Longevity Meme Newsletter, March 08 2004

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Reason, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Reason

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    LONGEVITY MEME NEWSLETTER March 08 2004

    The Longevity Meme Newsletter is a biweekly e-mail
    containing news, opinions and happenings for people
    interested in healthy life extension: making use of diet,
    lifestyle choices, technology and proven medical advances to
    live healthy, longer lives. To subscribe or unsubscribe from
    the Longevity Meme Newsletter, please visit
    http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/.

    ______________________________

    CONTENTS

    - It's Been a Busy Two Weeks
    - Alcor Wins In Arizona With Your Help
    - Call to Abolish the President's Council on Bioethics!
    - The Future of Our Health Lies in Stem Cell Lines
    - Discussion
    - Latest Healthy Life Extension News Headlines

    IT'S BEEN A BUSY TWO WEEKS

    It's been a busy two weeks of activity in the community and
    at the Longevity Meme since the last newsletter went out. It
    so happens that a new batch of site updates coincided with
    (and were expanded by) news out in the wider world. You'll
    find more on that below.

    While all that was going on, time was somehow found to
    revamp the Methuselah Mouse Prize website:

    http://www.methuselahmouse.org

    In addition, the submission phase of the Immortality
    Institute book project has wrapped up. The Institute has
    received a wide range of quality articles from well-known
    people in science, philosophy and the healthy life extension
    community over the past couple of months - there are some
    real gems in there. Next comes the hard work of editing and
    pulling it all together! I wish I could show you some of the
    good stuff now, but you're all going to have to wait a few
    months to see the end result.

    http://www.imminst.org/book/

    ALCOR WINS IN ARIZONA WITH YOUR HELP

    As you will recall from the last newsletter, the Alcor Life
    Extension Foundation - a cryonics provider - was facing an
    unpleasant and last minute legislative threat in their home
    state of Arizona. Fortunately, the community rallied round
    and the end result was close to the best success that
    anyone reasonably expected under the circumstances. You can
    read about it here in a letter from Joe Waynick, the new
    Alcor CEO:

    http://www.alcor.org/legislation.html

    From the letter: "Lastly, but certainly not least, we must
    thank all of the members who took time away from their busy
    schedules to email, fax, and call Arizona state
    legislators, urging them to oppose this bill. When they
    revealed to us that they were receiving from 150-200 emails
    per day, we realized that you all really made a difference!
    Thank you!!!"

    It is very gratifying to see that we, as a community, can
    make a real difference. Thank you to everyone who
    participated. Now, if we can just do the same for anti-
    research legislation at the national level...

    CALL TO ABOLISH THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON BIOETHICS!

    I think that, by now, most people know my opinions on the
    rampant growth of the bioethics field. I view it as a form
    of racket, in which ordinary problems - that people can and
    have solved through common sense and normal political
    processes - suddenly require enormous sums of money to be
    diverted from research into salaries and institutes for
    bioethicists. These bioethicists then spend time creating
    further problems in order to justify their salaries - money
    that should be going to real research that can save lives.

    http://www.fightaging.org/archives/000004.php

    But let's put my opinions to one side for the moment. In
    certain media and weblog circles, it's been all bioethics
    all the time for the past ten days. If you aren't privy to
    those circles, you might be forgiven for not actually
    noticing that anything happened - the mainstream press
    hasn't yet picked up on the action.

    It would appear that we now have firm confirmation that the
    President's Council on Bioethics is nothing more than a
    rubber stamp for US administration anti-research policies
    (such as for stem cell and therapeutic cloning research).
    Two strong supporters of this vital research were abruptly
    removed from the council at the end of February and replaced
    with people who had previously declared their support for
    Leon Kass' positions:

    http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/view_news_item.cfm?n-
    ews_id=782

    This caused widespread outrage amongst columnists and
    commentators who were already heated over blatant political
    manipulation of science in the US administration. More
    information can be found in these articles and posts:

    http://www.reason.com/links/links030304.shtml
    http://www.techcentralstation.com/030104H.html
    http://www.fightaging.org/archives/000032.php
    http://www.fightaging.org/archives/000033.php

