Post by Walking Owl on May 13, 2009 12:15:28 GMT -5
Should Immortality be Reserved for the Rich and Powerful?
New Political Action-Drama The Last Generation to Die by Marc L. Paulsen explores the potential abuses, benefits and risks of immortality.
Newport Beach, CA, May 12, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Could immortality destroy the planet? Do the risks of immortality out way the rewards? Should perpetual life, health and beauty be reserved for a select few? Is immortality already a reality? These and many other issues are explored in the new high intensity action-drama by Marc L. Paulsen, The Last Generation to Die.
The book tells the story of Charlie Carr, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter deeply devoted to his ten year old daughter who is dying of a fatal disease. During the investigation of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the crash of a luxury private airliner he uncovers a biotechnology company that has discovered the cure for many of the most serious of human diseases through the use of stem cell technology. The deeper he digs the more complex and risky things become. Soon he finds himself the subject of an investigation and then targeted for murder as he methodically uncovers a conspiracy between the super rich and the highest levels of government to keep humanity’s most sought after treasure exclusively for themselves.
Post by Walking Owl on May 21, 2009 20:06:48 GMT -5
Immortality 2.0: a silicon valley insider looks at California's Transhumanist movement
Global Research, May 21, 2009
One afternoon in late 2007, a Yahoo executive named Salim Ismail stepped up to a podium at company headquarters to talk about what some call "the world's most dangerous idea." An intense man from India, Ismail faced a conference room packed with computer whizzes from the likes of Google, Apple, and Intel and launched into a tirade about the far frontiers of digital technology and the big battle that lay ahead.
"The current system is flawed," he said, pacing the stage. He went on to talk about routers and interrupt systems, hardly exotic material to his audience. But even within this techy sanctum, his message was a bold one. The flawed system that Ismail lamented was not a computer network, it was the human brain. "We need to design a better one," he said.
Our brains are poorly programmed, according to Ismail. Rewiring them might fix the glitches--like stupidity and violence. "We need computer chips monitoring our neural networks," he said. "Evolution isn't going to do this for us. So technology is going to have to do it."
Ismail's talk, "The Need to Reengineer the Human Brain," wasn't the most ambitious at the conference, a meeting of a local think tank called the Foresight Nanotech Institute. At another panel, a local biotechnician presented "Mind Uploading: How to Really Do It," a step-by-step proposal for transferring human consciousness onto a computer. Later, a programmer discussed "The Future of the Singularity," a time in the not-too-distant future when humans and machines will be one. These theories weren't meant as entertainment. Ismail and his ilk are working to produce extreme technologies, to reengineer the brain, upload the mind, copy people, and more. These are the technologies that lie at the heart of a movement called transhumanism.
Part science, part faith, and part philosophy, the essence of transhumanism is radical life extension and life expansion. Movement devotees perceive the human body as a work in progress. Evolution took humanity this far, the thinking goes, and only technology will take us further. Transhumanism views sickness, aging, and death as unnecessary hindrances that we have the right and the responsibility to overcome. Our bodies, frail and unpredictable, are just another problem for these engineers to solve. The brain, our body's computer, is due for an upgrade.
"Transhumanism is about using technology to enhance ourselves--enhancements like longer life-spans, better cognitive abilities, and improved happiness," James Clement, the executive director of the World Transhumanist Association, told me. "It's about transcending our limitations, including death."
Transhumanism is now developing strong roots in Silicon Valley. The World Transhumanist Association, which has about 5,000 members, relocated to Palo Alto in 2007, and several other like-minded organizations have recently emerged in the Bay Area.
"Silicon Valley has become a growing hub for transhumanist organizations," Clement told me. "There's a tremendous amount of momentum right now." The movement is picking up new adherents and new energy in its quest to enhance the human body and make us immortal. And it is flush with cash from dot-com millionaires. As a result, a fringe factor of technological progress is being pushed center stage, for better or worse.
Post by Walking Owl on May 29, 2009 19:20:02 GMT -5
Top Secret Meeting of Medical Minds Seeks To Crack the Immortality Code
All Press Releases for May 29, 2009
DNA allows our bodies to reproduce our cells and at the end of our DNA strands is a small end cap known as the telomere. As we age, our telomeres shorten and we begin to lose our ability to reproduce cells, at which point we develop diseases of aging. Dr. Dave Woynarowski MD volunteers to take a rare new supplement called TA-65, which has been scientifically tested to lengthen the human telomere and, in turn, extend life on a cellular level. As a medical doctor, ultra marathoner and anti-aging supplement guru, Dr. Dave joins top medical minds in attempt to crack the immortality code and improve quality of life in both physical abilities and longevity.
