Longevity News Digest
How We™ll Navigate the Two Survival Crossroads
Dear Future Centenarian,Â
From 1976 to 1978, I took courses ranging from physics to finance at the Free Enterprise Institute. The school was founded by astrophysicist Dr. Andrew Galambos. His grandest accomplishment was integrating the volitional (social) sciences.
An analogy would be Sir Isaac Newton who integrated the physical sciences.
Just as Newton™s integration led to the explosion of knowledge, that in turn led to the technologies, comforts and conveniences we enjoy today¦ Galambos laid the foundation for solutions to our social ills. (He actually hypothesized the solutions.)
His major concern was that humans could destroy civilization before we adopt measures to insure against such a catastrophe. He said we would reach a crossroads.
I read an article in FightAging.com a week or two ago. It also discusses a crossroads. Reason wrote about a longevity crossroads.
The main reason the article caught my eye is, I believe the solution to Galambos™ and Reason™s crossroads is the same.
I do not believe humans will be equipped to meet Galambos™ challenge without help. And Reason™s crossroads will not be met in time for many of us without help either.
Fortunately, help is on the way.
That help is machine intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence is an incredible tool that grows stronger, more versatile and more powerful each day. It helps us manage and apply data that accumulates WAY faster than we can manage it alone. It is already helping us figure out complex biomedical problems that were previously unsolvable.
Soon, it will help us detect major threats and help us make better decisions to counter those threats. Eventually, it will point out, and maybe even initiate optimal decisions to thwart widespread “ and even worldwide dangers.
Two challenges. Same technology to meet them.
Solving aging without security could be a short term treat at best. Extreme security without longevity is an empty hope to the individual lives lost to aging, or to any other cause.
Here™s a distilled version of Reason™s article:
In these years we stand at the crossroads for human longevity
A long, slow, and largely unintentional upward trend in health and life expectancy has been running for near two hundred years now, caused by increases in wealth and technological progress, each driving the other. Increased longevity in turn helps to increase wealth and speed progress: all of these benefits are individually but facets of the whole gem.
The medical science of the past has blossomed into full-bored biotechnology, and change and growth in this field has become exceptionally rapid over the past twenty years, mirroring progress in computing hardware and software development.
Scientists can now individually carry out tasks in a few months that would have required an entire laboratory staff and years of labor in the early 1990s, if it even possible at all back then.
Some of these researchers are engaged in a form of networked disruptive innovation within aging research that they hope will eventually displace the present mainstream. This is how progress happens in human organizations: the heretics agitate and prove themselves correct via research and development until such time as the old mainstream gives in and agrees that they were right all along.
That is the high road ahead from the crossroads. Upon this road the research community abandons its reluctance to treat aging, the public comes to think of aging in the same way as they presently think of cancer, research funding flows, and great progress is made towards means of halting and reversing the underlying causes of aging.
Age-related diseases start to become things of the past, like widespread cholera and tuberculosis, just a few decades past this turning point.
But there are other roads ahead. Disruptive movements don't always win in their first spin around the block. The old guard can last for decades past their time, poisoning the well and ensuring that progress remains slow. Regulation can also suppress new paradigms, and indeed entire fields of human endeavor, for decades at a time - and medical development certain does not lack for obstructive bureaucracy.
So there are low roads to either side away from the crossroads.
These are largely the ruts of status quo and slow progress in which billions of dollars continue to go towards research that increases our knowledge of the details of the molecular dance that is aging, but which can offer no plausible hope or promise of significantly extending life soon enough to matter to us.
Why AI for human longevity? Because AI will be able to, and already is starting to drive research faster and cheaper. We will be able to DEMONSTRATE workable disease and condition solutions at lightning speed relative to today™s cumbersome research slowed by bureaucracy, inertia and the status quo. Research assisted by AI will be able to sidestep these roadblocks once and for all.
Then, when the general (and investing) public sees real life examples of solutions to disease and frail old age, a tidal wave of demand will quickly swell and drown the status quo that traps us in premature sickly death sentences.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
More Insight Into GDF-11 and Myostatin From Fly Studies Â - Monday, May 19, 2014
The protein GDF-11 has recently been shown to influence the decline in muscle stem cell function with aging and other aspects of aging in mice.
Alterations in circulating levels of GDF-11 can restore stem cell activity in aged individuals, in at least some tissues, though there is the strong possibility that overriding this age-related reaction to rising levels of cellular damage may lead to cancer.
GDF-11 is related to myostatin, a protein shown to guide muscle growth. Loss of myostatin leads to very muscular individuals, and as is the case for GDF-11 scientists are considering the development of treatments based on manipulating levels of this protein. Here researchers present more context for these overlapping mechanisms based on fly studies.
Calorie Restriction Benefits Arrive Very Rapidly - Monday, May 19, 2014
Researchers still don't have a complete and clear picture as to how calorie restriction extends life and produces considerable health benefits. At present the research consists of a large bucket of metabolic changes with varying confidence levels in their involvement as longevity-assurance mechanisms.
Reduction in visceral fat tissue seems important, as does the chain of events that starts with sensing levels of methionine in the diet, and also upregulation of the cellular housekeeping processes of autophagy.
There is plenty of room yet to raise up previously unexamined changes to a greater level of importance, however, or to argue over which of the presently better known mechanisms provide a greater contribution to the end result. I expect this process of discovery and argument to continue: as this paper indicates, calorie restriction changes an enormous number of discrete elements of metabolism, and most of these elements interact with one another in complex ways within the vast network of change and feedback. There is more than enough work here for another generation of researchers.
