Life Extension Research
The Weekend That Will Extend Your Youth
posted on Novemeber 18, 2009
Last weekend™s Longevity Summit may have been the most important event of your life, even if you weren™t there. You can read about it in the first news item below. And go to a Reason magazine article at the following link to get an excellent synopsis. I believe what we did will eventually preserve millions of lives, including yours. It took an incredible amount of work, I am burned out and need to rest, so I will keep it short.
Please go to this link now to see why you may live as well as you want for as long as you want:
More next week--and beyond.
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
THE MANHATTAN BEACH PROJECT (November 13 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4465
I see that David Kekich's Manhattan Beach Project meeting this month is getting some local press attention. He's an ambitious fellow, looking for ways to persuade enough money into the right projects to achieve SENS-like timelines for rejuvenation science: "David Kekich plans to end aging by the year 2029. Sound far-fetched? 'It know it sounds fictional,' the businessman said, 'but it's all based on hard, solid science. It will happen, it's just a matter of when.' He and more than a dozen scientists and researchers from the across the country will gather this weekend in Manhattan Beach for a three-day summit to design a plan for raising the necessary capital - 'only a few billion dollars,' he predicts - and the technology to lengthen human life spans within the next two decades. Dubbed the 'Manhattan Beach Project' after the secret atomic-bomb-building Manhattan Project of the 1940s, Kekich and his crew will 'collaborate on a battle plan to seek out and conquer anything that stands in the way of increased human life span,' according to press materials. Human life span will continue to rise. For that reason alone, Kekich says this is a wise business investment - demand for services that extend life will be in huge demand, he predicts. We lose about 100,000 people to aging every day. We lose their talents, their relationships, their ability to solve problems. People are really at their peak in terms of talent at this age.'"
CAN MEMORY FILL UP? (November 13 2009)
That human memory can "fill up" has long been a staple of science fiction involving radical life extension. It seems like a reasonable projection - we only have so many brain cells - but that doesn't mean it happens in reality. For example, old memories might be consistently erased to make space. But here is an example of research in support of short term memory storage effectively becoming full due to changes that occur with age: "new neurons sprouted in the hippocampus cause the decay of short-term fear memories in that brain region, without an overall memory loss. The birth of new neurons promotes the gradual loss of memory traces from the hippocampus as those memories are transferred elsewhere in the brain for permanent storage. Although they examined this process only in the context of fear memory, [researchers say that] all memories that are initially stored in the hippocampus are influenced by this process. In effect, the new results suggest that failure of neurogenesis [such as happens with advancing age] will lead to problems because the brain's short-term memory is literally full. We may perhaps experience difficulties in acquiring new information because the storage capacity of the hippocampus is 'occupied by un-erased old memories. Voluntary exercise, which causes a rise in the birth of new neurons, sped up the decay rate of hippocampus-dependency of memory, without any memory loss."
MORE TELOMERASE IN CENTENARIANS (November 12 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4463
From LiveScience: "The new study, which focused on Ashkenazi Jews, finds those who lived the longest had inherited a hyperactive version of an enzyme called telomerase that rebuilds telomeres. In effect, centenarians tend to have a top-notch body mechanic at work 24/7 repairing the hardware that runs the body, versus a normal person whose body's cellular control center is left to wear out with time. Humans of exceptional longevity are better able to maintain the length of their telomeres. And we found that they owe their longevity, at least in part, to advantageous variants of genes involved in telomere maintenance. [Researchers] studied Ashkenazi Jews, a homogeneous population whose genetics are well-studied. Three groups were part of the research: A very old (average age 97) but healthy group of 86 people; 175 of their offspring; and a control group of 93 offspring of parents who lived a normal lifespan. Our research was meant to answer two questions. Do people who live long lives tend to have long telomeres? And if so, could variations in their genes that code for telomerase account for their long telomeres? 'Yes' on both accounts, the scientists conclude."
