Read This and Live Longer

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

Read This and Live Longer

posted on March 27th, 2012

Dear Future Centenarian,

I love corroboration. Here™s an example from the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern:

They give us Top 10 Tips. If you read Life Extension Express, you™ll recognize every one of these. Read them carefully with my occasional comments.

Over the past few decades life expectancy rates have steadily been on the rise. Based on recent data, the average life expectancy in America is 75.6 for men and 80.8 for women. While scientists and doctors have yet to find the secret to immortality and eternal youth, they have discovered that there is a lot you can do to affect how long you live. Set your sights high by employing these ten tips from Founder and Medical Director of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Theri Griego Raby:

Comment: Dr. Raby missed one big benefit. The extra years you tack on could be all you need to take advantage of the future technologies he alludes to that could give you open-ended youthfulness.

  1. 80% Rule:  Don™t stuff yourself! Stop eating when you are 80% full. Comment: Also consider intermittent fasting and caloric restriction.
  2. Plant-Power: Low in calories and high in flavor, eat more veggies and less protein and processed foods. Comment: More protein may be OK if it is from organic plant sources and from free-range animals.
  3. Red Wine: A fun, easy way to put more life in your years, and years in your life!  Consume a 3-4 ounce glass of red wine three times per week.
  4. Plan de Vida:   Discover your purpose and passions in life, and live it.
  5. Beliefs:  Develop spiritual beliefs.
  6. Down Shift:  Work less! Slow Down! Take a stress-free vacation. Comment: There™s nothing wrong with working long hard hours as long as you love what you do and recharge by taking regular vacations and days off where you do absolutely ZERO work.
  7. MOVE:  Make sure you move your body, make moving an unavoidable part of your life.  
  8. Belong:  Create a healthy social network with people you can trust and admire.
  9. Your Tribe:  Family is one of the most important things in life, and can make you live longer.  Live longer with the ones most important to you.
  10. Visit Your Doctor: Make sure that, in addition to annual physicals, you are up-to-date with relevant tests and screenings like mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies. Comment: Find a knowledgeable doctor who specializes in Anti-Aging. There are so many more tests that are covered in Life Extension Express.


About The Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern: Founded in 2008, the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern is one of the country™s premier centers for integrative healing, disease treatment/prevention and optimal wellness. 

Combining the best of science-based Western medicine with natural therapeutic approaches from a variety of ancient cultures, the institute offers an unparalleled experience for patients of all ages. Lead by Dr. Theri Griego Raby, the institute offers primary and consultative care by highly trained specialists in Internal Medicine, Integrative Pediatrics and Integrative Gynecology, as well as direct or collaborative care by certified practitioners in the disciplines of Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Medical Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Neuromuscular Massage Therapy, Integrative Psychology, Anti-aging and Functional Medicine. 

The Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine is located at 500 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, IL.

I don™t know them and can™t endorse them yet. You can find several great docs at

Long Life,
David Kekich


The founder of the Russia 2045 initiative is interviewed here: "Dmitry Itskov is the founder of Global Future 2045, which recently held its first conference. The Russian entrepreneur gathered scientists from around the world to discuss many topics that will help achieve on goal: life extension.

The main idea of the project and my mission is to help people, to eliminate disease and death probably in the future, to overcome the limitations of our body, and to help humanity grow out of the crisis. As for my personal background, I have always been in the IT business, internet technologies. I published a few internet newspapers in Russia, I produce internet TV channel, a kind of blog service, email service, so being in this business I have always been interested in science and technologies that can extend life.

Of course, like anybody, I have seen death and diseases in my family, my grandparents have gone, I've always been thinking how can I personally help. I've also been interested in science and I've seen an example of scientists who haven't gone, who are with us, like Stephan Hawking. He can't even move, he can't even normally talk to people, so this experience inspired me, this made me think how can I participate and help people. I decided to launch such an initiative with the help of Russian scientists who I knew like me. What helped me was that talking to them I was pretty sure that if we launched a kind of a big technical project, a big social initiative, if we work together, if we make our thinking global, and if we are able to launch a global network, then there is a very big chance we make our dreams come true.

[The Avatar initiative] is the main technological project of the initiative which consists of four steps. One is human-like robot controlled by brain-computer interface. The second part is about producing life support system for the human brain. The third part is reverse engineering for the brain."

The fourth step is to replace the biological brain with an artificial system that is more durable and extendable - which is a long way out, but something that has to be accomplished carefully and thoughtfully to be anything other than an expensive form of suicide that happens to leave behind a copy of the original you. Acceptable means include slowly replacing neurons one by one with nanomachinery that replicates their function and data storage whilst interfacing with the remaining brain tissue - but again, this sort of technology is a long way out from where we stand now, and there are many other challenges to be overcome along the way.

