Healthy Life Extension
Removing the Pressure of Short Lifespans
posted on August 28th, 2012
Dear Future Centenarian,
From Reason: Imagine a world where people are not faced by the certainty of aging to death?
At root, medicine is driven by the urge remain alive.
Consider a world with the means to prevent aging¦ say, though a package of therapies that a person undergoes every twenty years or so. Infusions of fresh stem cell populations, engineered enzymes to degrade metabolic waste products that build up in and around cells to impair their function, some form of mitochondrial DNA repair, and so on.
These therapies may keep your body in good health indefinitely. There™s no good reason for them to be any more expensive than your average run of clinical treatments today. They wouldn™t take much time from a physician, and they would operate in much the same way for everyone, allowing economies of scale in production and distribution.
All the pressures associated with short lifespans evaporate. We are so steeped in that pressure of time that it's hard to imagine what a society without it would look like.
Every strategic decision we make in the course of our lives is based on time - that we have ever less of it remaining, the clock is ticking, and have only a few shots at getting anything accomplished.
It takes a decade to become truly talented in any particular profession or skill, for example, and at least a few years to figure out whether not we can follow through to a proficient level. That is a major investment of time when we only have a few decades in our prime.
The same goes for careers and relationships. We™re pressured, and choices have great weight precisely because we forever pass up an ocean of possibilities in order to swim in any particular pool.
There is a related school of thought among those opposed to engineering longevity. They say that the pressures of time created by the fact that we age to death due to our inadequate medical technology are a good thing.
This has the look of rushing to justify what is, regardless of what might be. But they argue that individuals and humanity as a whole require the deadline of dying; that without it, no-one would accomplish anything.
They look upon the unending holocaust of death and destruction caused by aging - 100,000 lives every day, all they knew, all they could accomplish in the future, all they might have done, erased - and say it is necessary.
This is B.S. It™s true that rapid progress is necessary in today's world. But we need it because we are dying, and the only way to save ourselves is through fast technological progress. If more people were more aware and more interested in doing something about this, we might move faster towards rejuvenation.
Unfortunately for all, each and every human life is shaped completely by the foreknowledge of future disability and death, and few are willing to help change this sad state of affairs.
But it won™t take many key players “ investors, donors, researchers, entrepreneurs and advocates “ to make it happen. As advocates, we need to educate the investors and donors as to the viabilities of the technologies¦ and of the URGENCY.
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
IDENTIFYING CANCER STEM CELLS FOR MELANOMA Friday, August 24, 2012
The cancer stem cell hypothesis continues to show promise as a way to strike at the root of many different forms of cancer: "Cancer stem cells are defined by three abilities: differentiation, self-renewal and their ability to seed a tumor.
These stem cells resist chemotherapy and many researchers posit their role in relapse. A [new study] shows that melanoma cells with these abilities are marked by the enzyme ALDH, and imagines new therapies to target high-ALDH cells, potentially weeding the body of these most dangerous cancer creators.
TESTING STEM CELLS FROM AMNIOTIC FLUID AS A STROKE THERAPY Friday, August 24, 2012
Many different sources of stem cells remain under investigation, such as those derived from amniotic fluid: "We recently reported isolation of viable rat amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells.
Here, we tested the therapeutic benefits of AFS cells in a rodent model of ischemic stroke. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats received a 60-minute middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Thirty-five days later, animals exhibiting significant motor deficits received intravenous transplants of rat AFS cells or vehicle.
INVESTIGATING THE GENE NETWORK OF CALORIE RESTRICTION Thursday, August 23, 2012
Research into the detailed mechanisms of calorie restriction continues apace: "Dietary restriction (DR), limiting nutrient intake from diet without causing malnutrition, delays the aging process and extends lifespan in multiple organisms.
The conserved life-extending effect of DR suggests the involvement of fundamental mechanisms, although these remain a subject of debate. To help decipher the life-extending mechanisms of DR, we first compiled a list of genes that if genetically altered disrupt or prevent the life-extending effects of DR.
OBESITY CORRELATES WITH FASTER MENTAL DECLINE Thursday, August 23, 2012
Here is another of many studies to link being overweight with cognitive decline: "People who are obese and suffer from high blood pressure and other problems linked to heart disease and diabetes may also see a faster decline in their mental abilities, according to a new study.
Yet even obese people without these physical conditions experienced a faster decline in functions such as memory, the researchers noted. This finding belies the concept of being obese and healthy.
SIRT6 OVEREXPRESSION EXTENDS MEAN LIFESPAN IN MALE MICE Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Some more data to add to the muddy waters of sirtuin research: "Since the discovery that overexpression of yeast Sir2 deacetylase extends lifespan by as much as 30% over a decade ago, much effort has been invested in researching whether this effect is conserved in higher organisms as well.
Indeed, in worms and flies, two separate groups found that SIR2 extended lifespan as well, by 50% and 18%, respectively. In parallel to the work in worms and flies, researchers were trying to make headway in the role of sirtuins in higher organisms.
SLOWING STEM CELL AGING Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Via the New Scientist: "Could we stem the tide of ageing by delaying the deterioration of stem cells? A new compound that appears to do just that could help us find ways to protect our organs from age-related wear and tear, experiments in mice suggest.
As we age, so do our mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs): their numbers in our bone marrow decline, and those that are left lose the ability to differentiate into the distinct cell types - such as bone, cartilage, fat and possibly muscle cells - that help in the healing process.
REVIEWING THE REGULATION OF AUTOPHAGY IN AGING Monday, August 20, 2012
Autophagy, a collection of processes by which a cell breaks down damaged components to recycle their materials, is important in many mechanisms known to extend life in various laboratory animals.
Better maintained cells are better for a longer life: more autophagy is a good thing, but it declines with age, because of a gradual buildup of materials that cannot be recycled and thus clog up the cellular components that perform autophagy - and for other, less well understood reasons.
FAILING NEURAL PLASTICITY AND AGE-RELATED MEMORY DECLINE Monday, August 20, 2012
An open access paper: "Cognitive impairment associated with subtle changes in neuron and neuronal network function rather than widespread neuron death is a feature of the normal aging process in humans and animals.
Despite its broad evolutionary conservation, the etiology of this aging process is not well understood. However, recent evidence suggests the existence of a link between oxidative stress in the form of progressive membrane lipid peroxidation, declining neuronal electrical excitability and functional decline of the normal aging brain.