions and fires at these plants killed workers and dumped toxic wastes into the river even before I graduated.7 Meanwhile, the Vietnam war raged while Tom Lehrer sang his “Pollution” song and campus protestors chanted “Don’t drink the water, and don’t breathe the air,” but I was a busy student with no time to dwell on distractions. 

Long after I left Ohio, a West Virginia farmer realized that dozens of his cows were dropping dead after drinking poisoned water from the small stream where the DuPont plant dumped its toxic Teflon chemicals. He appealed to a corporate attorney, who filed a class action lawsuit, which revealed DuPont had known for thirty years that its toxic waste was poisoning drinking water for miles around its facilities, and the toxic Teflon chemicals persist indefinitely in the environment as well as human bodies. DuPont’s secret epidemiological studies had long since proved that these toxins were causing cancer and reducing life span in the surrounding population.8 This inspired sanctions of the other companies, but their plants are still operating and polluting.9 

Meanwhile, Union Carbide unconscionably built a pesticide plant in the middle of the densely populated city of Bhopal, India that suffered a massive leak of phosgene gas — the deadliest war gas of WWI — that killed and maimed thousands of unsuspecting Indian citizens as they slept. This became the worst peacetime industrial accident on record.10 Instead of accepting responsibility, Union Carbide sold its assets and disappeared, leaving the Indian government to care for its mutilated citizens.  

After medical school I moved to Los Angeles, where politically powerful farmers were spraying toxic malathion pesticide at night all over Southern California to control an agricultural pest called the “medfly.” My guess is that this was done at the behest of Georgia cotton barons who moved to California after the Civil war and now own some 70% of California’s farmland. Their thirsty cotton crops consume most of California’s water, and they control California politics.11 I secured about three minutes of public airtime on NBC to protest this outrage, and I’d like to think this had some influence, because the spraying ceased soon thereafter. More recently the release of sterilized medflies has eradicated the medfly where pesticides failed. Perhaps this points to a more hopeful future. However, I now live in California’s Central Valley, where pervasive pesticides plague the population with asthma and Parkinson’s disease.12  

The medical profession in the United States ceased, very largely, to be a profession of the fatherly confessors and unprofessing humanitarians and became one of the largest groups of hardheaded petty-bourgeois hustlers in the United States, and their professional association became the most ruthlessly materialistic lobbying association of any professional group. 

 — Carrol Quigley13 

I specialized in anesthesiology, where my experience led me to conclude that politics enables mediocrity to even the score with ability. My father would have laughed aloud. During my career corporations have perverted professional practices to promote profits at the price of public health. The more sickness, the greater their profits.14 Carbon dioxide is as essential to life as oxygen, because it enables all aspects of the mechanism of oxygen transport and delivery, and it has invaluable therapeutic properties, but the mechanism of oxygen transport and delivery, which has been understood since the turn of the previous century, together with knowledge of CO2 therapeutic properties, has been mysteriously eradicated from medical textbooks and teaching for more than 50 years. I call this “The Great Medical Hoax of the 20th Century.”15 This begs the obvious question: How on earth did this happen?  

To make a long story short, the impending apocalypse of WWI inspired intense medical research that discovered the mechanism of oxygen transport and delivery, and revealed the therapeutic benefits of carbon dioxide and morphine. After the war, physicians being in short supply, Dr. George Washington Crile founded a school of nurse anesthesia. The nurses supplemented ether anesthesia with carbon dioxide and morphine, and became famous for their superior surgical outcomes. However, they lacked the means to measure and monitor CO2 concentrations in their gas mixtures, and their over-enthusiastic CO2 supplementation sometimes caused CO2 asphyxiation that manifested as hypoxic brain convulsions. This caused considerable consternation. 

