Healthy Life Extension
When did "Self-Interest" become a Dirty Concept?
posted on September 18th, 2012
Dear Future Centenarian,
Our society has drifted down the spiral to an era of political correctness. It™s hard to open your mouth without offending someone. And when you do in this world where someone with a camera and Internet access lurks around every corner, innocent comments and actions get blown out of proportion, the world has instant and permanent access to them, and you can get crucified.
Now governments and businesses alike mandate what we can say or do in public and in the workplace. Stepping outside these boundaries can get you sued, publicly humiliated or can cost you your job or get your business fined. Consequently, many innovators grew or were brought up conservative.
What happened to freedom of speech? Half the people are so touchy that they take offense at the drop of a perceived insult, and the other half are gun-shy about doing or saying the wrong thing.
All this impacts self-interest. Self-interest often involves going full speed ahead in pursuit of a goal. Then people accuse you of being selfish, as if that™s a crime.
It™s tough enough to start or run a business without being shackled by the fear of getting sued for offending someone. And regardless of your philosophical or political leanings, commerce is what holds society together. So killing business kills the golden goose.
Once overregulation impacts enough peoples™ pocketbooks, the pendulum will swing back. Ultimately, self-interest will reemerge as the primary driving force. After all, it™s encoded in our genes. Meanwhile, stifling self-interest can cost you your health¦ and maybe your life.
Self-interest is a potent thing, especially when it comes to retaining your health and life in the face of threats to both:
"At the present time two groups of people well-placed to influence progress in rejuvenation biotechnology are, for the most part, acting against their own self-interest. It is generally the case that such situations do not last: self-interest wins out in the long term.
"On the one hand we have the world's high net worth individuals, most of whom do very little in the way of funding research into aging or the conditions of aging. It is their inaction that is opposed to their own self-interest: they are all aging to death at the same pace as the rest of us, after all.
œWhen it comes to access to medical technology the world is remarkably flat: the poor struggle in this as in everything else, but the wealthy have no more ability to buy a way out of aging (or heart disease, or cancer, or any of the other conditions that attend aging) right this instant than does anyone else. What they do have is a far greater ability to create a near future in which rejuvenation biotechnologies exist and are just as widely available as any present day clinical procedure.
"It is in the self-interest of everyone who can significantly speed up the development of ways to reverse aging to set forth and do exactly that - but very few are making the effort.
œAt some point it will become evident to the public and the world at large that aging to death whilst surrounding by wealth is insanity in an age in which those resources could be used for the development of age-reversing medicine: ways to repair mitochondrial DNA, break down accumulated metabolic byproducts that clog up cells, clear out senescent cells, restore declining stem cell activity, and so forth. But as yet this is not obvious enough to those people who matter.™
"The second group acting against their own self-interest in the matter of rejuvenation biotechnology are those researchers who could be working on relevant scientific projects but are not. Much of the aging research community doesn't in fact do any more than study aging, and the minority who do work on development of therapies are largely investigating the slow and unproductive path of slowing aging via metabolic manipulation.
œA far better road exists: the pursuit of ways to repair the damage that causes aging, as outlined by the SENS Foundation but by no means limited to their chosen methods of implementation. Work on the repair of aging is far more likely to produce radical advances in medicine worthy of this age of accelerating progress: ways to restore the old to vigor and greatly extend health human life. Researchers who are not working on something that looks a lot like SENS are locking themselves out of the most interesting and most valuable room in the house.
"But as I said above, self-interest tends to win out in the long run. As more attention is given to SENS, longevity science, and the repair of aging, it becomes ever more likely it is that self-interest will emerge as a driving force in funding and research."
