Aging

The three Pillars of Aging
17th Dec 2016: Science has now discovered 3 major pillars behind the mechanism of aging.

  1. High levels of anti-oxidents to minimise free radical damage can increase life span significantly.
  2. Renewing the tolemere on the DNA strands can allow cells to divide almost indefinately
  3. Changing or repairing the epigenomic marks/modes of the cells allows them to maintain adaptability or revert to stemcell mode.


Real world progress timeline

  1. pre-2000: Research into various small long lived or hibernate capable creatures seems to indicate slow metabolism, combined with glucose or other energy reserves and natural anti-caking/anti-freeze chemicals in their system permit them to remain in suspected animation for extended periods typically in drought or freezing conditions.
  2. 2001: Tardigrade (water bear) research uncovers an interesting array of adaptions which allow them to survive for long periods in otherwise fatal conditions.
  3. 2009: It is discovered certain species of bats live 3.5 times longer than others. The only biological adaption found is their bodies generate absurdly high amounts of natural anti-oxidents. The same levels in humans also appears to reduce aging related cellular damage.
  4. 2013: Human embryos genetically altered in a two generation experiment. Generation 1, should last 150 years, Generation 2, 1500 years.
  5. 2015: Elizabeth Parrish a biotech CEO funds and begins genetic therapy via a retro virus that replenishes her tolemere.
  6. 2017: It was discovered that unlike on earth Tolemere actually regenerates while in space.. suggesting that given the right medical conditions space dwellers may well live exponentially longer than earth dwellers. This also raises some uncomfortable theological questions with regard to human biology vs earth.
  7. July 2017: A company called Elysium Health starts selling a working NAD+ medication called “Basis” for approx $60 a month.
  8. August 2017: NASA is trialing a NAD+/NMN based medication that interacts with the epigenomic modes of cells.


It is only a matter of time (if it hasn't already) that an effective age halting or even reversing treatment is developed. I suspect however it wont make it into common knowledge unless leaked - it is too much of a tempting proposition for those who like to abuse (and maintain) power.. Keep your eyes open people.

Original Article: Oddly enough I already wrote this article but it seems to have gone missing. Conspiracy? I am hoping just a website crash. I would hate to think my silly harmless tongue in cheek website here attracted the ire of anybody. The only annoying thing is my original article timestamp would have predated certain papers being published on this same topic.. hey even mad scientists have an ego.

Aging is not always what you think it is. Essentially aging is the combination of medical and environmental factors and stresses on the cells in your body.

Quite a lot of progress has been made in this area, and there has already been a two phase experiment where embryos have been genetically altered last year (2013-2014)
Projections for the resulting children estimate they are theoretically able to live up to the age of 150 or so in the first phase. The second phase of the experiment was to breed two adults from this experiment together - the projections for this second generation is a 10 times increase in life span - or 1500 years.

Given the earth shattering nature of this announcement, and the fact it has for the most part been ignored by public media; I find that quite interesting. I wonder what is going on here.

It is not all good news here however. For the most part the human brain has an effective best before time of about 100 years. These people may live to be 150 or even 1000, but they would be completely senile or insane.

However…. another research branch was publicly announced the same year. An experiment to replace parts of and subsequently the stored memory of your brain with an electronic storage medium.
Now if that doesn't win the mad scientist of the year award I don't know what does.

There is also two much older areas of research in the brain one has basically been outlawed except for the use of the terminally ill. The other has been buried so deep in FDA red tape, I expect not to hear about it again in my life time.

LSD. This drug has been found to violently rewrite the wiring of your brain. That isn't as bad as it sounds; and derivatives of this drug has been used in Anti-depressents as a long term cure.. although the particular SSRI's using it have been abused by the larger pharmaceutical industry for addiction - as such following the re-written big phrarma “instructions” of the SSRI's involved will actually do you quite a lot of harm. (they were designed to be taken only prior to the patient anticipating a stressful encounter, not continuously; after about a year of this the patient would have effectively cured themself) LSD has also been used in its natural form on terminally ill patients - the result is a patient becomes less agitated and more calm and accepting of their eventual fate.

Stimulated Regrowth - Sadly I do not know the name of this drug. It was originally developed on the sly as a drug for repairing nerve damage in horses. I say on the sly - as the moment they got it to work they experimented with it on humans - as a way to heal paralysis. It even featured in readers digest one year as a miracle story. The drug had been used on a young girl who had broken her back and was fully paralyzed. After some targeted injections and some physiotherapy, she made a full recovery and was able to walk again. The drug carries with it some “dangers” in adults where the brain has fully formed it stimulates neural growth. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but for some reason this effect got it buried in red tape faster than a land slide in a red tape warehouse.