Researchers are slimming down the process of generating specific types of cell to order, turning the multi-step induced pluripotency processes of the last couple of years into a single step: researchers "have succeeded in obtaining somatic stem cells from fully differentiated somatic cells.  [Scientists] took skin cells from mice and, using a unique combination of growth factors while ensuring appropriate culturing conditions, have managed to induce the cells' differentiation into neuronal somatic stem cells.

Our research shows that reprogramming somatic cells does not require passing through a pluripotent stage. Thanks to this new approach, tissue regeneration is becoming a more streamlined - and safer - process. One factor in particular, called Brn4, which had never been used before in this type of research, turned out to be a genuine 'captain' who very quickly and efficiently took command of his ship - the skin cell - guiding it in the right direction so that it could be converted into a neuronal somatic stem cell.

This interconversion turns out to be even more effective if the cells, stimulated by growth factors and exposed to just the right environmental conditions, divide more frequently.  Gradually, the cells lose their molecular memory that they were once skin cells. It seems that even after only a few cycles of cell division the newly produced neuronal somatic stem cells are practically indistinguishable from stem cells normally found in the tissue. So far, insights are based on experiments using murine skin cells; the next steps now are to perform the same experiments using actual human cells.  In addition, it is imperative that the stem cells' long-term behavior is thoroughly characterized to determine whether they retain their stability over long periods of time."

A BBC News article: "It might seem unbelievable, but researchers can grow organs in the laboratory. There are patients walking around with body parts which have been designed and built by doctors out of a patient's own cells.

There is a pressing need. A shortage of available organs means many die on waiting lists and those that get an organ must spend a lifetime on immunosuppressant drugs to avoid rejection. The idea is that using a patient's own stem cells to grow new body parts avoids the whole issue of rejection as well as waiting for a donor. Dr Anthony Atala [has] made breakthroughs in building bladders and urethras. He breaks tissue-building into four levels of complexity. 1) Flat structures, such as the skin, are the simplest to engineer as they are generally made up of just the one type of cell. 2) Tubes, such as blood vessels and urethras, which have two types of cells and act as a conduit.

3) Hollow non-tubular organs like the bladder and the stomach, which have more complex structures and functions. 4) Solid organs, such as the kidney, heart and liver, are the most complex to engineer. They are exponentially more complex, have many different cell types, and more challenges in the blood supply. We've been able to implant the first three in humans. We don't have any examples yet of solid organs in humans because its much more complex. One of the problems when you move to larger organs is the getting the blood supply to work, connecting arteries, capillaries and veins to keep the organ alive. It is why some researchers are investigating 'decellularisation' - taking an existing donated organ, stripping out the original cells and replacing them with new cells from the patient who will receive the organ."

The second part of an article in CMAJ that shows off some of the subtle prejudices against cryonics that exist in the medical scientific community (such as in the choice of title) while attempting
objectivity: "Although death and taxes are said to be the only two certainties in life, a small but vocal community takes issue with the inclusion of the former. There is, they say, the alternative of cryonics, in which a legally dead person is preserved at -196C in hopes that he will ultimately be revived and rejuvenated, once a cure for his ailment is found.

And it's entirely consistent with the basic tenets of medicine, providers argue. Although it seems like an unusual and radical idea to many people, I think in the very truest sense of the term, this is conservative medicine. This is literally conserving a patient rather than giving up on them by today's standards of medicine. It's true a doctor can't do anything more for these people, but that doesn't mean the future cannot. Those interested in cryonics tend be optimistic, hopeful about technological developments and dissatisfied with an ordinary life span, says Ben Best, president of the Cryonics Institute.

A miniscule chance is better than none, enthusiasts say. Nobody has come up with a better idea yet, so therefore myself, as well as some others, believe that cryonics is simply the second worst thing that can happen. You're going to die. You're going to stop breathing. Whether you be buried or cremated or cryopreserved, it's going to happen. There's nothing we can do about this now, but I know that if I'm cremated or buried, even if technology vastly increased, I'm never coming back.

Enthusiasts are mystified that only a small segment of the general population has investigated the cryonic option. I don't know why there are far more people who don't sign up for cryonics arrangements. It's true that what we do is unorthodox and different, at least in 2012. But there are so many bizarre ideas out there which have no evidence to support them and get many, many people fascinated. Yet we only have less than 1000 members after 40 years. People tend in my experience to kind of rely on this naturalistic [fallacy] that because people have always gotten older and died, therefore they should get older and die as a result of simply living longer."

