Attitudes Toward Aging
Life Can Be Way Too Long
posted on July 14, 2009
I had a totally enjoyable lunch meeting with a fairly new friend and a brand new friend last Thursday. Time flew, and my brain sizzled for hours afterward.
Then, I spent much longer on the phone than I intended the next day with one of the most inspiring and stimulating people I have ever known, which led to another conversation the following day with a brilliant and fascinating life extension scientist. I plan on all four being within my close circle of friends twenty years from now and beyond.
Those conversations crystallized a plan that has been brewing for a long time. This plan could integrate and put into motion diverse scientific approaches to extending your healthy life.
Why are these conversations so important to me? Why was I fired up the previous week after meeting with two active futurists who are working within the private space travel community?
Simply because most people either motivate you or deflate you. And every hour you spend with a motivator reduces time that you could spend with a deflator by one hour. So if you fill your time with motivators, you can't be dragged down by what Gary Halbert used to refer to as "energy sucks".
He said there are people who, when they walk into a room, would cause him to hear a huge sucking sound as the energy almost instantly drains from him. Gary avoided these types like the plague. He simply didn't leave room in his life for them. He surrounded himself with energizers. That's what most happy people do, often unconsciously.
Life is too short if you live a quality life, no matter how long you live. Life is too long without quality. Eventually, you'll cry "enough". Relationships contribute a lot to your quality of life. Obviously good health does too. Ditto for your ability to feed, clothe and educate yourself and your family and to be able to enjoy good entertainment and the newest technologies.
Life is good when your attitude is good. A positive outlook does wonders for your soul. And it's proven to extend your life. Sure, it's easier to maintain a good attitude when you're surrounded by energy givers, when your health is vibrant and when you're rich and free. But much comes from within regardless of your external conditions.
Did you ever stop to think that your relationships aren't so hot because of your attitude? How about your health and your economic well-being? Relationships, health and money aren't things you get for free. It's a two way street buckaroo. Change yourself and marvel at how quickly your world changes. In fact, you may find that some, but not all, of those energy sucks are simply responding to your bad vibes and aren't so draining after all.
If you haven't done so recently, read Chapter 11 in Life Extension Express. That's the chapter on Attitude, the 7th step toward radical life extension, and maybe the most important step of all. You can get a free downloadable copy at www.maxlife.org.
Whether you change your environment or need to change yourself... or whether you're okay the way you are, life will be good, and you'll want and deserve more of it. That's what we're working toward at Maximum Life Foundation - quality and quantity. You need both if you want to be optimally fulfilled. Long life will magnify what you have, so work on your quality while you can. Invest ten minutes on Chapter 11 now.
ANOTHER LOOK AT ATTITUDES TO AGING FROM REASON
The Speculist recently penned a good piece on why we still need to spend time convincing people that aging is a bad thing, and that alleviating the suffering and death caused by aging is no different from working to cure other diseases:
"Those who think taking on aging is a 'misuse' of medicine simply baffle me. If medical research came up with ways to eliminate cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, would anyone argue that those treatments represent a 'misuse' of medicine? Why is it bad for people to die from those things but okay for them to die from something else? Imagine if somebody asks you to make a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Would you respond to that by saying, 'Why? So those diabetes sufferers can continue their lives of self-serving hedonism?'
"No, you would never say anything like that, because only a moral cretin of truly world-class proportions would even think anything like that. But turn those cancer or diabetes victims into old people, and they become fair game - people whose continued existence is just too inconvenient to bear - people who need to die already, who it would be a misuse of medicine to help."
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
Modifying Mouse Metabolism (July 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4285
Here, h+ Magazine looks at one example: "We know plants and bacteria digest fats differently from humans, from mammals. Plant seeds usually store a lot of fat. When they germinate, they convert the fat to sugar to grow. The reason they can digest fat this way is because they have a set of enzymes that's uniquely present in plants and bacteria. These enzymes are called the 'glyoxylate shunt' and are missing in mammals.Â The researchers introduced genes for these enzymes from E. coli bacteria into cultured human cells and found that they increased the metabolism of fats in the cells. Rather than converting the fat into sugar as bacteria do, the cells converted the fat completely into carbon dioxide. ... The research team then introduced the genes into the livers of mice. While normal mice gain weight when put on a high-fat diet, [the] engineered mice 'remained skinny despite the fact that they ate about the same and produced the same waste' and were as active as their normal counterparts. They also had lower fat levels in the liver and lower cholesterol levels."
More on Methionine as the Crucial Amino Acid in CR (July 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4284
When will we see a very-low-methionine diet food range akin to those that exist for brand-name diet fads? The fact that such a thing doesn't exist and isn't being promoted to the hilt is yet another indication that the "anti-aging" marketplace cares little for science. Here's yet more evidence for methionine levels as one of the lynchpins of beneficial changes in metabolism caused by calorie restriction: "Protein or methionine restriction in the diet is known to decrease reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and mitochondrial oxidative stress and to increase maximum longevity in rodents, which could explain how these changes also take place in dietary restriction. However, it is not known whether restriction of other amino acids is also involved. To clarify this question, we studied the effect of restricting all the amino acids, except methionine ... the results obtained in the present study cl early show that the decrease in ingestion of only one molecule, methionine, causes the decrease in ROS production and oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA that is observed in dietary restriction in relation to the decrease in the rate of aging."