    At the end of last week, we found out more to the story when
    a very critical article by bioethics council members
    Elizabeth Blackburn and Janet Rowley was published.
    Elizabeth Blackburn was one of those dismissed, and
    represented a group within the council with pro-research
    opinions that were being ignored and glossed over. The
    report is clear, damning and well worth reading:

    http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-
    document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020116

    Based on all of this, it is clear that the council has to
    go. Its only purpose is to support legislation to block
    advances in regenerative medicine that are offensive to
    religious pressure groups. We have already lost a great deal
    of time in the path to developing real anti-aging medicine
    and cures for a wide range of age-related conditions. You
    can take a few minutes of your time to protest these blatant
    attempts to hold back medical science and take action here:

    http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/abolish_the_bioethics-
    _council.cfm

    If we don't speak out in favor of progress, there are those
    who will take progress away from us. Use your voice!

    THE FUTURE OF OUR HEALTH LIES IN STEM CELL LINES

    Why is the number of available stem cell lines so important
    to the future of our health and longevity? I explain here:

    http://www.fightaging.org/archives/000036.php

    The short of it is that stem cell lines provide a reliable
    source of stem cells. Without this reliable source, reliable
    stem cell science is impossible. No lines means there will
    be no progress towards using regenerative medicine to cure
    cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, nerve damage, heart
    disease, diabetes, blindness, and many other conditions. A
    large part of the slowdown in stem cell research over the
    past few years has to do with an entirely avoidable absence
    of, and confusion over, available lines.

    With that established, it was with some pleasure that I read
    last week of the release - for free, to anyone in the world
    - of 17 new stem cell lines by a Howard Hughes Medical
    Institute team led by Dr. Douglas Melton. This
    accomplishment took a lot of work at all levels, and will be
    of enormous benefit to the research community. To my mind,
    this is the ideal proactive response to anti-research
    legislation: work to make it irrelevant.

    It's not every day that you can write to thank people who
    are making an enormous difference in a fight to save
    millions of lives. Groups like the HHMI researchers
    certainly don't get thanked enough for stepping up to the
    plate and hitting the ball out of the park. So pick up a
    pen, and get writing!

    http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/congratulate_douglas_-
    melton_and_hhmi.cfm

    DISCUSSION

    That would be all for this issue of the newsletter. The
    highlights and headlines from the past two weeks follow
    below. If you have comments for us, or want to discuss the
    newsletter, please do visit one of the forums at
    http://www.longevitymeme.org/forum.cfm or send e-mail to
    [email protected]

    Remember - if you like this newsletter, the chances are that
    your friends will find it useful too. Forward the newsletter
    on, or post a copy to your favorite online communities.
    Encourage the people you know to pitch in and make a
    difference to the future of health and longevity!

    Reason [email protected] Founder, Longevity Meme

    ______________________________

    LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES

    Call For A "Moderate Voice" (March 07 2004) http://www.merc-
    urynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/8128278.htm An
    opinion column in the Mercury News calls for a biotechnology
    group with a moderate voice to oppose the hostile anti-
    research climate in Washington. "Silicon Valley and the
    biotechnology industry cannot afford to sit back and let
    President Bush and the President's Council on Bioethics
    dictate the industry's future." As the columnist goes on to
    point out: "The alternative is a future regulated by the
    likes of Leon Kass." This is a scary prospect for anyone who
    pays attention to what Kass advocates: he has frequently
    stated his opposition to any attempts to extend the healthy
    human life span and combat crippling age-related conditions.

    Light Shed On Bioethics Council Actions (March 07 2004) htt-
    p://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/03/06/presiden-
    ts_panel_skewed_facts_2_scientists_say/ Boston.com reports
    on the latest developments regarding the President's Council
    on Bioethics. Here's a quote from Elizabeth Blackburn,
    removed last week, on the reports issued by the council:
    "There is always this strong implication that medical
    research is not what God intended, that there is something
    unnatural about it. We had a great many comments on the
    report, and they would just make a little changes that
    didn't fully address them." There's much more of that sort
    of allegation in the article, and from other sources. Many
    people, myself including, are justifiably angry at Leon Kass
    and the US administration for blocking, belittling and lying
    about vital medical research.

