My Friends Break My Heart

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

My Friends Break My Heart

Dear Future Centenarian,

Did you ever try to give someone advice that you thought was sound, only to have your friends continue their old bad habits?

When I see someone I love self-destruct, I™m quick to suggest ways for them to alter their course. I™m no better a psychologist than the next person, so instead of trying to analyze what leads them to destruction, I just offer the most commonsensical help I can come up with.

In almost every case, it has to do with lifestyle habit advice. I failed to convince in most cases, and I believe it cost at least three of my friends their lives.

A couple of weeks ago, my best childhood friend™s widow died. She was in her 60s, and her 94 year old mother attended her only child™s funeral. Her husband Bob died at age 70, less than two years ago.

Bob was one of those people who pigged out at every meal and snacked in between. Junk food, fried foods, white bread, baked goods, char grilled meat, tons of mashed potatoes, beer¦ and two quarts of soft drinks average every day pretty much made up his diet.

I warned him for 25 years to back off, or he was headed for diabetes. I told him all about the dangers of chronic inflammation and how dangerous it was. He got diabetes, and it went downhill from there. Cancer finally killed him.

His wife™s diet was slightly different “ but even worse in some ways.

My friends with the worst habits are the ones I knew the longest. I dearly love many of them, but I have to say¦ I don™t necessarily respect some.

In contrast, I can™t think of a friend who I have met in the past twenty years who breaks my heart. Generally, their lifestyle habits are moderately good to great. It™s not that I have any more influence over them. I just gravitate toward health conscious people now.

Several years ago, I wrote a newsletter that offended someone very important to me. It may have offended others as well. In it, I classified my close friends in two general groups. One was the miscellaneous group which includes people who are in my life for reasons other than life extension... and those who are in the second group. I went on to insinuate that the first group generally wastes my time and is not as interesting to me as the latter.

I did shoot from the hip with that letter. The truth is, there are special people in group #1 who I love very much. Otherwise, they wouldn™t break my heart. Even if wellness and longevity aren™t important to them, I still cherish their friendships.

You™re probably in group #2, and I do hope you pursue your healthy habits.

More Life,
David Kekich


Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!

Clearing Out Damaged Mitochondrial DNA With TALENs - Monday, August 5, 2013
Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, and slowly accumulating damage to the DNA that they contain, distinct from the DNA in the cell nucleus, is thought to be an important contribution to degenerative aging.

Further, a range of inherited conditions are caused by genetic errors in mitochondrial DNA, such as Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. The SENS Research Foundation is working on ways to eliminate the effects of accumulated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage in order to build a therapy for aging, and other groups are working on methods of mitochondrial repair aimed at treating inherited mitochondrial disease. The researchers have a method that should be applicable as a means to reverse the mitochondrial DNA damage that contributes to aging. That damage is centered on thirteen important genes, so can in principle targeted by any one-gene-at-a-time method like the one demonstrated here.

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International Longevity Day, October 1st - Monday, August 5, 2013

Members of the International Longevity Alliance, an advocacy and political action group supportive of modern work on longevity science such as that carried out in the SENS program, are proposing October 1st to be International Longevity Day. This is a way to place the goal of extending healthy human life through medical science into the public eye for one more day each year, and as a methodology for doing so it seems fairly reliable if it can get a little impetus behind it.

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When It Comes to Aging, Humans are Noticeably Different - Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Humans are long lived in comparison to other primates and similarly sized mammals. In addition some characteristics of human aging are unusual in comparison to those of neighboring species. Aging is near universal but its specific evolved manifestations are highly varied.

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Alzheimer's Research as Rejuvenation Biotechnology - Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In the view of the SENS Research Foundation, some of the present large-scale scientific work to reverse the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein (Aβ) associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a form of rejuvenation biotechnology.

Amyloids of all sorts are on the list of aging-associated changes that should be repaired in order to revert old tissue to the same state it had when young. The hope here is that many of the technologies developed by the Alzheimer's research community can be repurposed to address other types of unwanted compounds that accumulate between cells.