Alcor Goes the Extra Mile “ Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of your body and brain as soon as possible after death.
It is the only option available for people today that offers any sort of a chance at a longer life in the future, as for so long as the structures in the brain that store the data of the mind are preserved then it is possible for future technology to restore an individual to life.
That restoration will not be easy and isn't possible today, but we can envisage the sort of nanodevices and repair strategies that would be needed, and a cryopreserved individual has time on his or her side. Despite its potential to save lives, cryonics remains a small and largely non-profit industry consisting of just a few primary providers and a handful of support companies. Few people indeed avail themselves of this option.
Alcor is one of the two long-standing cryonics providers present in the US and the staff there have in the past proven that they will go the extra mile for their members, striving to produce the best outcome possible even when they are presented with impossible circumstances.
The last time I made this point, it was to remind people that if you want a good cryopreservation, one that follows on as close to immediately after death as possible, then don't leave things to the last minute and don't make it hard for the organizations involved to deliver.
Losing Your Indifference - Tuesday, May 20, 2014
That living, being alive and active and enjoying the potential that this brings, is good in and of itself is an axiom for those who work in medicine, including those who work towards the tools needed to extend healthy life and rejuvenate the old.
If life is not good and valuable, then why bother? Yet if you look around at what does and does not take place in this world of ours, you might be forgiven for thinking that most people do not in fact place as great a value on life as they might. Here is an article on this theme from the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension.
Syndrome X is a Developmental Disorder that Has Little Relevance to Aging - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Syndrome X patients do not develop physically in childhood, and thus appear to not be aging. However this is an extreme malfunction of developmental programs, not an absence of aging.
The operation of their metabolism still generates all of the forms of damage that lead to degenerative aging, but these individuals die young and so none of that is given the chance to rise to the level of displaying the recognizable symptoms of aging.
Some people persist in trying to make the link that doesn't exist, however. This popular science article is a decent coverage of what is presently called Syndrome X and present thoughts on theories of aging. The researcher whose work on Syndrome X is mentioned here has adopted a variant view of aging as a genetic program, and seeks to sequence the few known Syndrome X patients in search of the common genetic cause in the hopes that this will inform considerations of normal aging.
I, among others, think that this is a futile quest, though it may produce the path to curing Syndrome X in the future, should it turn out to have a simple root cause in genetic mutation.
Suggesting the Combined Use of Metformin and Rapamycin - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
This, I think, is a great example of what emerges as a consequence of the distorting effects of regulation on medical research. Because it costs a ridiculous amount of money and time to push anything new past the regulators of the FDA, there is a great focus on generating very marginal new uses of drugs that have already been approved.
Thus instead of forging ahead to build radically improved new technologies, things far better than mere drugs, much of the research community does nothing more than tinker with what is already known. This is a terrible thing to be happening at a time when the research community is finally shedding its inhibitions regarding the treatment of aging, and researchers feel able to speak openly about the goal of extending health human life spans. It is a stupendous waste of potential, and the cost is measured in lives lost.
Axons Can Be Regrown - Thursday, May 22, 2014
The axons that link neurons in the nervous system can grow to great length, up to several feet long in human limbs for example.
Thus it isn't enough just to be able to replace or repair cells in the nervous system when building regenerative treatments, the axons must also be considered. Here researchers demonstrate a first step towards axon regrowth, which is to get it to happen at all. Creating restoration of function is the next step that must be built on this foundation.
Interfering in Amyloid Beta Production as an Alzheimer's Therapy - Thursday, May 22, 2014
Much of the focus in Alzheimer's research remains on amyloid beta and the processes by which it accumulates in the brain. This researcher is one of a number of attempts over the years to produce a drug candidate that interferes beneficially in these mechanisms.
Muscle Stem Cell Rejuvenation Restores Strength - Friday, May 23, 2014
Much of the work on the aging of stem cells in recent years has focused on muscle stem cells, and has shown that to a large degree the progressive decline in function with age is not due to a loss of stem cells, but rather because these cells become less active and stop doing their jobs.
This is probably an evolved reaction to rising levels of cellular damage that serves to reduce the risk of cancer, but which comes at the cost of increasing frailty as tissue maintenance falters.
Researchers are making inroads into understanding the signal mechanisms involved in this process of stem cell decline. Work is already underway on the development of potential treatments based on at least temporarily overriding these signals in the old. Here is another example of relevant research in this field, which uncovers an aspect of aging in stem cells that is inherent to the cells themselves rather than being a property of the surrounding tissue and its protein signals.
Meeting in the Middle on Lab Grown Organs - Friday, May 23, 2014
This popular science piece argues that the future of bioartificial organ development will be a process of top down and bottom up tissue engineering attempts eventually meeting somewhere in the middle, and there providing the ability to generate complex replacement organs to order.
Read More https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2014/05/meeting-in-the-middle-on-lab-grown-organs.php
DISCLAIMER:Â News summaries are reported by third parties, and there is no guarantee of accuracy. This newsletter is not meant to substitute for your personal due diligence and is not to be taken as medical advice. For originating report, please see www.fightaging.org/
David A. Kekich
Maximum Life Foundation
"Where Biotech, Infotech and Nanotech
Â Â Â Â Meet to Reverse Aging by 2033"