Longevity Meme Newsletter, November 17 2003

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Reason, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. Reason

    Reason Guest


    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/.



    The middle of the road, "reasonable" position in public or political debate tends to gravitate to
    midway between what are perceived to be the two opposite outrageous extremes, regardless of the
    actual merits of any of these positions.

    With this in mind, it is occurring to me that part of the ongoing problem in the modern political
    debate over healthy life extension is that our "outrageous extreme" has always been a tentative,
    reasonably proposal that medical research carry on and that near-term technology would seem to allow
    us all to live a little longer…say, to 150. When the outrageous extreme from the other side - from
    the Bush administration, Leon Kass of the President's Council on Bioethics, and others - is that no-
    one should be permitted to research ways of extending healthy lifespan, we can see that the average
    between these two positions is not very favorable to our future health and lifespan. We wind up
    where we are right now: anti-research factions in governments worldwide are restricting and
    legislating against all of the most promising fields of medicine, while attempting to force through
    complete bans on stem cell research, theraputic cloning and other promising technologies.

    We need a better outrageous extreme.

    As it turned out, Aubrey de Grey (of the Methuselah Mouse Project) may have inadvertently provided
    one. In a recent interview that touched on the far future and medical possibilities, he offhandedly
    said that a 4000 or 5000 year lifespan might be possible for individuals with the use of
    sufficiently advanced technologies. This isn't, in fact, unreasonable; we can postulate what sort of
    technologies this would require now, based on the laws of physics and present day medical knowledge.
    There are a goodly number of practical futurists and present day scientists who have written on this
    topic, from Eric Drexler to Robert Freitas. The "5000 year" figure has since been picked up by the
    mass media and mentioned out of context in a number of articles ("some scientists feel we can attain
    5000 year lifespans" was spotted last week, for example).

    Working towards a 5000 year lifespan might just be in danger of becoming our new outrageous
    extreme in some circles, and I'm sure you'll agree that it serves this purpose far better than the
    old one. The political (or media) average between this and the "no research for healthy life
    extension" position looks a lot better for our camp. An example of this principle in action occurs
    in this article:


    When media and politicians persistently get things wrong, we can at least ensure that they get
    things wrong in a way that advances healthy life extension!


    Almost all of the discussion, publication, business and health advice you read these days is aimed
    at extending your "natural longevity." By this, I mean the length of healthy life you can experience
    right now through the right lifestyle, modest exercise, good diet, modest supplementation and
    sensible preventive medicine. The difference between working on your natural longevity and letting
    it go can be measured in decades. Think of the number of people who die from heart disease at 50 or
    60 versus those who go on to have a healthy 80, 90 or 100 years. The difference between these two
    extremes is - barring bad luck - in your hands. No wonder so much ink is spilled, energy expended
    and dollars spent on this topic! This representative article from Dr. Mercola just the other day is
    a good example of the type:


    In one sense, these gains in health and length of life are enormous. At the very ends of the
    lifestyle scale (50 and 100 years), it's a doubling of healthy lifespan. Who wouldn't want to live
    healthily for twice as long?

    In another sense, the potential gains from natural longevity are limited. If you want to live
    healthily for 150 years or 200 years, you're out of luck. Who, at a healthy 80, would just want to
    up and quit? Your lifestyle choices gained you 30 healthy years you might have otherwise squandered
    - how terrible that it must now come to an end just when you were getting started! 30 years is
    barely long enough to have a good, fulfilling career…and most of the people I know have at least two
    or three potential careers locked inside for lack of time, just waiting to get out.

    Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies offer the first hope that moving beyond natural
    longevity can be possible in our lifetimes. Within two decades, with sufficient public demand and
    research funding, we could see our potential healthy lifespan make great leaps and jumps. As we
    follow these leaps in medical technology, the years passing healthily, further medical miracles will
    be developed. All we have to do is stay alive, active and healthy to benefit from them.

    That said, we come back to natural longevity. That 30 extra years resulting from a good lifestyle is
    quite likely to make the difference for many of us between boarding the ship of accelerating medical
    technology for a long, long, long and exciting ride, or simply missing the boat. Perhaps those 30
    years of natural longevity will turn out to be an enormous difference after all.

    Take care of your health, people - it really matters.


    Of course, all the wonderful medical technology I talk about won't just materialize out of thin air.
    It requires years of hard work by motivated, well-funded scientists. More than that right now, it
    requires advocacy, education and widespread awareness in society: loud activism, public
    understanding and victory in political debates must precede massive funding.