New Mprize Competitors Announced (July 09 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4282
The Methuselah Foundation gathers more competitors for the Mprize: "The Mprize offers researchers significant cash incentives in two categories: Longevity and Rejuvenation. Prizes are awarded for breaking the world record for the oldest-ever mouse and the most successful late-onset rejuvenation. The amount won is in proportion to the size of the fund and to the margin by which the previous record is broken. World class research teams from leading universities, including Harvard and MIT, are currently in competition for the prize. Tom Johnson, University of Colorado at Boulder is working with genetically diverse mice to identify variants and isolate the genes that contribute to a longer life to 'build' a mouse with a greater lifespan. The mice will live with environmental conditions and dietary restrictions conducive to longer life. Michal Masternak is expanding on the work of Andrzej Bartke (previous Mprize winner) also of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, breeding mice lacking both growth hormone and growth hormone receptor. They are observing increased insulin sensitivity, another factor related to sustained health and longevity."
The Dreaded Gothenburg Syndrome (July 08 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4281
From green light go: "What makes a disease a disease? Why isn't aging, a condition which results in the slow decline of the body, considered a disease? It seems so obvious. Another reason why people don't recognize aging as a disease is because 100% of the population suffers from it. We just need one person with perpetual youth to ignite a massive outcry for an aging cure. Finally, we need a new word for the disease. 'Aging' is too confusing. People associate it with children growing, or with becoming wise and experienced. One could then use 'senescence' but that is a biological term. So what then can we use? Senectitudeitis? Enter Senectitudeitis, a disease characterized by: 1) Somatic degeneration, 2) Wrinkling of the skin, 3) Macular degeneration, 4) Muscular degeneration, 5) Sexual decline, 6) Increased risk of Cancer, and 7) the dreaded Gothenburg Syndrome where people come to identify with the disease as being a normal part of life." Â It wouldn't much matter whether we called aging a disease if not for the FDA, whose unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats will only approve treatments for diseases (when they're willing to take the political risk to approve anything at all, that is), and who do not recognize aging as a disease. In a world without the FDA standing athwart progress to cry "halt!" who would care what we called aging?
An Advance in Controlling Neurons (July 07 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4279
Medicine is as much the quest to control our cells (and their signaling mechanisms) as anything else. Here is a small step on the way to both controlling errant cells in our brains, and ultimately learning how to replace them with something more durable: "The methods that are currently used to stimulate nerve signals in the nervous system are based on electrical stimulation. Examples of this are cochlear implants, which are surgically inserted into the cochlea in the inner ear, and electrodes that are used directly in the brain. One problem with this method is that all cell types in the vicinity of the electrode are activated, which gives undesired effects. Scientists have now used an electrically conducting plastic to create a new type of 'delivery electrode' that instead releases the neurotransmitters that brain cells use to communicate naturally. The advantage of this is that only neighb oring cells that have receptors for the specific neurotransmitter, and that are thus sensitive to this substance, will be activated. The ability to deliver exact doses of neurotransmitters opens completely new possibilities for correcting the signaling systems that are faulty in a number of neurological disease conditions."
Kurzweil on Engineering Away Aging (July 07 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4278
Here Ray Kurzweil responds to views expressed recently by aging researcher Leonard Hayflick: "Entropy is not the most fruitful perspective from which to view aging. There are varying error rates in biological information processes depending on the cell type and this is part of biology's paradigm. We have means already of determining error-free DNA sequences even though specific cells will contain DNA errors, and we will be in a position to correct those errors that matter. The most important perspective in my view is that health, medicine, and biology is now an information technology whereas it used to be hit or miss. We not only have the (outdated) software that biology runs on (our genome) but we have the means of changing that software (our genes) in a mature individual. Our intuition is linear so many scientists, such as Hayflick, think in linear terms and expect that the slow pace of t he past will characterize the future. But the reality of progress in information technology is exponential not linear. My cell phone is a billion times more powerful per dollar than the computer we all shared when I was an undergrad at MIT. And we will do it again in 25 years. What used to take up a building now fits in my pocket, and what now fits in my pocket will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years."
Athletes Live Longer, Probably the Exercise (July 06 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4277
An observation from the demographics of one of the groups most likely to be found exercising: "The health benefits of leisure-time physical activity are well known, however the effects of engaging in competitive sports on health are uncertain. This literature review examines mortality and longevity of elite athletes and attempts to understand the association between long-term vigorous exercise training and survival rates. Fourteen articles of epidemiological studies were identified and classified by type of sport. Life expectancy, standardized mortality ratio, standardized proportionate mortality ratio, mortality rate, and mortality odds ratio for all causes of death were used to analyze mortality and longevity of elite athletes. It appears that elite endurance (aerobic) athletes and mixed-sports (aerobic and anaerobic) athletes survive longer than the general population, as indicated by lo wer mortality and higher longevity. Lower cardiovascular disease mortality is likely the primary reason for their better survival rates. On the other hand, there are inconsistent results among studies of power (anaerobic) athletes. When elite athletes engaging in various sports are analyzed together, their mortality is lower than that of the general population. In conclusion, long-term vigorous exercise training is associated with increased survival rates of specific groups of athletes."