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NHR-62 Necessary for Some Calorie Restriction Benefits in Nematode Worms- Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Calorie restriction extends life in most short-lived species where this effect can be measured in a practical amount of time. It is suspected that the effect is smaller in long-lived species such as we humans, but nonetheless calorie restriction produces large benefits to health in human studies, far greater than can be obtained by any presently available medical technology applied to a basically healthy individual.

Thus for some years researchers have been working on understanding the exceedingly complex mechanisms of calorie restriction, so as to find out how to recreate the benefits without the reduced calorie intake. It's a challenging task, nowhere near completion: calorie restriction changes just about everything in the operation of metabolism. This research result, in which researchers shut off part of the life extension of calorie restriction, convincingly adds to the data suggesting that calorie restriction operates through several distinct mechanisms running in parallel.

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People Want the Better End of What Exists, But More Than That Isn't Within Their Horizons - Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For the species defined by the fact that we create change, humans are surprisingly conservative.

Ask anyone what they want and in the vast majority of cases you'll hear a story involving the better end of what exists: they want to be as rich as their well-off neighbors, or live as long as the older folk who do so in good health. Ambition and vision, to see how to make new options that don't yet exist, and to want to put in the work to make it happen, are in desperately short supply.

Yet still there is enormously rapid progress in creating new technologies, new options, new bounds of wealth and choice and, yes, greater longevity. The people who today tell you that they only want to live a little beyond the present median human life span will almost certainly be lining up to take advantage of rejuvenation biotechnologies that enable a person to live for centuries, when such things are available, but they won't do anything to help the development of those technologies. Yet for rejuvenation of the old and the defeat of age-related disease to arrive within our lifetimes, many of these same people must decide to help, to understand the possibilities, to support the research. It's a challenge.

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HLH-30 Important in Autophagy-Induced Longevity - Thursday, August 8, 2013

Many methods of extending life by slowing aging in laboratory animals depend upon increased autophagy, the processes of cellular maintenance that clear out damaged components and proteins.

Calorie restriction is one of these methods, for example: some studies have shown that if autophagy is disabled then calorie restriction no longer extends life to a significant degree.

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And Now For Something Reprehensible - Thursday, August 8, 2013

There is no technology so beneficial that someone somewhere isn't thinking about how to use it to hurt people.

That even holds true for means of rejuvenation, ways to eliminate the vast and terrible cost of degenerative aging, all of the suffering, the tens of millions of deaths each and every year. Some people look at the possibilities for near future human rejuvenation and think "I've figured out a way to use this to more effectively hurt the groups of people that we don't like."

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The Current State of Knowledge of Genetics and Longevity - Friday, August 9, 2013

The interaction between genes, metabolism, and natural variations in longevity is an enormously complex space. This complexity is why efforts to slow aging by altering metabolism are doomed to be a very slow, very expensive undertaking, one which is unlikely to produce meaningful results within the next few decades.

It will be much easier to instead identify the forms of damage that cause aging and periodically repair them without trying to otherwise change our genes or metabolic processes. We know the metabolism we have when young works just fine, so the focus of longevity science should be on reverting the limited set of changes in and around cells that differentiate old tissues from young tissues.

Here is a good short summary of the current state of knowledge of genetics and longevity, illustrating that researchers are really only just at the outset of a very long process of obtaining a full or at least actionable understanding.

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Signs of Progress: Insurers Talk of Radical Life Extension - Friday, August 9, 2013

I had somehow missed this event from earlier in the year, a provocative (by mainstream standards) ad campaign mounted by a portion of the insurance industry: "The First Person To Live To 150 Is Alive Today."

I take the existence of such a campaign as a sign of progress in ongoing efforts to spread the twofold message that (a) much longer lives are possible in the future, and (b) it is necessary to support the research process in order to make this happen soon enough to matter to you and I. Most of the children born today in wealthier parts of the world will have the opportunity to live for centuries at the very least, but the odds of people presently in mid-life are far more dependent on the pace of medical progress, and whether or not the right research strategies are nurtured.

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DISCLAIMER:  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


David A. Kekich
Maximum Life Foundation

"Where Biotech, Infotech and Nanotech
     Meet to Reverse Aging by 2033"



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