"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

 


"Are myths about the rejuvenating powers of young blood true?""-- from Aeon

The article raises this question: "Are myths about  the rejuvenating powers of young blood true?"

The answer, as I discern it from this and other literature: Definitely yes and no.

Not long ago here we posted about some research in Lund, Sweden attempting to rejuvenate blood (of mice) by reprogramming stem cells.  Link to that post and the article on rejuvenating blood    The broader topic there, of course, is the search for methods of achieving radical life extension.

My point is that the idea of recapturing youth by somehow rejuvenating via young blood is very new-- witness the Swedish research.  But it is also very old, as recounted in this article in the Briish AEON, which begins way back in the myths of ancient times and carries through to what's happening now. Oh yes, vampires are covered in it, as well.  Here's the link to that AEON article


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.)


"Scientists get closer to rejuvenating aging muscles"-- Health Day News

Rejuvenating  aging muscles -- I was really feeling the need for something like that this weekend in the course of my first-ever kayaking trip.  I felt my age then . . . NO, correction! I felt my age twice over.  But good news-- no after-effects the next day.

Which leads into an article I came upon, "Scientists get closer to rejuvenating aging muscles" by Mary Elizabeth Dallas, in Health Day News (which I had never run across before).

The report is on a study conducted at Stanford's Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology.  The study takes a very different approach than the fictional lab in my technothriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH, but I thought you'd find it of interest.

One thing struck me: "the muscle stem cells in 2-year old mice are the equivalent of those found in 80-year old humans." Implication: maybe there's a market for canes and walkers for old mice!  

Seriously, the process involves taking muscle stem cells from the oldsters (only mice, so far) and treat them in a certain way, then reimplanting in those muscle groups.  Two months later, those muscles were essentiall equivalent to those of young, uninjured mice.

Link to the article "Scientists get closer to rejuvenating aging muscles"


"The Race for Immortality"-- article in Slate

I came on still another article about the new drive on anti-aging and the quest for human immortality funded and directed by some of the rich guys at Google. Slate terms it "the race for immortality."  Subtitle: "Ray Kurzweil thinks we can stay one step ahead of death."   Link to the Slate article

The article in Slate is by Will Oremus, and joins other articles we've referenced here, which I'll link to below.

My context for interest in articles on the quest for immortality flows from my techno-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.  The book is done and out in the world, but I'm still keeping up with the literature.

In a nutshell, A REMEDY FOR DEATH is about a kind of Jurassic Park for rich old guys . . . and about the unforeseen consquences that flow.  (More info on A REMEDY FOR DEATH.)

One key difference between my approach in A REMEDY FOR DEATH and the main trend covered in these articles: Ray Kurzweil's approach is directed to staying alive long enough to be around for what he terms "the singularity," when we have computers and other devices smart enough to in effect download "us" to the cloud.

Without spoiling the plot, in REMEDY the characters take a more bio-tech approach, including printing out replacement organs (which is actually under way right now in labs around the world); other bioartificial organs and organ fabrication; the use of stem  cells; tissue engineering; and the use of human-animal chimeras.

In both REMEDY and the proposed Kurzweil approach arises the small matter of how do you move "consciousness," or "the soul," or whatever you term it across to the new?

Here are my links and comments on some other recent articles on that theme of a Jurassic Park for rich old guys  (and not so old yet). Topics include anti-aging, reversing aging, human immortality, fear of aging and death, regenerative medicine, eternal youth, eternal life, and the regenerative medicine industry:

Business Insider article, "These Tech Billionaires Are Determined to Buy Their Way Out of Death"

See my previous post "New Google division, along with TIME Magazine, follow trail blazed by technothriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH!"   That will link you to the TIME cover story on Calico, a new division or subsidiary, of Google. Calico is exploring much the same issues as in my technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.

 See also Adam Gollner's article in the Daily Bookbeast, "The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want to Live Forever"


"Tech billionaires determined to buy their way out of death"--UPDATE

Seems another instance of fact following (my) techno-fiction. My science techo-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH, centers around a conspiracy of the elite, a secretive cabal of the rich, powerful and politically-connected, that is funding an analogue to Michael Crichton's JURASSIC PARK . . . to recreate themselves, and hence gain the chance to go around again in life, as one of them put it, in "healthy, horny 21-year old bodies complete with all our accumulated savvy from this lifetime."