Fleetwood, PA (PRWEB) May 29, 2009 -- Dr. Dave Woynarowski MD is a guinea pig. He is a member of an elite group of top medical minds on a supplement that is thought to be able to prolong human life by lengthening a part of the genetic code known as the telomere.
"I was a perfect specimen for them!" says Doctor Dave. "They were looking for people who were objective enough to give honest feedback on the results of taking an extremely rare all natural supplement known as TA-65."
Top Secret Meeting of Medical Minds Seeks To Crack the Immortality Code
All Press Releases for May 29, 2009
If these guys are this far in public... imagine how far the Gomer are... under wraps.
Back in 2004... The "Economist" wondered this...
Aug 5th 2004 From The Economist print edition
IN A letter penned in 1676, Isaac Newton famously wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Although it is debatable whether Newton was being modest or making a barbed comment towards his correspondent (a competitor of short stature) the phrase epitomises views of how science progresses—with the speedy and open publishing of discoveries so that others may make use of them to push back the frontiers of human understanding.
For centuries, printed journals destined for university libraries have been the focus of this publishing activity. The winds of change, though, are sweeping through these quiet and dusty corridors. Because of the internet, cost and distance are no longer barriers to providing the results of research to more than just a restricted and privileged few.
This is leading people to ask why those results are not, in fact, freely available to all. …
Now being an economic platform, I supposed that they are concerned about the "Secret" of Gomer sciences because if the stuff is secret... how does one make the right "plays" in the market place to make an obscene profit from them?
Kicking that up a notch or 20, since most "science" manifests into the modern world as a "product" with guaranteed world altering potential... one would think the captive population of the planet should be at least privy to the onslaught... before it becomes one. Perhaps they should even have a "say so" in the matter...
"Progress"... as "malformed innovation for profit"... has become labeled, often brings with it steep and insurmountable downside... economists laud that though... because the "need to recover" from reckless and ill-conceived scientific aftermath creates a cycle of "new progress" products and investment opportunity.
Our vote may power the engine room, but does not apply to the captains bridge... where direction and destination for us all... is dictated... secretly.
Post by ~(WaveWarrior)~ on Jun 7, 2009 16:00:01 GMT -5
Look who just landed on MaRS
A Harvard-trained, Israeli biomedical wizard is out to turn ideas into money with an innovative new partnership
Omar El Akkad
From Saturday's Globe and Mail, Saturday, Jun. 06, 2009 04:15AM EDT
If you've ever walked past the corner of College and University, in the heart of downtown Toronto, you've passed the country's most significant collection of scientific and medical researchers.
For years, MaRS was known for just that – putting a collective roof over the heads of Canada's out-of-this-universe thinkers. Aside from hosting the unlikely duo of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dalton McGuinty at a funding announcement two years ago, the centre seems enveloped in galactic silence.
MaRS ================================================ Why always the emphasis on nationality... he wonders.
Post by Walking Owl on Jun 12, 2009 14:27:46 GMT -5
In Worms, Genetic Clues to Extending Longevity
People die, but one part of them, at least in principle, is immortal. In the germline cells that produce eggs or sperm, biological time stands still. This is why babies are all born with the same age, the clock set to zero, regardless of the age of their parents.
A little piece of the germline’s immortality, it now seems, can be acquired by the ordinary cells of the body, and used to give the organism extra longevity.
This is the conclusion of a research group at the Massachusetts General Hospital led by Sean P. Curran and Gary Ruvkun. Their studies were carried out in the laboratory round worm, C. elegans, but many of the discoveries later turned out to apply to people, too.
The finding may provide an explanation for the many recent experiments in which biologists have made laboratory organisms live longer by manipulating their genes. Most of these genes lie in what is known as the insulin-signaling pathway, which influences the body’s metabolism of fat and glucose.
When the pathway is disturbed, by deactivating one of its genes, the animal generally lives longer. The effect seems similar to the extension of life span enjoyed by laboratory mice when they are kept on a diet very low in calories.
The insulin-signaling pathway activates a powerful gene regulator that controls many genetic pathways, including some that govern metabolism. Dr. Ruvkun’s team reports in Nature a novel effect of the regulator: It can switch on in the worm’s ordinary body cells, or somatic cells, two genes that are usually active only in the germline cells and are kept permanently switched off in the somatic cells.
These two genes protect the cells’ DNA by reducing protein synthesis and cranking up the worm’s equivalent of an immune system.
