Dr. Robert N. Butler is the President and CEO of the International Longevity Center. Whether through his many appearances in front of the United States Congress, or his hundreds of interviews with the media, Dr. Butler has worked tirelessly for decades to push population-aging issues into the public discourse. As a gerontologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Butler recognized discrimination against the elderly as early as 1968, coining the term "ageism." Eight years later, the publication of his Pulitzer-prize-winning "Why Survive? Being Old in America" solidified his reputation as someone who foresaw the impact that aging would have on American society. A founding director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the nation's first department of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Butler often consults for television and radio. He is the author of some 300 scientific and medical articles. Source: The International Longevity Center
Question: What effect does alcohol have on aging?
Robert Butler: Well, for one thing they can cause what appears to be Alzheimer's disease, but is an impact, negative impact, upon the brain and that of course aside from that there are the facts that alcohol is highly associated with abuse-related families, domestic abuse, abuse of children, wives. About 27% of all highway fatalities are related to alcohol. Alcohol is a terrible national problem.
Well, we ought to have raise taxes, which we haven't done on alcohol since the 1950s and one of the reasons that people stopped smoking or reduced their smoking intake is the expense of taxes. Taxes was a very good strategy in reducing by 50% the number of smoker in the country. We could also significantly raise alcohol taxes and maybe have a powerful effect on alcoholism.
Recorded on: Mar 17 2008