Healthy Life Extension
We Live or Die Together
posted on July 24th, 2012
Dear Future Centenarian,
No man is an island.
As Reason says œWe all win together or we all lose together. There is little middle ground in the development of new medical technologies.
Competition drives progress. But put enough humans into any field, and the successful groups will start to form cartels in order to keep their leading position without having to compete as hard for it. It™s inherent in the human condition that we self-sabotage very well and very aggressively just as soon as we achieve enough success to feel somewhat elevated over our less fortunate peers.
Who can even begin to guess how many opportunities have been wasted, how much potential technological progress has been lost thanks to these urges?
The world of technology is now remarkably flat. The majority of the amenities of modern technology are available to the majority of the world. The descendants of peasants can fly for the same cost as the bloodlines of kings. Cars and mobile phones are ubiquitous. And holding vast wealth doesn't in fact give a person any great and massive advantage over the middle class - or even the poor in wealthier regions - when it comes to the variety of available medical technology.
Every new advance moves rapidly from being comparatively expensive, faulty, and scarce to being comparatively cheap, reliable, and widespread - whether we are talking about air conditioning or heart surgery. Though the pernicious effects of regulation slow down the applications of biotechnology to a crawl in comparison to other lines of technological progress.
One of the defining features of our age is the degree to which the very wealthy and the very connected use the same technologies as the rest of us. When new technology is developed we all win. It doesn't matter which research or development group got there first, because we will all have access soon enough.
What does matter is how soon that new technology arrives, and that™s a function of the size and level of competition in the research and development communities. The larger the community, the more healthy competition, the better the outcome and the faster the progress towards the end goal.
When it comes to the biotechnology of rejuvenation, we will either all win together, or we all lose together. There™s little in the way of middle ground in technological progress. That result is entirely determined by how fast we can create this sort of future medicine, such as that outlined in the Manhattan Beach Project www.ManhattanBeachProject.com or the SENS proposals www.sens.org.
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
ADDING MORE DATA TO THE ROLE OF NUCLEAR DNA DAMAGE IN AGING Friday, July 20, 2012
We accumulate random nuclear DNA damage - mutations - as we age. This is understood to increase the risk of cancer, as the more mutations that occur the greater the chance that one will be of the rare type that can spawn a cancer. But there is some debate over the degree to which nuclear DNA damage contributes to aging itself.
Here researchers add some more data to the picture: "Hundreds of mutations exist in leukemia cells at the time of diagnosis, but nearly all occur randomly as a part of normal aging and are not related to cancer, new research shows. [Researchers] have found that even in healthy people, stem cells in the blood routinely accumulate new mutations over the course of a person's lifetime.
POSSIBLE EARLY ANTIBODY THERAPY FOR ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE Friday, July 20, 2012
From the MIT Technology Review: "Alzheimer's patients given a drug that is already used to treat immune disorders saw their condition stabilize in a small study presented at a conference this week. Study participants were given the compound - known as intravenous Ig, or IVIg - for three years.
During this period, they showed no signs of further cognitive decline or memory loss
RAPAMYCIN VERSUS MACULAR DEGENERATION Thursday, July 19, 2012
A commentary on testing rapamycin as a therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD): "Although neovascular AMD only accounts for less than 15% of the overall age-related macular degeneration, it is responsible for over 80 percent of the severe vision loss cases. It was reported in 2004 that rapamycin (trade name sirolimus) treatment significantly reduced the extent of neovascularization [induced] in adult mice.
TESTING BLANKET BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION IN OLDER PEOPLE Thursday, July 19, 2012
What happens if everyone in later years regularly takes common blood pressure and cholesterol medications, even if healthy? Researchers have been running trials: "Results of a randomized trial [show] that a four-component Polypill given to people aged 50 and over to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, the most common causes of death worldwide, achieved large reductions in blood cholesterol and blood pressure,
NANOSCALE SCAFFOLDS AND STEM CELLS FOR CARTILAGE REPAIR Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Via EurekAlert!: "tissue engineers have used tiny, artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.
Rather than just patching the problem with short-term fixes, like surgical procedures such as microfracture, we're building a temporary template that mimics the cartilage cell's natural environment, and taking advantage of nature's signals to biologically repair cartilage damage.
LINKING OXIDATIVE STRESS WITH AGE-RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Mitochondrial damage is one of the reasons that levels of damaging oxidative compounds rise in the body with age - known as oxidative stress. At the level of molecular machinery, having reactive molecules flying around in large numbers will cause important mechanisms to break down more often.
It is generally thought that increased oxidative stress contributes to a range of dysfunctions, and here researchers link it with immune system decline:
A PROFILE OF KENNETH HAYWORTH, BRAIN PRESERVATION PRIZE FOUNDER Tuesday, July 17, 2012
From the Chronicle of Higher Education: "By 2110, Hayworth predicts, mind uploading - the transfer of a biological brain to a silicon-based operating system - will be as common as laser eye surgery is today.
While a graduate student at the University of Southern California, he built a machine in his garage that changed the way brain tissue is cut and imaged in electron microscopes. The combination of technical smarts and entrepreneurial gumption earned him a grant from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, a subsidiary of the McKnight Foundation, and an invitation to Harvard, where he stayed, on a postdoctoral fellowship, until April.
AN EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY TARGETED CANCER THERAPY Monday, July 16, 2012
One of the ways in which new means of targeting therapies to specific cells in the body - such as cancer cells - will arrive in the clinic more rapidly is for their developers to use existing approved drugs.
That isn't necessarily the way to build objectively better therapies, but it will cost far less to run the regulatory gauntlet: "researchers have developed a novel system to simultaneously deliver a sustained dose of both an immune-system booster and a chemical to counter the cancer's secretions, resulting in a powerful therapy that, in mice, delayed tumor growth, sent tumors into remission and dramatically increased survival rates.
PROGRESS IN BUILDING MUSCLE TISSUE FOR TRANSPLANT Monday, July 16, 2012
Researchers are making progress towards building useful muscle tissue from scratch, suitable for transplant: "exercise is a key step in building a muscle-like implant in the lab with the potential to repair muscle damage from injury or disease.
In mice, these implants successfully prompt the regeneration and repair of damaged or lost muscle tissue, resulting in significant functional improvement.