    More From The Longevity Conference (March 06 2004) http://w-
    ww.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,88802-
    62%255E23289,00.html The Weekend Australian reports from the
    ongoing International Conference on Longevity in Sydney.
    It's a curious mix of old school and new school in science,
    medicine and community. Human growth hormone therapies,
    calorie restriction (the only proven old school technique,
    and even this can't add too many years to your life span),
    genetics and regenerative medicine all discussed side by
    side. The future of healthy life extension is clear to the
    scientists, and it rests in supporting and funding the
    advance of medical research. There are a lot of good quotes
    in there, and the article itself captures the spirit of the
    times in anti-aging research well - there is a clear
    transition underway from old to new. Go and read it.

    Congratulate Dr. Melton and HHMI (March 06 2004) http://www-
    .longevitymeme.org/projects/congratulate_douglas_melton_and-
    _hhmi.cfm In March 2004, Douglas Melton and researchers from
    the Howard Hughes Medical Insitute (HHMI) released 17 new
    high quality stem cell lines to the world, for free. A
    quote: "Consistent with the general practice among academic
    scientists, these cells are a reagent that will be shared.
    We hope that sharing these cells will quicken the pace of
    discovery." This hard work goes a long way to making current
    anti-research legislation irrelevant, boosting research into
    regenerative medicine for longer, healthier lives. The world
    should be thanking Dr. Melton and his team - we have
    provided a page at the Longevity Meme to help you and I do
    just that.

    International Conference on Longevity Starts (March 05 2004)
    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/05/1078464645918.htm-
    l?from=storyrhs The Syndey Morning Herald reports that the
    first International Conference on Longevity is under way. An
    array of aging, lifestyle and serious anti-aging researchers
    are participating, and the article outlines a few of the
    areas of discussion and disagreement in scientific circles.
    The overall tone of the conference is somewhere between that
    of the more conservative aging researchers and healthy life
    extension advocates like us. It is very exciting to see more
    events like this being organized around the world. New
    conferences, like new buildings, are signs of a healthy,
    interested scientific community.

    Cures for California (March 05 2004)
    http://www.curesforcalifornia.com The California Stem Cell
    Research and Cures Initiative has launched, and is seeking
    the large number of signatures necessary to make it onto the
    November 2004 state ballot. Donations and volunteer work are
    also sought. The initiative is a well organized attempt to
    put billions of dollars of state funding into stem cell
    medicine over the next decade, financed by bonds and backed
    up by regulation of the research itself. It is also a direct
    challenge to Federal government policies restricting this
    research. The initiative website is a job well done - the
    rest of us should be taking notes. We can probably expect
    these efforts to encourage similar state funding plans in
    New Jersey.

    New Stem Cell Lines Made Available (March 04 2004)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3529021.stm As
    reported by the BBC, a Harvard researcher (Dr Douglas
    Melton) has succeeded in obtaining philanthropic funding and
    leading the development of 17 new stem cell lines. These
    lines will be made available for free to scientists, thus
    breaking the deadlock over availability of lines caused by
    US government policies. Dr. Melton and his group deserve
    widespread commendation and some sort of medal for
    succeeding in a positive, proactive response to current
    attacks and legislative limits on stem cell research. Over
    at Fight Aging!, I explain why the number of available stem
    cell lines is so important. The bottom line: no stem cell
    lines means no research, and thus no regenerative medicine
    to extend the healthy human life span.

    Our Community, Visualized (March 04 2004) http://www.longev-
    itymeme.org/topics/healthy_life_extension_community.cfm I
    talk about the healthy life extension community a great
    deal, but what exactly is that community? What does it look
    like, who are the members, what are their goals, and where
    does it all fit in the larger scheme of things? Finding the
    answers to these and a hundred other questions can be a
    daunting task for newcomers, especially given the absence of
    any road map. Accordingly, I have put together a
    visualization of the wider community and surrounding
    interest groups. I hope that you find it helpful as you
    learn more about the community and healthy life extension -
    life is easier with a road map in hand.