From an interview with Vernor Vinge at Wired: "First of all, I'm all for human life extension. In The Singularity is Near, I think, [Ray Kurzweil] has a nice discussion of the situation that a lot of essayists have where they say, 'Oh, we really don't want that. A wise and philosophical person realizes that life needs be limited, and that's a good thing,' these essayists say. He does a good job of criticizing that point of view, and I certainly agree with that.

Furthermore, I think that a human lifespan of a thousand years with post-Singularity technology is easily doable. I think a lifespan of a thousand years would actually - Singularity aside - would do human society and human nature a great deal of good, and don't think it is that difficult, it probably can even be achieved without having a Technological Singularity. Life spans of 10,000 to 100,000 years, then you begin to look at what's involved, the humans that are involved, and how capable a human mind is of absorbing variety.

The complaint or the criticism here is that the human mind has a certain level of ability to handle different sorts of complexity, and if you believe that you could go 100,000 years and not be turned into a repeating tape loop, well, then let's talk about longer period of time. How about a billion years, or a hundred billion years? At a hundred billion years, you're out there re-engineering the universe. The age of the universe becomes your chief longevity problem.

But there's still the issue of, what would it be like to be you after that? This raises the point, which actually I'm sure is also on Ray's mind, that if you're going to last that long you have to become something greater, and the Singularity is ideally set up to supply that. So the people who are into the intelligence amplification mode of looking at these things, this all fits.

And I'm not saying that in a critical and negative way, it does all fit, and it puts you in a situation where you are talking realistically about living very long periods of time, perhaps so long that you have to re-engineer the universe because the universe is not long-lived enough. At the same time, you have to be growing and growing and growing. I mean, intellectually growing. Now, if you look at that situation, it ultimately gets you, I think, to a very interesting philosophical point, which really I don't think was within the horizon of what people normally thought about two or three or four hundred years ago."

Here is more evidence for modest benefits derived from common forms of minimal intermittent fasting, though as is often the case one may suspect that other associations with lifestyle choices cloud the picture: "Previously we discovered that routine periodic fasting was associated with a lower prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Other studies have shown that fasting increases longevity in animals. A hypothesis-generating analysis suggested that fasting may also associate with diabetes. This study prospectively tested whether routine periodic fasting is associated with diabetes mellitus (DM). Patients (n = 200) undergoing coronary angiography were surveyed for routine fasting behavior before their procedure. Meta-analyses were performed by evaluation of these patients and 448 patients from a previous study. DM was present in 10.3% of patients who fasted routinely and 22.0% of those who do not fast. CAD was found in 63.2% of fasting and 75.0% of nonfasting patients, and in nondiabetics this CAD association was similar.

Meta-analysis showed modest differences for fasters versus nonfasters in glucose concentrations (108 ± 36 vs 115 ± 46 mg/dl) and BMI (27.9 ± 5.3 vs 29.0 ± 5.8 kg/m(2)). In conclusion, prospective hypothesis testing showed that routine periodic fasting was associated with a lower prevalence of DM in patients undergoing coronary angiography. A reported fasting association with a lower CAD risk was also validated and fasting associations with lower glucose and BMI were found."

Another promising form of immunotherapy in mice: "researchers have trained mouse immune systems to eradicate skin cancer from within, using a genetic combination of human DNA from melanoma cells and a cousin of the rabies virus. The strategy, called cancer immunotherapy, uses a genetically engineered version of the vesicular stomatitis virus to deliver a broad spectrum of genes derived from melanoma cancer cells directly into tumors.

In early studies, 60 percent of tumor-burdened mice were cured in fewer than three months and with minimal side effects. We believe that this new technique will help us to identify a whole new set of genes that encode antigens that are important in stimulating the immune system to reject cancer. In particular, we have seen that several proteins need to be expressed together to generate the most effective rejection of the tumors in mice.

The immune system functions on a seek-and-destroy platform and has fine-tuned its capacity to identify viral invaders such as vesicular stomatitis virus. Part of the appeal of building cancer vaccines from the whole spectrum of tumor DNA is that tumors can adapt to the repeated attacks of a healthy immune system and display fewer antigens (or signposts) that the immune system can identify. Cancers can learn to hide from a normal immune system, but appear unable to escape an immune system trained by the vesicular stomatitis virus with the wide range of DNA used in the library approach.

Nobody knows how many antigens the immune system can really see on tumor cells. By expressing all of these proteins in highly immunogenic viruses, we increased their visibility to the immune system. The immune system now thinks it is being invaded by the viruses, which are expressing cancer-related antigens that should be eliminated."

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