The drug was permitted for controlled experimental use on children but banned from use on adults - the claim was it would be ineffective on back injuries or nerve damage more than a few months old. This turned out to be a complete lie, as another older man who had been paralyzed for years also arranged to have it used on himself, and the result was the same, he was able to walk again. It is a pity Christopher Reeve never heard about it.

Long story short, the brain apparently doesn't grow new capacity, it simply adapts what is left over time. Eventually you start loosing stuff. This drug however stimulated new growth, not only creating links between existing areas (like LSD) but growing additional ones. Scary I suppose - unless you happen to be over 100 years old and most of the areas of your brain have worn out.

Aging Causes

There has been quite a lot of research on the topic, which can be covered by three categories:

  • Appearance
  • DNA
  • Free Radicals (Poison/Toxic)

Appearance

This area has had the most research of any other. By the cosmetics industry. They found the appearance of aging is essentially wrinkles/fine lines, lack of elasticity, stretching, and discoloration. They attribute most of this to deficiencies of vitamin D, collagen, and lack of naturally body fats to “plump up” the skin.

Their solution here has been to create chemicals that promote temporary allergic “swelling” in skin particularly the face by a variety of methods, the result being wrinkles and fine lines get stretched out and appear to vanish. To minimize damage from this swelling, they also include chemicals to allow infusions of collagen, vitamin D, and hydration in the skin.

The cosmetic surgery industry has also excelled in sucking out, or pumping in fats and various other things to plump up sagging skin, and cutting off any surplus floppy bits to give the appearance of youth.

Personally I don't consider pumping your face up like a balloon to hide wrinkles any sort of real answer but for those where appearance is all that matters it seems to do the job.

DNA

DNA has a built in engineered redundancy system. At the end of each chromosome strand is something called Telomeres it is a sort of enzyme that is depleted with each replication of that strand. Given some cells replicate more than others (eg skin) these cells will start to run out sooner than others. On average a skin cell will have enough cell replications to last roughly 120 years. Other cells which wear out slower as they get less damage may last longer. When these telomeres run out the cell is designed to self destruct. This relates back to cancer where a cell develops the ability to ignore its telomere and keep replicating. This means oddly enough the answer to long life lies in truly understanding how some forms of cancer work, them making our entire body work in the same way.

Experiments in DNA - a famous example “dolly the sheep” was an experiment in cloning. The moment I heard how they did this the first thing that came to mind was.. hold on if they are cloning half worn out DNA in an egg, that means the resulting offspring will die of old age at about the same year that the original of the clone would have died of old age. If you copy a timer that started at 100 seconds when new, but had counted down to 30 seconds, all the copies will start at 30 seconds.. so both the original and the copies will all hit zero at the same time.

Much to my amusement a year later they announced a problem had developed in the offspring, it was aging at a strangely faster rate.. and eventually i think worked out what I wrote above themself.

DNA has a number of triggers not just the telomeres another is physical damage. See next section.

Free Radicals

Living cells on earth have all developed a symbiotic relationship with a cell in its core nucleus - the suspicion is cells never worked like this originally. The details here are unclear. But what we have now is basically every single cell in our body contains a small chemical fusion reactor. Yup, humans are nukes. Like atomic power, our cells take fuel and generate energy and toxic waste. This waste can cause damage to the cells. External factors can also introduce toxins into our system most likely from similar sources. The name given to this waste is “free radicals” and they are the one thing other than telomere that can make a cell decide to self destruct (or melt down if you are melodramatic).

Free radicals and related effects can come from many sources, from external radiation, drugs, chemical exposure, eating crappy food, wearing contaminated clothes, or washing in contaminated water. It is thought that given most cells in the human body would in ideal conditions quite easily last over 100 years - that Free radicals are the single most important factor in aging.

What of disease you may ask - well diseases are in effect a form of free radicals invading our bodies, they also take over our cells like cancer, making our own immune system destroy them. So that is part of the issue - but the end result is the same - premature destruction of our cells. This also relates back to metabolism - that is the speed of which your body processes things. Faster healing makes for better short term health but shorter overall life span.

There has been research here as well. To combat free radicals the main solution is anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are a variety of things such as vitamins which deal with free radicals.

It was found for example that a number of small animal species live an impossibly long time - such as certain bats. The only difference found between one species and a virtually identical one was the longer lived species had a process in their bodies that naturally created massive massive amounts of anti-oxidants. These animals lived up to 30 times longer than their closely related cousins lacking this attribute.

