Take the Rest of the Month Off

Healthy Life Extension

Funding Aging Research

Take the Rest of the Month Off

posted on August 9, 2011

Dear Future Centenarian,

How many times have you been advised to bear down, work harder and focus more when things get tough?

You might consider another option. Quit!

That™s right. Fold the tent. Hang it up. Not for good, but long enough to recharge and to reassess.

If you™re like me, you™re guilty of not recharging long enough and often enough. You might fool yourself into thinking you are going the extra mile and making sacrifices that will pay off in the long run, but you may in fact be doing two bad things. You are being counter productive, and you are shortening your life.

Knowing the latter, I sometimes joke about killing myself in the name of longevity. The ultimate irony, huh?

Let™s look at what happens to you when you work too hard and too long.

Your battery runs down, and you deplete reserves to keep yourself going. That stresses your entire system, which in turn can cause every disease from Alzheimer™s to cancer and heart disease.

If that™s not bad enough, you get stale. That leads to counter productivity, which means you are digging an early grave in order to be less efficient.

Time off and vacations are not luxuries. They are an integral part of your wellness and longevity program, and they enable you to get more done in the long run.

Recreation simply means to re-create. Resting let™s you grow, makes you stronger, energizes you, frees your mind for generating breakthrough ideas and lengthens your life. It also improves your love life and strengthens your relationships.

Dan Sullivan, founder of œStrategic Coach and arguably the most innovative and successful personal coach anywhere, made an interesting observation by studying thousands of entrepreneurs over decades.

He discovered that for every ten days a person takes off, completely disconnected from anything work related, he or she will come up with one game-changing insight on average that will turbocharge their business. Their minds become uncluttered, and ideas manifest themselves. Those who did that five times a year, got an average of five breakthrough ideas, many of which completely changed their lives for the better.

The secret is œdisconnection. When you take time off, whether it™s a day, a week or a month, completely divorce yourself from your business or your job. That means no business calls, emails or meetings. That means no trade journals, business-related writing or problem solving. It also means not thinking about business. That™s the tough one. But you™ll find the longer and more often you take time off, the more natural it becomes.

While you are gone, make sure someone covers for you. Otherwise, you won™t be able to clear your mind, and you™ll be swamped with catching up when you return.

Do it right, and you will feel like a new person. You™ll dive into your work with renewed enthusiasm and energy, and at the end of the year, you will find you have accomplished twice or more as much as you used to. You will also duck a lot of chronic suffering and disease that eventually seem to plague almost everyone else.

This all largely assumes you do what you love and love what you do. If not, take some of your time off to reassess what vocation would make you happier than anything else. It™s never too late to change careers. If you love what you do, that™s another life extender.

Long Life,
David Kekich


SKIN CELLS TURNED INTO BRAIN CELLS Friday, August  5, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/08/skin-cells-turned-into-brain-cells.php
Another step forward for the field of regenerative medicine: Researchers have "discovered a novel way to convert human skin cells into brain cells. Rather than using models made in yeast, flies or mice for disease research, all cell-reprogramming technology allows human brain, heart and other cells to be created from the skin cells of patients with a specific disease. The new cells created from the skin cells contain a complete set of the genes that resulted in that disease - representing the potential of a far-superior human model for studying illnesses, drugs and other treatments. In the future, such reprogrammed skin cells could be used to test both drug safety and efficacy for an individual patient with, for example, Alzheimer's disease.

This technology should allow us to very rapidly model neurodegenerative diseases in a dish by making nerve cells from individual patients in just a matter of days - rather than the months required previously. They used two genes and a microRNA to convert a skin sample from a 55-year-old woman directly into brain cells. (MicroRNAs are tiny strands of genetic material that regulate almost every process in every cell of the body.) The cells created [exchanged] the electrical impulses necessary for brain cells to communicate. Using microRNA to reprogram cells is a safer and more efficient way than using the more common gene-modification approach. In ensuing experiments, [the researchers hope] to rely only on microRNAs and pharmaceutical compounds to convert skin cells to brain cells, which should lead to more efficient generation of cells for testing and regenerative purposes."

AN INTERVIEW WITH LAURA DEMING Friday, August  5, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/08/an-interview-with-laura-deming.php
An interview with one of the Thiel Fellows: "The goal is to extend the healthy human lifespan. In the past couple of decades, we've learned a lot about the basic science of aging. Now it's time to start translating the basic science into marketable therapies. I want to find and fund the projects creating those therapies. When I was eight, my mom told me about death and I couldn't stop crying for days. What a tragedy! Life is incredible, but death is inevitable. I already knew biology was fantastic fun. But that moment, for me, made science more than fun. It made it into a power that could save lives. And I couldn't imagine doing something more fascinating or important.

