Healthy Life Extension
Will Humans Become Extinct?
Dear Future Centenarian,
Will we be the next endangered species?
Yes and No.
Every time a radical new idea or trend emerges, naysayers spring from the woodwork, wringing their hands over all the dangers these changes will carry with them, and try to rally the masses to stand in the way of progress.
The concept of conquering death may frighten them more than even the Industrial Revolution. If you read your history, you™re aware of the ridiculous predictions of mass unemployment and widespread starvation. Of course the same history books show the exact opposite results.
And so it is with super longevity.
œWhat are we going to do with all the people? œA bigger population will chew up our resources until there™s nothing left for anyone. And of course there are more objections.
On the surface, these knee-jerk reactions seem logical (assuming letting billions die to make room for even more future victims, is a moral and rational solution).
Let™s look at the logic behind these objections:
Take overpopulation, which according to conventional œwisdom, would result in disappearing resources. Eliminating death, at least from biological malfunctions, could eventually lead to extinction, if, and only if, open-ended lifespans end up meaning a swelling population won™t sustain itself with the ability to produce enough food, energy, etc to manage the growth.
We need to either control our environment or control growth. Unless we don™t produce enough to sustain life, it will wither and die¦ and we will as a species, disappear from the face of the earth. And the Luddites (those opposed to many new technologies) love to point this out to all who will listen. But we will sustain life and possibly manage population growth as well (uncontrolled population growth is almost certainly overstated too). In fact, the very technologies that will allow us to overcome aging should solve the perceived problem of limited resources. The same was true for the technologies which sprung from the Industrial Revolution.
Our sights are set higher now too. Where the power loom was all the rage in the 19th Century, now we™re on the verge of space colonization. The universe may be infinite too. If so, it would allow for limitless growth. Even if the universe is finite, it™s unimaginably large. And if we did some day see that continued growth would ultimately mean death, then we should be smart enough by then to preserve our existence.
The most glaring observation of history is that it repeats itself. Are we doomed to not learn from history and keep making the same mistakes? Or will enhanced wisdom accompany our prospects of super human intelligence?
I wonder what the Luddites will scream about tomorrow if Luddism survives intelligence enhancement.
Now let™s get back to the question of whether humans will be the next endangered species.
That depends on your definition of human. Were our distant ancestors human? Evolution has taken us from root-grubbing grunting hominids, fighting it out with the other primitive animals, to 21st Century meatbags reaching for the stars.
Now that we started down the path of accelerating self-driven evolution, in the next hundred years, humans may change more than we did in the last million.
Then does that mean we won™t be human? This evolvement is typically referred to as transhumanism which leads to posthumanism. So the question is, will we still be human? Since it depends on your definition of human, you decide.
The point is, we™ll be better in nearly every way. For those who don™t agree, they can choose to be left behind.
P.S. You may have noticed that I changed the name of this newsletter from Longevity News Digest to Longevity News Alert. Why have I done this? It™s evolving of course. 🙂
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
The LongevityMap Online Database - Monday, July 29, 2013
The senescence.info team recently added a new online database to the collection available at the site.
Living Longer, Living Healthier Â - Monday, July 29, 2013
If aging is a matter of accumulating damage, then we would expect all successful efforts to improve health to also result in some degree of extended healthy life.
Biology is very complex, and so the situation on the ground inside an aging body isn't as simple as the accumulation of damage in a non-self-repairing entity such as a chair or a building, but the fact that human life span and health in old age are both steadily increasing alongside general improvements in medical technology supports the view of aging as damage.
Towards Transferring the Cellular Benefits of Calorie Restriction - Tuesday, July 30, 2013
You might recall research involving parabiosis, in which researchers joined the circulatory systems of an old and a young mouse to measure the effects of signaling changes in the cellular environment that occur with age - and to see what the results would be if changes in the old environment were reversed.
Prior investigations were conducted in cell cultures, exposing old cells to young blood or vice versa, which is how the fact that this resulted in interesting changes was noted in the first place.
Researchers here are walking down the same path with calorie restriction: it seems that changes are observed if you take blood serum from a calorie restricted individual and expose cells to it. This suggests that one component of the mechanisms by which calorie restriction extends life and improves health involves changes to the chemical makeup of the cellular environment, as one might expect.
