Healthy Life Extension
How Hope Can Preserve Your Life
Dear Future Centenarian,
While I was in the rehab center learning how to manage pain and adjust to life in a wheelchair, I spent a good part of my days searching for a cure that the docs insisted does not exist.
Had I listened to the medical staff, I may not be alive today. What kept me going was hope. They tried to strip me of that. The department head and the head neurologist temporarily threw me into despair.
The department head was a mess. I never saw him without a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket, and if his belly were any bigger, he would have needed a wheelbarrow to cart it around. That was his business though, and I didn™t judge him one way or another until he made it MY business.
Want to know how he did that? Unbelievably, he tried imposing his values on me. Now that you know me as you do, you understand how important fitness, diet, nutritional supplements and a healthy lifestyle are to me. This turkey waddled into my room one day, looked at my vitamins on a shelf and said to the patient before him who needed a psychological boost: œI could never understand why people would exercise and take vitamins.
This is an honest-to-goodness true story. And those were his exact words, forever embedded in my memory banks.
Strangely, I didn™t get angry. I actually felt sorry for the doc, not for myself. Don™t get me wrong, I was extremely depressed, but I never felt sorry for myself.
He said this to me shortly after the head neurologist insisted: œYou™ll never regain functional use of your legs. Again, his exact words, and I don™t exactly have the world™s best memory. Those words had me trying to figure out how to negotiate myself to, open and flip myself out of the window. Yep, after he repeated that sentiment often enough, I became suicidal. Even when I told him he was discounting future medical breakthroughs, he said I would never live long enough to see them.
I hope he kept his day job, because he™d starve as a motivational speaker.
That™s what I needed too, a motivating physician. Sure, their job in rehab is to get people to accept and adjust to whatever it is they lost. But there are constructive ways and destructive ways to go about that.
A constructive way would have been to say something like: œLook, we all know you had a devastating injury that has suddenly turned your life upside down. I wish I could cure you, but I can™t. Nobody can. At least not now. Medical research will solve most of our problems someday, so even if it takes a very long time, never give up hope. Meanwhile, all we can do for you is to help make your life as comfortable and as rewarding as we can under these circumstances. And if the day comes when there™s a cure for you, what we™re doing here will help prepare you for that day.
End of story. That way, depression and sense of loss are at least partially offset by hope. Without hope, we have nothing. What bleak lives we would face without hope for the future.
Can you imagine your mental state if you were completely stripped of hope in every aspect of your life? What would you have to look forward to? Suicide rates would soar, and the rest of us would slowly deteriorate on a cellular level, since negative thoughts undermine every cell in your body.
Hope and optimism energize our cells and help keep us disease free and vitalized.
And so it is with aging. Is it any surprise that old men get grumpy? Don™t you think they™d be much more cheerful if they had real hope for youthful energetic futures?
A good friend of mine said if he didn™t think he had a chance for a greatly extended life, he™d stay drunk all the time. As it is, he™s one of the hardest working and most productive people I know. And fortunately for you, he works in the longevity industry. He™s a key person actually.
On the flip side, I wonder how many people on Skid Row would be gainfully and happily employed if they had hope for whatever might be most important to them.
So the take home lesson is, hope energizes you. It rejuvenates every cell in your body. It gives you purpose. If sickness, aging, financial or personal problems get you down, try to see a way through it by finding keys that point to real hope of things getting better down the road.
P.S. A friend wrote to me about a doctor who is using a novel approach to treat his daughter™s chronic pain. The physician™s name? œDr. Hope. Is that a great name or what?
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
Improving Muscle Metabolism and Endurance in Mice - Monday, July 15, 2013
If the method of improving endurance in mice found by these researchers actually works in the way they think that it works, then it should also increase mouse life span.
Considering Synaptic Maintenance Over the Course of Aging - Monday, July 15, 2013
An open access review paper here looks at some of the low-level processes involved in late-life neurodegeneration, the decline of brain functionality. If following a SENS-like viewpoint of the causes of degenerative aging, we would say that these are secondary processes, a loss in the ability of brain tissue and brain cells to maintain themselves due to forms of accumulated damage that occur at an even lower functional level in our biology.