Higher-level protection of DNA is presumably one key to the germline cells’ immortality. “This ability for somatic cells to gain a stemlike character could be really important in extending life span,” Dr. Ruvkun said.
Post by Walking Owl on Jun 16, 2009 9:30:50 GMT -5
Scientists Extend Life of Worms: Human Immortality Next?
(ChatttahBox)—A group of Harvard scientists determined to discover the genetic answer to human immortality, just arrived one step closer to their quest for eternal life, a mission that would make Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, proud.
The scientists have already found a way to make certain gene mutations in bio-engineered worms, which not only extends their life, but also makes them resistant to disease.
The mutated super worms, belong to a class of worms called Caenorhabditis Elegans and scientists in genetic research commonly use them, because they are easy to incubate and possess useful genetic material.
The Harvard researchers began their groundbreaking experiments, using the hypothesis that some cells are already immortal, such as germ cells that continually replicate, making new organisms. Germ cells essentially don’t have a pre-determined life span.
Somatic cells on the other hand, eventually decay and die. So, the scientists attempted to “re-engineer” the somatic cells of a worm to behave like germ cells. And they were successful.
Specifically, they modified the DAF-16 transcription factor in the worms’ DNA, resulting in a longer and healthier lifespan. Although, this methodology has a long way to go, before it can be tested on mammals, it has amazing implications for the future of life-extending research.
Humans are quite different from a simple celled worm. We are composed of a series of complicated neurons in addition to simple cells.
But it’s conceivable that someday, scientists can “mutate” our neurons to behave like an immortal organism and when that day comes, we will live in a vastly different world where the concept of old age would be redefined.
They say we are overpopulated yet the drive to immortality goes on...?
There is something about lobsters...my 12 year old daughter read this and told me about it - they are "immortal" in a sense, in that they will grow and grow and grow until they are killed by something (disease or natural predators)...but they never actually AGE, the way humans or other animals do.
Last Edit: Jun 16, 2009 10:28:20 GMT -5 by bridger
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely, unless its your power." Bridger's quote, FCN 2008
Post by Walking Owl on Jul 7, 2009 20:39:24 GMT -5
Seattle scientist to talk suspended animation on new TV show
A Seattle scientist known for his work on the fringes of science will be featured in a new TV show to talk about one of his more unusual areas of research -- suspended animation.
A crew from the upcoming Science Channel show "Popular Science's Future Of ..." interviewed cell biologist Mark Roth June 8 at his lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Suspended animation is a state in which the heart beat and breathing stop but an animal suffers no harm. If induced on demand, it could be a boon to medicine, helping preserve organs and slow potentially fatal cell damage.
Roth's celebrated work is set to appear in an episode that explores the future of immortality, is based on observations about what happens to the body when it has stopped moving, but remains alive -- a state known as a "near-death experience."
"We wondered whether we could think about these things and use them for medical benefits," said Roth, who founded biotherapeutics company Ikaria Inc. in 2005 to investigate the phenomenon. Roth believes the ability to suspend and reanimate the body could buy precious time for patients close to death.
"We've been able to generate the ability to hibernate things on demand," said, who made headlines in 2005 when he first induced a state of suspended animation in mice.
The company is now beginning early trials on humans.
Post by wallsocket on Jul 10, 2009 21:47:47 GMT -5
Antibiotic Delayed Aging in Experiments With Mice
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: July 8, 2009
A new star has appeared in the field of drugs that delay aging in laboratory animals, and are therefore candidates for doing the same in people.
The drug is an antibiotic, rapamycin, already in use for suppressing the immune system in transplant patients and for treating certain cancers.
Rapamycin treatment had the remarkable effect of extending life even though it was not started in the right dose until the mice had lived 600 days — equivalent to a person at age 60. Most interventions that prolong life in mice, including a very low-calorie diet, need to be started early in life to show any effect.
Experts warn that this should not be tried at home. No one knows yet if rapamycin slows aging in people or at what dose it might be effective. And any drug that suppresses the immune system is not to be trifled with.
The finding was reported online Wednesday in Nature by researchers at three institutions working in parallel. The teams were led by David E. Harrison of the Jackson Laboratory, a mouse-breeding powerhouse in Bar Harbor, Me.; Richard A. Miller of the University of Michigan; and Randy Strong of the University of Texas Health Science Center.
The researchers do not know how rapamycin secures its anti-aging effect. It could be just halting tumors rather than delaying the aging process in general.
The three teams were sponsored by the National Institute on Aging as part of a program to test possible anti-aging drugs much more rigorously.
“One of the nasty secrets of the field is that most mouse longevity experiments are done only once in one lab on one genetic background,” said Steven Austad, an expert on aging at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who was not involved in the research.