The success of the nurses inspired resentment among doctors. Dr. Ralph Waters, the first chairman of a university anesthesia department, devised specious animal experiments that confused CO2 asphyxiation with anesthesia, and fabricated fictitious clinical reports to characterize CO2 as “toxic waste, like urine” that must be “rid from the body” using mechanical hyperventilation to prevent its supposedly dangerous effects during surgery. He taught his MD anesthesiology residents to use his innovative new technique that employed intravenous sodium pentothal hypnosis and curare paralysis to enable elective endotracheal intubation that facilitated mechanical hyperventilation and enabled surgeries in the mouth and in prone position that were impossible with the mask technique used by the nurses. The hyperventilation caused no consequences with the original “closed-circuit” anesthesia machines that were universally used at that time, because these machines were designed to conserve onerously expensive medical gases. Waters was a shrewd politician, and he carefully placed his residents in prestigious academic positions throughout the country, so that anesthesiologists soon supplanted the nurses. 

As the cost of medical gases declined, the closed-circuit anesthesia machines were replaced by a new generation of machines that employed continuous fresh gas inflows to prevent supposedly dangerous CO2 elevations. With these new “open-circuit” machines, mechanical hyperventilation rapidly depletes CO2 tissue reserves, which undermines respiratory drive and is incompatible with beneficial narcotic treatment. As these new machines were introduced, Dr. Waters suddenly retired and strangely refused further involvement with the profession he had created. The evidence suggests that he feared that his fraud would be discovered. 

However, Waters had created a powerful hoax that had firmly entrenched the harmful habit of hyperventilation in anesthesia training, belief, and practice, that persists to the present. Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists alike are still brainwashed during their training to think carbon dioxide is toxic and must be removed using mechanical hyperventilation during anesthesia, even though CO2 depletion is inherently dangerous and incompatible with beneficial narcotics. The hoax has escaped the bounds of anesthesia, perverted other specialties, derailed medical research, and reversed medical progress for more than fifty years. Few practitioners realize that they are victims of a hoax, those few dare not deviate from prevailing dogma due to the danger of anesthesia politics. The hoax persists despite the recent re-discovery of therapeutic CO2 and narcotic benefits by fresh modern research. This prevailing deficit of fundamental knowledge is no accident. Those who seek additional details and references may find them in my publications and the previous issue of Contentment.14-16 

Madness is rare in individuals  but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. 

— Friedrich Nietzsche 


The harmful habit of hyperventilation is scientific insanity that should be condemned as malpractice but instead remains ubiquitous throughout the world. It confers no benefits whatsoever. It disrupts oxygen delivery to organs and tissues. It undermines postoperative respiratory drive.14,16,17 It is incompatible with beneficial narcotics that inhibit harmful surgical nociception (nervous activity) that occurs despite anesthesia. It has killed countless patients, and promoted postoperative cancer, heart disease, and chronic illnesses.17  

In contrast, hypercarbia offers the most potent and practical medical treatment ever discovered. This was well understood and widely utilized 100 years ago, but is now totally forgotten.16,18 I am forced to conclude that covert corporate conspiracy upholds the hoax to exaggerate sickness that enhances profits. Thus, corporate medicine has become the enemy of the public it purports to serve. 

Corporate Corruption 

Corporations have unquestionably brought technological blessings, but America’s “founding fathers” feared them as a social and political menace that threatens government.19 They were invented in Britain long before the American revolution. Their sole purpose is to maximize profits and shield their owners and agents from lawsuits. They endure indefinitely and enjoy more rights than a living human being.  

British sources financed both sides of the American Civil War, leaving the American government crippled with debt.20,21 John D. Rockefeller and his associates introduced corporate law to America after the Civil war, and British corporations flooded into America. The source that financed their notorious Standard Oil Cartel was undoubtedly British, but it remains hidden behind a complex web of confusing corporations.22,23 As the founding fathers feared, these British corporations soon had more income than the American government. Union Carbide is an example. It was a British corporation that purchased the Federal gunpowder plant in Nitro, West Virginia after the Civil War. Thus ended the American experiment. 

In his book “Poison Spring” E.G. Valliantos describes how pesticides and pollutants are absorbed into food crops and livestock, and how politically potent corporations emasculated President Nixon’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) immediately after its inception. They stripped away its laboratories and scientists, and relegated its job of policing pollution to the very corporations that do the polluting.24 Could it be that Mr. Nixon was forced to resign because his EPA bill threatened the profits of powerful corporations? His shortcomings otherwise seem trivial. On a more hopeful note, the Clinton administration discouraged smoking despite tobacco lobby opposition only a few years later. This was an unprecedented boon to public health, but it only postponed the decline in longevity. Meanwhile, the lurking tobacco corporations continue covert efforts to promote nicotine addiction via the dangerous practice of “vaping” that causes a lethal stress reaction in lung tissues. 