    Ronald Bailey on Leon Kass (March 03 2004)
    http://www.reason.com/links/links030304.shtml Ronald Bailey
    takes a much closer look at the new appointees to the
    Bioethics Council and methodically takes apart the arguments
    of Leon Kass defending the recent shuffle. His other good
    article at Reason today points out the obvious: that
    "government isn't the best place to look for unbiased
    science." This is in the context of the recent report by the
    Union of Concerned Scientists attacking the current - and
    previous - administrations for its record on science, policy
    and honesty. Some good points are made in both articles. I'm
    still calling to abolish the council, and you can help to
    make it happen!

    How US Policy Stopped Stem Cell Research In The US (March 03
    2004) http://www.house.gov/reform/min/pdfs_108_2/pdfs_inves-
    /pdf_science_stem_cell_nih_march_2_let.pdf This PDF letter
    to the President nicely demonstrates how government policy
    over the past few years has blocked stem cell research in
    the US, and how involved politicians have been lying through
    their teeth about it all. In addition to the therapeutic
    cloning bans that were attempted but not voted into law, the
    standing laws on stem cell lines and public funding have
    caused great damage. The largest damage has been indirect:
    the much larger pool of private funding has been scared away
    for the better part of five years now. This is why a South
    Korean group can do in two years what ACT has been unable to
    do in five - it's all in the funding.

    100 Leading Bioethicists Speak Out (March 03 2004) http://-
    cyborgdemocracy.net/2004_02_29_archive.html#10783313472493-
    5060 A number of blogs are carrying an open letter from
    Arthur Caplan protesting the recent Bioethics Council
    stacking. I'm not overly fond of the bioethics industry
    myself - I see it as a racket wherein people syphon money
    from real research in order to create imaginary problems
    that block progress. You can read more on that topic at
    Fight Aging! Within the bioethics industry, however, there
    is a great deal of resentment and anger directed towards
    the likes of Leon Kass, chair of the Bioethics Council. His
    positions are generally viewed as extreme and damaging,
    even by other bioethicists bent on slowing the engine of
    medical progress. Chris Mooney has more on this open
    letter, well worth a read.

    A Vanity Industry With Something to Contribute (March 02
    2004) http://www.medicalposting.ca/men/article.jsp?content=-
    20040302_081235_5088&topStory=y We've spent a lot of time
    lambasting the vanity industries in their "anti-aging"
    incarnation. Quite simply, no product sold on the market
    today can extend the healthy human life span. The level of
    fraud and adventurous marketing has caused great damage to
    legitimate anti-aging research over the years. However,
    there is a vanity industry that is doing good work on
    regenerative medicine: hair restoration and baldness cures.
    Here, the profits to be had have spurred a great deal of
    fundamental research into regenerative medicine and tissue
    engineering. This work will benefit us all as it percolates
    into other, more beneficial, attempts to regenerate the
    damage caused by aging and disease.

    Wired on the Bioethics Council (March 02 2004) http://www.w-
    ired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62494,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_4
    Wired weighs in on the recent biothics council shenanigans.
    Elsewhere, a Tech Central Station article declares this all
    to be politics as usual, more or less, while the new
    appointees are defending themselves in the media. I say it
    still looks very suspect: this administration knows the
    answer that it wants and builds "advisory" panels to try and
    get that answer. That it failed for stem cell research and
    the Bioethics Council the first time around is an indicator
    of the potential and compelling nature of this research.
    Regenerative medicine is the future of healthy life
    extension and we must support
    it.