    Real scientific anti-aging and healthy life extension research is poorly funded and not widely
    recognized. Many precursor or stepping stone technologies in medical research right now, like
    theraputic cloning, stem cells and regenerative medicine, are under attack from bioethicists,
    luddite groups and conservative politicians. Cures are blocked, or pushed off out of reach. This
    must all change if we are to see longer, healthier lives in the near future.

    You can help to make a difference to the future of medicine by getting involved at any level. You
    don't have to be a doctor, a researcher or even a dedicated activist. Many times, you can make a
    difference just be raising your voice or by joining the growing healthy life extension community
    and being yourself. Reading this newsletter and answering the calls to action at the Longevity Meme
    is a start:


    There are more interactive things going on, though! The Immortality Institute hosts regular weekly
    online chat events on healthy life extension and related issues with some very interesting notables
    from the community. You can see an archive of past chats at the link below:


    Upcoming events are listed on the Immortality Institute home page:


    If you haven't dropped by the Immortality Institute forum and joined in, you certainly should:


    It's a large, active, friendly community and you're certainly welcome to jump in and test the
    waters. You'll find discussion and insider information on the Methuselah Mouse Prize, discussion of
    the latest healthy life extension news, posted resources, organization for activism and a bunch of
    smart, helpful people who are working for longer, healthier lives.


    Have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter? Visit the forum at
    http://www.longevitymeme.org/forum.cfm, or send e-mail to [email protected]

    Reason [email protected] Founder, Longevity Meme



    CR Society Starts New Online Community (November 17 2003) http://www.calorierestriction.org/modules-
    .php?name=FAQ&myfaq=yes&id_cat=47&categories=Info+about+crcommunity+list The CR Society, a friendly,
    supportive group of folks interested in calorie restriction, have started up a new "CR Community"
    mailing list: read the announcement and then go ahead and sign up. If you found the main CR Society
    communities were a little too focused on calorie restriction, facts and techniques, then this may be
    just the thing for you. Calorie restriction, as you might have noticed, has been showing up much
    more often in the press of late. This can only be a good thing, especially for companies currently
    investigating the underlying science.

    Dr. Mercola On Maximizing Natural Longevity (November 16 2003)
    http://www.mercola.com/2003/nov/15/longevity.htm An interesting column from Dr. Mercola on
    methods to maximize your natural longevity via diet and lifestyle choices. He doesn't mention
    calorie restriction, as he did in a recent column, but he does cover a few good suggestions: cut
    out grains and sugars, include antioxidants and focus on preventing the effects of aging. We
    must remember, however, that this extension of healthy lifespan is small compared to what will
    be possible through stem cell and regenerative medicine.

    More On New Stem Cell Lines (November 16 2003)
    Boston.com is running an informative article about a recent expansion in the number of available
    stem cell lines for research. As the article puts it, this is "the most dramatic achievement to date
    in a burgeoning international movement to circumvent restrictions on stem cell science set by the
    Bush administration and other governments." The search for cures would be progressing so much faster
    without government interference! A complete ban on this sort of research is still pending in the
    Senate; please do contact your senators to express your opinions.

    The Skinny On Calorie Restriction (November 15 2003)
    http://cbsnewyork.com/investigates/local_story_318161525.html CBS New York investigates calorie
    restriction. It's always very pleasing to see aspects of healthy life extension pushing their way
    into the mainstream; this raising of awareness can only help generate more widespread support for
    medical research. In many ways, simply acknowledging the possibility that you can lengthen your
    healthy lifespan is a major step forward for the mass media. If you are not currently practicing
    calorie restriction, you should certainly look into it for the sake of your future health and
    longevity. You'll find a helpful introduction here on the Longevity Meme.

    On The Mechanisms Of Calorie Restriction (November 15 2003)
    http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/11_03/sirtuin.shtml The Genome News Network offers some
    greater insight into recent research on the underlying biochemical mechanisms of calorie
    restriction. Research over the past year has brought several mechanisms to light, and scientists are
    starting to pull the pieces together. This article ties together threads on calorie restriction,
    organic compounds in some foods (like fruit and red wine) and sirtuin proteins in the body. This
    progress bodes well for development of therapies that mimic the life-extending effects of calorie
    restriction (such as those worked on by BioMarker).

    Regenerative Medicine Cures Diabetes In Mice (November 14 2003)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3266987.stm As reported by the BBC, scientists in Massachusetts
    have managed to cure type 1 diabetes in mice by regenerating islet cells in the pancreas. Research
    into curing type 2 diabetes, a prevalent degenerative disease of aging, should also benefit from
    this breakthrough. I think we can all agree that the march of medical progress is a wonderful thing,
    and we should be supporting researchers as best we can. With more publicity and funding, medical
    science can advance further and faster.