This indicated to researchers that anti-oxidants play a larger role in life span than previously suspected.

Certain inconclusive experiments in this area seem to suggest the possibility that a human who increases their intake of anti-oxidants by a large amount, can increase the remaining (DNA limited) life span by up to 4 times. So lets say you were likely to die of old age at 80, and you are currently 60. This gives you 20 years on the “clock” If you increase the amount of anti-oxidants and reduce exposure to toxic factors, you could gain up to 80 more years before your body wore out. That means you would live to 140 with the same health you would normally have had at 80.

Limitations to living indefinately

Assuming you somehow manage to find a way to extend your life beyond the 100 year mark, the next issue you need to overcome is the limitations of memory and the physical elements of your brain. It is generally understood that although the brain can form new connections and drop old connections; a process which is continual throughout your life - it cannot strictly grow new brain tissue itself. So as adapable and versatile as the human brain is, you are stuck with working with what you already have. Over time the available material wears out and it is not replaced. Regular intellectual activity can compensate somewhat; strengthening existing connections, forming new paths as areas fail.. but eventually you are not going to have much left to work with.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that the human brain can; given adequate motivation, maintain high function activity after losing up to half to three quarters of its physical matter. However this mainly applies in the case that it was lost at an early age. People born with birth defects causing them to have less than half of their brain, have with persistence been able to develop their remaining brain matter to become mostly normal high functioning individuals as adults. In the cases of other ailments such as strokes or other damage to the brain; given therapy and practice other parts of the brain can adapt to replace the damaged tissue; for example learning to walk again, talk again etc.

Possible work around for the brain issue

  1. Various research has gone into detailed brainscans to “snapshot” the pathways and active regions of a brain. However this appears to be an impossible job as the detail required, and the virtual impossibility of applying that “snapshot” to a replacement suggest this is mostly a dead end. Useful as it gives insight into what part of the brain performs what function, but no more than a stepping stone to other areas of research. This has led to -
  2. Research in creating additional “senses” - the brain it seems is perfectly capable of adapting to “new features” when available. This leads to an entire new branch of thought - in that it suggests the possibility of “modding” humans. Adding features such as navigation or communication capabilities. In effect telepathy, or telekinetics made real. This has opened up one further possibility -
  3. Since the brain can adapt to utilise “new” features.. this implies that the human “personality” or “soul” is simply a highly complex and evolving “computer program” which suggests the key to living forever at least as a self aware entity, isn't copying the brain, it is the “Interface” to the brain - if you interface into the human brain an adequately intuitive two way information or data communication channel the brain would start utilising the extra capacity this interface provides. Over time the brain “program” could integrate more and more with the “interface”, until the entire mind existed within it, replacing the brain almost entirely. At this point a time may come where they could discard the body entirely for something else.

Moral complications

Given it appears possible to both upgrade the human life span almost indefinately; or replace the body or brain entirely it must be asked where should the line be drawn.

  • Firstly should such technologies be developed, they must above all become available for all. Otherwise the technologies would simply be abused by the wealthy and powerful to maintain their hold over the less fortunate indefinately.
  • In a universe where life spans became unlimited, this also exponentially increases the mischief any member of this race could cause on a galactic scale.
  • Such technologies could lead to a decline in civilisation, in that once you are in a fully synthetic existence the drive to have offspring would evaporate entirely. A synthetic brain would not have the biological safeguards built in that priortised breeding before any other motivation. The end result is, eventually a meaningless existance, which at the very least resulted in suicides, or at the worst the most terrible decadant destructive out of control personality you could ever imagine let lose on the universe. In either case the long term effect is extinction.

Guidlines to the immortal

  • If possible, no matter how advanced the human, it should always maintain a physical form
  • This physical form must maintain enough biological systems as to retain the biological capability to have offspring
  • This ability to reproduce although important should not be all powerful. They should maintain some control over the desire to do so. Where no person dies, it becomes a danger that new lives are created faster than the civilisations capability to integrate them.
  • There should be an option where a old life can opt to merge their mind with that of one of their offspring. This would represent a form of suicide for the old life, but where their knowledge and experiences are retained by their children. A form of digital heredity. To a lesser extent some information could also be shared with their offspring via the interface.
  • This merging of knowledge should never destroy the recipient. Should this be the case, then the original person is better off remaining themself. There is no need to destroy another.
 
aging.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/23 04:12 by admin
 
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