Calorie Restriction Produces Benefits via Increased Autophagy - Tuesday, July 30, 2013
It is fairly well established by this point that calorie restriction boosts the cellular housekeeping processes known as autophagy. Damaged components, broken proteins, and other issues are more readily dealt with, destroyed, and recycled when an individual is on a low calorie rather than high calorie diet. Increased levels of autophagy are known to be associated with many of the methods of slowing aging demonstrated in laboratory animals, which leads some researchers to think that it is one of the more important aspects of the way in which metabolism determines variations in longevity. With that in mind, here is one of a range of studies that confirm the association between calorie restriction and increased autophagy.
Exercise Versus Alzheimer's Disease - Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Exercise is known to reduce the risk of suffering Alzheimer's disease, but it also brings reliably greater benefits to Alzheimer's patients than any presently available medical technology.
Exercise is in general very beneficial for elderly people, all too few of whom undertake enough exercise these days. The future of medical science will ultimately make lifestyle choices such as a calorie restricted diet and regular moderate exercise irrelevant as determinants of health and longevity, but for now they are the best available option to slow degeneration and improve long-term health.
Protyping a Tissue Engineered Ear - Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Simpler forms of exterior soft tissue are among the first candidates for tissue engineering, and work continues on ways to produce tissue structures such as ears.
Surviving Lethal Chemotherapy by Boosting Stem Cell Activity - Thursday, August 1, 2013
Increasing chemotherapy tolerance, so as to allow greater harm to be caused to cancerous tumors while the patient still survives the treatment, is a strategy that will be eclipsed by the next generation of cancer therapies.
They will target cancer cells and have few to no side effects, and will certainly not be a case of flooding the body with poisons that are just a little more toxic to cancer than to the rest of the patient's cells. So the discovery made by these researchers will, I think, be something that finds application in regenerative medicine instead: a way to greatly boost stem cell activity in specific tissues should have many uses.
The Cost of Being Tall is a Shorter Life Expectancy - Thursday, August 1, 2013
This popular science piece outlines some of the evidence for greater height to come with a penalty to longevity. I believe that the most plausible contribution to this effect has to do with growth hormone metabolism, given the degree to which it is linked to longevity in laboratory animals.
Broadly speaking less growth hormone means a longer life in species such as mice. Larger individuals with more growth hormone accumulate damage and dysfunction at a faster pace in all areas: they age more rapidly.
One of the goals for future medicine is to make all such correlations in long term health irrelevant. Advanced medical technology, sufficient to repair the causes of aging, will sweep away the effects of differences in genetics and circumstances. This is something to look forward, as with suitable levels of funding and support the first of these new therapies of rejuvenation might be developed and rolled out by the late 2030s.
Steps Towards a Tissue Engineered Thymus - Friday, August 2, 2013
The thymus helps to generate the cell populations of your immune system when young, but it atrophies - a process called involution - quite early in adult life. Many of the frailties of aging have their roots in the age-related decline of the immune system.
It fails with age in large part because it is a size-limited population of cells, and ever more of those cells become inappropriately configured and unable to respond to new threats. One of the proposed methods for dealing with this issue is to restore the thymus, and therefore create a stream of new immune cells to take up the slack. Transplanting a thymus from a young mouse into an old mouse improves the immune system and extends life, for example.
For human medicine, the focus is on finding ways to tissue engineer a new thymus from the patient's own cells, or spur regrowth of the existing involuted thymus. Here is an example of progress in the research and development needed for thymic tissue engineering - if you want to build a thymus, you first have to be able to reliably generate large numbers of the right sort of cells. Work on that goal is still in progress.
Considering State Opposition to Life Extension Technologies - Friday, August 2, 2013
It is human nature to be capable of committing acts of great evil or economic self-destruction for years on end, and especially in groups. We are not at all far removed at the moment from large-scale genocides, collapsed kleptocracies, meaningless prohibitions, and more.
So it's probably unsafe to assume that no state will outright ban the extension of healthy life via medicine in the future: there are more than enough examples of human collectives acting against the long-term self-interest of all their members for decades, and that becomes ever more likely if those at the top invent the means to profit personally from a widespread destruction of life and wealth.
For all that, I do think it's an unlikely outcome. The more plausible outcome is the one that is taking place right now: great economic harm to the pace and breadth of medical development through heavy, centralized regulation. Enormous, entirely unnecessary costs and very high barriers to entry are imposed on clinical applications of medicine, which ensures that a great deal of possible, plausible research and development never happens. Worse, in a system in which all that is not expressly permitted is forbidden - which is exactly the case for the FDA and similar regulatory bodies elsewhere in the world - radically different new technologies such as the means to treat aging are restricted by default, without any politician or bureaucrat having to raise a finger.
Read More https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2013/08/considering-state-opposition-to-life-extension-technologies.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"