Human Longevity Research
Is Health and Longevity Worth 9? a Day to You?
posted on June 16, 2009
People will go to the ends of the earth to cure what ails them. They will draw on every resource, spend every dime and will get totally consumed by trying to reverse their condition or disease. Too often, it™s too late. So they suffer and die from things that could have cost them pennies to prevent.
One top preventative measure is taking a baby aspirin with your biggest meal. This simple 3Â¢ a day habit could slash your heart attack and stroke risk by up to 50%. If you™re not doing this, why aren™t you? Higher doses can cut your risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer by about 50% and esophageal cancer by 90%!
Then there™s the current rage “ vitamin D3. Do you realize you can take an optimal daily dose of about 400 IU (or 100 mcg) for less than 7Â¢ a day¦ or just soak up 30 minutes of free sunshine a few days a week to lower your overall cancer risk by up to 60%?
According to one landmark study, some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased by much less than this 400 IU a day. And that™s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer.
Earlier studies have shown that optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer. And now we™re seeing more evidence that the type of cancer may not be all that important, because vitamin D appears to play a key role in the development of ALL types of cancer!
In fact, the majority of cancer deaths in the U.S. are from the most vitamin-D-sensitive cancers.
In addition to reducing your cancer risk, vitamin D keeps your mind sharp as you age, lowers your risk of osteoporosis and joint pain, helps protect you from heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease¦ and can reduce your risk of dying prematurely from ANY cause.
The seemingly limitless benefits of vitamin D are easier to fathom when you understand that it is actually the building block of a powerful hormone that influences your entire body. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your bones to your brain.
Maybe that™s why researchers are constantly finding more benefits. Vitamin D can boost your immune system, speed up healing and help regulate your blood pressure.
So are you getting enough of this œsunshine vitamin? If not, why not?
What else are you missing? Do you take fish oil every day? If not, you may be raising your overall mortality risk by an astounding 30%.
Would you insist on crossing streets on red lights? I™ll bet you wouldn™t even consider it, at least not normally. That™s because you learned a long time ago that crossing on green lights lowers your risk of getting pancaked by a truck.
Now you know more life-saving habits.
These simple steps will either turn out to be the best investments you ever made if you adopt them¦ or will turn out being your biggest regrets if you don™t.
THE BENEFITS OF FALLING COSTS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY
Another insight from Reason at FightAging.org:
œI believe that one of the major benefits produced by the falling cost of biotechnology will be to make irrelevant the US regulatory regime that presently forbids the commercial development of therapies to slow or reverse aging.
"The most important benefit of this trend, to my eyes at least, is that it will lead to a robust garage biotechnology and applied research industry, skilled amateurs working to produce new technologies in medicine, collaborating and expanding in the same way as the open source movement in software. Perhaps not in the US, given the characteristic regulatory response of the FDA to anything new in medicine, but certainly in many regions in the world. Costs will fall to the point at which small groups of reasonably intelligent people can educate themselves and work to apply to humans metabolic, genetic, and other biotechnological manipulations developed in mice or primates.
"Consider myostatin knockout mutants and their muscles, for example. Or the mice with tinkered p53 and telomerase that live 50% longer. Or the mice with additional mitochondrially-targeted catalase that also live longer. Or the efforts by SENS Foundation funded researchers to move mitochondrial DNA into the nucleus and thereby remove that contribution to the aging process: That'll be done in the lab in a handful of years if all goes according to plan.
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
Another View of Graying Hair (June 12 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4244
From ScienceNews: "Colorful locks depend on a group of special cells in hair follicles called melanocyte stem cells. Each of these cells divides into two cells: One that replaces itself and another that differentiates into a pigment-producing daughter cell called a melanocyte, which imbues hair with its browns, reds and blacks. Earlier research has suggested that the depletion of these stem cells was to blame for grayness. But how exactly these stem cells disappeared was mysterious. With no more stem cells around to produce melanocytes, hair turns gray. DNA damage causes them to lose their 'stemness,' the new report shows. Once the cells have racked up enough DNA damage, they become melanocytes and lose the ability to replace themselves or to replenish melanocyte cell populations. Once the melanocytes die, the hair is left with no pigment-producing cells." This should fuel the debate over the contribution of stochastic DNA damage to aging - perhaps diminishing stem cell populations is the important mechanism there. You might also compare this view of gray hair with the evidence for buildup of hydrogen peroxide as a cause.
Myostatin Knockout as Generally Beneficial Mutation (June 11 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4243
The existence of myostatin knockout mutations suggests that we should expect to find as many beneficial single gene mutations in humans are have been discovered in mice. There are at least one or two humans walking around with a naturally occurring version of this mutation. Here's more research into the benefits: "Humans and animals with a mutation in the myostatin gene are extremely muscular and have little fat, past research shows. Also, when the gene encoding myostatin is knocked out in mice, their muscle mass increases. The researchers took mice that were genetically altered to develop atherosclerosis and then cross-bred them with myostatin knockout mice. Ten generations later, they had mice who were genetically predisposed to both atherosclerosis and inactivation of myostatin. All mice received a high-fat diet for 12 weeks, to spur the development of atherosclerosis. The mice with deleted myostatin gene had much less body fat and 30 percent lower fasting blood sugar and 80% lower fasting insulin levels, showing a reduction in obesity and a strong resistance to developing diabetes, the authors reported. They also had 50 percent lower low-density-lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol and 30 to 60 percent lower levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood), respectively. These results indicate protection against the development of atherosclerosis."