In contrast to the United States, the European Union has restricted environmental pollution. It bans toxic phthalates in plastics to prevent children from absorbing these dangerous chemicals while teething, and prohibit feeding animals with toxic substances that contaminate their meat and milk. Toxic refrigerants are being scrutinized. Freon, which DuPont touted until recently as a miracle of non-toxic safety, deteriorates into phosgene, a deadly “war gas,” when exposed to flame. Does anybody remember the “Ozone Hole”? Did anyone notice that the “Ozone Hole” problem disappeared after Freon production halted? Did anybody know that the World Trade Center skyscrapers were loaded with Freon when they collapsed on 9/11? Could phosgene gas released from flame-exposed Freon explain the mysterious pulmonary problems suffered by emergency crews during that demolition? Meanwhile, the hydrocarbon refrigerants that replaced Freon are also toxic. This may explain why Mercedes Benz is developing air conditioning systems for their cars that utilize environmentally friendly carbon dioxide a safe alternative.25 These and other reforms have sustained longevity in Europe even as it declines in America.  


Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale. Medicine, as a social science, as the science of human beings, has the obligation to point out problems and to attempt their theoretical solution: the politician, the practical anthropologist, must find the means for their actual solution. The physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor, and social problems fall to a large extent within their jurisdiction.

 — Rudolf Virchow

“Medical education does not exist to provide students with a way of making a living, but to ensure the health of the community.”

— Rudolf Virchow

Physicians and scientists are mere handmaidens of the power, politics, privilege, and persuasion that prevails over all forms of human endeavor. They can do no more than identify problems and recommend reforms. Rudolf Virchow is remembered as the “father of modern pathology” but few remember that he was elected to the Reichstag, where he was a trifling hindrance for Hindenburg, who was preparing for WWI.  

Few would wish to live without the blessings of civilization, and fewer pause to consider that all civilizations face multiple threats. None has yet stood the test of time. According to Will Durant, declining health, intelligence, and fertility collapsed the Greek and Roman civilizations.26 Warfare slaughters the best and brightest. Privilege and power concentrates wealth and strangulates commerce, incentive, and progress. The innate injustice of government justice does its part. For us, increasing disease and declining longevity might be the last straw. 

The purpose of this essay is to explain the significance of declining longevity in the United States and draw attention to the necessity of reform. Stress theory predicts that worse is yet to come unless politics can somehow alleviate environmental stresses. I am no fan of government,27 and I have no idea how such reform can be accomplished, but corporations are a government creation, and only government can control them. The danger is upon us, and the hour is late. God help us all. 

Note: the views expressed in this essay represent those of the author and should not be attributed to the American Institute of Stress 

Those who wish to learn more about stress theory and its implications are encouraged to explore, which offers free downloads of the author’s published papers, and read his recently published book called “50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The Discovery of Hans Selye’s Stress Mechanism” that is published by the American Institute of Stress and sold on The next issue of Contentment will also include a review ofe the mechanism.  