    Reviewing Progress Of Stem Cell Research (November 14 2003) http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=60B4B96B-EB93-4F16-
    BA12FF05E0260542 Christopher Reeve and some of the first scientists to work with stem cells review
    progress in research on the Voice of America. The dominant theme of the article is that we could be
    much further ahead if not for government interference and anti-research legislation. It's
    frustrating to see so much political effort go into blocking the development of cures for the
    diseases of aging and regeneration of serious injuries. As Reeve says, he "never thought that
    politics would get in the way of hope." Please think about contacting your elected representatives
    to express your frustration with their attacks on your future health and longevity.

    One From The Naysayers (November 14 2003) http://fusion.stolaf.edu/messenger/index.cfm?section=arti-
    cle&article_number=1327&issue_volume=117&issue_number=8&issue_date=11/14/2003 I post this short
    opinion piece as a reminder of the widespread opposition to healthy life extension and medical
    research. The title of this article is "live better, not longer," setting up a false choice right at
    the outset. Advancing medical science enables us to live both better and longer; it's not one or the
    other. Is aging, suffering, disease and death really so desirable to some, supportable by the flimsy
    principles outlined in this piece? We, as advocates for longer, better, healthier lives through
    science, have a lot of work to do.

    Longevity, Science, Mysterious Centenarians (November 13 2003)
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2001790118_agelong13m0.html A long, mixed,
    informative article from the Seattle Times covers the breadth of current scientific research and
    insight into aging and how to work towards preventing it. If anything, it reinforces the impression
    that healthy life extension science is just getting started. We've just dipped our toes in the ocean
    of knowledge, and there is a great deal to learn and accomplish yet! The naysayers (like Leon Kass
    of the President's Council on Bioethics) should be given short shrift: full steam ahead with the
    science, we say.

    Another Longevity Gene Identified (November 13 2003) http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-11-12-
    5 At Betterhumans, news of the discovery of another longevity gene and a theory for the way it
    operates in the body. Genetic studies targetting centenarians (performed in this case by Elixir
    Pharmaceuticals, a healthy life extension research company that successfully closed series B
    venture funding last month) are starting to yield useful results. Identifying longevity genes and
    mechanisms of operation is an important first step towards developing therapies that act directly
    on aspects of the aging process. Knowledge is power, and the more we know about aging, the more we
    can do to fight it.

    Do No Harm To Basic Research (November 12 2003) http://www.techcentralstation.com/111203C.html An
    article at Tech Central Station examines the ongoing damage inflicted on vital medical research by
    US government policies, especially those of the current anti-research administration. Stem cell
    research and regenerative medicine, the basis for extending healthy lifespans in the near future,
    are being squashed. Your future is being cut down as you read this, made shorter and less healthy by
    a small faction of misguided politicians and bioethicists. You should stand up and make yourself
    heard! I encourage you to contact your elected representatives and ask them why they actively
    harming medical research.

    Report on Testosterone Therapy (November 12 2003) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=5-
    71&ncid=751&e=1&u=/nm/20031112/hl_nm/health_testosterone_dc From Yahoo! News, an article on
    testosterone therapy, which has been touted as having "anti-aging" benefits. As it turns out, as for
    human growth hormone, the science is very uncertain: true risks and benefits are not yet known. What
    is certain is that we should not be looking to these last generation one-size-fits-all chemical
    therapies for healthy life extension - we should be looking ahead to personalized therapies, stem
    cell and regenerative medicine. The few trialed therapies in this new branch of medicine have
    already proven themselves far more effective and useful in fixing specific age-related damage.

    Seattle Times On Calorie Restriction (November 12 2003)
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/healthscience/2001789302_agecalories12m.html The Seattle Times
    discusses calorie restriction today, interviewing a range of practitioners along the way. As the
    article notes, calorie restriction is currently the only scientifically proven way to extend healthy
    lifespan. It provides additional health benefits beyond that, including weight loss and resistance
    to the common degenerative conditions of aging. It's certainly something that you should look into,
    and the CR Society is a good place to start. They're a friendly, helpful, active online community
    and the CR Society website provides access to a wealth of useful resources.

    No Fixed Maximum Lifespan (November 11 2003) http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11SPAN.html
    An article in the New York Times reports on demographic research that confirms there is no fixed
    upper limit to healthy lifespan. Even in Japan, the country with the longest lifespans, the average
    life expectancy continues to increase by a quarter of a year each year. This represents the effects
    of current biomedical progress. To reach indefinite healthy lifespans, the ultimate goal of healthy
    life extension, this rate of increase must be boosted. We believe that regenerative medicine will
    make this possible, which is why funding must increase and legislative interference cease.