The National Institute on Aging program includes a test of two doses of resveratrol, the ingredient of red wine that is thought to mimic the effects of caloric restriction on longevity. The results have not been published, but Christoph Westphal, chief executive of Sirtris, a company exploring the health effects of resveratrol and similar chemicals, said the tests “are seeing quite modest effects of resveratrol.”
The effectiveness of rapamycin in extending the life of elderly mice was discovered by accident. The researchers found that the mice fed rapamycin were not getting the proper dose in their bloodstream. They reformulated the drug in the form of capsules that fed slow doses to the intestine, but by that time the mice were elderly. Nonetheless, life span increased by 14 percent in the females and 9 percent in the males.
“It’s no longer irresponsible to say that following these up could lead to medicines that increase human life span by 10, 20 or 30 percent,” Dr. Miller said.
It will be at least 10 years before matters are sorted out, he said, but, as of right now, “I don’t think there’s any evidence for people that there’s any drug that can slow aging down.”
Post by Walking Owl on Jul 15, 2009 11:23:55 GMT -5
Obama, Science and God
WASHINGTON -- According to one survey, just 7 percent of elite American scientists believe in a personal god -- the kind to whom you pray. About 8 percent, however, affirm their belief in personal immortality -- indicating that some egos are so large that they fill eternity.
Should it matter that President Obama's nominee to be director of the National Institutes of Health -- the Supreme Court nomination of the scientific world -- is part of the believing few?
Francis Collins presents a perfect test case. His qualifications are beyond dispute. As a pioneering "gene hunter," he helped identify the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and adult onset diabetes. He was in charge of the program at NIH that mapped the human genome, the biological equivalent of the Apollo space program. He is a leading advocate of personalized medicine (the use of genetic knowledge to tailor individual disease prevention and treatment) and of legislation to protect genetic privacy, so that sensitive information can't be used by employers and insurers to discriminate.
Collins is also a theist. And more than that, an evangelical Christian. And more than that, he sings hymns while playing the guitar.
For some scientists, this combination of scientific excellence and religious faith is contradictory -- like being a geneticist and believing in unicorns or astrology.
Post by Walking Owl on Jul 31, 2009 16:24:36 GMT -5
'Elixir of life discovered'
An "elixir of life" biochemical has been discovered in the soil of Easter Island, prompting suggestions that an "anti-ageing" pill could soon be produced.
Scientists believe the antifungal agent rapamycin, found on the South Pacific island, produced by soil bacteria, has life-extending properties.
They predict further research on the compound could lead to a genuine "anti-ageing" pill that keeps people young.
Rapamycin was first discovered in the 1970s in soil samples from the South Pacific island famous for its ancient monoliths.
Today it is used as an immunosuppressor to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients.
Researchers in the USA fed the drug to ageing mice and increased the life expectancy of males by 28 per cent and females by 38 per cent.
Dr Arlan Richardson, director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies in Texas, where much of the work was carried out, said: "I've been in ageing research for 35 years and there have been many so-called 'anti-ageing' interventions over those years that were never successful.
"I never thought we would find an anti-ageing pill for people in my lifetime; however, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that."
The mice were given rapamycin late in life, when they were 20 months old - or 60 in human years.
The compound blocks activity of an enzyme called TOR which regulates cell metabolism, cell growth and protein manufacture in response to environmental cues.
Reducing TOR function had already been shown to extend the life of yeast, nematode worms and flies, but the effect had never before been seen in mammals. Previously, the only way to extend the life of a rodent had been to severely restrict its diet.
The drug had to be reformulated to make it stable enough for the mice to digest in their food.
Professor Randy Strong, one of the researchers from the University of Texas, said: "We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the ageing process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age."
While news of the experiment was welcomed, a not of caution was sounded about the research, published in the journal Nature.
Dr Lynne Cox, an expert on ageing at Oxford University, said: "This is a very exciting study where a single drug with a known cellular effect increases the life expectancy and lifespan of mice.
"It is especially interesting that the drug was effective even when given to older mice - equivalent to 60-year-old humans - as it would be much better to treat ageing in older people rather than using drugs long term through life.
"In no way should anyone consider using this particular drug to try to extend their own lifespan as rapamycin suppresses immunity. While the lab mice were protected from infection, that's simply impossible in the human population.
"What the study does is to highlight an important molecular pathway that new, more specific drugs might be designed to work on. Whether it's a sensible thing to try to increase lifespan this way is another matter: perhaps increasing health span rather than overall lifespan might be a better goal."