Top 10 Important Things in Life

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

Top 10 Important Things in Life

posted on February 28th, 2012

Dear Future Centenarian,

What™s important to you?

Those of us with a passion for extended youthful health spans pushed beyond today™s maximum lifespan limits think long-term.

In doing so, everyday mundane problems become less pressing, while expanded outlooks become more important. But what are those outlooks specifically?

I was discussing this with my assistant last week during a workout. Later, I gave it some more thought and came up with a list of what is most important to me. I think you™ll agree with most, and you may have your own list. Either way, if you plan a long and vibrant life, let™s make it as fun and as meaningful as possible. Since you™re going to be around for a while, why not build a rock-solid foundation for your life if you haven™t done so already?

I have put my list in order of importance, numbering my categories one to ten. I didn™t have much of an issue with the first three. The others might have been shuffled somewhat had I done them on another day. So the ranking isn™t as important to me as the substance. Here they are:

  1. Health & Longevity. Surprise, surprise! This includes youthful physical and mental health to the max¦ beyond anything we experience today.
  2. Freedom. What good does super longevity do you if you are not free to choose, if you are enslaved in any way whatsoever and if you can™t enjoy the fruits of your labor?
  3. Relationships. I can™t imagine a long life without intimate trusting relationships. If you are stuck in bad relationships, it may seem like you™re living forever, but that™s not what we™re all about. J
  4. Self-Esteem. Know what I mean Jelly Bean? If not, go to Devour his info if happiness is your goal.
  5. Comfort including Financial Security. No matter what your age, start socking it away in a responsible compounding investment vehicle. You™ll be sooo glad you did.
  6. Sex and Human Contact. Enjoy sex with a partner you love. Get regular massage and hugs. Hold hands with someone you care about. And/or, hug your pet.
  7. Peace. Normalize your blood pressure. Exorcise your demons, bad relationships and stressful situations. Relocate if you have to. Meditate. Pray if you™re religious. Hang out with energizing, positive productive people.
  8. Fitness/Weight Management. So why is a fitness nut like me putting this as low as #8? Because if it™s not already part of your routine (see #1), then consider this as a gentle reminder.
  9. Following Your Passion. Why lead a boring mundane life”regardless of how long it may be? When life is good, it™s too short, no matter how long. Make yourself and your family happy while bringing value to others.
  10. Self-Development. Times change quickly. If you™re not continuing to learn, you™re stagnating and falling behind. Fundamentals aren™t changing though. Ground yourself in the positive ones. Refer back to #4 for a head start..


Long Life,
David Kekich


CONSIDERING IDENTITY Friday, February 24, 2012
Philosophy determines strategy - it matters greatly which of the answers to the fundamental existential questions you subscribe to. Consider questions of identity, for example: do you identify with the pattern that is you, or do you identify with the present slowly changing collection of physical structure that is you?

If the former, you might consider destructively uploading the data of your mind to a robust computing system to be a fine strategy for the defeat of aging. If the latter, destructive uploading looks like an expensive and ornate suicide method - you are not your copy, and you will not survive the procedure. Doors to the future open or close depending on your philosophical inclinations. Here's a piece that reviews some of the spectrum of philosophical thinking on identity, which has been going on for a good deal longer than modern ideas and technologies have been around:

"Star Trek-style teleportation may one day become a reality. You step into the transporter, which instantly scans your body and brain, vaporizing them in the process. The information is transmitted to Mars, where it is used by the receiving station to reconstitute your body and brain exactly as they were on Earth. You then step out of the receiving station, slightly dizzy, but pleased to arrive on Mars in a few minutes, as opposed to the year it takes by old-fashioned spacecraft.

But wait. Do you really step out of the receiving station on Mars? Someone just like you steps out, someone who apparently remembers stepping into the transporter on Earth a few minutes before. But perhaps this person is merely your replica - a kind of clone or copy. That would not make this person you: in Las Vegas there is a replica of the Eiffel Tower, but the Eiffel Tower is in Paris, not in Las Vegas. If the Eiffel Tower were vaporized and a replica instantly erected in Las Vegas, the Eiffel Tower would not have been transported to Las Vegas. It would have ceased to exist. And if teleportation were like that, stepping into the transporter would essentially be a covert way of committing suicide."