    When Will We Control Aging? (November 11 2003) http://www.sagecrossroads.com/news_110303.cfm In the
    wake of the latest webcast from SAGE Crossroads, here is a piece by Chris Mooney on "heated debate
    over the forseeability of human life extension." Varying from optimists like Aubrey de Grey (of the
    Methuselah Mouse project) to pessimists such as Leonard Hayflick, it's a short insight into the
    current state of biogerontological thinking. While reading, it's worth bearing in mind this old
    truism: when a scientist says something is possible, he might be right, but when he says something
    is impossible, he is almost always wrong.

    More On Stem Cell Heart Regeneration (November 10 2003)
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/conditions/11/10/heart.cells.reut/index.html CNN reports on
    successful German trials in heart regeneration using adult stem cells. It is a comparatively simple
    procedure: a low cost fix for heart disease could save 50,000 lives a day worldwide, and scientists
    seem to have this in their grasp. The technique has already been successfully trialed in the US, but
    is currently blocked by the FDA. I encourage you to contact your elected representatives and ask
    them why they are letting thousands of people die rather than allowing this successful stem cell
    therapy to proceed.

    Transhumanism and Healthy Life Extension (November 10 2003) http://www.betterhumans.com/Features/Columns/Transitory_Human/column.aspx?articleID=2003-11-10-
    5 A George Dvorsky column at Betterhumans discusses the philosophy of Transhumanism and its
    implications for day to day living and extending healthy lifespans. Transhumanist groups (like those
    listed in the Longevity Meme resources) and a variety of colorful characters have been at the
    leading edge of advocacy for healthy life extension for decades. If you believe in working for a
    better future and an improved life, you should certainly take a look at transhumanist organizations
    and writings: they've been working hard to see us all live longer, better lives.

    Holy Grail For The Drug Industry (November 10 2003)
    The New York Times tells us that "if the drug industry has a commercial Holy Grail, it might be an
    anti-aging pill, one that would let you live longer and prolong your youthful vigor." The article
    spends some time on the difficulty of measuring anti-aging effectiveness - this is, as is noted, "a
    bear of a problem." Determining the effectiveness of therapies is vital to the process of developing
    and commercializing new medicine. This topic was brought up in an article at SAGE Crossroads fairly
    recently as well, and you'll find more information there.

    Regenerative Medicine For Teeth (November 08 2003) http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/index.ssf?/base/news-
    1/1068103943110210.xml The Times Picayune reports on an NIH grant for stem cell based tooth
    regeneration. The scientist in question has already managed to grow new tooth buds in mice, and
    believes he can produce a therapy to do the same in humans. Regenerative medicine based on stem
    cells and theraputic cloning offers the hope of regrowing and repairing age-related damage to all
    parts of the body, thereby greatly extending healthy lifespans. This field should be receiving far
    more funding and attention, rather than legislative attempts to block and ban the underlying

    Massachusetts Senate Votes For Stem Cell Research (November 08 2003)
    http://www.neponsetvalleydailynews.com/news/local_regional/stemcell11062003.htm Federal legislation
    is having a crushing effect on medical progress, but some US states are voting to allow embryonic
    stem cell research. Massachusetts is now one of them, as this Daily News Transcript notes. This
    battle over vital medical research - in the US, in other countries, at the UN - is still in the
    comparatively early stages, and anti-progress forces are doing far too well. We must fight loudly
    and fight hard to ensure that medical progress continues. The future of health and longevity
    depends on therapies still in development; the diseases of aging can only be cured if politicians
    stand aside.

    CNN On Calorie Restriction (November 07 2003)
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/11/07/calories.aging/index.html CNN discusses calorie restriction in
    an introductory fashion - it's a good article to give to your friends as general health advice.
    Calorie restriction has been proven to extend healthy lifespan in mammals, and there is strong
    evidence that does the same in humans. (It is surmised, for example that Okinawans have a form of
    mild calorie restriction to thank for their famed longevity). The article also mentions the large
    national CALERIE study, funded by the NIA - this study should soon be turning out more data in
    support of calorie restriction as the smart choice for living healthily for longer. Less calories,
    more life!

    Suspended Animation Rebuffed (November 07 2003) http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-pcryonics07nov07,0,2542462.story?coll=sfla-
    news-palm As the Sun Sentinel reports, Suspended Animation, Inc. didn't fare well during a review
    from the Boca Raton's Planning and Zoning Board. Despite the outpouring of support, the board
    recommended rejecting the application to build a cryonics research laboratory. This will go on to
    the City Council early next year for a final vote. This is an unfortunate setback, as cryonics is
    the only chance at a longer, healthier life in the future for many people. Cryonics as an industry
    needs ongoing research, and we hope that Suspended Animation can find a way forward in the face of
    anti-research opposition like this.

