‘If you’re too old for dancing, get yourself a monkey gland’
The above tagline refered to Serge Voronoff’s work. The above line is from a song called Monkey Doodle Doo by Irving Berlin, which refers to the real monkey testicle transplants done by Voronoff.
Voronoff believed that transplanting chimpanzee testicles can reverse aging in humans and, ultimately, that problems like loss of memory, lethargy, fatigue, obesity and lack of body hair can be cured using chimpanzee tissue.
Voronoff went to Egpyt for 14 years where the Egyptian eunuchs are studied. There he observed that the boys whose testicles had been removed at the age of six were sluggish, had poor memory and aged quickly. This made him believe that testicles are the major organs that give strength and vigor to humans and animals alike.
Voronoff started to implant the testicles of young goats into older ones.
In 1920 Voronoff transplanted testicle tissue from a chimpanzee into a human scrotum. The patient reported increased vigor, improved memory and better stamina.
During the 1920s to 1930s more than 500 men in France alone had tissue from chimpanzee gonads grafted to their own. Many big businessmen and even the French Prime Minister were amongst Voronoff’s clients.
Voronoff was termed “Doctor Youth” by his clients and many people looked upon him as someone who performed miracles.
Voronoff’s experiments were eventually denounced. After some years his clients had not noticed any improvements after their procedures. During the 1940s Voronoff’s experiments were termed “medical monkey business”.
Voronoff is believed to have implanted a chimpanzee thyroid gland into a young boy who was termed mentally retarded. It was observed that over the next year the boy’s mental faculties returned to normal.
Some of the complaints that Voronoff’s clients made were that they and their children were devolving into displaying primate behavior. The discovery of testosterone in 1935 was another fact that negated Voronoff’s research.
From the 1920 to 1940, some 2000 monkey-to-human transplants were undertaken from France to India. Voronoff termed these procedures xenografts and they are still talked about by anti-aging specialists who are intersted in human hormone replacement.
There is nothing creepier than these human experiment, which became wildly popular.