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Radical Life Extension

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livescience article

google video

If the predictions hold true, in 25 years, a human being could live without biological aging.

I find the prospect of living potentially forever as very awesome, because I love life and I do not want to end (at least, not right now). I also want to see those around me to do this as well. I actually would like to research the causes of aging and develop a "cure" for it.

If I do not go into bioresarch, I would still love to invest in a biocompany that will.

Do you want to (potentially) life forever?

Would you invest in it?

Or do you think that aging research is a psuedoscience?

Edited by redmartian89

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I don't want to get into a big discussion on this, but I do want to say, thanks for posting the Google video - I really enjoyed that!

I would like to live indefinitely, and I don't think this kind of aging research is a pseudoscience - of course we can tinker with the human body and make it last much longer - but the science may be in its infancy. (I hope it's beyond that.)

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Thanks for posting the video it was interesting.

First off, I find it unproductive when people try to put time limits on things. The notion that in 25 years we’ll have A, B & C is ridiculous. I don’t believe people who make such predictions even if they might know what they are talking about. So the 25 year bit is nonsense.

As to whether or not I think it’s pseudoscience

I think what I’d really need to see is simple statement of his hypothesis. If his hypothesis is, “If we do these seven things we can live indefinitely” then that’s a nice idea but it isn’t really science as was pointed out. His theory is too broad to adequately test. I was disappointed that they didn’t go into his seven pillars more. I suspect those individual claims may be testable and scientific which is why I wouldn’t dismiss the whole thing as pseudoscience. For instance (and I know this wasn’t his hypothesis) when the transvestite was explaining about a specific gene in some mammals which allows for the production of aspartic acid which isn’t found in humans. Her proposition that if humans had such a gene, they would have higher levels of Aspartic acid and consequently have enhanced protection from reactive oxygen species and therefore their risk of DNA damage (cancer) would be diminished. That seems to be a valid hypothesis that could be tested.

I would not invest in his “theory” but I might invest in research in more clearly defined experiments.

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I think Aubrey de Gray is going more for a "plan of action" and less for a "theory." It seems that there is enough material to say, "OK, let's get to work on prolonging human life."

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I'll believe in radical life extension on the eve of my 200th birthday.

Drew, I agree. Lots of people have been prediction the advent of commercial nuclear fusion in the next 20 to 25 years for almost 50 years now. The aircar has been forthcoming even earlier than that.

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I'll believe in radical life extension on the eve of my 200th birthday.

Drew, I agree. Lots of people have been prediction the advent of commercial nuclear fusion in the next 20 to 25 years for almost 50 years now. The aircar has been forthcoming even earlier than that.

I believe we would have already had these technologies if not for the governments that we endure. These plans of actions and timelines may be viable in a world that has no restriction to output and creation. The aircar, certainly. Fusion? Much more possible if fission wasn't so controlled and reviled. Ect.

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I believe we would have already had these technologies if not for the governments that we endure. These plans of actions and timelines may be viable in a world that has no restriction to output and creation. The aircar, certainly. Fusion? Much more possible if fission wasn't so controlled and reviled. Ect.

It's hard to say. Lots of money has been spent on fussion research. The practical problems are enormous, too. How do you control and confine a gas heated to temperatures found in the cores of stars?

Flying is very different from other types of travel. Anyone can learn to drive in a couple of days. Learning to fly is much harder. Your altitude, for example, depends in part on your speed. When your car speeds up it doesn't rise a couple of hundred feet. The energies involved are different, too. Landing is more difficult and dangerous still. and navigating, even in good weather, requires more skill and effort than the streets of any city. It's a complex problem that, I'm afraid, can't be boiled down to state interference in the economy.

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I believe we would have already had these technologies if not for the governments that we endure. These plans of actions and timelines may be viable in a world that has no restriction to output and creation. The aircar, certainly. Fusion? Much more possible if fission wasn't so controlled and reviled. Ect.

