Why Some People Don't Care about Longevity
posted on March 3, 2009
I attended a stimulating seminar last weekend, and it was not a health or longevity seminar. Attendees were entrepreneurs, authors and speakers, all wishing to move their projects and careers forward. Speakers were dynamic, successful and at the tops of their professions.
Normally, I would attend events like this and not mention them in my newsletter. But not this time.
That™s because I noticed a common thread that weaves through every single one. That thread is participants™ high level of interest in health and longevity. In fact, I get so much of this feedback that I often forget that not everyone shares that interest. In reality, a much higher percentage of these people want to live longer than I ever found in the general public. So why the difference?
In a word, it™s œpurpose.
Virtually every one of the speakers and attendees share a passion for life. Their lives have purpose. Some plan on changing the world in big ways. Others have their own more modest passionate projects, goals and plans for the future.
When your life has purpose, you have something to live for, something to look forward to. You plan, you study, you execute”you seldom get bored. You™re a player, not a spectator. You have a stake in the game of life, and you want it to continue. No matter how bad things seem at times, you anticipate positive outcomes. That™s because you have a plan.
So as long as your health is good, you don™t want life to end, ever.
And oh yes, the people at these events are generally much healthier and fit than the average American (Most foreigners are too, but that™s another story). Because they treasure their lives, they take better care of themselves.
What is your purpose? Your passion? It™s easy to slip in and out of purposeful modes. That™s why it™s productive and healthy to monitor who you are and where you are going. If you fall off the horse once in a while, get back on, or climb on another horse. You™ll be happier and will live longer.
I hardly ever hear objections to extreme anti-aging at these events. I hear them often in casual conversations with people I run into in every day environments. I believe that™s because the average person does not have purpose in his or her life. And that™s why greatly extended lifespans offer little or any value to so many people. And that™s why I quit trying to convince them otherwise. I™d rather talk with you and people like you who are receptive to the life-giving information you get in this letter.
Aubrey de Grey™s visit to Russia
"Until recently, there was no hope that the aging process can be stopped. Â Everyone knew that they must die, and therefore it cannot be helped. And people have learned not to think about it. To protect themselves, they think of the arguments in favor of the fact that aging is necessary that it has its advantages. And now we, the Methuselah Foundation, spend a lot of effort to explain than do. Yes, our goal - to make a life long, but it is equally important to ensure that this life was healthy.
"In Russia, [there is] a very strong School of Gerontology.Â But more importantly, there are scientists-biologists who study how the aging process, and finding the means to combat them. It is my great pleasure to discuss with them various aspects of the problem, even if we do not all agree with each other. In addition, I am going to discuss strategies to combat [aging with Russian groups], including the Foundation "Science for Life Extension" who organized my visit to Russia. But the main thing [is] to communicate with young scientists, students and the public. I am going to speak to the public lectures."
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
Ouroboros on Leaky Cellular Pores (February 27 2009) http://ouroboros.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/cellular-incontinence-in-postmitotic-cells-nuclear-pores-become-leaky-with-age/
Some small but important collections of cells in our body are as old as we are - they are never replaced. So for those cells, we should be interested in what happens to them as they grow old with us. Here, Ouroboros looks at a recently uncovered phenomenon: "How do cells get rid of their garbage? Slowly dividing or postmitotic cells must activate degradative pathways [e.g. autophagy] in order to prevent accumulation of potentially toxic damaged macromolecules and dysfunctional organelles. As an example, let™s consider the nuclear pore complex (NPC): it's [huge, complex, and topologically challenging] (the pore crosses the nuclear envelope and creates a hole in the process). Many NPC components aren't in dynamic equilibrium with cytosolic pools, so if we want to turn over any of these proteins we would have to somehow take out the entire NPC, repair the ensuing damage to the membrane, and then either re-insert the NPC (which I don't believe actually happens) or synthesize a new NPC to restore the lost import/export capacity. Unfortunately, new nuclear pores are probably only created during [mitosis as a part of cell division] So how do postmitotic cells turn over and degrade NPCs? The answer [is] that they probably don't. Instead, NPCs get old, and accumulate damage, and eventually stop doing their job."
Stem Cells Versus Kidney Damage (February 26 2009) http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090225005505&newsLang=en
This press release shows the potential for stem cell transplants to spur regeneration of the kidney: "Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. finds adipose tissue-derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs) significantly reduce mortality and improve renal function in an acute kidney injury model. Acute kidney injury is a tremendous medical and financial burden to the healthcare system due to high mortality rates and the lack of effective therapies beyond supportive treatments. Acute kidney injury was induced in 29 preclinical research subjects by occluding blood flow into and out of both kidneys for 38 minutes. Twenty minutes after reperfusion of the kidneys, ADRCs or saline only were injected intra-arterially. All subjects were assessed daily for 7 days for markers of kidney function (serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen) and survival. After seven days, 100% of ADRC-treated preclinical subjects survived compared to only 57% in the control group. The ADRC-treated subjects also showed statistically significant improvements in kidney function. In addition, substantial improvement in the histologic structure within the kidney was observed. This study suggests that ADRCs significantly accelerate renal repair and preserve renal function, offering a potential therapeutic approach in renal reparative medicine."