AN ALTERNATIVE TO P53 FOR SHUTTING DOWN CANCERS (November 11 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4460
News from the cancer research community: "more than half of all human cancers have mutations that disable a protein called p53. As a critical anti-cancer watchdog, p53 masterminds several cancer-fighting operations within cells. When cells lose p53, tumors grow aggressively and often cannot be treated. [Researchers] have succeeded in shutting off the growth of tumors in which p53 is missing by turning up the production of TAp63 proteins, which make up one class of proteins produced by the p63 gene. TAp63 completely blocked tumor initiation, the team found, by inducing senescence, a state of growth arrest in which tumor cells are still metabolically alive but fail to divide. More importantly, turning up the levels of TAp63 in cells that did not have p53 blocked the progression of established tumors in mice. Tumor growth continued in the placebo group, with the tumors becoming five times larger within a week. In contrast, the tumors in the mice [producing TAp63] were abruptly shut down, and the tumors even shrank in size. Mills speculates that the tumor cells disappear because the newly senescent cells might attract the attention of the immune system, which have the ability to destroy them."
MORE ON ZEBRAFISH BIOCHEMISTRY (November 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4459
From ScienceDaily: "The search for the holy grail of regenerative medicine - the ability to 'grow back' a perfect body part when one is lost to injury or disease - has been under way for years, yet the steps involved in this seemingly magic process are still poorly understood. Now researchers [have] identified an essential cellular pathway in zebrafish that paves the way for limb regeneration by unlocking gene expression patterns last seen during embryonic development. They found that a process known as histone demethylation switches cells at the amputation site from an inactive to an active state, which turns on the genes required to build a copy of the lost limb. This is the first real molecular insight into what is happening during limb regeneration. Until now, how amputation is translated into gene activation has been like magic. Finally we have a handle on a process we can actually follow. This finding will help us to ask more specific questions about mammalian limb regeneration: Are the same genes involved when we amputate a mammalian limb? If not, what would happen if we turned them on? And if we can affect these methylation marks in an amputated limb, what effect would that have?"
PRIORITIES (November 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4458
If the end goal is to be able to grow replacement tissue for all parts of the body, sooner or later you will arrive at the engineering of male genitals. In fact sooner, it seems, which isn't much of a surprise given human nature. Via EurekAlert!: "In an advance that could one day enable surgeons to reconstruct and restore function to damaged or diseased penile tissue in humans, researchers have used tissue engineering techniques to completely replace penile erectile tissue in animals. After implantation with the replacement tissue, the rabbits had normal sexual function and produced offspring. Further studies are required, of course, but our results are encouraging. Reconstructing damaged or diseased penile erectile tissue has traditionally been a challenge because of the tissue's unique structure and complex function. There is no replacement for this tissue that allows for normal sexual function. The scientists first harvested smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells, the same type of cells that line blood vessels, from the animals' erectile tissue. These cells were multiplied in the laboratory. Using a two-step process, the cells were injected into a three-dimensional scaffold that provided support while the cells developed. As early as one month after implanting the scaffold in the animal's penis, organized tissue with vessel structures began to form."
CRYONICS IN THE UK (November 09 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4456
The Guardian looks at a non-profit cryonics initiative in the UK: "In a bungalow in Peacehaven, by the east Sussex seaside, a 72-year-old man and his 62-year-old wife are planning their future. There's no discussion of anything morbid, like death, because, as far as they are concerned there is no such thing as death. When they stop breathing, they will pass into a state of suspended animation. They will be frozen in a giant flask of liquid nitrogen at almost -200C, which will preserve their brains and organs in as fresh a state as possible until technology has advanced to the stage where they can be revived. I was aware from a very young age that life is very short. It occurred to me that no matter what you've got, you're still going to die. I remember thinking, 'I enjoy things: why does anybody want to die?' Alan now runs Cryonics UK, and every month he holds meetings with fellow cryonicists and potential converts to discuss the practicalities and potential problems of their suspension - of which there are many. First, upon so-called 'death', a team of experts must rush to their sides, pump out their blood and fill them with antifreeze. Second, there are no storage facilities in Britain, so patients will have to be transferred to the US or Russia. Third, science has some way to go before we can bring people back to life." This is much how the established cryonics organizations in the US started back in the day.