Healthy Life Extension
Science + Marketing = Super Longevity
Dear Future Centenarian,
My good friend, Maximum Life Foundation™s CSO and one of the more important personalities in the life extension movement, puts his finger on the pulse of extreme longevity research.
Dr. Stephen Coles continues to contribute in a big way to your and my longevity, in spite of the fact that he has been battling pancreatic cancer since December.
Here™s one of Steve™s recent quotes:
"The human condition that distinguishes Homo sapiens from other mammalian species is an appreciation of the implications of 'death'.Â So far, humans haven't figured out what to do about it, but some day we will, just like we figured out how to fly hot-air balloons, heavier than air craft, or land on the moon after longing for millennia about how birds can fly but we can't.Â Whether this happens in the lifetimes of those reading these words will depend on the ingenuity of the current generation of young engineers, scientists, and physicians with the audacity to dream of potential solutions. But 'the singularity' will surely arrive someday.
œIn the meantime we must exploit the notion of a 'biological escape velocity' until that time arrives." -- Steve Coles, (GRG; 2013)
Steve and I agree that we know how to conquer aging in our lifetimes. We™re also painfully aware of the fact that those engineers, scientists and physicians (Steve falls into all three categories) will succeed in our lifetimes only if their ingenuity is nourished by funding.
IMO, the ability to control aging is not so much a science and technology challenge as it is a marketing challenge. I say marketing because marketing skills and salesmanship are what is needed to get in front of, and then convince people who would otherwise die rich, to support the research. By the way, investment opportunities in this field are sprouting, so we don™t necessarily have to go out, hat in hand.
Everyone works so hard getting researches together in conferences, publishing relevant papers, writing research grants and more, but they are not nearly as effective at fueling the research engines with donations and investments.
That™s not surprising, since scientists are no more marketing gurus than marketing gurus innovate cures for diseases. I know enough about marketing to be dangerous, and there™s got to be a world-beating marketer out there who is as interested in aging as we are.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
Detrimental Effects From Dietary Antioxidant Supplementation - Monday, July 22, 2013
At this point the general consensus is that dietary supplementation of antioxidant compounds is of either no benefit or mildly harmful to long term health.
The only methods of extending life via the introduction of antioxidant compounds involve careful targeting to the mitochondria, such that damaging oxidant molecules generated there are swept up, but the oxidant molecules used in signaling processes elsewhere in cells and tissues are not. The benefits of exercise, for example, rest upon slightly raised levels of reactive oxygen species which can be blocked by high levels of antioxidants in the diet.
Hidden Depths and Wrong Conclusions in Demographic Studies of Human Mortality - Monday, July 22, 2013
Studies of human health are usually snapshots of a large population over a small fraction of their lives, gathering data so that researchers can use statistical methods to make inferences and identify correlations between lifestyles or genetics and health outcomes.
There are many pitfalls here, not least of which is the tendency to lump together several groups with very different risks into one group, because the researchers didn't have the resources or the necessary data to dig deeper.
In an age of rapid progress in biotechnology, lifestyle choices like whether your drink a little or less than a little will soon become irrelevant to the general trajectory of your future health.
Lifelong Calorie Restriction Increases Working Memory in Mice - Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Calorie restriction is known to improve memory and slow the age-related decline of specific measures of brain health. Here is another example of research that reinforces the evidence for this benefit, as researchers start to spend more time on searching for differences in outcome in different implementations of calorie restriction.
Aiming at Immortality is Not a Waste of Time, as Some Propose - Tuesday, July 23, 2013
These days immortality is a lazy shorthand for vulnerable agelessness attained though medical technology: your body won't kill you while you have access to preventative therapies to treat aging, but falling pianos can still ruin your day.
Aiming at the goal of indefinitely extended healthy lives is decried in some quarters, but the arguments marshaled against efforts to make the human condition better by eliminating the pain and suffering of degenerative aging have never looked all that coherent to me.
Lowered IGF-1 Levels Increase Maximum Mouse Life Span - Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is one of the better studied components of metabolic pathways and mechanisms linked to longevity.
Despite the many researchers and numerous years of work involved metabolism is so complex that there is still a very long way to go yet before the research community can establish complete understanding of what is actually going on in long-lived mutant mice with different levels of IGF-1. The cost and very slow pace of progress in the face of this complexity is one of the reasons why trying to slow aging by altering metabolism is a terrible choice of strategy for human life extension - we should instead focus on what we do understand well, which is how to repair the low-level cellular damage that causes aging, and keep the metabolism we have already.
Here is an example of continuing work on IGF-1 in mice, a confirmation of extended life, which is the sort of thing that keeps the grant funds coming for further efforts to figure out what is going on under the hood.
A Discussion with Aubrey de Grey and Walter Bortz - Wednesday, July 24, 2013
A time-honored journalistic strategy is to put two interesting people with disparate views on their field in the same room to see what they have to say.
In this case the subject is aging, longevity, and the prospects for extending healthy human life spans. The introductory blurb is quoted below, but the piece is long, with a lot of commentary from the participants - so click through and read the whole thing.
Manipulating Mitochondrial Maintenance via NAD+ - Thursday, July 25, 2013
All sorts of maintenance processes operate in various parts of the cell. An important location is within the swarming herd of mitochondria, as damage there appears to be a significant cause of degenerative aging.
Some forms of mitochondrial damage can evade the evolved means of repair and recycling, leading to dysfunctional mitochondria and dysfunctional cells that export harmful reactive compounds out into surround tissues. Can this process be slowed by boosting the operation of natural maintenance mechanisms, however? Arguably this is what happens in many of the methods demonstrated to extend life and slow aging in laboratory animals, such as calorie restriction, and here researchers are examining some of the relevant mechanisms in nematode worms.
The Search For Biomarkers of Aging - Thursday, July 25, 2013
If we cannot accurately measure the progression of aging, then how do we establish whether a therapy under development meaningfully impacts aging?
Animal studies will always precede human trials, and the necessary years will have been taken to measure changes in life span in short-lived species in the laboratory, but it is obviously out of the question to evaluate the effects on people by the wait-and-see method. A popular science piece here looks at the importance of the search for reliable ways to measure aging.
New Results Suggest That Rapamycin Doesn't Slow Aging - Friday, July 26, 2013
Contrary to earlier research wherein scientists concluded that rapamycin extends life by slowing aging, here another group proposes that the extended life observed in laboratory animals results from cancer suppression, and aging isn't greatly impacted. Drugs that can slow aging are in any case a sideshow, a line of research that will require decades and billions but is incapable of producing ways to rejuvenate the old. Only SENS and similar repair-based research programs have the potential to result in therapies that will extend the healthy lives of the elderly and restore their lost vigor and youth. So if the scientific community is going to spend the few decades between now and my old age working on new medicine, I'd rather they ditched the old-style drug discovery pipeline in favor of a research strategy that is actually likely to benefit me. As to the debate on rapamycin.
Will Calorie Restriction Extend Life in Humans? - Friday, July 26, 2013
Here is a commentary on what is known of the effects of calorie restriction in humans, and the prospects for determining whether or not it actually extends life in our species, from one of the foremost researchers in the field.
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/