    South Korea Moves Ahead Again (March 02 2004) http://www.re-
    uters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=447729-
    9┬žion=news As reported at Reuters, South Korean researchers
    have developed and patented a method for extracting stem
    cells from frozen embyros. Given the present policy and
    legislative climate in the US, it is not surprising that
    this advance was made elsewhere. While South Korea has its
    own version of the stem cell and therapeutic cloning debate,
    funding is available and politicians are not trying to ban
    these medical technologies. This makes all the difference in
    the world to the speed at which regenerative medicine can be
    developed. When will the US government wake up to the damage
    it is doing to the future of health and longevity? That is
    up to you and I: speak out now!

    Abolish The Bioethics Council (March 01 2004) http://www.lo-
    ngevitymeme.org/projects/abolish_the_bioethics_council.cfm
    The Longevity Meme response to the recent stacking of the
    President's Council on Bioethics is to call for the
    abolition of the council. It's clearly nothing more than a
    rubber stamp for anti-research policies that have already
    caused great damage. It has to go. A round up of other
    comments can be found at Fight Aging!, including some by
    Chris Mooney. We'll no doubt see more articles in the week
    ahead. In the meanwhile, it sounds like time to write to
    your representatives and call for the council to be
    abolished.

    Harvard To Form Stem Cell Center (February 29 2004) http:/-
    /www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/02/-
    29/stem_cell_center_eyed_at_harvard?mode=PF Harvard
    University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has announced
    plans for a large stem cell research center. The Boston
    Globe frames this decision as another attempt to bypass US
    government restrictions: "Harvard has the responsibility to
    be taking up the slack that the government is leaving."
    With plans for State funding in New Jersey and California,
    this is part of a growing challenge to anti-research
    policies. "Every success will change the argument. The
    American people will not stand for scientists not being
    able to work on their diseases." You can help to challenge
    anti-research legislation by supporting the Coalition for
    the Advancement of Medical Research and taking part in
    their action programs.

    India Can Become a Stem Cell Research Hub (February 28 2004)
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/526434.cms
    Indian researchers and investors are clearly looking to the
    future of regenerative medicine: state and private
    investment in therapeutic cloning and stem cell research is
    happening there. Meanwhile, in the the US and Europe, anti-
    research politicians, special interest groups and
    legislation have crippled progress in these vital fields of
    medicine. It's a sorry state of affairs, and we must stand
    up and make our views known. Otherwise, we face a future in
    which research to extend the healthy human life span (and
    the use of therapies developed in other countries) is
    forbidden. Is government-mandated suffering, disease and
    death really what we want for ourselves and our children?

    Bush Removes Therapeutic Cloning Supporters From Bioethics
    Council (February 28 2004) http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArt-
    icle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=4459618&ion=news Two
    members of the President's Council on Bioethics who
    expressed positive views on therapeutic cloning have been
    replaced, as reported at Reuters. Various commentators are
    expressing surprise, but the role of the council has always
    been to provide justification for anti-research policies. It
    hasn't been doing that job so well of late, so it was time
    to stack the deck a little more. This indicates that the
    current administration is still very serious about banning
    stem cell and therapeutic cloning research. The cost of
    blocking research into regenerative and healthy life
    extension medicine is already unthinkable ... are we going
    to let them get away with this, or are we going to do
    something about it?

    South Korea To Forge Ahead In Stem Cell Research (February
    27 2004) http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/20-
    04/02/28/200402280005.asp The Korea Herald reports that
    South Korea will forge ahead with stem cell research,
    therapeutic cloning and regenerative medicine. A large
    investment and a new research center have been announced,
    and the organizers plan to move directly to human trials,
    first focusing on Parkinson's disease and spiral cord
    injuries. From the article: "The center's medical team plans
    to transplant stem cells in the brains of these patients to
    regenerate nerve cells for the first time in the world."
    Back in the US, New Jersey is also making headlines as plans
    - and associated controversy - for a major state investment
    in stem cell research move ahead.