When I was twelve, I was lucky enough to meet Cynthia Kenyon (biogerontologist and molecular biologist), who is a pioneer in the field of anti-aging research. She is amazing. I ended up working in her lab, at the University of California San Francisco, for a few years. She had a way of describing scientists as detectives, trying to solve mysteries and catch genetic culprits. Growing up at UCSF, getting to tinker with tiny worms in a biology lab and sit in on classes about genetics and biochemistry. That was an incredible experience. Anti-aging is such an important field, but it is underfunded. Building business around an anti-aging therapy is no mean feat, especially when the FDA does not recognize aging as a disease. The goal here is to create a profitable, self-sustaining structure that will fund a portfolio of anti-aging projects, and then commercialize the research. It will be important that scientists get a stable source of funding for long-term lifespan projects, and a cut of the revenue from the projects they create."

ON THE WAY TO BLOOD ON DEMAND Thursday, August  4, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/08/on-the-way-to-blood-on-demand.php
Singularity Hub here looks at some of the research work that will lead to the ability to generate blood as needed: "Researchers [have] found a way to hunt down and isolate the stem cells from which your entire blood supply is derived. Until now, these hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) have been remarkably hard to track and isolate. Researchers were able to identify the CD49f protein as a key surface marker for hemotopoietic stem cells. Single CD49f HSCs were placed inside immunosupressed mice, and monitored to see how they developed.

The entire spectrum of blood cells were produced, and just as important: they were self-renewing. The CD49f HSC wasn't just creating blood, it was creating an expanding and sustaining blood supply that should theoretically survive long term in the body." This will lead to a number of potential ways to generate sufficient quantities of blood to remove the need for blood donations, and ultimately will allow a patient's own cells to be used to generate blood on demand.

THE INTERNATIONAL AGING RESEARCH PORTFOLIO OUTLINED Monday, August  1, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/08/the-international-aging-research-portfolio-outlined.php
An open access paper on the goals and structure of the International Aging Research Portfolio: "Aging and age-related disease represents a substantial quantity of current natural, social and behavioral science research efforts. Presently, no centralized system exists for tracking aging research projects across numerous research disciplines. The multidisciplinary nature of this research complicates the understanding of underlying project categories, the establishment of project relations, and the development of a unified project classification scheme. We have developed a highly visual database, the International Aging Research Portfolio (IARP), available at AgingPortfolio.org to address this issue.

The database integrates information on research grants, peer-reviewed publications, and issued patent applications from multiple sources. Additionally, the database uses flexible project classification mechanisms and tools for analyzing project associations and trends. This system enables scientists to search the centralized project database, to classify and categorize aging projects, and to analyze the funding aspects across multiple research disciplines. The IARP is designed to provide improved allocation and prioritization of scarce research funding, to reduce project overlap and improve scientific collaboration thereby accelerating scientific and medical progress in a rapidly growing area of research. Grant applications often precede publications and some grants do not result in publications, thus, this system provides utility to investigate an earlier and broader view on research activity in many research disciplines."

EXERCISE AND SARCOPENIA Monday, August  1, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/08/exercise-and-sarcopenia.php
Sarcopenia is the name given to age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Here is a review paper on the current state of knowledge regarding exercise as a way to slow the onset of sarcopenia: "Numerous studies have demonstrated that the etiology of sarcopenia is multi-causal and very complex process. The degradation of muscle mass leads to a loss of strength, later on to a decreased functional status, impaired mobility, a higher risk of falls, and eventually an increased risk of mortality. Present guidelines state that physical inactivity or a decreased physical activity level is a part of the underlying mechanisms of sarcopenia and therefore physical activity can be seen as an important factor to reverse or modify the development of sarcopenia.

Results in the area of physical activity and aging have not always been homogeneous. The inconsistent findings in this research area are related to the different understanding of terms and underlying constructs along with different population, type of intervention, or measurement methods. With regard to the formulated future role of physical activity this article will discuss in addition different barriers and challenges in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. A multitude of studies shows that structured exercise programs including progressive resistance or power training have positive effects on sarcopenia and sarcopenia-related outcomes but less or inconclusive information is available for the transfer to functional outcomes. Both physical activities and exercise have shown to decrease risk of sarcopenia and onset of functional limitations in older persons. Unfortunately the cohort of older persons is the one with the highest percentage of individuals classified as inactive or sedentary. Therefore motivating older persons to increase their physical activity level as well as providing safe access to exercise programs seems to be a mandatory task."

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