Healthy Life Extension
A Miracle Longevity Drug?
posted on February 18th, 2013
A Miracle Longevity Drug?
Dear Future Centenarian,
I watched a fascinating Gerontology Research Group presentation which was held at UCLA.
The guest speaker was James Watson, M.D., a plastic surgeon who is also an aging and stem cell authority. Dr. Steven Coles usually presents, but he observed this time while recovering from cancer surgery.
Dr. Watson returned from a Mao Clinic conference and summarized some of the pertinent issues in his talk. He covered cell senescence as it relates to longevity.
He said if we can reverse cell senescence, which makes cells undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death), that would be a big anti-aging boost. The process could even reverse DNA damage if it is caught in time. Of course, DNA damage can lead to cancer as well as accelerated aging.
He went on to report that inflammation is largely caused by a small number of senescent cells which infect surrounding cells “ sort of a œbad apple theory. This becomes increasingly true as we age, but the processes start at early ages. In fact, Mao went as far as to say we should stop calling inflammation œinflammation and instead refer to it as œcell senescence.
The key to slowing cell senescence is inhibiting mTOR. (mTOR) is a protein that regulates cell growth, proliferation, motility (ability to move food through its digestive tract), survival, protein synthesis and transcription (the first step of gene expression). If you™ll look over these functions, you™ll see why inhibiting mTOR is a key to treating cancer and probably preventing many cancers.
According to Dr. Watson, 80 genes are regulated and changed, and eleven factors contribute to mTOR inhibition. As far as he can determine, the only compound that addresses all eleven is low doses of the drug rapamycin.
Here™s a link to the presentation:
Am I encouraging you to run out and try to get a prescription? No. Side effects can be dangerous, especially at high doses. Although many people experiment with it for anti-aging purposes, I don™t. Maybe I will someday, but not until we know if the anti-aging benefits it gives to mice will translate to humans.
We are seeking safe natural alternatives. One may be on the horizon. It™s an adult stem cell therapy. If and when it™s proven, I™ll let you know.
Watch this flick
If you have an interest in the future, and especially in the implications of future technologies that will change the world, virtually overnight, then get a copy of The Singularity. It™s spell-binding, educational and entertaining. You can find the trailer here.
Critics rave about it. Here™s the plot summary:
Within the coming decades we™ll be able to create AIs with greater than human intelligence, bio-engineer our species and re-design matter through nanotechnology. How will these technologies change what it means to be human?
Director Doug Wolens speaks with leading futurists, computer scientists, artificial intelligence experts, and philosophers who turn over the question like a Rubik™s Cube. Ultimately, if we become more machine-like, and machines more like us, will we sacrifice our humanity to gain something greater? Or will we engineer our own demise?
THE SINGULARITY is a comprehensive and insightful documentary film that examines technology™s accelerating rate, and deftly addresses the resulting moral questions.
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
NITRIC OXIDE AND LONGEVITY IN NEMATODES Friday, February 15, 2013
Nitric oxide shows up in many places in the biochemistry of longevity, the processes by which differences in the operation of metabolism influence the pace of aging.
In this example, however, it isn't particularly clear that it has any great relevance to human biology:
ON GREATER LONGEVITY IN COLDER ENVIRONMENTS Friday, February 15, 2013
Why do cold-blooded species live longer in colder environments? Researchers have a prospective mechanism that is shared by mammals:
"Scientists have known for nearly a century that cold-blooded animals, such as worms, flies and fish all live longer in cold environments, but have not known exactly why.
SEARCHING FOR COMMONALITIES IN CANCER Thursday, February 14, 2013
The broad variety and rapid change in mechanisms within cancerous cells is one of the reasons that cancer is hard to tackle - every cancer is different and evolving.
Circumventing this to find truly effective cancer therapies will require the discovery of some mechanistic commonality that can be targeted, some biological process that all cancers depend on and which distinguishes their cells from non-cancerous cells.
DIETARY FATTY ACIDS AND AUTOPHAGY Thursday, February 14, 2013
The cellular housekeeping processes of autophagy show up everywhere in considerations of metabolism and aging: better repair of cellular damage and removal of unwanted metabolic byproducts has a noticeable beneficial effect on the longevity of an organism.
Many of the genetic manipulations that extend life in laboratory species have been shown to enhance autophagy, just as does the practice of calorie restriction. Here researchers find that the marginal benefits resulting from the inclusion of omega fatty acids in the diet may also result from increased autophagy:
COMMENTS ON TEACHING AN ETHICAL VIEW OF LIFE EXTENSION Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Some comments from a social studies professor with an interest in engineered human longevity: "This year I devote two whole classes to aging and the ethics of life extension.
Last week was our first class on the topic and I asked my students, who are all graduate level students in the humanities and social sciences, how many of them had taken a course where aging was either the focus, or even just a topic covered in, the course.
ARGUING DNA DAMAGE AS A CAUSE OF AGING Wednesday, February 13, 2013
A stochastic accumulation of nuclear DNA damage progresses throughout life.
This is definitely a cause of increased cancer risk, one of the reasons why cancer is predominantly a disease of the old, but is it also a contributing cause of degenerative aging in general?
RELATIVE RISK FOR CAUSES OF COGNITIVE DECLINE Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Cognitive decline, like most of the consequences of aging, stems from a range of root causes. Here researchers look at which of these causes contribute the most to the harmful end result:
"Vascular brain injury from conditions such as high blood pressure and stroke are greater risk factors for cognitive impairment among non-demented older people than is the deposition of the amyloid plaques in the brain that long have been implicated in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, a study [has] found.
AN UPCOMING OXFORD DEBATE WITH AUBREY DE GREY AND RICHARD FARAGHER Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Via the SENS Research Foundation: "Dr. Aubrey de Grey, SENS Research Foundation's Chief Science Officer, will be debating Dr. Richard Faragher, Chair of the British Society for Research on Ageing and Professor of Biological Gerontology at the University of Brighton, at Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre on February 19.
MORE ON MTOR AND GENDER LONGEVITY DIFFERENCES Monday, February 11, 2013
This paper comes from a group that considers aging to be a programmed process involving later-life overactivity of processes vital to early-life development rather than the result of stochastic accumulation of unrepaired cellular and molecular damage.
I think that this view isn't well supported by the balance of evidence, but it does illustrate the complexity of aging that such divergent interpretations of the same data exist.
BLOCKING DEVELOPMENT OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS IN MICE Monday, February 11, 2013
Progress towards a different approach to therapies for autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, though still not one that addresses root causes directly:
"Scientists have demonstrated a new strategy for treating autoimmune disease that successfully blocked the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a mouse model.