The Mitochondrial Route to National Solvency

Dolors & Sense

by Sanford Rose 

KISSIMMEE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—10/24/11—Conjure with two banal and apparently unconnected sentences: The amount of this country’s debt will shortly approach the total of the goods and services it produces each year; and: In order to build muscle, one must first tear muscle.

What, if any, is the nexus between these statements?

Let us lay out a causal concatenation.

The country’s chief long-term economic problem is uncontrolled Medicare spending.

Medicare spending defies control principally because our population is aging.

Not only are we aging. We are aging badly.

We are blasted with and by antiquity.

We suffer from increasing guts and decreasing shanks.

Our deteriorating bodies harbor chronic inflammatory processes that lead to metabolic syndrome—i.e., heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer and dementia.

Curb these scourges and one halves, or more than halves, the Medicare bill.

Metabolic syndrome can be greatly alleviated by preserving the integrity of cellular mitochondria, which constitute the factories producing adenosine triphosphate, the fuel on which the body runs.

As we age, our mitochondria senesce, causing muscle wasting, which promotes a sedentary lifestyle, which increases adiposity, which further erodes mitochondrial vitality.

Mitochondrial decay can be blunted by mobilization of the longer-lived satellite cells resident in the mitochondrial organelle.

Such mobilization is greatly facilitated by resistance exercise.

Tear a muscle and it will come back stronger. Keep tearing, within prudential limits, and you promote mitochondrial biogenesis.

You also prevent the shortening of the telomeres on the ends of chromosomes, the length of which regulate cell life.

Thus, as any fool can see, greater attention to the prosaic process of muscular tearing and the consequent rebuilding is vital to our national solvency.

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Sanford Rose, of New Jersey and Florida, served as Associate Editor of Fortune Magazine from 1968 till 1972; Vice President of Chase Manhattan Bank in 1972; Senior Editor of Fortune between 1972 and 1979; and Associate Editor, Financial Editor and Senior Columnist of American Banker newspaper between 1979 and 1991. From 1991 till 2001, Rose worked as a consultant in the banking industry and a professional ghost writer in the field of finance. He has also taught as an adjunct professor of banking at Columbia University and an adjunct instructor of economics at New York University. He states that he left gainful employment in 2001 to concentrate on gain-less investing. (A lifelong photo-phobe, Rose also claims that the head shot accompanying his Weekly Hubris columns is not his own, but belongs, instead, to a skilled woodworker residing in South Carolina.)