    Further Explorations of the Biochemistry of Aging (November 07 2003)
    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/news/pressreleases/ageing_cancer_5nov03 (Found via Transhumanity).
    Scientists are making good progress in uncovering the biochemical mechanisms of cellular aging, as
    reported by Cancer Research UK. This has implications for cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as
    for aging research. The work builds on recent studies involving telomeres, protective caps on the
    end of chromosomes. Scientists have now uncovered the mechanisms that prevent a cell from further
    dividing once telomeres have worn away. This is an important step forward, hopefully the first of
    many more.

    Dodging a Bullet at the UN (November 06 2003) http://www.msnbc.com/news/990170.asp?0cv=HA00 (From
    MSNBC). It looks like we all dodged a bullet today, as the UN narrowly avoided adopting a global
    theraputic cloning ban. Theraputic cloning is a vital technology for regenerative medicine; a ban
    would have amounted to banning cures for Parkinson's, nerve damage, heart disease and many other
    demonstrated successes in the laboratory. In other words, shorter lives and more suffering by
    legislative fiat. The UN has put off any further consideration until 2005, but please note that the
    US and other governments are still set on banning this technology. Please take a few minutes to to
    see how you can help.

    The Reeve Factor (November 06 2003) http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/?031110on_onlineonly01
    We've talked before about the ways in which Christopher Reeve is helping healthy life extension
    research through his advocacy. He is a very impressive character, a genuine American hero, and his
    work is making an impact on the legislative threat against stem cell medicine and theraputic cloning
    research. This article in the New Yorker touches on all of these points. Don't forget to thank
    Christopher Reeve for his crusade against anti-research politics and advocacy for stem cell
    medicine. His efforts are helping you to see a longer, healthier future; it's only right that you
    take a few minutes to help him in return.

    More On Suspended Animation, Inc. (November 05 2003) http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-pcryonics05nov05,0,4033775.story?coll=sfla-
    home-headlines The Sun-Sentinel is carrying a piece on Suspended Animation, Inc. and their fight
    with the Boca Raton City Council and animal rights activists. You can find out more about cryonics
    in the Longevity Meme resources section. As a reminder, you should take a few minutes to help out
    Suspended Animation, Inc. in their fight to perform needed medical research. Caving in to anti-
    research activism is a sure path to shorter, more unhealthy lives: our future health depends on
    advances in medicine, in this and many other fields. Don't let the anti-progress crowd win!

    European Parliament Moving Away From Stem Cell Ban? (November 05 2003)
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20031105/06/ (From BioMed Central). The European Parliament is
    starting to sound a little more reasonable about stem cells, but this long, drawn out process will
    at best lead to "strictly regulated" research. Most European nations still have or are introducing
    very restrictive laws regarding stem cell research. Recent developments can only be painted as a
    good thing in comparison to a complete ban: this research is still being blocked, held back and
    slowed by politicians. For an introduction to stem cells and healthy life extension, you might want
    to read our introduction here at the Longevity Meme.

    Yet Another Potential Cancer Cure (November 04 2003) http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031029/to193_1.html
    This would be number sixteen in the past year, as noted in this press release at Yahoo! The broad
    range of possible cancer therapies currently in the works as an example of success in medical
    research advocacy, support and funding. These many amazing developments did not spring from the
    void: they are the result of decades of hard work by activists, scientists and funders. Serious
    money is only devoted to medical research when a large segment of society clamors for the results.
    Cancer research is a success story that we can and should repeat in the fight against aging. With
    hard work, indefinite healthy lifespans can be within reach.

    Sirtuins, Low Calorie Diets and Longevity (November 04 2003) http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-11-04-
    4 An article at Betterhumans examines ongoing research into the genetic and biochemical causes of
    longevity through low-calorie diets (like calorie restriction). Practicing calorie restriction is
    currently the only scientific, proven beyond a doubt method of extending healthy life span. The goal
    of this research is to produce drugs and therapies that mimic - and improve on - the healthy life
    extension effects of calorie restriction. Companies like BioMarker are looking hard at this sort of
    thing, alongside academic groups such as the one mentioned in this article.


    Do you have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter? Visit the Longevity Meme forum at
    http://www.longevitymeme.org/forum.cfm, or send e-mail to [email protected]

  2. Totojepast

    Totojepast Guest

    Bullshit. Flush!