Dr. William Regelson 


Regelson, a medical oncologist and professor of medicine at the Medical College of Virginia, died on March 19. He was 76. He will be missed.

The last Back Page he contributed, in 2000, advocated the use of frozen "excess" human embryos for research. More recently, he was pushing an essay this month that was to be an explanation of the importance of touching in the care of the elderly. It is, he insisted, as important for this demographic group as it is for infants.

It was always hard to tell him when we couldn't publish one of his essays. He had an iron personality that wouldn't give up when he thought he was right, and in an argument he took no prisoners.

Regelson was always working on some plan that would, he was sure, eventually, make him wealthy and transform the treatment of a disease. That none of these projects ever quite hit the big time didn't deter him. Nor did it deter him from spending whatever time was needed to help others with whatever they needed: assistance in grant writing, and advice as to how to approach a problem. Most important, he would think hard about what could be done for those he knew were ill.

He was intensely interested in holding back the aging process and was especially interested in the hormones like melatonin and "superhormones" like DHEA. His books about these, "The Melatonin Miracle: Nature's Age-Reversing Disease-Fighting Sex-Enhancing Hormone" and "The Superhormone Promise: Nature's Antidote to Aging," sold well. He was looking forward to publication this year of his new one, "Pheromones: Understanding the Mystery of Sexual Attraction."

It should be difficult for anyone not to admire his generosity with his time and his willingness to look at all sides of a problem. "Thinking out of the box" was a phrase that should have been invented for him. It is hard now to realize that we won't still have among us this man who was not only brilliant but also visionary, who probably could help us solve many medical and ethical problems — if we would only listen. S

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