BOARD MEMBER INTROSPECTIVE
HANS KUGLER, B.S., PH.D
By Scott C. Tips
The artillery thundered ever closer as the Red Army advanced into eastern Germany. Young Hans, not even a teenager then, learned to shelter himself in a doorway as Russian fighter planes strafed the nearby ground. It was the kind of childhood that caused a young boy to grow up quickly into manhood.
Two Dogs and a Principled Stand
But it had not always been like that – at least not until 1943, when Hans’ father, a wealthy, conservative German landowner, had commanded his two very-protective German Shepard dogs to attack and chase off his property a feckless Nazi Party leader who had come to the family home demanding land. Unfortunately for the Nazi, the two canines were faster runners and managed to take some chunks of flesh out of his fat limbs before he could escape. Two weeks later Hans’ father received his draft notice, with orders to report to the Russian Front.
Although the family was left fatherless during this critical time, Hans’ father returned home safely after having served as a medical assistant. But, in the meantime, the Red Army had overrun eastern Germany and occupied the region where Hans and his family lived. And after the fall of Berlin, the Soviets quickly set up the local German communists as the new totalitarian proxy rulers.
To instill obedience to the new order, the Soviets created a political-indoctrination process of weekly communist-party meetings and Hans’ father was ordered to attend. Having more important things to do, he did not go. Finally, under much pressure, Hans’ father went to one of these meetings where he then proceeded to verbally lambast the local party leader for being a no-good, lying opportunist. Being somewhat thin-skinned, the communists took offense and threw the father in jail for six weeks. From then on, he plotted his and his family’s escape to the West.
Escape to the West
In 1945, with Germany a shambles and confusion still rampant everywhere, it was not yet terribly difficult to escape from the East to the West. At the wall-less border, the new East German border guards made a pretense of firing over the family’s heads as they pointed them in the right direction with a friendly wave. It was in this way that Hans and his family crossed the border into West Germany, pausing briefly in Bavaria before continuing on to Stuttgart where they settled. At ten years of age, then, Hans began his new life in Stuttgart.
After finishing school there, Hans joined the West German Air Force. From 1958 to 1960, he advanced up the ranks to jet training. But instead of ordering him into a fighter-jet squadron, the Air Force recognized his abilities as a teacher and made him a platoon leader and instructor for three crews in the West German Air Force Academy. Then, it was back to school in Munich with Hans alternating between military reserve training and more education. During those days Hans operated an Air Force flight simulator outside of Munich.
And Then Even Farther West
By 1964, Hans had been awarded his Bachelor of Science degree by the University of Munich School of Medicine, where he had majored in physiology under the noted Nobel Laureate Doctor A. Butenandt. Deciding though that the United States might be the best place for him to continue his post-graduate studies, Hans applied for admission into the chemistry program of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Parenthetically, Stony Brook is now recognized as one of the top universities in the World for medicine and sciences.
Not letting its reputation overawe him, however, Hans zipped through the program there, obtaining his Ph.D (in organo-phosphorus chemistry) in the shortest time of anyone in New York. The end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s saw Hans at Stony Brook doing post-doctoral work and teaching chemistry as an assistant professor.
This and other research was the basis for Hans’ first book on anti-aging – Slowing Down the Aging Process – published in 1971 and which was a groundbreaker in the field of anti-aging. I myself bought the book at the time and still have the copy today.
Leaving New York for Indiana in 1971, Hans worked for two years in the research department of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana in the field of environmental chemistry. Of particular interest to Hans were the effects of pesticides on chemistry, food, and human metabolism. He also researched the sound-stimulated rate of growth of agricultural plants.
As interesting as the research was, though, Hans was drawn back to academia. Hans began teaching chemistry again, this time to pre-med students as well as teaching quantum chemistry to graduate students at Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1972, and he continued doing that for two years. While teaching at the University, Hans did his first studies on anti-aging and cancer. His research there led him to postulate and present at medical meetings his “Combination Theory of Aging.” At the same time, Hans developed the ground-work for a “multi-factorial approach” to human and animal longevity, cancer, heart disease, brain functions, and chronic mental diseases, emphasizing immune and free-radical pathology.
Hans also associated himself with the famous Professor Dr. Robert Mendelsohn of the Illinois University School of Medicine. Together, they researched the combined effects of environmental and nutritional factors on overall health (such as immunity and base metabolism).
Later, when Hans moved to California, he continued teaching chemistry, this time at El Camino College. Academia and teaching seem to be in his blood, as does writing.
Hans has also authored Seven Keys to a Longer Life (Stein & Day, 1978), Tripping the Clock, A Practical Guide to Anti-Aging and Rejuvenation (Health Quest, 1983), and some 200 articles in such various publications as Let’s Live, Prevention, and Health Freedom News. As if that were not enough to keep him occupied, he is also the editor of Preventive Medicine Update and the Senior Science Adviser to the Journal of Longevity.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
Like his father, Hans has never been shy about taking a stand and speaking his mind. All who know him will definitely agree with this point. A frequent speaker at general health and medical meetings, Hans is known for stating his views clearly and firmly, whether those views are on science, medicine, or politics.
Hans also makes appearances on radio and television programs, with more than 500 such appearances under his belt. The programs have included AM New York, AM Canada, KPIX San Francisco, and many others. The topics on these programs have covered a wide ambit - primarily nutrition, anti-aging, and drug prevention,
Translating his views and knowledge into action, Hans has even run for political office. Although he did not succeed in getting elected, he made a strong showing that attracted attention.
This urge to act has also meant being actively involved on the board of directors and in other leadership roles of organizations such as the National Health Federation and the International Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. In fact, Hans is a past president of the Federation and has been on our Board of Governors for many years. As a result of his efforts, he has received some eleven awards from various medical and health organizations.
Still, while engaged in all of these various activities, Hans has made time for his special personal loves - flying aircraft and riding horses. Observing that the two activities often go together, Hans has said that “it is interesting that the highest percentage of jet jockeys also own and ride horses.” The Empty Saddle Club in Palos Verdes, California, which was originally founded as an old cowboy club and of which Hans is a long-time member, is still an all-horse-owners club. As a participant in its cowboy events, he has become known there as the “German Cowboy.”
Current Studies and Work
Stem cells are Hans’ current fascination. For the last year, he has been focusing his research activities on applying stem cells to improve health and extend life. According to Hans, stem cells can give the body give a boost similar to what Dr. Paul Niehans’ injected cell therapy achieves. In fact, Niehans’ therapy has helped Down’s Syndrome individuals tremendously and even more is expected of stem-cell therapy.
Hans is very quick to point out, though, that he is not working on stem cells derived in any way from fetuses and that it is a bunch of nonsense that they must come from this source. Rather, the research that Hans is pursuing is based upon modifying our own skin cells (because at present, to be useable, stem cells must come from our own DNA), inserting the cells into a donated female egg cell that has had its own DNA removed, and then growing the culture in a Petri dish. With its research offices in Southern California being established as you read this article, the International Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, a §501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will be the structure for advancing Hans’ research into this newest approach to life extension and human health.
An avid bodybuilder, Hans not long ago survived a serious automobile accident that would have killed a less-fit person. For a while, he was told by doctors and others that because of the accident and his reduced heart function, he would just have to adjust to a slower pace and a lower quality of life. But they hadn’t known the young Hans who had grown up dodging bullets. Here was just another bullet to dodge, and he did. As Hans himself put it, “With a car accident and reduced heart function, everyone told me that I could not do anything about it - but, now, here I am completely back to normal, thanks to stem cells!”