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  1. Sciubba, J. D. 8 billion and counting : how sex, death, and migration shape our world. First edition. edn,  (W.W. Norton & Company, 2022). 
  1. Hailey Ross, J. W. US death-benefit payouts hit record high in 2021<> (March 15, 2022). 
  1. Devitt, M. CDC Data Show U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline<> (2018). 
  1. Coleman, L. S. A Stress Repair Mechanism that Maintains Vertebrate Structure during Stress. Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets, doi:BSP/CHDDT/E-Pub/00015 [pii] (2010). 
  1. Mason JW, W. M., Mougey EH, Wherry FE et al. . Psychological versus nutritional factors iin the effects of fasting on hormonal balance. Psychosom Med 30, 554-560 (1968). 
  1. [email protected], J. D. Belpre, Ohio Shell Plant Explodes<> (2018). 
  1. Sisk, T. A lasting legacy: DuPont, C8 contamination and the community of Parkersburg left to grapple with the consequences<> (January 7, 2020). 
  1. Wilcke, G. Cleaning Up Union Carbide <> (1972). 
  1. Mandavilli, A. Bhopal, India: The World’s Worst Industrial Disaster Is Still Unfolding<> (2018). 
  1. Arax, M. & Wartzman, R. The king of California : J.G. Boswell and the making of a secret American empire.  (PublicAffairs, 2003). 
  1. Service, G. p. b. (Germany, 2021). 
  1. Quigley, C. Tragedy and hope; a history of the world in our time.  (Macmillan, 1966). 
  1. Coleman, L. S. Four Forgotten Giants of Anesthesia History. Journal of Anesthesia and Surgery 3, 1-17 (2015). <>. 
  1. Coleman, L. S. (ed Jeffrey Walden) (American Institute of Stress, California, 2022). 
  1. Coleman, L. S. 50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The Discovery of Hans Selye’s Stress Mechanism. (The American Institute of Stress Press, 2021). 
  1. Monk, T. G., Saini, V., Weldon, B. C. & Sigl, J. C. Anesthetic management and one-year mortality after noncardiac surgery. Anesth Analg 100, 4-10 (2005). 
  1. Rose, A. Carbon Dioxide in Medicine.  (Conscious Breathing Publishing). 
  1. Jefferson, T. Thomas Jefferson to George Logan <> (November 12, 1816). 
  1. Liverpool’s Abercromby Square and the Confederacy During the U.S. Civil War 
  1. Ascher, R. Lincoln Financed the War by Taking On the British-Backed New York Banks (1992). 
  1. Standard Oil American Corporation 
  1. Blair, J. M. The control of oil. 1st edn,  (Pantheon Books, 1976). 
  1. Vallianatos, E. G. & Jenkins, M. Poison spring : the secret history of pollution and the EPA. First U.S. edition. edn,  (Bloomsbury Press, 2014). 
  1. (2021). 
  1. Durant, W., Durant, A. & Rouben Mamoulian Collection (Library of Congress). The story of civilization.  (Simon and Schuster, 1935). 
  1. Coleman, L. S. Take a Walk on the Wild Side (1995). 


Lewis Coleman, MD, FAIS is a board-certified anesthesiologist who completed his BS degree in biology at Ohio State University, earned his MD degree from New York Medical College, and completed his surgical internship and anesthesiology residency at UCLA, followed by 40 years in private practice. Coleman’s basic sciences instruction at NYMC miraculously coincided with the two-year sojourn of Dr. Johannes Rhodin, a famous Swedish pioneer of electron microscopy who was retained by the school to upgrade its curriculum. Dr. Rhodin was an expert on the stress theory of Hans Selye. His stress theory lectures devastated the dogma of classical physiology and convinced Coleman that stress theory represented the future of medicine. Many years later, these lectures miraculously enabled Coleman to identify Selye’s long-sought stress mechanism. Thus identified, the stress mechanism enables Selye’s “Unified Theory of Medicine” that promises a new era of health, longevity, and freedom from the eternal curse of disease. Its implications exceed the bounds of medicine and confer a “unified theory of biology” that explains embryology, extinction, evolution, ethology, intelligence, anatomy, taxonomy, the Cambrian explosion, and dinosaurs, and resolves the disparities of Darwin, Lamarck, Baldwin, and saltation. Its distant implications reside in the realm of science fiction. His website is dedicated to stress theory and offers relevant materials free of charge. His book, 50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The Discovery of Hans Selye’s Stress Mechanism, is available on Amazon. 

Contentment Magazine

The dictionary defines “content” as being in a state of peaceful happiness.  The AIS magazine is called Contentment because we want all of our guests and members to find contentment in their lives by learning about stress management and finding what works best for each them.  Stress is unavoidable, and comes in many shapes and sizes that makes being in a state of peaceful happiness seem like a very lofty goal.  But happiness is easy to find once you are able to find ways to manage your stress and keep a healthy perspective when going though difficult times in life.  You will always have stress, but stress does not always have you!

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