The core point of the SENS proposals for rejuvenation biotechnology is that we don't need to understand the very complex middle layers of degeneration and maintenance in order to halt and reverse aging - we just need to fix the lowest-level causes of aging, which are presently well known. Still, most of the research community continues to focus instead on generating a complete understanding of the exceedingly complex processes of aging, starting from the mid-layers and working out.
Inverse Occurrence of Cancer and Alzheimer Disease - Tuesday, July 16, 2013
This is an intriguing finding, and I have no suggestions for either possible underlying mechanisms or possibilities for systematic error in the research. So far as I am aware the common risk factors for cancer are also risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD), so one would not expect to see the correlations shown here.
More on Cancers Reducing Alzheimer's Risk Â - Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A second group of researchers recently demonstrated that cancer patients have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, providing data that adds to the puzzling nature of this finding.
Artificial Organelles to Break Down Free Radicals - Wednesday, July 17, 2013
One future path for medical technology is to augment the internal functions of our cells with artificial versions of natural organelles, membrane-enclosed sacks of protein machinery that do some form of useful work - such as produce therapeutic proteins, or remove harmful waste products that natural organelles struggle with.
The research noted below is one of a number of early experiments along these lines, but it isn't clear that it would be very beneficial as built. Neutralizing free radicals via the introduction of additional antioxidants is not generally beneficial: while they are damaging to protein machinery both inside and outside cells, they are also a part of numerous signaling systems, such as those relating to cellular maintenance and repair processes, or the benefits produced by exercise. Removing free radicals is only demonstrated to extend life and improve health over the long term when localized to the mitochondria of the cell, where it might not be practical to insert an entire new organelle.
Another Potential Commonality in the Mechanisms of Cancer - Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Any method to distinguish or interfere with cancer cells that is broadly applicable to a majority of cancer types will greatly reduce the threat of cancer in old age.
Cancer is dangerous precisely because it is so very varied, both between types and between individual tumors. I remain confident that there must be numerous commonalities in the low-level mechanisms of cancer that reflect the commonalities in its behavior, however.
What is the Role of Gut Bacteria in Calorie Restriction? - Thursday, July 18, 2013
Researchers here explore changes that occur in gut bacteria populations as a result of the practice of calorie restriction.
The challenge for assigning causes to the extended longevity produced by a calorie restricted diet in laboratory species such as mice is that calorie restriction changes near every measurable aspect of metabolism: it is a system-wide and sweeping alteration of state. So we should not be surprised to see that populations of bacteria in the body also change - but is that an important effect in comparison to other fundamental alterations in cellular metabolism?
A Look at the Two Sides of Oxidative Stress Â - Thursday, July 18, 2013
Damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other free radicals are generated within your cells, largely as a result of the day to day operations of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell that produce chemical energy stores used by cellular processes.
Too many free radicals produce the state called oxidative stress, in which a cell struggles to keep up with the repair of its protein machinery. Oxidative stress increases with age: this is thought to be due to increasing dysfunction in mitochondria, and to be a root cause of degenerative aging.
It's not quite so simple, however, as the presence of oxidative molecules in our biology is vital to life. Evolution eagerly uses and reuses every cog, nut, and bolt that happens to be to hand, and so ROS are involved in a range of essential cellular mechanisms. Low levels of ROS are usually beneficial and necessary, while high levels are usually damaging and bad. Biology is a complex business, and it is always the case that the details matter: you can't just talk about ROS levels, but have to talk about where, when, how they change, and their interaction with other processes.
Exercise Reduces Stroke Risk - Friday, July 19, 2013
Exercise extends average life spans (but not maximum life spans) in laboratory animals and improves long term health. In human epidemiological studies it is associated with better health and greater life expectancy. Here is another of the many, many examples of this relationship.
Let-7 and the Age-Related Decline of Neural Regeneration - Friday, July 19, 2013
The microRNA let-7 has been shown to be involved in maintenance of stem cell populations.
It was mentioned in research in flies from last year: let-7 levels rise with aging, causing other changes in various proteins which result in a reduced number of stem cells that are active and maintaining tissues. Here researchers investigate let-7 in nematode worms in connection with the regenerative capacity of nerve tissue.
Read More https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2013/07/let-7-and-the-age-related-decline-of-neural-regeneration.php
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