Researchers Discover What Happens When We Die

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

Researchers Discover What Happens When We Die

Dear Future Centenarian,

This article from offers a ray of hope that I haven™t seen before. The hope being¦ they say this discovery could actually lead to reversing death.

Here™s a reprint:

œOne of the great mysteries of life is ˜what happens after we die?™ There will likely never be answer to that question, but science is growing closer to figuring out what happens when we die.

œIt turns out that death is a slower process than once perceived. Living organisms do not immediately switch from alive to dead all at once. Instead, new research out of University College London states that living cells shut down individually as a wave of death cell-killing acid spreads across the body.

œThe study, published in the latest issue of PLOS Biology, explains the complicated death-triggering mechanism that overtakes an organism upon its initial death. Scientists closely examined the biological changes of earthworms upon their deaths. Most notably, the dead worms took on a blue hue throughout their body. Scientists identified this blue hue as anthranillic acid, and now claim that this material is responsible for ending all living life at the cellular level.

œDavid Gems, the leader of the study, explained the team™s findings. Gems said, œWe™ve identified a chemical pathway of self-destruction that propagates cell death in worms, which we see as this glowing blue fluorescence traveling through the body. It™s like a blue grim reaper, tracking death as it spreads throughout the organism until all life is extinguished.

œEssentially, upon death, a few select cells secrete anthranillic acid as they shut down. This acid then targets nearby cells which similarly secrete the acid before death. This chain reaction continues across the host body until every cell is dead.

œIf this all sound like a bummer, cheer up: there™s good news! Now that scientists have discovered the biological stimulus for death, work can begin on ways to stop or counteract the spread of anthranillic acid. If scientists come upon a way to stop, or suppress the acid™s activity within a host body, they may develop new ways to prolong human life, as well as bring the recently dead back to life.

PLOS Biology is an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of biology, so maybe there™s something to this. What excites me though is how much more aging research we™re seeing and how varied the research is becoming. Not enough and not as fast as I™d like to see, but of course I won™t be satisfied with anything until we conquer death altogether.

We actually have had a strong technology for years that might not only bring the recently dead back to life¦ but it could revive people who died many years ago. There™s a catch though. Less than 300 of our dearly departed qualify. That™s because they had enough foresight to avoid the total cell destruction of everyone else who ever died. How did they do that? Cryonics.

People who are considered dead by current legal or medical definitions may not necessarily be dead. As indicated in the above article, death is a process and not an event. Cells die over time, and if you preserve those cells by stopping the dying process under liquid nitrogen temperature, biological deterioration essentially stops. That™s what cryonics is.

Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans who can™t be kept alive by contemporary medicine. The rationale is that healing and resuscitation could be possible with future technologies. Once considered to be a fringe movement, cryonics is now formally endorsed by 62 prominent scientists.

More Life,
David Kekich

Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!

It's Never Too Late To Stop Shortening Your Life - Monday, September 2, 2013
A lot of self-harm takes place when it comes to individual life expectancy. Smoking, eating too many calories, and being sedentary top the list in wealthier populations these days.

Ignorance is also very important at the present time because of the prospects for the development of rejuvenation biotechnology: if you don't know that reversal of aging might be accomplished in future decades, then you can't make a choice to support that progress. Yet new therapies to impact aging will have a much larger effect on life span than any lifestyle choice. If they arrive in time, that is, which requires widespread public support and far greater funding than presently exists.

But people, as a general rule, don't tend to put a great deal of value on the distant years of their own personal future. We know this because there are so many who smoke, get fat, and don't exercise, and who choose to remain fairly ignorant of the workings of their own body vis a vis long-term maintenance.

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SENS Research Report: Lysosomal Aggregates - Monday, September 2, 2013
The SENS Research Foundation works on a new paradigm for medicine and aging: the goal is to repair the known underlying causes of degenerative aging so as to prevent and reverse its effects, creating actual rejuvenation in patients, and ultimately removing age-related disease and frailty from the world.

At present new biotechnologies needed for rejuvenation therapies are in the early stages of development. One line of this research involves removing accumulated metabolic waste products from the lysosome. Lysosomes are the recycling units of the cell, breaking down unwanted proteins and broken cellular machinery so that the parts can be reused. But they fail with age, largely because they become bloated with hardy waste products that they are incapable of breaking down.

This leads to reduced cell maintenance, more damaged cells, and the consequent progressive failure of the biological systems and organs that those cells belong to. All of this sizable contribution to degenerative aging could be prevented via the periodic application of suitable medical technologies, which is to say a means to break down and remove the compounds that the lysosome struggles with.

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Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy and Politics of Longevity - Tuesday, September 3, 2013
A new e-book of collected essays from the longevity science advocacy community is available, an effort organized by the folk at the Center for Transhumanity.

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On Genetic Variants and Human Exceptional Longevity - Tuesday, September 3, 2013
It is generally thought that genetic influences on natural variations in human longevity are less important than environmental factors and lifestyle choices: 25% genes versus 75% everything else are the ballpark figures often mentioned. However it is also generally thought that the importance of genetic variations increases greatly in older age: people are more likely to reach the age of 100 if they bear certain gene variants.