A novel viewpoint is outlined in this article, though as always it remains to be seen how important the effect is in comparison with other concrete manifestations of aging: "For decades, scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression. They have scrupulously investigated such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle. Now a fascinating body of research supports a largely unrecognized culprit: the aging of the eye.

The gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body's circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems, these studies suggest. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body's circadian rhythm, its internal clock.

Circadian rhythms are the cyclical hormonal and physiological processes that rally the body in the morning to tackle the day's demands and slow it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. This internal clock relies on light to function properly, and studies have found that people whose circadian rhythms are out of sync, like shift workers, are at greater risk for a number of ailments, including insomnia, heart disease and cancer. We believe that it will eventually be shown that cataract surgery results in higher levels of melatonin, and those people will be less likely to have health problems like cancer and heart disease"

PRINTING MUSCLE AT ORGANOVO Wednesday, February 22, 2012
From the Methuselah Foundation blog: "A thin layer of human skeletal muscle is being printed by Chirag Khatiwala in a small, sterile room of San Diego-based startup Organovo. Each muscle cell from the company's signature 3-D printer is uniformly deposited in closely spaced lines on a petri dish.

This allows the cells to grow and interconnect until they form working muscle tissue nearly indistinguishable from a human muscle biopsy. Unlike other experimental approaches that utilize ink-jet printers to deposit cells, Organovo's technology enables cells to interact with each other the way they do in the body. How? They are packed tightly together, sandwiched, if you will, and incubated. This prompts them to cleave to each other and interchange chemical signals.

When printed, the cells are grouped together in a paste that helps them grow, migrate, and align themselves properly. In the case of muscle cells, the way they orient themselves in the same direction allow for contractions of the tissue. Methuselah Foundation honors the efforts of Organovo through early funding and support as well as through its new, highly anticipated New Organ Mprize. The true prize is elevated health and quality of life for those that have had to or will suffer the blows of a failing organ. Every $10 helps us work in tandem with today's stunningly advanced technology so that at some tomorrow, no one will have to suffer or die because of a diseased organ."

Via the Guardian: "Fasting for regular periods could help protect the brain against degenerative illnesses. Researchers [had] found evidence which shows that periods of stopping virtually all food intake for one or two days a week could protect the brain against some of the worst effects of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other ailments.

Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want. In other words, timing appears to be a crucial element to this process have also worked out a specific mechanism by which the growth of neurons in the brain could be affected by reduced energy intakes.

Amounts of two cellular messaging chemicals are boosted when calorie intake is sharply reduced. These chemical messengers play an important role in boosting the growth of neurons in the brain, a process that would counteract the impact of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The cells of the brain are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effects of exercise on muscle cells. The overall effect is beneficial. The link between reductions in energy intake and the boosting of cell growth in the brain might seem an unlikely one, but [there are] sound evolutionary reasons for believing it to be the case.

When resources became scarce, our ancestors would have had to scrounge for food. Those whose brains responded best - who remembered where promising sources could be found or recalled how to avoid predators - would have been the ones who got the food. Thus a mechanism linking periods of starvation to neural growth would have evolved." You might recall that intermittent fasting and straight calorie restriction depend on different sets of genes in mice, suggesting that they are not working to enhance health in the same ways - this latest research tends to reinforce that view.

You may recall that levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) have been shown to correlate with human longevity, such as in centenarian studies. Here is another very long term study that also shows an association, using a "fifty-three-year prospective follow-up of Gofman's Livermore Cohort between 1954 and 2008.

One thousand one hundred forty-four men who consented to the study, had analytic ultracentrifuge measurements of lipoprotein sub-fractions at baseline, and were old enough at baseline to have survived to age 85 during follow-up. Three hundred ninety men survived to 85 years old (34.1%). Survivors were less likely than non-survivors to be in the lowest HDL3 and HDL2 quartiles. Logistic regression analyses showed that the lowest HDL3 quartile significantly predicted shorter longevity.

Men who were above the 25th HDL3 percentile had 70% greater odds of surviving until age 85 than those below this level, which persisted when adjusted for HDL2, very low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and standard risk factors. Proportional hazard analyses of survival before age 85 showed that being in the lowest HDL3 quartile increased age-adjusted cancer risk by 39% and noncancer risk by 23% when adjusted for other risk factors."

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