    Interview With Joe Waynick, Alcor CEO (February 27 2004) ht-
    tp://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0227alcorceo27.html
    The Arizona press abounds with articles about Alcor and the
    recent cryonics regulation bill. This piece from
    azcentral.com is a short interview with Joe Waynick, the new
    Alcor CEO. He offers his opinions on the upside and downside
    of this regulatory regime, and a few other topics. The
    article also provides some recent history of the cryonics
    industry for those who haven't been keeping track, and you
    can always find out more at Cryonet. It occurs to me, in
    wake of recent events, that making regulated
    cryopreservation financially attractive to the funeral
    industry would now be a good path to growth.

    Sounds Like Victory in Arizona (February 26 2004) http://im-
    minst.org/forum/index.php?s=&act=ST&f=61&t=3177&st=0& It
    sounds like things have gone well for Alcor in the first
    round of their current legislative issues in Arizona. Thanks
    to broadly expressed support (including some important names
    in the healthy life extension community) and some last
    minute legwork, the proposed bill has been largely defanged.
    The end result will likely be some form of "benign
    regulation" as for the Cryonics Institute in Michigan. From
    the Alcor president: "We must thank all of the members who
    took time away from their busy schedules to e-mail, fax, and
    call Arizona state legislators, urging them to oppose this
    bill. When they revealed to us that they were receiving from
    150-200 e-mails per day we realized that you all really made
    a difference!"

    Almost Getting It Right (February 26 2004)http://www.azcentral.com/health/wellness/articles/0225aging-
    disease-ON.html An article from azcentral.com looks at a the
    recent SAGE Crossroads debate "Is Aging a Disease?" The
    author gives a good account of the relevant points, but then
    unfortunately fumbles the ball before drawing the correct
    conclusions. Aging and anti-aging research is essential to
    the future of healthy and longevity. Far too little research
    is being done today and the pool of funding for serious
    attempts to slow, reverse (and reverse engineer) the aging
    process is tiny. If, like Harry Moody, we dismiss the
    possible results of this research a priori, then of course
    we won't get any real results! Aubrey de Grey gives a good
    account of this sort of problem in perceptions and public
    funding in his "Closing in on the Cure for Death."

    Free Radical Theory Doubts (February 26 2004) http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news-
    NG.asp?id=50199 Recent research is casting doubt on the long-
    standing oxidative damage and free radical theories of
    aging. More research is needed in order to establish the
    truth of the matter, but attacks on well established
    theories are usually a sign of meaningful scientific
    progress. This article from Food Production Daily is fairly
    clear about the consequences of proving free radical
    theories wrong, and it is certainly the case that more work
    must be done based on these new findings, but I don't think
    that the researcher's position is as strong as he says it
    is. We'll have to wait and see what the scientific community
    makes of this.

    Meanwhile, In The Business World... (February 25 2004) http-
    ://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/national/8021511.-
    htm We don't hear anywhere near enough in the media about
    the work of commercializing biotech and regenerative
    medicine, yet this part of the path from laboratory to
    therapy is just as vital as the initial science. This
    article from the Miami Herald gives a brief overview of the
    current state of play for stem cells in the business and
    venture capital worlds. The short of it would be that many,
    many people are interested, and see huge potential for
    investment and profit. Unfortunately, the current regulatory
    atmosphere presents equally large risks. The current US
    administration, and other governments overseas, have scared
    off investment in regenerative medicine. Thus, more time and
    lives are lost to the monster of politics.

    Ronald Bailey on Alcor Regulation (February 25 2004)
    http://www.reason.com/rb/rb022504.shtml Ronald Bailey weighs
    in on the Alcor regulation issue, calling the proposed bill
    "one of the silliest pieces of 'consumer protection'
    legislation ever devised." That's certainly saying
    something, given Ronald Bailey's extensive history of
    commentary on bad lawmaking and other forms of government
    stupidity. As it happens, he comes to much the same
    conclusion as I do regarding the proposed Arizona
    regulations: this is the work of funeral industry lobbyists,
    buying legislation to put a potential competitor out of
    business. Not pretty, but a great example of American
    "freedom and democracy" in action. Step up and protest
    before it's too late!