Never Too Late to Exercise (June 11 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4242
It's never too late to gain significant health benefits from exercise - but that's no excuse to put it off, given the ongoing damage you'll do to yourself via years of a sedentary lifestyle. "It seems that the older we get, the less active we are. But why? According to the findings of a [recent study], the most powerful 'deterrent' among the over-65s is a lack of interest, and disbelief that exercise can enhance and/or lengthen life.
It's what Bob Laventure [classifies] under the 'it's too bloody late for me' excuse. [But] studies show improvements in balance, strength, gait, muscular power, blood pressure, endurance and bone density as a result of regular physical activity in older age. For example, one study on 90-year-old women in a nursing home found that 12 weeks of strength training took the equivalent of 20 years off their thigh muscle age, resulting in improved walking and mobility. Another study found that six months of regular exercise increased VO2 max (a measure of aerobic fitness) by 30% in 60-70-year-olds. Exercise even helps you live longer - research from Harvard University found that men who burned 2,000 calories a week through exercise lived two-and-a-half years longer, on average, than sedentary men."
Viral Vectors Versus Lung Cancer (June 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4241
An example of the sort of work presently taking place in cancer research
laboratories: "A new lung cancer therapy employing a vaporized viral vector to deliver a cancer-inhibiting molecule directly to lung tissue shows early promise in mouse trials. Aerosol delivery targets the lungs specifically and represents a noninvasive alternative for targeting genes to the lung. [researchers] targeted the Akt signaling pathway, which has been shown to be an important regulator of cell proliferation and cancer progression. A recent report found that 90 percent of non-small cell lung carcinomas were associated with the activation of the Akt signaling pathway. They chose a lentiviral vector [known] for its ability to infect nondividing cells and effect persistent genetic changes. They transfected the lentiviral vector with a negative regulator of Akt signaling [which] would theoretically inhibit Akt signaling, thus suppressing cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth." This strategy produced material benefits in mice, albeit not quite as impressive as some other technology demonstrations of virally delivered therapies.
Hourglass X (June 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4240
The tenth Hourglass blog carnival is up: "As we age, we all suffer from some level of neurodegeneration, though in most cases this falls below the threshold of a clinical pathology. Slow chronic change isn't the only form of age-related brain damage: let's not forget about strokes, which can wipe out otherwise healthy neurons in macroscopic regions of the brain. While the risk factors for stroke and neurodegeneration are distinct, therapies might ultimately be quite similar - since in both cases, the goal is to regrow neurons to replace those that have been lost. At Brain Stimulant, Mike tells us about a clinical trial that will use stem cells to treat stroke. Colin Farrelly of In Search of Enlightenment has submitted two long, thoughtful articles, the first about the clinical and social importance of tackling aging, the second about the cognitive biases that affect the way we think about risk and the significance of aging as a cause of mortality. In a rational world, aging research would be at the forefront of a global collaborative initiative to improve the health and economic prospects of today's aging populations (and all future generations). But humans are not rational. We suffer many cognitive biases."
Growing New Organs in the Lab (June 09 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4238
From Singularity Hub: "Why transplant an organ when you can grow yourself a new one? This research isn't something that might happen in the distant future. It's being used today to grow fresh organs, open up new ways to study disease and the immune system, and reduce the need for organ transplants. So how many different types of human organs have been grown and transplanted? The lab-grown bladders are among the only transplants of an entire organ, but a wide variety of partial organ transplants have taken place. Skin cells are regularly grown in culture and grafted onto patients' bodies. A graft was grown from a patient's trachea cells and transplanted to replace part of her airway that had degraded due to disease. Cartilage has been grown and transplanted into a patient's knee. Merely a decade ago, tissue engineering was still a new field that struggled to find funding and support. Today, thousands of scientists worldwide are coordinating efforts to reach new breakthroughs, and the demonstrated potential of these methods has helped bring in investors."
Theorizing on Germline Cells and Induced Longevity (June 08 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4237
An interesting line of thought via EurekAlert!: "In the sense that organisms existing today are connected through a chain of life - through their parents, grandparents and other ancestors - almost a billion years back to the first animals of the pre-Cambrian era, an animal's reproductive cells can be considered to be immortal. These germline cells generate their offspring's somatic cells - other cells involved in all aspects of growth, metabolism and behavior, which have a set lifespan “ and new germline cells that continue on, generation after generation. [Researchers] have found that certain genetic mutations known to extend the lifespan of the C. elegans roundworm induce 'mortal' somatic cells to express some of the genes that allow the 'immortality' of reproductive germline cells. The idea that somatic cells can reacquire genetic pathways usually restricted to germline cells is fascinating, and since germline protection is seen across species, the activity of these genes may play a role in controlling mammalian lifespan. Understanding the mechanisms involved in this transformation could help us develop new ways to repair and even regenerate key cells and tissues."