Sustained fusion reaction is inherently difficult. We cannot generate gravity to order like we can create electromagnetic confinement fields. To get sufficient electromagnetic confinement requires processes that are non-linear and dynamically unstable. We -can- do fusion reactions, but we can't sustain them long enough to get an energy feedback for furthering sustaining. This is physics, not politics. And -that- is why controlled nuclear fusion was been 30 years in the future for the last 50 years. I have no doubt it will still be 30 years in the future 100 years from now.

To get back on topic, the reason we age and die is that when our cells reproduce they damage the chromosomes in the process. Errors accumulate. After a certain number of divisions, the daughter cells will no longer reproduce correctly. In short, we are not only built for life (in the short run), we are also built for death (in the long run). If we want to live a long time, then we will have to create some kind of error correction mechanism. It is not likely that we can build DNA replicators that do not accumulate errors in copying. So it is post factor error correction that is needed.

Living a very, very long time has a major disadvantage. Our brains have a finite information capacity. If we live long enough we would have to forget stuff in order to learn new stuff. Losing information is akin to death. When you are dead you lose all of your past and have no future. Then there is the matter of boredom. As the author of Ecclesiastes once wrote, There is nothing New Under the Sun. In the short run he was wrong, in the very long run he was right. Seventy years might be too short a time to live but ten thousand years sounds way too long. I would settle for two hundred healthy years, long enough to see seven generations.

Bob Kolker

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Living a very, very long time has a major disadvantage. Our brains have a finite information capacity.

Recent research has proven that our brains in fact grow new nuerons, living a long time would allow even more expansion of our minds. Furthermore, we would focus on remembering and integrating concepts, not facts, since facts would be easily and rapidly accessible through information storage devices, making us (if we chose to focus our learning in that manner) ever wiser. Pulling up a wiki entry on a fact in doubt would be nearly as quick as pulling out of our own long term memory. Existing drugs such as Donepyzil have been clinical proven to increase the length of time which memories remain intact, future advanacements will no doubt further this trend. Additionally, you are operating under the projection that in 50 or 100 years we will be identical to what we are now, which is not the case, it is likely that we'll have implants which increase our memory capacity.

If we live long enough we would have to forget stuff in order to learn new stuff. Losing information is akin to death.

I forgot your previous paragraph, does that mean part of me is dead?

When you are dead you lose all of your past and have no future.

Which is alot different than having no past yet having a future, additionally, we are not the conglomeration of little tid bits of memories, our memories are integrated into our behavior, our behavior integrated into our personality, you do not cease to be who you are because you forget a few facts.

Then there is the matter of boredom. As the author of Ecclesiastes once wrote, There is nothing New Under the Sun. In the short run he was wrong, in the very long run he was right.

If you are so worried about forgetting things, then you can just do them again, which will be a new experience. Additionally, doing something now is a lot different for me than doing it 100 years hence, since I will have learned and grown tremendously in that time. There is plenty of universe to explore, current inflationary theory based understandings suggest that the ratio of the observable universe to the whole of the universe is the same as the ratio of a single proton to the whole of the observable universe. A universe trillions of trillions of times larger than we thought. Bored? - A bored mind is an empty mind.

Seventy years might be too short a time to live but ten thousand years sounds way too long. I would settle for two hundred healthy years, long enough to see seven generations.

Ten thousand years is way too short, give me a million healthy years.

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To get back on topic, the reason we age and die is that when our cells reproduce they damage the chromosomes in the process. Errors accumulate. After a certain number of divisions, the daughter cells will no longer reproduce correctly. In short, we are not only built for life (in the short run), we are also built for death (in the long run). If we want to live a long time, then we will have to create some kind of error correction mechanism. It is not likely that we can build DNA replicators that do not accumulate errors in copying. So it is post factor error correction that is needed.

This is so over-simplified it is ridiculous. Accumulation of errors leads to old-age illnesses and problems like cancer. These can be (somewhat) helped by boosting the systems in your body that dispose of these errors before they become problems. However, your body also has an inbuilt expiration date that is not due to errors but the fact that your cells just won't reproduce enough to fix damages. Break the arm of a five-year-old and a ninety-five-year-old and you'll see what I mean.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense: your lifespan is (like pretty much everything else about your biochemistry) regulated by whatever it takes for you to have the optimum number of viable offspring. It's a happy accident that women don't spontaneously fall over and die when they hit menopause, probably because grandchildren are more likely to survive if there are elders around to watch over them.

