Author's research blog for the medical science techno-thriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH

REMEDY new FRONT BLACK May 28 2014

It's said that we only go around once in life . . . at least that's the way it's always been.

But what if? What if the terms of life have changed . . . for an elite, self-selected few?

What if today's emerging bio-tech and regenerative medical technologies—including the ability to regrow and implant body parts and organs—offer the chance for another whole go-round in life to a select, secretive few . . . a chance to come back, as one of them puts it, into “healthy, horny 21-year old bodies complete with all our accumulated savvy from this lifetime”?

A REMEDY FOR DEATH–Frankenstein and eternal youth in the age of bio-tech, tissue engineering, cloning, and regenerative medicine.

What if the project is almost successful . . . but opens dangerous doors . . . doors that cannot be closed?

 

A REMEDY FOR DEATH is fiction, but based on a great deal of keeping-up with what's happening in the various fields that make up what we know as bio-tech, regenerative medicine, and the role of the human mind. I'll be sharing some of that here on this blog, to which I'll be adding other items that I haven't yet posted  . . . as well as news of discoveries to come.

 

To order A Remedy for Death as ebook or pbook via Amazon

To order as ebook or pbook from other retailers, using universal link

To read sample chapters of A REMEDY FOR DEATH 

To view the book trailer "RADICAL LIFE EXTENSION and A REMEDY FOR DEATH"

 

And  . . . to read my blog posts and other research materials, continue below, or check the sidebars here for "Recent Posts" and "Categories".  Here a few to get you started:

 

Tech titans’ latest: Project Defy Death. Washington Post, page 1 above the fold, April 5, 2015;

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/04/04/tech-titans-latest-project-defy-death/#

 

Silicon Valley is trying to make humans immortal—and finding some success.  Newsweek cover story, Mar 15, 2015;

  http://www.newsweek.com/2015/03/13/silicon-valley-trying-make-humans-immortal-and-finding-some-success-311402.html  

 

Google ventures and the search for immortalityBloombergBusiness, March 9, 2015;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-09/google-ventures-bill-maris-investing-in-idea-of-living-to-500

 

What if aging is nothing but a mind-set?  New York Times Magazine. October 26, 2014;

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/magazine/what-if-age-is-nothing-but-a-mind-set.html?_r=2

 

The Forever Pill. Cover story, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, February 18, 2015;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-02-12/does-a-real-anti-aging-pill-already-exist-

 

Can Google solve death?   Cover story, Time, September 30, 2014

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2152422,00.html#ixzz2fMq3cHhF

 

Live forever: Scientists say they’ll soon extend life “well beyond” 120. The Guardian, January 11, 2015;  http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/11/-sp-live-forever-extend-life-calico-google-longevity

 

Custom organs, printed to order. Nova Next, March 18, 2015.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/3d-printed-organs/

 

This baby could live to be 142 years old: Dispatches from the frontiers of longevity. Time, cover story, February 23-March 2 2015

http://backissues.time.com/storefront/2015/this-baby-could-live-to-be-142-years-old/prodTD20150223.html

 

Radical Life Extension getting more mainsteam and getting more funding. NextBigFuture.com, January 11, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/magazine/what-if-age-is-nothing-but-a-mind-set.html?_r=2

 

 

 


"Have scientists found the key to eternal life?" -- Are worms showing us the way to radical life extension by reversing the aging process?

“Have scientists found the key to eternal life?”—an article in DailyMail.com, July 24 2015

In a study at Northwestern University, Dr. Morimoto and team found that a certain strain of worms  begin the downhill slide to aging when they reach their equivalent of puberty.

It seems the same gene that causes this effect is also present in humans. Implication (still being studied): perhaps there is a way, using biochemical and genetic methods, to switch the  mechanism that sends the signal: “time to start aging!”  That is, to reverse the aging process, perhaps opening the way to radical life extension.

Is there a way we can prevent that aging switch from flipping—or, even better for the rest of us,  flip the switch in reverse?  Is it a valid step toward reversing the aging process, even toward human immortality?  Who knows? Stay tuned.

Here’s the link to the Daily Mail article

 


Excellent article on radical life extension and girls who never seem to age

I check out Zite (an app on my Ipad) at least once every day, and it's a rare day that I don't come upon at least one excellent article.  Today it was "Arrested Development: The Girls Who Never Seem to Age," by Virginia Hughes.