Spring Edition of h+ Magazine (February 26 2009) http://hplusmagazine.com/digitaledition/2009-spring/
The latest h+ magazine is a flash / PDF offering that contains a couple of short pieces that might be of interest for pro-longevity readers. Take a look at "Is Anti-Aging Medicine Coming to the Mainstream" and "Nanorobots in the Bloodstream," for example. The rest is of more general futurist interest this time around. "A microscopic-sized vessel injected into the bloodstream to destroy a lung tumor? [Researchers] have created such a vessel using live, swimming bacteria coupled to polymer beads. [They] have successfully steered these nanobots through the carotid artery of a living pig at 10 centimeters per second using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their latest research shows they can do this with human blood vessels as well. The bacteria bots contain magnetic particles and swim using tiny corkscrew-like tails, or flagella. ... [researchers are] confident that a stealth seek-and-destroy mission could be completed against a tumor before the body's immune system wipes out the bacteria."
Revisiting Gray Hair (February 25 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223131123.htm
Researchers are digging deeper into the mechanisms that lead to gray hair: "Going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair's natural pigment. All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot. We bleach our hair pigment from within, and our hair turns gray and then white. The build up of hydrogen peroxide was caused by a reduction of an enzyme that breaks up hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (catalase). Hair follicles could not repair the damage caused by the hydrogen peroxide because of low levels of enzymes that normally serve this function (MSR A and B). Further complicating matters, the high levels of hydrogen peroxide and low levels of MSR A and B, disrupt the formation of an enzyme (tyrosinase) that leads to the production of melanin in hair follicles. The researchers speculate that a similar breakdown in the skin could be the root cause of vitiligo."
Neurons From iPS Cells (February 25 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090224133154.htm
From ScienceDaily: "researchers were able to generate functionally mature motor neurons from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are engineered from adult somatic cells and can differentiate into most other cell types. A potential new source of motor neurons that does not require human eggs or embryos could be an enormous boon to research into conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal cord injury and could open the door to eventual treatments. To our knowledge, our results present the first demonstration of the electrical activity of iPS-derived neurons and further suggest the feasibility of using these cells to explore how changes in motor neuron activity contributes to the degeneration of these cells underlying these disorders. [the team] used skin fibroblasts and reprogrammed them back into an embryonic state, with the ability to differentiate into any cell type in the human body. They then took those cells and differentiated them into motor neurons."
The Perils of Excess Fat Tissue (February 24 2009) http://pmid.us/19223845
Letting yourself become very overweight and staying that way - something that is definitely a choice for most of us - is not good for your health and longevity, not to mention your wallet once those medical expenses start to roll in: "We prospectively assessed the association between an increase in body mass index (BMI) category since age 20 years and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality. Self-reported information pertaining to BMI was collected from 38,080 Japanese men and women aged 40-79 years at study entry in 1994. We observed an increased risk of all-cause mortality both among participants who had been persistently obese since early adulthood and participants who showed an increase in BMI category from normal to obese. In contrast, we did not observe an increased risk of all-cause mortality for normal weight at age 20 years and overweight at study entry, and stable overweight. For CVD and cancer mortality, these results were consistently observed."
MRL Mice and Inflammation (February 23 2009) http://www.maxlifesolution.com/inflammex/
MRL mice, as you might recall, are a laboratory breed that demonstrates extraordinary powers of regeneration for a mammal. Here, EurekAlert! notes large differences in their inflammatory response as well: "A strain of laboratory mice that has 'superhealing' powers has been found to resist inflammation after a knee injury, and also to avoid developing arthritis at the injury site in the long term. Their findings illuminate the mechanisms of post-traumatic arthritis and could point to therapies for this condition. The superhealer can almost regenerate tissue. We thought, 'if they can regenerate cartilage in the ear, what about cartilage in the knee?' This happened in our pilot study, and we now have taken these results further and learned what happens in terms of inflammation. If you can figure out why the animal is a superhealer and apply that to people, then you may help prevent the development of arthritis. Control mice showed a greater than 700-fold increase in the expression of one cytokine, [interleukin], in the first four hours after a fracture and 37-fold difference in that cytokine level at 7 days after the fracture. Interleukin generally promotes inflammation and an increase in temperature. The superhealer mice showed a similar trend, but in much lower amounts: a 70-fold peak in expression at day 0 down to a 3.5-fold increase by day 7."