    It's Always More Complex Than You Think (February 24 2004)
    http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2004-
    02-23-3 It seems to be true that, wherever you are in the
    research process, human biochemistry and genetics is more
    complex than you think. It's good to keep reminding
    ourselves about this, since the present pace of research
    makes it easy to become optimistic (and thus complacent)
    about the future of health, medicine and longevity. Here,
    Betterhumans notes research that questions the form of the
    link between antioxidants and healthy lifespan: there may be
    additional layers in the biochemistry that researchers have
    not yet explored. This means that the time taken to develop
    therapies based on understanding these mechanisms just
    increased by an unknown amount.

    Centenarian Studies and HDL (February 24 2004) http://www.n-
    ytimes.com/2004/02/24/health/24CONV.html?pagewanted=print
    You may recall some work last year on longevity, HDL and the
    sizes of lipoproteins (something that is genetically
    determined). Small lipoproteins imply a shorter, less
    healthy life. This New York Times author interviews Dr. Nir
    Barzilai, who has been studying centenarians for genetic and
    biochemical clues to longevity. At the top of the list so
    far: HDL and lipoprotein size. The researchers expect to
    track down specific longevity genes related to these
    conditions in the near future, and trial drugs to mimic
    their effects. Having this genetic knowledge to hand would
    be a good argument for tweaking the genes in all new
    children to produce longer, healthier lives.

    The Power of Advocacy (February 24 2004)
    http://www.sagecrossroads.net/public/webcasts/12/ The latest
    webcast from SAGE Crossroads is a discussion of the power of
    advocacy to shape the path of medical research. For example,
    much of the tenfold growth at the National Institute on
    Aging over the past two decades has been due to advocacy for
    Alzheimer's research. Insights into the way in which the NIH
    and NIA work - given their enormous influence over their
    course of aging and anti-aging research
    - are always appreciated. Large organizations are only now
    thinking about backing real anti-aging research in any
    meaningful way. The weight of science and advocacy
    should overcome remaining reluctance before the end of
    the decade.

    Concerning Cryonics Regulation (February 23 2004) http://ww-
    w.longevitymeme.org/reprints/open_letter_concerning_cryonic-
    s_regulation.cfm Brian Wowk has written an eloquent open
    letter on media sensationalism and the current Arizona state
    efforts to shut Alcor down through bad legislation. If you
    are interesting in finding out more about the backgound of
    this situation before speaking out in support of Alcor, then
    read this open letter. This is a textbook case of the way in
    which a lazy, sensationalist media and protectionist special
    interests combine to damage legitimate science and
    businesses. The only defense against this sort of nonsense
    is public education and demonstrated support for science,
    research and progress. You can learn more about Alcor and
    the science and history of cryonics at Cryonet and
    Wikipedia.

    New Jersey To Fund Stem Cell Research (February 23 2004) ht-
    tp://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62383,00.html?tw=wn_-
    tophead_8 Wired reports that New Jersey legislators intend
    to build a multi-billion dollar stem cell research institute
    in New Brunswick. The governor's budget proposal includes
    $50 million over the next five years for embryonic stem cell
    research. This follows recent moves in California to direct
    billions in state funds to stem cell research - and I'd say
    it's probably just as up in the air. New Jersey's recent pro-
    research legislation passed very narrowly and is still
    protested - so there will likely be equally close battles
    over funding proposals for embryonic stem cell research and
    therapeutic cloning.

    Life in the Age of Old, Old Age (February 23 2004) http://w-
    ww.nytimes.com/2004/02/22/magazine/22LONGEVITY.html?th A
    long, worthwhile article from the New York Times looks at
    notable centenarians, prospects for lengthening the healthy
    human lifespan, arguments for and against progress, and
    social changes forseen to be the results of advancing
    medical science. Today's spritely 70-somethings who act 50-
    something will be replaced by spritely 90-somethings who act
    50-something. There are human faces, dreams and aspirations
    surrounding advances in longevity - people have gained extra
    healthy years and done well with them. Others may yet gain
    more, but how rapidly will the necessary new medicines come
    into being? This is a matter of funding and the will to
    support medical research.

    ______________________________

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