Though it should be noted that "more likely" here is still a very low chance overall. At the present time regardless of genes most people die before reaching 90, let alone 100. This is why we need the research community to focus on better medical technology for treating and reversing degenerative aging for everyone, rather than conduct a great deal of introspection on the nature of the few percent who make it to exceptional old age.

Here is an open access paper that provides some insight into current work on the genetics of exceptional human longevity - really a matter of interest and knowledge rather than something that will lead to any sort of meaningful advance in medicine. I think that the authors are optimistic in their view that anything other than very marginal treatments can result from identifying characteristic genetic differences in centenarians. It's still the case that the vast majority of people with those differences die without living that long: the improvement in mortality rate in old age due to these longevity-associated genetic variants is not large.

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BRASTO Mice With Additional Sirt1 in the Brain Live Longer - Wednesday, September 4, 2013
BRASTO mice have raised levels of SIRT1 in the brain.
Researchers are finding that altering levels of this sirtuin in brain tissues seems to have more of an impact than other manipulations, which to date haven't shown reliable extension of healthy life. At this point any result like the one below will have to be replicated before it can be taken seriously, however, given the contradictory data for sirtuins and life extension from the past decade.

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Improved Prospects for Measuring Mitochondrial DNA Damage - Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Higher levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage is one of the characteristic differences between old tissue and young tissue. It is thought to be a major contribution to degenerative aging, via a complex process that causes a small but significant fraction of cells to become overtaken by damaged mitochondria, malfunction, and export large quantities of damaging oxidative waste compounds into the surrounding tissue.

There are still a fair number of scientists who argue against the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging, however. Given the present state of research, my impression has been that the fastest way to prove beyond all doubt that mitochondrial DNA damage is a root cause of aging is to finish up one of the means to repair or replace mitochondria or mitochondrial DNA, and then try it out in mice.

Given optimal funding that is only a couple of years distant, as the work is fairly advanced - but that optimal funding doesn't exist yet. Mitochondrial repair isn't a well-funded line of research, more is the pity, and as is the case for most of the best and most promising ways to intervene in the aging process.

Here, however, is a new technology that might have the potential to validate mitochondrial DNA damage as a direct cause of aging, or at least provide much better hard evidence than presently exists.

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Blocking the Action of Alzheimer's in Mice - Thursday, September 5, 2013
The best cure for Alzheimer's disease would be to revert all of the changes in brain tissue characteristic of the disease. This is in general the best approach to age-related degeneration overall.

A lot of research falls outside this paradigm, however, looking for ways to work around these changes, or block the mechanisms by which the changes cause specific forms of damage. This can produce good therapies, but is usually the worse approach as there are potentially very many ways in which the underlying changes can cause harm - striking at the root should always be more cost-effective.
Here is news of a potential path to block the main destructive action of Alzheimer's.

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A Look at Some of the Details of Past Gains in Life Expectancy - Thursday, September 5, 2013
Life expectancy at birth has doubled in the past two centuries. This is largely due to advances in reducing childhood mortality: public health measures, control of infectious disease, and so forth.

Adult life expectancy has increased more slowly, and remaining life expectancy in old age more slowly still - these are driven by new and more effective treatments for age-related disease, producing an incidental extension of adult life. The research community is only just now starting on the project of deliberately trying to slow or reverse the causes of degenerative aging, rather than focusing entirely on ways to fix the worst and most visible consequences of aging after they occur.

This is why projecting past trends in life span into the future is not likely to produce accurate results - the entire approach to human medicine is presently shifting. This article goes into some detail on the historical roots of modern gains in life expectancy at birth, much of which were a matter of better organization and sanitation rather than medical technology per se.

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Caring About Baldness - Friday, September 6, 2013
The superficial aspects of regenerative medicine and attempts to revert portions of the aging process attract far more attention than the meaningful aspects. People seem much more interested in evading baldness and making skin look good than in restoring youthful function to the inner organs whose failure will kill them.

You can live with baldness, and not with an age-damaged heart, but you wouldn't know that if going just by the level of discussion devoted to these topics. This is far from the only area of life in which observed priorities fail to match up to the best course for personal self-interest, of course.

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An Example of Dietary Supplements Doing Nothing - Friday, September 6, 2013
Dietary supplements of the sort sold in stores are largely useless, and those that do provide benefits have a far smaller effect than either exercise or calorie restriction. Past the point of maintaining something along the lines of the Reference Daily Intake, such as is provided by a multivitamin produce, the balance of evidence suggests that most of these supplements do little for long term health and longevity.

In many cases modest extension of life observed in some animal studies (not in others) can be explained away by inadvertent calorie restriction or other artifacts. In the case of antioxidant supplements the current consensus is that these in fact harm beneficial processes that depend upon the use of low levels of oxidants as signals. Here is a study to show that a range of currently popular supplements do absolutely nothing to various measures of human metabolism.

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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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