But that's no longer just some wacko author's fantasy: Check out the Business Insider article, "These Tech Billionaires Are Determined to Buy Their Way Out of Death"

And see my previous post "New Google division, along with TIME Magazine, follow trail blazed by technothriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH!"   That will link you to the TIME cover story on Calico, a new division or subsidiary, of Google. Calico is exploring much the same issues as in my technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH. (But, hey, let's face it: they've got a bigger budget!)

 Seems the same mindset as in my book.  Want more proof? Check out Adam Gollner's article in the Daily Bookbeast, "The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want to Live Forever"

Incidentally, that article quotes Global Industry Analysts, which suggests that "the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year." I expect that includes aging lotions and potions, and not just regenerative medicine. TIME estimates the regenerative medicine industry is now about $1.5 billion annually. likely to grow to $20 billion by 2025.

Implication: if these billionaires' investment pays off as they hope, then they get to live again and again.  Or, worst case, it doesn't work for them, but odds are it will be a profitable niche with good payback for their investment. But they can't take it with them.

Or can they? In my A REMEDY FOR DEATH, the crusty old media billionaire, at a drunken dinner, shouts out "If I can't take it with me, then hell no, I won't go!"  (Not to spoil the plot, but at about the point he says "hell no" all hell does break out there.)

BTW, Adam Gollner has recently published THE BOOK OF IMMORTALITY.  i'll look for a copy and report back here.  It's straight reporting, not a techn-thriller.


Rejuvenating blood by reprogramming stem cells

"Lund University researchers have succeeded in rejuvenating the blood of mice by reversing, or reprogramming, the stem cells that produce blood."-- this from Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence News.

I'll leave it to you to follow the link if you want to know more.  The research is still early, so best to wait and see how things work out.

"SCIENTISTS CLAIM 72 IS THE NEW 30" --- article in Financial Times

From my other blog, MichaelMcGaulley.com.

My technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH: Playing God with Body, Soul, and Bio-tech, is about just that: finding a way to overcome aging and death. In the story-line, we explore issues including regenerative medicine, growing replacement human organs and other body parts, other elements of the bio-tech revolution, and reversing the aging process . . . as well as some of the medical and legal ethical issues involved.

The core issue is this: What if the terms of life have changed . . . for a certain super-wealthy, well-connected elite? 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?

Intriguingly, this Financial Times also explores that issue, though from a different perspective: "How much longer can we extend life? We just don't know," says Oskar Burger, lead researcher on a pr0ject at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Dr. Burger's work focuses on how average human life expectancy has lengthened in large part because of relatively mundane things such as better access to clean water, better agicultural technology, and, of course, antibiotics.

But what if we take those kinds of advances, then combine them with other bio-tech research (only some of which has been tried with humans)? But then that would raise other problems: will those added years be happy and productive? What about the effect on retirement funds? What about the generational chasm that could develop between the "new" 30-year-olds, and the real 30's who are still working?

Here's the link to that article in the Financial Times: "Scientists claim 72 is the new 30" But, warning: you will need to register to get the article (free) , but, frankly, I have never encountered a more cumbersome enrollment procedure. I had to go through it three times, feeling as I did that I was caught in an endless loop --- one of those computer traps that you can't escape from and yet can't finish the job. (The term comes from Po Bronson's Silicon Valley novel: The First $20 Million is Always the Hardest.)


"Reversing the aging process by using pig hearts"

"Reversing the aging process by using pig hearts" is a post I put up yesterday on my main blog, MichaelMcGaulley.com.  For some reason, I am unable to easily link it across, so I'll do it the hard way, because it's very relevant to  this blog, and the related technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.

Among the related topics are reversing the aging process, bio-tech, bio-artificial organs, chimeras-- human-animal hybrids, the use of human stem cells, medical ethics, organ harvesting, and organ regeneration-- among others.

To go to that other post, and the related article