I wouldn't be at all surprised that (for humans) aging has a LOT to do with what sex you are, and I wonder if reproduction isn't the place you should start to study aging. Possibly, if you want to live to be 300, you'll have to put off puberty until you're 75 or even older. Wouldn't *that* be interesting.

I also very much doubt whether any currently living humans will be able to benefit from radical life extension: our bodies have already gone through too much of the process for it to be retarded much further. It is likely something you'd have to start at conception or even before: like the Howard Families, you may have to go through several generations of treatments (you have the treatment and your kids live a little longer . . . they have it and THEIR kids live a little longer still, etc.) before the effects begin to take hold.

There are living creatures that live centuries or even millenia, though, so I suspect it can be done. I just think you'll probably have to be born to it. As for me, I'm looking for a job that's even *marginally* interesting (and failing as usual), and it always makes me fatalistic. If I have to spend many more years working for idiots so I can make not quite enough to pay my bills, I'm quitting the whole business.

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From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense: your lifespan is (like pretty much everything else about your biochemistry) regulated by whatever it takes for you to have the optimum number of viable offspring. It's a happy accident that women don't spontaneously fall over and die when they hit menopause, probably because grandchildren are more likely to survive if there are elders around to watch over them.

More likely it's because only recently has it been common for women to live long enough to REACH menopause. Therefore it didn't matter one way or the other, from the standpoint of natural selection and fitness to survive, if women were designed to shut down completely at that point, or not.

I suspect evolutionarily what will happen over the next hundred millenia or so is that menopause will come later and later, now that there is an evolutionary "reason" for it, and later menopause could lead to more children.

Actually it could be sooner than this given that in many industrialized countries women put off having children. Clearly those who are fertile later will have a greater chance of actually having the children they put off--the others will disappear from the gene pool.

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More likely it's because only recently has it been common for women to live long enough to REACH menopause. Therefore it didn't matter one way or the other, from the standpoint of natural selection and fitness to survive, if women were designed to shut down completely at that point, or not.

I suspect evolutionarily what will happen over the next hundred millenia or so is that menopause will come later and later, now that there is an evolutionary "reason" for it, and later menopause could lead to more children.

Actually it could be sooner than this given that in many industrialized countries women put off having children. Clearly those who are fertile later will have a greater chance of actually having the children they put off--the others will disappear from the gene pool.

We are already seing signs of that. The oldest ever mother keeps being pushed further and further beyond the usual age for menopause.

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I suspect evolutionarily what will happen over the next hundred millenia or so is that menopause will come later and later, now that there is an evolutionary "reason" for it, and later menopause could lead to more children.

I also doubt this. There may be *segments* of the population where women don't reach menopause until their sixties, but evolution is virtually short-circuited now for humans. Women that put off having children generally have *fewer* children with *more* defects. This is not a good evolutionary strategy.

Future human evolution will more likely (I think) be a result of consciously cherry-picking genes than accidents of culture or biology.

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Today, there were some news articles about mice that live significantly longer and have significantly better physical abilities than their cohorts. According to this article:

the animals came about as a result of a standard genetic modification to a single metabolism gene shared with humans.

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I noticed a few things that caught my attention in the video...

One scientists who claimed everything followed logically but only if you accepted the "initial bizarre proposition" .Which he claimed does man have a right to live as long as he wants to providing the technology exists/ the most basic right - the right to stay alive? "Its not a right at all"- he should only live as long as "nature decrees one stays alive" .."as an animal of this planet"(48:30 in google video)

Another one just refused to talk about his work but was quite happy about talking how he is now this "angry" man and talking random rubbish and personally attacking him. (52:30 on google video)

and another one who claimed he is dangerous and that a genius like aubrey could spell mans destruction because he has the wrong "vision"

All in common with his opponents was there attack on him, or other random topics, but not his work. Maybe it was the documentary only putting in things which they thought would interest the viewer,,

Edited by airborne

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I noticed a few things that caught my attention in the video...

One scientists who claimed everything followed logically but only if you accepted the "initial bizarre proposition" .Which he claimed does man have a right to live as long as he wants to providing the technology exists/ the most basic right - the right to stay alive? "Its not a right at all"- he should only live as long as "nature decrees one stays alive" .."as an animal of this planet"(48:30 in google video)

Another one just refused to talk about his work but was quite happy about talking how he is now this "angry" man and talking random rubbish and personally attacking him. (52:30 on google video)

and another one who claimed he is dangerous and that a genius like aubrey could spell mans destruction because he has the wrong "vision"

All in common with his opponents was there attack on him, or other random topics, but not his work. Maybe it was the documentary only putting in things which they thought would interest the viewer,,

They are all meant as blatent attacks on intelligence.

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This is so over-simplified it is ridiculous. Accumulation of errors leads to old-age illnesses and problems like cancer. These can be (somewhat) helped by boosting the systems in your body that dispose of these errors before they become problems. However, your body also has an inbuilt expiration date that is not due to errors but the fact that your cells just won't reproduce enough to fix damages. Break the arm of a five-year-old and a ninety-five-year-old and you'll see what I mean.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense: your lifespan is (like pretty much everything else about your biochemistry) regulated by whatever it takes for you to have the optimum number of viable offspring. It's a happy accident that women don't spontaneously fall over and die when they hit menopause, probably because grandchildren are more likely to survive if there are elders around to watch over them.

I wouldn't be at all surprised that (for humans) aging has a LOT to do with what sex you are, and I wonder if reproduction isn't the place you should start to study aging. Possibly, if you want to live to be 300, you'll have to put off puberty until you're 75 or even older. Wouldn't *that* be interesting.

I also very much doubt whether any currently living humans will be able to benefit from radical life extension: our bodies have already gone through too much of the process for it to be retarded much further. It is likely something you'd have to start at conception or even before: like the Howard Families, you may have to go through several generations of treatments (you have the treatment and your kids live a little longer . . . they have it and THEIR kids live a little longer still, etc.) before the effects begin to take hold.

There are living creatures that live centuries or even millenia, though, so I suspect it can be done. I just think you'll probably have to be born to it. As for me, I'm looking for a job that's even *marginally* interesting (and failing as usual), and it always makes me fatalistic. If I have to spend many more years working for idiots so I can make not quite enough to pay my bills, I'm quitting the whole business.

Does anyone read, on a consistent basis, the Life Extension Foundation magazine? They have done a few interviews with companies like advanced cell technology whose theories point to cancer cells (which are immortal cells) holding the key to extreme longevity. Basically every cell has a telomere "fuse" which, in normal cell division, becomes shorter and shorter with every cell division. At a certain point the telomere becomes very short and triggers some mechanism that prevents the cell from dividing anymore. Cancer cells lack this shut off mechanism and therefore continue to divide indefinitely. By extending the telomere on healthy cells, those healthy cells effectively become immortal. The only problem to overcome are the possible mutations that result from damaged DNA during extended cell division. We're wired for death, but it's not something that science cannot overcome.

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The only problem to overcome are the possible mutations that result from damaged DNA during extended cell division. We're wired for death, but it's not something that science cannot overcome.

True. The problem is solvable in principle. But practically speaking ....

1. The problem with the deteriorating telemeres remains unsolved.

2. We are bombarded by cosmic rays continually so mutation is inevitable (or nearly so).

3. Do not hold your breath until apoptosis is prevented, or you will turn blue.

Plan on dying before you are 90.

In the mean time, eat right, exercise often, don't smoke and don't procrasternate. Then you will get the most mileage out of your limited lifespan.

Bob Kolker

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Ray Kurzweil has written a book called "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever." It makes many recommendations and provides guidelines for forming your own immortality plan. Some of the recommendations are extreme, and a few are questionable to me, but there is much useful information I've tried to apply, with positive results.

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Ray Kurzweil has written a book called "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever." It makes many recommendations and provides guidelines for forming your own immortality plan. Some of the recommendations are extreme, and a few are questionable to me, but there is much useful information I've tried to apply, with positive results.

Ray Kurzweil is a very brilliant fellow but on this subject he is nuts. We are going to die. Count on it. Biologically every one of our normal cells is programmed to stop splitting after about the 50th generation. The only cells that will keep on dividing are the cancer cells. That will kill us if nothing else does. We are doomed to die.

Use your limited time wisely. Don't procrastenate.

Bob Kolker

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From a consensus statement on the state of geronology research:

Telomeres, the repeated sequence found at the ends of chromosomes, shorten in many normal human cells with increased cell divisions. Statistically, older people have shorter telomeres in their skin and blood cells than do younger people.53,54 In the animal kingdom, though, long-lived species often have shorter telomeres than do short-lived species, indicating that telomere length probably does not determine life span.55,56,57 Solid scientific evidence has shown that telomere length plays a role in determining cellular life span in normal human fibroblasts and some other normal cell types.58 Increasing the number of times a cell can divide, however, may predispose cells to tumor formation.59,60 Thus, although telomere shortening may play a role in limiting cellular life span, there is no evidence that telomere shortening plays a role in the determination of human longevity.

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If the predictions hold true, in 25 years, a human being could live without biological aging.

Even if life could be extended somewhat by having cells with a higher subdivision limit, there is the matter of cells becoming cancerous because of radiation (cosmic and other). If one lives long enough, he will become stricken with cancer and most likely die from that. Then there is the matter of boredom. We have a finite brain capacity. If we live long enough we either be unable to store any new memories or we will have to expunge old memories to make room. I wouldn't mind living to 200 (in good health), but I think living to a million is a bit much.

I seriously doubt whether this built in lifetime of a cell will be overcome. If you go by what is currently known, plan dying before you reach 90. Most of the gee-whiz predictions on how cellular modification will cure disease have not worked out at all. Don't count on any miracle breakthroughs. In any case take care of your body, eat right, exercise and don't put off any tasks. Time is precious because it is scarce.

Bob Kolker

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I seriously doubt whether this built in lifetime of a cell will be overcome. If you go by what is currently known, plan dying before you reach 90.

And people thought the world was flat once too.

The inherent flaw in the this thinking is the bolded statement. By definitions solutions to problems that are unsolvable today depends on future discoveries, so going by what is currently known is the surest way to get your prediction wrong.

I wouldn't go out and invest in anit-aging companies just yet, but you can bet there is knowledge already being developed that will increase our lifespan, maybe minutes or hours at a time, but it will get discovered.

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I wouldn't go out and invest in anit-aging companies just yet, but you can bet there is knowledge already being developed that will increase our lifespan, maybe minutes or hours at a time, but it will get discovered.

Or maybe not. About ten or fifteen years ago, genetic modification was touted as a way of getting rid of several genetically based diseases. Here is what happened: 1. Several patients died trying it and 2. the cures never came. The Fountain of Youth has been a persistent meme in Western Culture for 500 years (at least). I see no reason why it won't be persistent for the next 500 years.

Here is another: Remember controlled fusion power. That has been thirty years in the future for the last 50 years. And so on and so on.

So I am quite reasonable in my skepticism. I will believe in practical immortality when I see it.

Plan on dying before you are 90. You are almost certain to win that bet.

Bob Kolker

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Bob, one shouldn't plan to die at any age. One should plan to live as long as one can and do all one can to achieve that, Planning to die at a set age is silly. People sometimes live beyond 90, or even 100, so why plan to die at either age? Even planning to die at the age of the oldest human ever is silly since nothing says you won't live older. That record has been broken several times. Who is to say it won't get broken again? Also, as medical science advances, the human life gets longer. Medical science is till advancing, therefore the human life can still expand some, even just in degrees we cannot measure right now without going to pointless detail. However, those small degrees will add up. That is how we got to where we are today where 100+ is possible. Personally, I think we (as in the human race, not us personally) will one day see a 130 something year odd person walking around like in the first Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where we saw Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy walking around Farpoint.

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