For one thing, it gives one of the best short overviews what's being done in researching human aging and the concept of radical life extension.

But it also covers the work of Dr. Richard Walker (and his book, Why We Age).

Dr. Walker has had a career-long fascination with those issues, and went down a variety of not-so-productive paths until he came upon the strange, sad phenomenon of young girls who basically never really age, at least not as we know it.  

"Aging is usually defined as the slow accumulation of damage in our cells, organs, and tissues, ultimately causing the physical transformations that we all recognize in elderly people. Jaws shrink and gums recede. Skin slacks. Bones brittle, cartilage thins, and joints swell. Arteries stiffen and clog. Hair greys. Vision dims. Memory fades. The notion that aging is a natural, inevitable part of life is so fixed in our culture that we rarely question it. But biologists have been questioning it for a long time."

 I'll leave you to the article for the rest.

As I said, I found it on Zite, which is a compiler. The origin of the article is not totally clear to me. It apparently appeared August 7, 2014 on Pacific-Standard: The Science of Society, which I had never run upon before, but seems to be filled with fascinating stuff.  And, if I read the attribution correctly, the article, under the title "Arrested Development" earlier appeared in Mosaic.

Article in Pacific Standard

 

 

 

 

 


Need a new brain? Why not grow your own?

Well, maybe not quite yet. But work is underway.

In Austria, researchers took both embryonic stem cells (i.e. from human embryos) and adult skin cells, then did some "lab magic" and in about a month the cells grew and self-orgaized into what the researchers termed "brain-like organoids" 3-4mm in size that showed "neural activity".  

Think of it!  A few flakes of skin can become the startings of a human brain. Now that's not to say that these litle bits had consciousness, that's many more steps ahead.

They have survived a year (as of when the article went to publication in the journal Nature,) but have not grown any larger, apparently because at this point there is no blood supply in. (But other research in other labs is focusing on generating bio-artificial  blood vessels.)

This work was reported on in  Britain's New Scientist , BBC News , Washington Post via Reuters , Siongularity Hub  and others .

What about the ethical issues of growing even a tiny  human brain?  The researchers are aware of the issue, and the Austrian team does not want to see larger human brain specimens grown now, as that would be "undesirable."

Gary Marcus, in a New Yorker article, looks at this same research, though taking a much longer look at the implications  of where this kind of work may lead decades or a half-century from now.

 "But we’ll also need to confront immense ethical quandaries. What rights does synthetic brain tissue have? Should a 3-D-printed brain have the right to vote? To an education? To terminate its own life? (Or to not be terminated?) For now, these questions are still just another round of thought experiments. But it’s more likely than ever that such thoughts might some day be held by just another brain in a jar."

Beyond all that, there's still one other big issue: even if we can "grow"  a complete human brain, where is the mind?   That is the biggie we tackle in  my technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH --Playing God with Body, Soul, and Biotech,  . . . though suggesting an approach other than bio-science.


We need new blood! 'Vampire therapy' could reverse aging, scientists find

"It may seem the stuff of gothic horror novels, but transfusions of young blood could reverse the ageing process and even cure Alzheimer's Disease, scientists believe." -- This the lead item in an article by Sarah Knapton in London's Daily Telegraph. (I used the spelling 'ageing' there, as such is the British way.)  

By the way, I misspelled Sarah Knapton's name in a previous version of this post. Sorry.

Now, before going on, let me say that the experiments so far have only been done on mice, not humans.  

Also, these experiments havebeen done, not in a spooky castle in Transylvania, but rather at Harvard and Stanford. (Does that make the idea less spooky?)

The research, primarily reported in the journal Science, involved eight blood transfusions over a three-week period.

Here's the link to that Daily Telegraph article

Now what they are doing with this finding in the (fictional) Hauenfelder Clinic in the remote mounntains of a certain Eastern European dictatorship I have no idea. (FYI: that Hauenfelder Clinic is the setting for my science technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.  Not to worry, this is not a plot spoiler: I can tell you they don't use Vampire Therapy there . . . at least not yet!  But they do lots of other thing that push the limits of medical ethics  under the guise of  questing for eternal youth and human immortality for the chosen few!  The Hauenfelder Clinic is, one might say, a Jurassic Park for rich old guys who want to stick around . . . forever.)