The Fountain of Youth
Human Lifespan – longevity – immortality
"Aging is the progressive loss of tissue and organ function over time."
Professor Michael Rose, Director and Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine, the leading scientist in the field of aging, biological immortality, and human evolution over the last 40 years, has published over 275 Academic publications and authored 10 books including Does Aging Stop? and Evolutionary Biology of Aging. See his listing of "55 Theses on the Power and Efficacy Of Natural Selection for Sustaining Health" aka The 55 thesis: "Out of respect for both science and medicine, the following propositions are open for discussion throughout the World-Wide Web."
Visit the Rose Labratory website here.
Connect with Michael Rose on Facebook
Immortality... reality? Imagine a life spanning more than a century, in good health – and packed with several careers.
How long do you want to live? A century? Or longer? There's a concerted effort underway within science and medicine to push the boundaries of the human lifespan to as long as a thousand years.
At the October 2011 Adelaide Festival of Ideas, three panellists explore how long humans might conceivably be able to live - and the implications for the planet.
Excerpt: "If you look at the surveys on happiness and life-satisfaction they are a U-shaped curve with the low point at about in the 40s. And then they increase as you get older. There is no evidence that people find life boring or uninteresting though they find disease and disability painful and want to be rid of it."
– Professor Julian Savulescu
Director of neuro-ethics and the Institute for Science and Ethics at University of Oxford.
Highly recommend reading a partial transcript here.
Unprecedented economic growth
or near-term collapse? Alex Zhavoronkov explains in this talk how advances in biomedicine can transform the global economy. This talk describes the potential fundamental impact of biomedicine, not only on health and longevity, but also on global economic growth. The revolution in information technology has irreversibly changed our lives over the past two decades. However, advances in biomedicine stand poised to eclipse the social and economic effects of IT in the near future.
Connect with Alex Zhavoronkov on Facebook
Over the past 20 years, the biomedical research community has been delivering hundreds of breakthroughs expected to extend human lifespan beyond thresholds imaginable today. However, much of this research has not yet been adopted into clinical practice, nor has it been widely publicized. Biomedicine will transform our society forever by allowing people to live longer and to continue working and contributing financially to the economy longer, rather than entering into retirement and draining the economy through pensions and senior healthcare. Old age will become a concept of the past, breakthroughs in regenerative medicine will continue, and an unprecedented boom to the global economy, with an influx of older able-bodied workers and consumers, will be a reality. A leading expert in aging research, author Alex Zhavoronkov provides a helicopter view on the progress science has already made, from repairing tissue damage to growing functional organs from a single cell, and illuminates the possibilities that the scientific and medical community will soon make into realities. The Ageless Generation is an engaging work that causes us to rethink our ideas of age and ability in the modern world.
Febuary 2016 Did Scientists Just Discover ... How To Dramatically Extend Human Lifespan? By Steven Maxwell Could it be possible that medical researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine have found the secret of the “fountain of youth” while experimenting with the genetics of mice?>>> more
December 2015 Cellular senescence in aging and age-related disease: from mechanisms to therapy. (Childs, et al. 2015)
Cellular senescence, a process that imposes permanent proliferative arrest on cells in response to various stressors, has emerged as a potentially important contributor to aging and age-related disease, and it is an attractive target for therapeutic exploitation... >>> more
"...removal of stagnant cells also showed a reverse in the signs of aging."
Senotherapeutics refers to therapeutic agents and strategies that specifically target cellular senescence, an altered cell state associated with ageing and age-related diseases. See more studies here
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants. DHA is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults. The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability, whereas deficiencies of DHA are associated with deficits in learning. DHA is taken up by the brain in preference to other fatty acids. The turnover of DHA in the brain is very fast, more so than is generally realized.>>> more
Neuroscientist shows what fasting does to your brain & why Big Pharma won't study it. Excerpt:
... a TEDx talk given by Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, and one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. I chose to include ‘Big Pharma’ in the title because that’s exactly what it is. There have been countless examples of the manipulation of published research at the hands of pharmaceutical companies in recent years. This is why Harvard Professor of Medicine Arnold Symour Relman told the world that the medical profession has been bought by the pharmaceutical industry. It’s why Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet,recently stated that much of the sceintific literature published today is simply untrue.>>> more
May 2015 Regulating age research Age-associated accumulation of somatic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been proposed to be responsible for the age-associated mitochondrial respiration defects found in elderly human subjects.
See the study in NATURE (PDF): Epigenetic regulation of the nuclear-coded GCAT and SHMT2 genes confers human age-associated mitochondrial respiration defect.
May 2015 Japanese researchers reverse aging Professor Jun-Ichi Hayashi has found that the regulation of two genes involved with the production of glycine, the smallest and simplest amino acid, is partly responsible for some of the characteristics of aging.
"The issue may not be that mitochondrial DNA become damaged, but rather that genes get turned "off" or "on" over time. Most intriguing, the team led by Professor Jun-Ichi Hayashi was able to flip the switches on a few genes back to their youthful position, effectively reversing the aging process." >>> more
Benefits of Social Media
A growing body of evidence on the increasing take-up of the online activity by people over 55 has shown matching rate of decline in dementia. These are the people who should 'know the ropes' and shouldn't be afraid to speak their minds with some authority. Most importantly, they have the time to become active - and they vote.
March 2017 Human Frontier Science Program Prof. Timo Betz and international colleagues receive €1 million of funding "pursuing a new theory that mechanical forces stretch the cells and thus “wake them up”. These mechanical forces therefore have a decisive influence on muscle regeneration."
Special award for Prof. Tim Betz from the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Münster: the biophysicist has received the prestigious “Program Grant” research funding award from the international "Human Frontier Science Program" (HFSP). This programme – the only one of its kind worldwide – provides funding for first-rate researchers who work together on innovative research questions across the borders of both countries and disciplines. ... Together with cell biologists Penney Gilbert from the University of Toronto in Canada and Xavier Darzacq from the University of Berkeley in California in the USA, he receives funding amounting to around one million euros for three years.
... he and his colleagues want to undertake research into how muscle stem cells wake up out of a deep sleep to regenerate muscle fibres. In doing so, they are pursuing a new theory that mechanical forces stretch the cells and thus “wake them up”. These mechanical forces therefore have a decisive influence on muscle regeneration.>>> more
February 2017 "The good life is built with good relationships.”
This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life
Here's some wisdom gleaned from one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted.
According to George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who directed the study from 1972 to 2004, there are two foundational elements to this: "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”
Prioritizing what's important is challenging in today's world. The split focus required to maintain a career and a home, not to mention a Facebook feed, can feel overwhelming.
Enter the science of what to prioritize, when.
For over 75 years, Harvard's Grant and Glueck study has tracked the physical and emotional well-being of two populations: 456 poor men growing up in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study), and 268 male graduates from Harvard's classes of 1939-1944 (the Glueck study).
Due to the length of the research period, this has required multiple generations of researchers. Since before WWII, they've diligently analyzed blood samples, conducted brain scans (once they became available), and pored over self-reported surveys, as well as actual interactions with these men, to compile the findings.
The conclusion? According to Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:
"The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period." >>> more
One of the main challenges facing medicine in these early years of 21st century is the foreseen ageing of the world population, and more specifically, the increase in the number of years spent in disability. These assertions are consolidated by the1st World Health Organisation (WHO) global report devoted to ageing (2015), which defines healthy ageing as a “process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age”. As stated by WHO general director Margaret Chan in the preface of the report, “healthy ageing is more than just the absence of disease; the maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance”.
The “healthy ageing” pathway corresponds to a lifelong process. After conception, the first and second parts of life appear to have the greatest influence on a person's functional trajectory, which has the potential at any time to become more or less positive. Building and maintaining intrinsic capacity, and living in functional independence within our own surroundings until the end of life is the most favourable outcome. >>> more
January 2014 How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity
Legendary alternative medicine proponent and osteopathic physician
Dr. Joseph Mercola's many efforts in promoting longevity are encouraging, including thie following, where so many centenarians say they feel 20 years younger which would be like saying, "Man, I feel so happy! I feel like 80!"
Of course, we also need to remember that centenarians were 60 years old before the "food industry" entered the stock market and processed toxic food diets became the norm.
– Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the US population, with numbers doubling every decade; by the year 2050, the number of people who will have reached the century mark is expected to pass one million.
– Research shows centenarians have 60 percent lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, yet scientific explanations for their health and longevity remain elusive.
– Centenarians as a group are happy and optimistic and have extremely low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems, suggesting that personality traits may be one of the most significant factors in longevity.
– Hundreds of centenarians have been interviewed about what they believe explains their long life, and 10 key themes have been identified.
– If you want to live to be 100, there are four key nutrients important for overall brain health, helping prevent dementia and cognitive decline: vitamin D, DHA, folate, and magnesium.
Some jokingly said they attribute their longevity to "avoiding dying." Others give hints to their life philosophy, such as "Find your passion and live it," "Make time to cry," and "Practice forgiveness." Centenarians overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to avoid. Their lives are marked by as many stressful events as the rest of us, but they differ in how well they manage their stress. Rather than dwelling on it, they let it go. And they are very happy people!
… Rx: Happiness
Happy people live longer—by 35 percent, according to one study.(11) Another study found that happiness and contentment increases health and longevity.(12) Other studies show optimists live longer than pessimists.(13) So it's no surprise that centenarians are a happy and optimistic lot. Positive thoughts and attitudes seem to somehow do things in your body that strengthen your immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease pain, and provide stress relief. In fact, it's been scientifically shown that happiness can alter your genes!
A team of researchers at UCLA showed that people with a deep sense of happiness and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody responses.(14) This falls into the realm of epigenetics—changing the way your genes function by turning them off and on.
Part of your longevity may depend on the DNA you were born with, but an even larger part depends on epigenetics—over which you have more control. Your thoughts, feeling, emotions, diet, and other lifestyle factors exert epigenetic influences every minute of the day, playing a central role in aging and disease.(15) Perhaps it's not as important to avoid that bowl of ice cream as it is to feel sheer bliss when eating it... at least, on occasion! >>> more
Humans age in 7 basic ways, all of which can be averted. Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge biomedical gerontologist argues that aging is a curable disease and challenges the most basic assumption underlying the human condition —that aging is inevitable. DeGrey argues instead that aging is a disease —one that can be cured if it's approached as "an engineering problem." Hence, Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) (from Latin: senescere, meaning "to grow old”).
Read a July 2013 interview with Dr. DeGrey
In 2011, Dr. Aubrey de Grey inherited roughly $16.5 million on the death of his mother. Of this he assigned $13 million to fund the SENS Research Foundation for the development of a wide range of therapies applied in repairing and reducing age-related infirmity and damage to human tissue:
Dr. De Grey's plan calls for identifying all the components that cause human tissue to age, and designing remedies for each of them
– forestalling disease and eventually pushing back death.
7 types of aging damage
Mutations – in Chromosomes causing cancer due to nuclear mutations/epimutations:
These are changes to the nuclear DNA (nDNA), the molecule that contains our genetic information, or to proteins which bind to the nDNA. Certain mutations can lead to cancer, and, according to de Grey, non-cancerous mutations and epimutations do not contribute to aging within a normal lifespan, so cancer is the only endpoint of these types of damage that must be addressed.
Mitochondria are components in our cells that are important for energy production. They contain their own genetic material, and mutations to their DNA can affect a cell's ability to function properly. Indirectly, these mutations may accelerate many aspects of aging.
Junk – inside of cells, aka intracellular aggregates:
Our cells are constantly breaking down proteins and other molecules that are no longer useful or which can be harmful. Those molecules which can't be digested simply accumulate as junk inside our cells. Atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and all kinds of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease) are associated with this problem.
Junk – outside of cells, aka extracellular aggregates:
Harmful junk protein can also accumulate outside of our cells. The amyloid senile plaque seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients is one example.
Cells – too few, aka cellular loss:
Some of the cells in our bodies cannot be replaced, or can only be replaced very slowly – more slowly than they die. This decrease in cell number causes the heart to become weaker with age, and it also causes Parkinson's disease and impairs the immune system
This is a phenomenon where the cells are no longer able to divide, but also do not die and let others divide. They may also do other things that they're not supposed to, like secreting proteins that could be harmful. Cell senescence has been proposed as cause or consequence of type 2 diabetes. Immune senescence is also caused by this.
Extracellular protein crosslinks:
Cells are held together by special linking proteins. When too many cross-links form between cells in a tissue, the tissue can lose its elasticity and cause problems including arteriosclerosis and presbyopia.
Dr. de Grey’s book "Ending Aging" (2008) outlines seven strategies for ending aging, which are based on seven causes of aging he has identified:
Each strategy program of Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence is given a distinctive “SENS” name, as follows:
1. AmyloSENS (extracellular junk) –
Aging leads to an accumulation of junk outside of cells, the most notorious example of which is the amyloid plaque that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease. AmyloSENS would attempt to use the immune system to eliminate amyloid and other damaging extracellular junk.
2. ApoptoSENS (cell senescence) –
Cells that become old and no longer divide (senescent cells) produce inflammatory substances that contribute to many of the diseases of aging. ApoptoSENS would eliminate senescent cells by inducing such cells to “commit suicide” (apoptosis).
3. GlycoSENS (extracellular crosslinks) – Proteins form cross-links with sugars (glycation) as tissues age. As a result of this crosslinking, tissues lose suppleness, becoming stiff and full of fibrous material. GlycoSENS seeks enzymes that will selectively breakdown these harmful crosslinks.
4. LysoSENS (intracellular junk) –
Waste material of various kinds (“junk”) that is formed within cells is often broken down by a specialized organelle called the lysosome, which contains enzymes for that purpose. Unfortunately, some junk (proteins, fats, metals, etc.) cannot be broken down by normal lysosome enzymes, and this junk accumulates with age. The goal of LysoSENS is to develop and provide additional enzymes to the lysosomes that would break down more forms of junk molecules.
5. MitoSENS (mitochondrial mutations) – Mitochondria generate energy for cells, but in doing so they generate large amounts of free radicals. A prime target for these free radicals is the DNA within the mitochondria that controls mitochondrial function. MitoSENS seeks to make copies of mitochondrial DNA in the DNA of the cell nucleus, where it would be a safe distance from the damaging free radicals produced within the mitochondria.
6. OncoSENS (cancer-causing nuclear mutations/epimutations) –
Most forms of cancer utilize the enzyme telomerase to maintain long telomeres (the caps of chromosomes that keep them functional). OncoSENS proposes to eliminate telomerase as a means of controlling cancer. Telomeres are needed by stem cells, but OncoSENS would replace this need by a program of tissue replacement (RepleniSENS).
7. RepleniSENS (cell loss and atrophy) –
With age, cells are lost or atrophy, thereby causing tissues to stop functioning properly. RepleniSENS would utilize stem cell therapies to restore cells and tissues.