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
VOTE FOR SENS FOUNDATION AT CHASE COMMUNITY GIVING Friday, September 14, 2012 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/09/vote-for-sens-foundation-at-chase-community-giving.php
SENS Foundation manages a program of research, development, and advocacy for rejuvenation biotechnology - building the foundation for therapies that will reverse aging in the old by repairing the cellular and biochemical damage that causes it. At present the Chase Community Giving event at Facebook is winding to a close on the 19th of this month, with $10,000 grants provided to those charities given the most votes by the community.
So if you have a Facebook account, take a few moments to head on over to the SENS Foundation page and add your vote. Similar past events have demonstrated that there are more than enough SENS supporters out there to win any charitable popularity measure like this; so vote before the 19th and pass it on to your friends.
SPURRING REGENERATION OF AXONS IN SPINAL INJURY Friday, September 14, 2012
Researchers continue to make progress in induced nerve regeneration: "researchers were able to regenerate 'an astonishing degree' of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats.
Their research revealed that early stage neurons have the ability to survive and extend axons to form new, functional neuronal relays across an injury site in the adult central nervous system (CNS). The study also proved that at least some types of adult CNS axons can overcome a normally inhibitory growth environment to grow over long distances.
STRUGGLING WITH THE SEPARATION OF AGING AND DISEASE Thursday, September 13, 2012
There is a school of thought that declares the average pace of degenerative aging as "normal" and states that any faster degenerations should be broken out and called "disease."
This is somewhat manageable at the level of taxonomy, where you are only cataloging and describing the various ways in which bodily parts and systems break down, but as a system of thought it falls down badly once you have the ability to look under the hood to see what is going in our biochemistry.
All of aging and age-related disease descend from the same collection of damage-causing processes, which like rust in a metal construction can lead to any number of different forms of ultimate structural failure - but all stemming from the same root causes.
REVERSING DEAFNESS CAUSED BY NERVE CELL DAMAGE Thursday, September 13, 2012
Researchers here use stem cells to partially reverse of a form of deafness in laboratory animals: "Deafness is a condition with a high prevalence worldwide, produced primarily by the loss of the sensory hair cells and their associated spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs).
Of all the forms of deafness, auditory neuropathy is of particular concern. This condition, defined primarily by damage to the SGNs with relative preservation of the hair cells, is responsible for a substantial proportion of patients with hearing impairment.
HOW TO INTERPRET LIFE EXPECTANCY NUMBERS Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Here is a good discussion on some common errors in the use of life expectancy data - such as mistaking period life expectancy (a statistical measure of health and medical technology) for cohort life expectancy (how long people actually live).
It doesn't touch on the great uncertainty in predictions of future longevity due to the rapid pace of development in biotechnology, but is still an interesting read:
PROSTATE CANCER STEM CELLS IDENTIFIED Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Another form of cancer turns out to have a core of stem cells that can be targeted: "the research team generated cellular models of drug resistance by treating prostate tumor cell lines with increasing doses of the common chemotherapy drugs, including docetaxel.
They identified a cell population expressing markers of embryonic development. In addition, these cells displayed cancer stem cell functions, including the capacity to initiate tumor cell growth.
GROWING EARS TO ORDER Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Researchers are making progress in growing replacement ears, using a mix of old and new methods in tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery: "Using a computer model of a patient's remaining ear, scientists craft a titanium framework covered in collagen, the stuff that gives skin elasticity and strength.
INVESTIGATING THE MECHANISMS OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS Tuesday, September 11, 2012
News of an advance in the understanding of atherosclerosis: "Researchers [are] one step closer to understanding why plaque bursts in coronary arteries and causes heart attacks.
The clue might be something called microRNA-145. MicroRNAs are short chains of bossy molecules that scientists are increasingly coming to realize control a wide variety of biological processes.
THE IMPACT OF ADVANCING AGE ON MUSCLE Monday, September 10, 2012
Our muscles decline with age for reasons that seem likely to soon be treatable.
Finding ways to retain muscle mass and strength would hopefully allow older people to continue to be active and exercising, thus removing this contribution to the frailty that leads into a downward spiral of health in late life: