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Revisiting the Free Radical Theory of Aging

Posted: August 18, 2010 at 8:20 am


Thoughts on the impact of better technology on free radical theory: "The role of oxidative stress in aging proposed by the free radical theory has been the focus of investigations for more than fifty years. The results of a large number of these investigations provide support for this theory. However, numerous recent findings point to the existence of unexpected complexity in the relationships between oxidative stress and aging. This complexity is highlighted by the discovery [that] a key element of oxidative stress defenses in the model organism budding yeast, shortens lifespan in concert with enhanced resistance to oxidative stress. In addition to the implications of this finding for understanding aging, identification of this mutation by massively parallel sequencing of whole genomes emphasizes the enormous utility of next-generation sequencing technologies as investigative tools that will likely revolutionize genetics. ... In some cases, the apparent disconnect between experimental results and predictions of the free radical theory regarding connections between oxidative stress and lifespan is related to hormesis effects that elevate oxidative and other stress defenses in response to low levels of oxidative stress. ... The more transparently clear lesson here is that not all forms of oxidative stress are equivalent in their effects on aging. This isn't surprising in the context of the multitude of pathways that respond to different forms of oxidative stress and the numerous mechanisms by which oxidants can modify different macromolecular targets. Whatever the explanation, [research findings] emphasize the enormous complexity of relationships between oxidative stress and aging."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.impactaging.com/papers/v2/n8/full/100188.html

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Early Development, Moose, and Later Arthritis

Posted: at 8:20 am


From the New York Times: "In the 100 years since the first moose swam into Lake Superior and set up shop on an island, they have mostly minded their moosely business, munching balsam fir and trying to evade hungry gray wolves. But now the moose of Isle Royale have something to say - well, their bones do. Many of the moose, it turns out, have arthritis. And scientists believe their condition's origin can help explain human osteoarthritis - by far the most common type of arthritis, affecting one of every seven adults 25 and older and becoming increasingly prevalent. The arthritic Bullwinkles got that way because of poor nutrition early in life, an extraordinary 50-year research project has discovered. That could mean, scientists say, that some people's arthritis can be linked in part to nutritional deficits, in the womb and possibly throughout childhood. The moose conclusion bolsters a small but growing body of research connecting early development to chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. ... Nutrients, experts say, might influence composition or shape of bones, joints or cartilage. Nutrition might also affect hormones, the likelihood of later inflammation or oxidative stress, even how a genetic predisposition for arthritis is expressed or suppressed."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/health/research/17moose.html

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Video: Summary of Recent Developments in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine from Kenneth Aldrich, Chairman of International Stem Cell Corporation

Posted: at 8:20 am


Greetings. This is Ken Aldrich, I am Chairman of International Stem Cell Corporation and thought I would share with you briefly some of the thoughts that I’ve had recently about developments in the stem cell and regenerative medicine area. One of the things that I have noticed from a lot of emails that we get, there is a fair amount of confusion out there about the significance of some of the new events that have taken place.

Specifically, I have gotten a lot of requests to explain what the impact of the recent announcement by Geron Corporation that they had entered FDA human trials might be. Well frankly, it is a very, very important step and one that benefits, I think, everyone in our industry and I wanted to comment on it a little bit. What that means is that one of the companies in our field has finally found the mechanism and found the procedures to begin the process of bringing cells to the clinic through human trials. So Geron, which is one of the largest companies, and has spent an enormous amount of money developing this, is now leading the path for all of us. I think we will learn from their experiences and it will make the path getting through to the FDA a lot more productive for all of us that follow.

There is another aspect to this however, that is unique to our company, International Stem Cell Corporation, in that we have also realized that the United States in only one part of the global market. And as a result, we’ve spent a lot of energy over the last year or so exploring foreign collaborations in those areas where perhaps the US is not the most attractive market. For example, we are working in India with replacing human corneas with corneas developed from our parthenogenic stem cells. The U.S. is probably not a major market for this because our systems here in this country allow for cornea transplants rather well. But in countries like India, as well as China and Korea and other places, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to harvest corneas from cadavers and deliver them and as a result, we have a wide open market there with enormous interest. I think that is one example of how the international market will impact the development of regenerative medicine.

We’re looking at that and we are looking at a variety of other areas and I’m sure other companies are doing the same. Eventually, we are all in this boat together to try to cure major diseases. We’re delighted with the progress with the FDA from companies here. We’ll be following in those footsteps when we can and we also be hopefully be leading the way in some of the international collaborations that may make all of us better off in the world of regenerative medicine.

Thank you.

Investigating the Aging of Stem Cells

Posted: August 17, 2010 at 8:19 am


From the Korea Times: "Stem cells, or early-stage cells that retain the potential to turn into other specialized types of cells, are intriguing for their immense potential in treating a wide range of difficult diseases and conditions. And holding an important key to such innovations would be adult stem cells, which are taken from mature tissue, as they could theoretically be taken from patients, grown in culture and transplanted back into the patient without the fear of provoking an immune response. ... The downside of adult stem cells, however, is that they age much faster than embryonic cells, which has limited their usefulness in transplants. ... It has been presumed that the decreasing regenerative capacity of adult stem cells, which is linked to their aging, is a result of inborn genetic variations. But [researchers suggest] that the process isn't dictated by heritable events, such as DNA damage, but rather determined by an 'epigenetic' regulation of gene expression. ... There weren't many studies on finding micro-RNAs related to the aging of cells and learn how they affect stem cells, but this area could be important in developing a way to have adult stem cells retain their normal ability for a longer time."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2010/08/133_71494.html

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

What We Know About Fat Tissue and Longevity

Posted: at 8:19 am


In a nutshell: "Adipose tissue accounts for approximately 20% (lean) to [more than] 50% (in extreme obesity) of body mass and is biologically active through its secretion of numerous peptides and release and storage of nutrients such as free fatty acids. Studies in rodents and humans have revealed that body fat distribution, including visceral fat (VF), subcutaneous (SC) fat and ectopic fat are critical for determining the risk posed by obesity. Specific depletion or expansion of the VF depot using genetic or surgical strategies in animal models has proven to have direct effects on metabolic characteristics and disease risk. In humans, there is compelling evidence that abdominal obesity most strongly predicts mortality risk, while in rats, surgical removal of VF improves mean and maximum life span. There is also growing evidence that fat deposition in ectopic depots such as skeletal muscle and liver can cause lipotoxicity and impair insulin action. Conversely, expansion of SC adipose tissue may confer protection from metabolic derangements by serving as a 'metabolic sink' to limit both systemic lipids and the accrual of visceral and ectopic fat. Treatments targeting the prevention of fat accrual in these harmful depots should be considered as a primary target for improving human health span and longevity."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20703052

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Partnership Pays Off

Posted: at 8:19 am


Northern Exposure by Emmet Pierce, San Diego Business Journal, August 16, 2010. Excerpt:

An example of San Diegans collaborating with Canadians is the work that has taken place at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in cooperation with research at the University of Toronto. The partnership has enabled San Diego researchers to acquire a $20 million grant to develop drugs to be used against leukemia stem cells, Barr says.Dr. Catriona Jamieson, director of the stem cell research program at the Moores center, said scientists from Toronto and San Diego share "a deep and abiding interest in cancer stem cell biology." The Canadian consulate in San Diego was instrumental in helping to create a relationship in which both institutions would benefit, sharing information and applying for funds to support their research.

"The idea was to establish a Canada-California cancer stem cell initiative and obtain connections with Canadian funding agencies, particularly Genome Canada and the Ministry of Health," she said.

Jamieson added, "The most important thing is it allows people with disparate abilities and backgrounds to work together on the same problem."

Barr said the University of Toronto also was able to secure a $20 million research grant because of the collaboration, "so the team is greater than the sum of its parts."

Longevity Meme Newsletter, August 16 2010

Posted: August 16, 2010 at 8:17 am


LONGEVITY MEME NEWSLETTER
August 16 2010

The Longevity Meme Newsletter is a weekly email containing news, opinions, and happenings for people interested in aging science and engineered longevity: making use of diet, lifestyle choices, technology, and proven medical advances to live healthy, longer lives. This newsletter is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. In short, this means that you are encouraged to republish and rewrite it in any way you see fit, the only requirements being that you provide attribution and a link to the Longevity Meme.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from the Longevity Meme Newsletter, please visit http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/

______________________________

CONTENTS

- The Balancing Act of Longevity Advocacy
- Escaping the Hand You Were Dealt
- AI and Engineered Longevity
- Discussion
- Latest Healthy Life Extension Headlines

THE BALANCING ACT OF LONGEVITY ADVOCACY

Advocacy for medical research and development, persuasion on a grand scale, isn't a completely straightforward endeavor:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/08/the-balancing-act-of-longevity-research-advocacy.php

"Advocacy for longevity research is a balancing act informed by ongoing developments in raising funds, actual progress in the fields of interest, and the growth of the community of supporters. In an ideal world, these three factors will all advance steadily: an upward curve of success. In practice things are never that easy. A supportive community of a given size will only contribute so much in the way of resources: are those resources assigned to research, which tends to produce newsworthy results at irregular intervals in addition to actual progress, or to outreach and education? What will best grow the community so as to grow the resource pool of donations, and in turn help to achieve research goals more rapidly?"

ESCAPING THE HAND YOU WERE DEALT

We live in a world in which nearly everyone has been taught from an early age to believe that the process of aging to death is written in stone and will never change. This is one of the many challenges facing efforts to create a large and active community of supporters for longevity research:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/08/escaping-the-hand-you-were-dealt.php

"We all grow up indoctrinated; bathed in the common views and short-cut truths of the society in which we were raised. The early rebellious years don't tend to change this state of indoctrination all that much. For every obvious thing to rebel against, there are a hundred viewpoints layered deep - opinions and teachings left unexamined for so long that they become axioms. Those are the chains and walls that matter: the things that nearly everyone takes for granted, that place bounds upon how you view the world. But people tend to rebel against the color of the wallpaper - whilst taking it as read, just like their parents and peers, that the wall must exist and must be made of bricks.

"Unless you are particularly willful, it can take a lifetime to escape the formative shaping of your mind. It is the slow labor of decades to examine the axioms you've been dealt by the random chance of your birth culture and conclude for yourself, by your own reasoning, that they are right or wrong. Or irrelevant, or subtly misleading, or any number of other dangerous attributes."

AI AND ENGINEERED LONGEVITY

In this Fight Aging! post you'll find pointers to a full outline of a utilitarian argument common amongst strong artificial intelligence advocates and researchers:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/08/artificial-intelligence-and-engineered-longevity-the-better-tools-viewpoint.php

"There's a fair overlap between transhumanist groups, advocates for engineered longevity, advocates for the development of strong artificial intelligence, and the people who are in fact working on making progress rather than talking about the need for progress. Many of these AI advocates and researchers are strongly in favor of radical life extension efforts - so much so in some cases that it begs the question as to why they're primarily working on AI. The reasoning provided by Ben Goertzel is essentially utilitarian: he believes that the ultimate goal of repairing and reversing aging will be achieved more rapidly if preceded by the advent of strong artificial intelligence. ... For my part, while I agree with some of the assumptions - in particular that strong AI will lead to a revolution in technology and productivity that will make everything we've achieved as a species to date look small - I don't think the utilitarian math quite adds up here."

DISCUSSION

The highlights and headlines from the past week follow below. If you have comments for us, please do send e-mail to newsletter@longevitymeme.org

Remember - if you like this newsletter, the chances are that your friends will find it useful too. Forward it on, or post a copy to your favorite online communities. Encourage the people you know to pitch in and make a difference to the future of health and longevity!

Reason
reason@longevitymeme.org

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LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES

AGING, INFLAMMATION, AND OSTEOARTHRITIS (August 13 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4855
Low-level chronic inflammation is produced by the aging immune system and causes many further problems: "Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of chronic disability in older adults. Although classically considered a 'wear and tear' degenerative condition of articular joints, recent studies have demonstrated an inflammatory component to OA that includes increased activity of several cytokines and chemokines in joint tissues that drive production of matrix-degrading enzymes. Rather than directly causing OA, aging changes in the musculoskeletal system contribute to the development of OA by making the joint more susceptible to the effects of other OA risk factors that include abnormal biomechanics, joint injury, genetics, and obesity. Age-related sarcopenia and increased bone turnover may also contribute to the development of OA. Understanding the basic mechanisms by which aging affects joint tissues should provide new targets for slowing or preventing the development of OA."

EXERCISE VERSUS CALORIE RESTRICTION (August 13 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4854
The differences in a nutshell: "Calorie restriction (CR) is the only paradigm that has consistently increased lifespan in a wide variety of model organisms. Many hypotheses have been proposed as the underlying mechanism, including a reduction in body size and adiposity, which is commonly observed in calorie-restricted animals. This has led to investigations as to whether similar changes in body composition produced by increasing energy expenditure via exercise can replace or enhance the benefits of reducing energy intake. ... In rodents, the data clearly show that exercise, regardless of body weight changes, can improve health and survival, but unlike CR, fails to extend lifespan. In humans, short-term weight loss studies show that exercise and CR produce similar improvements in disease risk factors and biomarkers of aging, while some parameters clearly benefit more with exercise. Epidemiologic evidence in humans supports exercise as a strategy to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality, but not to extend lifespan. It is unknown whether CR can extend human lifespan, but the metabolic profile of humans engaged in long-term CR shares many similarities with calorie restricted rodents and nonhuman primates. In conclusion, like CR, exercise can limit weight gain and adiposity, but only CR can extend lifespan. Therefore, in rodents, the ability of CR to slow aging is apparently more dependent on decreasing nutrient flux, rather than changes in energy balance and body composition."

STEM CELL THERAPIES FOR ANIMALS FURTHER AHEAD (August 12 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4853
While the FDA tries to block commercial application of stem cell therapies in the US, veterinary practices continue to demonstrate that the technology is ready and potentially useful: "A Golden Retriever, plagued with arthritis, recently underwent a stem cell extraction and implant to help with mobility. ... From the sounds of things, you would never suspect McIntyre was a frail and feeble dog. And these days, he's moving around pretty well, thanks to anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and a new experimental surgery involving stem cells. ... like family, she wanted McIntrye to feel better and have a better quality of life. Cells were taken from his belly fat and shipped to California. Stem cells were extracted and then implanted back into his joints by a vet in Alpharetta. ... He'll never be like a puppy as far as agility but it will just give him a quality of life where he doesn't hurt and suffer." Meanwhile, the actions of unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats at the FDA mean that US residents must travel overseas to find the same treatment offered to humans. More importantly, what might already be a wildly successful and growing field is slowed down to a comparative crawl. When you're forbidden to sell a product, few organization will invest in development.

STEM CELLS VERSUS ACUTE LUNG INJURY (August 12 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4852
Via ScienceDaily, an example of the sometimes indirect way in which stem cell transplants can cause benefits: "Acute lung injury is brought on by a number of conditions, such as pneumonia and sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. In some cases, acute lung injury develops into a more serious condition, known as acute respiratory distress syndrome, and results in insufficient oxygenation of blood and eventual organ failure. ... inflammation due to injury or infection can make the border of epithelial cells become more porous than it should be. The increased permeability allows an often-deadly mix of substances, such as fluid and cells, to seep into and accumulate in the alveoli. ... The team decided to re-create the unhealthy lung conditions in the lab - by culturing human alveolar cells and then chemically causing inflammation - and to observe how the presence of bone marrow stem cells would change things. ... We then introduced mesenchymal stem cells without direct cell contact, and they churned out a lot of protein, called angiopoietin-1, which prevented the increase in lung epithelial permeability after the inflammatory injury ... [researchers] hope clinical trials will prove the therapy is a viable one for preventing respiratory failure in critically ill patients."

GUIDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF RESEARCHERS (August 11 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4851
We'd like to see the research community persuaded to work on the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence rather than focusing on merely slowing aging via traditional drug development. So persuasion is important. Equally, the time frame is long, so another viable path is to guide the next generation of researchers in the right direction. This second approach is the purpose of the SENS Foundation's Academic Initiative (SENSFAI) program, which has been running for a few years now. Here's one of the young researchers to benefit from it: "Kamil Pabis is in his second year of university and has been working with the SENSFAI since 2009. He is currently studying biology at the University of Vienna. After completing his degree, Kamil plans to pursue his PhD and eventually a career in Molecular Biology or Biogerontology. ... I research vascular (and in part general) calcification and their relation to aging and age-related tissue decline. The impact of calcification could be major and under-appreciated, but unfortunately we do not have definitive data. This basic research lays the ground work for future projects. A relatively thorough understanding is required to distinguish the most promising therapies for actual reversal of the pathology. Eventually I plan to help facilitate and do research under a 'regression first' paradigm."

AGGREGATES ARE UNIVERSAL IN AGING (August 11 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4850
Via EurekAlert! a reminder that we can think of most age-related conditions as resulting from one or more forms of damage that everyone suffers to some degree - but has progressed further in those who have the condition: "In many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's, clumps of proteins known as aggregates appear in the patients' brains as the degeneration progresses. Those clumps contain some proteins that are unique to the specific disease (such as Abeta in Alzheimer's), intertwined with many others that are common in healthy individuals. For years, those common proteins were thought to be accidental inclusions in the aggregates ... In fact, they may not be innocent bystanders at all, but instead their presence may influence the course of neurodegenerative disease. ... in the presence of proteins specific to Huntington's disease, these aggregators actually sped up the course of the disease, indicating that they could be fundamental to its progression. These findings indicate that widespread protein insolubility and aggregation is an inherent part of aging and that it may influence both lifespan and neurodegenerative disease. The presence of insoluble protein aggregates has long been a hallmark of protein aggregation diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. The team [asked] a simple question that had never been asked before: do normal proteins form insoluble clumps when normal, healthy individuals age?" Those "normal, health individuals" are on their way to the same end destination of neurodegeneration, just not as fast.

MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE COSTS OF VISCERAL FAT (August 10 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4849
Don't become fat: "Individuals with a large waist circumference appear to have a greater risk of dying from any cause over a nine-year period ... Having a large waist circumference has previously been associated with inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease ... This may be because waist circumference is strongly correlated with fat tissue in the viscera - surrounding the organs in the abdomen - which is thought to be more dangerous than fat tissue under the skin. ... [researchers] examined the association between waist circumference and risk of death among 48,500 men and 56,343 women age 50 and older (median or midpoint age, 69 years in men and 67 years in women). All had participated in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, for which they completed a mailed questionnaire about demographic, medical and behavioral factors in 1992 or 1993 and provided information about weight and waist circumference in 1997. Deaths and their causes were tracked through the National Death Index until Dec. 31, 2006; a total of 9,315 men and 5,332 women died during this timeframe. ... After adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and other risk factors, very large waists (120 centimeters or 47 inches or larger in men, and 110 centimeters or 42 inches or larger in women) were associated with approximately twice the risk of death during the study period. A larger waist was associated with higher risk of death across all categories of BMI, including normal weight, overweight and obese."

PERSONALIZED LIFE EXTENSION CONFERENCE (August 10 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4848
A conference on general health tactics that are likely to maximize your remaining life expectancy will be held in October in San Francisco: "Advances are being made daily on what each of us can do NOW to slow the aging process to a minimum, and to delay or prevent the diseases of aging. Life extension news comes out faster than any one of us can evaluate it on our own. Let's get together and determine how to take personal action." Many of the folk involved in the longevity advocacy or research communities are also tinkerers who go beyond simply practicing calorie restriction and exercise, and taking a sensibly modest set of vitamins. My suspicion has always been that this is a dangerous path: there is nothing presently available to the public that is proven to do more for long-term health than calorie restriction and exercise. When you spend time tinkering and optimizing in the absence of solid data, you're not spending time helping to bring forward the advent new medical technologies. The recent history of the pro-longevity community is rife with people who have become distracted from the future and who end up behaving no differently than the pill-sellers and potion-hawkers of the "anti-aging" marketplace. Beware this fate.

FDA TRIES TO SHUT DOWN REGENERATIVE SCIENCES (August 09 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4847
The FDA is the only reason that we don't see dozens of different serious commercial efforts to treat people using early-stage stem cell therapies within the US. One of the few groups to try is presently under pressure, as this press release notes: "Regenerative Sciences, Inc., a Colorado medical practice that specializes in the use of a person's own stem cells to help patients avoid more invasive orthopedic surgery, announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to enjoin the clinic physicians from practicing medicine using patients' own stem cells. The lawsuit will allow Regenerative Sciences to question the FDA's policy that adult stem cells can be classified as drugs when used as part of a medical practice. ... The FDA will finally answer our questions, in court, about their claims and jurisdiction as opposed to doing everything in their power to avoid the issue that we are not a drug manufacturer, but simply a medical practice." The FDA has a long history of abuse and overreach, and this is simply more of the same - exactly what we should expect of bureaucrats left largely unaccountable for their actions. Progress and discovery becomes entirely secondary to the urge to power. When everything that is not explicitly permitted is forbidden, there is no innovation, no progress. This age of biotechnology could be far further advanced if not for the short-sighted fools who write and enact medical regulations.

NERVE REGENERATION IN SPINAL CORD INJURY (August 09 2010)
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4846
Via EurekAlert!: "Researchers for the first time have induced robust regeneration of nerve connections that control voluntary movement after spinal cord injury, showing the potential for new therapeutic approaches to paralysis and other motor function impairments. ... They did this by deleting an enzyme called PTEN (a phosphatase and tensin homolog), which controls a molecular pathway called mTOR that is a key regulator of cell growth. PTEN activity is low early during development, allowing cell proliferation. PTEN then turns on when growth is completed, inhibiting mTOR and precluding any ability to regenerate. ... Until now, such robust nerve regeneration has been impossible in the spinal cord. ... An injury the size of a grape can lead to complete loss of function below the level of injury. For example, an injury to the neck can cause paralysis of arms and legs ... These devastating consequences occur even though the spinal cord below the level of injury is intact. All these lost functions could be restored if we could find a way to regenerate the connections that were damaged. ... are now studying whether the PTEN-deletion treatment leads to actual restoration of motor function in mice with spinal cord injury."

______________________________

If you have comments for us, please do send email to newsletter@longevitymeme.org.

Aging, Inflammation, and Osteoarthritis

Posted: August 14, 2010 at 8:19 am


Low-level chronic inflammation is produced by the aging immune system and causes many further problems: "Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of chronic disability in older adults. Although classically considered a 'wear and tear' degenerative condition of articular joints, recent studies have demonstrated an inflammatory component to OA that includes increased activity of several cytokines and chemokines in joint tissues that drive production of matrix-degrading enzymes. Rather than directly causing OA, aging changes in the musculoskeletal system contribute to the development of OA by making the joint more susceptible to the effects of other OA risk factors that include abnormal biomechanics, joint injury, genetics, and obesity. Age-related sarcopenia and increased bone turnover may also contribute to the development of OA. Understanding the basic mechanisms by which aging affects joint tissues should provide new targets for slowing or preventing the development of OA."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20699160

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Exercise Versus Calorie Restriction

Posted: at 8:19 am


The differences in a nutshell: "Calorie restriction (CR) is the only paradigm that has consistently increased lifespan in a wide variety of model organisms. Many hypotheses have been proposed as the underlying mechanism, including a reduction in body size and adiposity, which is commonly observed in calorie-restricted animals. This has led to investigations as to whether similar changes in body composition produced by increasing energy expenditure via exercise can replace or enhance the benefits of reducing energy intake. ... In rodents, the data clearly show that exercise, regardless of body weight changes, can improve health and survival, but unlike CR, fails to extend lifespan. In humans, short-term weight loss studies show that exercise and CR produce similar improvements in disease risk factors and biomarkers of aging, while some parameters clearly benefit more with exercise. Epidemiologic evidence in humans supports exercise as a strategy to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality, but not to extend lifespan. It is unknown whether CR can extend human lifespan, but the metabolic profile of humans engaged in long-term CR shares many similarities with calorie restricted rodents and nonhuman primates. In conclusion, like CR, exercise can limit weight gain and adiposity, but only CR can extend lifespan. Therefore, in rodents, the ability of CR to slow aging is apparently more dependent on decreasing nutrient flux, rather than changes in energy balance and body composition."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20703061

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Hydrogen Peroxide Cures Disease

Posted: at 8:19 am


THE ANTIDOTE
Bioweapons, Health, and the Individual
by Doc Holliday
from the Laissez Faire City Times

Ever read one of those Internet articles on biowarfare? Have you seen the TV tabloid terror shows about government incompetence/malfeasance with the handling of biological agents of horrifyingly destructive power? Did you read the Hot Zone by Richard Preston or see his article in the New Yorker this week called "The Bioengineers"?

I have seen all of the above, and I'm shocked. I am shocked at the insanity of blindly believing "national interests" are at stake and governments should "do something" to protect "the people." I am repulsed by the stupidity of immediately turning to government for solutions to problems that are in fact a consequence of the world-wide growth in nation-state power over the individual during the last three centuries. Read more...

Healthy blood

Stem Cell Therapies for Animals Further Ahead

Posted: August 13, 2010 at 8:12 am


While the FDA tries to block commercial application of stem cell therapies in the US, veterinary practices continue to demonstrate that the technology is ready and potentially useful: "A Golden Retriever, plagued with arthritis, recently underwent a stem cell extraction and implant to help with mobility. ... From the sounds of things, you would never suspect McIntyre was a frail and feeble dog. And these days, he's moving around pretty well, thanks to anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and a new experimental surgery involving stem cells. ... like family, she wanted McIntrye to feel better and have a better quality of life. Cells were taken from his belly fat and shipped to California. Stem cells were extracted and then implanted back into his joints by a vet in Alpharetta. ... He'll never be like a puppy as far as agility but it will just give him a quality of life where he doesn't hurt and suffer." Meanwhile, the actions of unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats at the FDA mean that US residents must travel overseas to find the same treatment offered to humans. More importantly, what might already be a wildly successful and growing field is slowed down to a comparative crawl. When you're forbidden to sell a product, few organization will invest in development.

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=12964756

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Stem Cells Versus Acute Lung Injury

Posted: at 8:12 am


Via ScienceDaily, an example of the sometimes indirect way in which stem cell transplants can cause benefits: "Acute lung injury is brought on by a number of conditions, such as pneumonia and sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. In some cases, acute lung injury develops into a more serious condition, known as acute respiratory distress syndrome, and results in insufficient oxygenation of blood and eventual organ failure. ... inflammation due to injury or infection can make the border of epithelial cells become more porous than it should be. The increased permeability allows an often-deadly mix of substances, such as fluid and cells, to seep into and accumulate in the alveoli. ... The team decided to re-create the unhealthy lung conditions in the lab - by culturing human alveolar cells and then chemically causing inflammation - and to observe how the presence of bone marrow stem cells would change things. ... We then introduced mesenchymal stem cells without direct cell contact, and they churned out a lot of protein, called angiopoietin-1, which prevented the increase in lung epithelial permeability after the inflammatory injury ... [researchers] hope clinical trials will prove the therapy is a viable one for preventing respiratory failure in critically ill patients."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811162352.htm

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Guiding the Next Generation of Researchers

Posted: at 8:12 am


We'd like to see the research community persuaded to work on the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence rather than focusing on merely slowing aging via traditional drug development. So persuasion is important. Equally, the time frame is long, so another viable path is to guide the next generation of researchers in the right direction. This second approach is the purpose of the SENS Foundation's Academic Initiative (SENSFAI) program, which has been running for a few years now. Here's one of the young researchers to benefit from it: "Kamil Pabis is in his second year of university and has been working with the SENSFAI since 2009. He is currently studying biology at the University of Vienna. After completing his degree, Kamil plans to pursue his PhD and eventually a career in Molecular Biology or Biogerontology. ... I research vascular (and in part general) calcification and their relation to aging and age-related tissue decline. The impact of calcification could be major and under-appreciated, but unfortunately we do not have definitive data. This basic research lays the ground work for future projects. A relatively thorough understanding is required to distinguish the most promising therapies for actual reversal of the pathology. Eventually I plan to help facilitate and do research under a 'regression first' paradigm."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.sens.org/ai/blog/featured-student-2010-august

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Aggregates are Universal in Aging

Posted: at 8:12 am


Via EurekAlert! a reminder that we can think of most age-related conditions as resulting from one or more forms of damage that everyone suffers to some degree - but has progressed further in those who have the condition: "In many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's, clumps of proteins known as aggregates appear in the patients' brains as the degeneration progresses. Those clumps contain some proteins that are unique to the specific disease (such as Abeta in Alzheimer's), intertwined with many others that are common in healthy individuals. For years, those common proteins were thought to be accidental inclusions in the aggregates ... In fact, they may not be innocent bystanders at all, but instead their presence may influence the course of neurodegenerative disease. ... in the presence of proteins specific to Huntington's disease, these aggregators actually sped up the course of the disease, indicating that they could be fundamental to its progression. These findings indicate that widespread protein insolubility and aggregation is an inherent part of aging and that it may influence both lifespan and neurodegenerative disease. The presence of insoluble protein aggregates has long been a hallmark of protein aggregation diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. The team [asked] a simple question that had never been asked before: do normal proteins form insoluble clumps when normal, healthy individuals age?" Those "normal, health individuals" are on their way to the same end destination of neurodegeneration, just not as fast.

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/plos-np080610.php

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More Evidence for the Costs of Visceral Fat

Posted: at 8:12 am


Don't become fat: "Individuals with a large waist circumference appear to have a greater risk of dying from any cause over a nine-year period ... Having a large waist circumference has previously been associated with inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease ... This may be because waist circumference is strongly correlated with fat tissue in the viscera - surrounding the organs in the abdomen - which is thought to be more dangerous than fat tissue under the skin. ... [researchers] examined the association between waist circumference and risk of death among 48,500 men and 56,343 women age 50 and older (median or midpoint age, 69 years in men and 67 years in women). All had participated in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, for which they completed a mailed questionnaire about demographic, medical and behavioral factors in 1992 or 1993 and provided information about weight and waist circumference in 1997. Deaths and their causes were tracked through the National Death Index until Dec. 31, 2006; a total of 9,315 men and 5,332 women died during this timeframe. ... After adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and other risk factors, very large waists (120 centimeters or 47 inches or larger in men, and 110 centimeters or 42 inches or larger in women) were associated with approximately twice the risk of death during the study period. A larger waist was associated with higher risk of death across all categories of BMI, including normal weight, overweight and obese."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/jaaj-lwa080510.php

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Personalized Life Extension Conference

Posted: at 8:12 am


A conference on general health tactics that are likely to maximize your remaining life expectancy will be held in October in San Francisco: "Advances are being made daily on what each of us can do NOW to slow the aging process to a minimum, and to delay or prevent the diseases of aging. Life extension news comes out faster than any one of us can evaluate it on our own. Let's get together and determine how to take personal action." Many of the folk involved in the longevity advocacy or research communities are also tinkerers who go beyond simply practicing calorie restriction and exercise, and taking a sensibly modest set of vitamins. My suspicion has always been that this is a dangerous path: there is nothing presently available to the public that is proven to do more for long-term health than calorie restriction and exercise. When you spend time tinkering and optimizing in the absence of solid data, you're not spending time helping to bring forward the advent new medical technologies. The recent history of the pro-longevity community is rife with people who have become distracted from the future and who end up behaving no differently than the pill-sellers and potion-hawkers of the "anti-aging" marketplace. Beware this fate.

View the Article Under Discussion: http://lifeextensionconference.com

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FDA Tries to Shut Down Regenerative Sciences

Posted: at 8:12 am


The FDA is the only reason that we don't see dozens of different serious commercial efforts to treat people using early-stage stem cell therapies within the US. One of the few groups to try is presently under pressure, as this press release notes: "Regenerative Sciences, Inc., a Colorado medical practice that specializes in the use of a person's own stem cells to help patients avoid more invasive orthopedic surgery, announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to enjoin the clinic physicians from practicing medicine using patients' own stem cells. The lawsuit will allow Regenerative Sciences to question the FDA's policy that adult stem cells can be classified as drugs when used as part of a medical practice. ... The FDA will finally answer our questions, in court, about their claims and jurisdiction as opposed to doing everything in their power to avoid the issue that we are not a drug manufacturer, but simply a medical practice." The FDA has a long history of abuse and overreach, and this is simply more of the same - exactly what we should expect of bureaucrats left largely unaccountable for their actions. Progress and discovery becomes entirely secondary to the urge to power. When everything that is not explicitly permitted is forbidden, there is no innovation, no progress. This age of biotechnology could be far further advanced if not for the short-sighted fools who write and enact medical regulations.

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/colorado-medical-clinic-welcomes-opportunity-to-fight-fda-in-court-100247969.html

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Nerve Regeneration in Spinal Cord Injury

Posted: at 8:12 am


Via EurekAlert!: "Researchers for the first time have induced robust regeneration of nerve connections that control voluntary movement after spinal cord injury, showing the potential for new therapeutic approaches to paralysis and other motor function impairments. ... They did this by deleting an enzyme called PTEN (a phosphatase and tensin homolog), which controls a molecular pathway called mTOR that is a key regulator of cell growth. PTEN activity is low early during development, allowing cell proliferation. PTEN then turns on when growth is completed, inhibiting mTOR and precluding any ability to regenerate. ... Until now, such robust nerve regeneration has been impossible in the spinal cord. ... An injury the size of a grape can lead to complete loss of function below the level of injury. For example, an injury to the neck can cause paralysis of arms and legs ... These devastating consequences occur even though the spinal cord below the level of injury is intact. All these lost functions could be restored if we could find a way to regenerate the connections that were damaged. ... are now studying whether the PTEN-deletion treatment leads to actual restoration of motor function in mice with spinal cord injury."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/uoc--ibn080510.php

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Reprogramming Cells For Heart Regeneration

Posted: at 8:12 am


From the Telegraph: "In as little as five years, researchers hope to be able to coax the heart into regenerating itself, repairing the damage caused by cardiac arrests and old age. ... It works in a similar way to stem cells but instead of the new cells being grown outside the body and then injected back in, the technique simply makes the cells [transform] at the point where they are needed. ... The main problem is that when beating muscles cells - known as cardiomyocytes - die during an attack there is no way to reactivate them and the surrounding connective tissue - known as fibroblasts - cannot take over their role.
Now [researchers] have discovered a way of reprogramming fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes. ... We first have to test if the same factors can convert human fibroblasts to beating heart muscle and then find ways to safely introduce these factors, or small molecules that mimic these factors, into the coronary circulation so they can reprogram the existing fibroblasts in the heart. I envision such factors being loaded into a stent that is placed in the coronary artery and can elute (allow to emerge) the reprogramming factors over 1-2 weeks. ... The team found that they needed a combination of just three substance - Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5 - to efficiently convert fibroblasts into cells that could beat like cardiomyocytes."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7928426/Damaged-heart-could-be-coaxed-into-mending-itself-claim-scientists.html

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Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Identical?

Posted: at 8:11 am


These researchers argue that embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are most likely the same in any aspect that matters: "the pluripotency of ES cells fueled excitement over their use in regenerative medicine. While ethical hurdles associated with the clinical application of human ES cells appeared to have been overcome with the development of methods to create iPS cells, some recent research has suggested that ES and iPS cells have substantial differences in which sets of genes they express. These findings [argue] to the contrary, rekindling hopes that, under the proper circumstances, iPS cells may indeed hold the clinical promise ascribed to them earlier. ... iPS cells are made by introducing three key genes into adult cells. These reprogramming factors push the cells from a mature state to a more flexible embryonic stem cell-like state. Like ES cells, iPS cells can then, in theory, be coaxed to mature into almost any type of cell in the body. Unlike ES cells, iPS cells taken from a patient are not likely to be rejected by that patient's immune system. This difference overcomes a major hurdle in regenerative medicine. ... At this stage, we can't yet prove that they are absolutely identical, but the available technology doesn't reveal differences. ... Some earlier studies have indicated that iPS and ES cells are dissimilar enough to be classified as different cell types. [The researchers] concluded that the differences noted in other studies were not consistent between different laboratories and thus were not likely to be a result of fundamental differences between the cell types."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/wifb-hes080510.php

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