Tag Archives | Aging

Wealthy Entrepreneur Launches Company Aimed at Radically Expanding Human Lifespan

Pic: HLI (C)

Pic: HLI (C)

Sure, radically expanded lifespans sound great on paper, but just because the technology works it doesn’t mean that it will be affordable to anyone but the incredibly wealthy. Near-immortal Koch brothers, anyone? Rupert Murdoch the Undying?

Via The New York Times:

J. Craig Venter is the latest wealthy entrepreneur to think he can cheat aging and death. And he hopes to do so by resorting to his first love: sequencing genomes.

On Tuesday, Dr. Venter announced that he was starting a new company, Human Longevity, which will focus on figuring out how people can live longer and healthier lives.

To do that, the company will build what Dr. Venter says will be the largest human DNA sequencing operation in the world, capable of processing 40,000 human genomes a year.

The huge amount of DNA data will be combined with huge amounts of other data on the health and body composition of the people whose DNA is sequenced, in the hope of gleaning insights into the molecular causes of aging and age-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

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Why do Goths Stay Goth?

Pic: Rama (CC)

Pic: Rama (CC)

Spooky kids sometimes grow up to be spooky adults, according to the Guardian. I can’t claim to have done the same, although my zillions of black t-shirts may suggest otherwise. PS: Bela Lugosi is still dead.

Via The Guardian:

What happens when a teenage goth grows up? Gets a job, takes on a mortgage, has a couple of kids…? Can you combine elaborate Frankenstein make-up and a lace-up bustier with getting a toddler ready for nursery and yourself to work on time?

Dr Paul Hodkinson, deputy head of Surrey University’s sociology department and an expert in youth music subcultures, has been re-interviewing a group of goths he first studied in the late 1990s to find out. “They were teenagers and in their early 20s then, and I thought it would be interesting to go back because a number of people do stay involved in the goth scene,” he explains.

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DisinfoCast: 81: Russ Kick – “Death Poems”

9781938875045

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Legendary editor Russ Kick returns to the DisinfoCast to discuss his new collection Death Poems, an anthology of verse both modern and classic dedicated to all aspects of death: Funerals, the death penalty, serial killings, the Underworld and more. Funny, sad, atheistic, spiritual, mythic, wise and morbid, this is the perfect collection for anyone who needs a little “memento mori”.

Additional subjects discussed: Near-death experiences, morbid thoughts, the afterlife or lack thereof, “the 357 test”, the role of art, post-modernism and more.

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Health Advice from 1500s: Stay Youthful By Sucking the Blood of the Young

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DERMATOLOGISTS HATE HIM FOR THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK!

C’mon, don’t be a baby! The vein is “scarcely-opened.”

Via Ask the Past:

“There is a common and ancient opinion that certain prophetic women who are popularly called ‘screech-owls’ suck the blood of infants as a means, insofar as they can, of growing young again. Why shouldn’t our old people… likewise suck the blood of a youth? — a youth, I say who is willing, healthy, happy and temperate, whose blood is of the best but perhaps too abundant. They will suck, therefore, like leeches, an ounce or two from a scarcely-opened vein of the left arm; they will immediately take an equal amount of sugar and wine; they will do this when hungry and thirsty and when the moon is waxing. If they have difficulty digesting raw blood, let it first be cooked together with sugar; or let it be mixed with sugar and moderately distilled over hot water and then drunk.”

Marsilio Ficino, De vita libri tres (1489)

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Do You Want To Live Forever?

That old chestnut “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind, but nevertheless there are those who are convinced that massive leaps in longevity are upon us. Andrew Romano reports for Newsweek on a face-off between two competing experts, Walter Bortz and Aubrey de Grey:

NEWSWEEK: My inspiration for embarking on this story was, strangely enough, a Prudential insurance billboard. “The first person to live to 150,” it reads, “is alive today.” Have you seen it?

Bortz: You can’t miss it.

De Grey: It’s all over.

prudential ad

NW: And what was your reaction to it?

Bortz: I’m sure they varied.

De Grey: Go on, Walter. You first.

Bortz: I didn’t believe it. Maybe a couple thousand years from now it might happen. One of my reference points is the International Supercentenarian Registry. It’s a list of people who are 110 or older. We know there are about 80 supercentenarians out there.

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The Fear of Death is Killing Us

sexanddeathservitorThere are a lot of utterly insane laws enforced throughout the world, but one of the absolute craziest involves the illegality of assisted suicide. That’s right, even if you are being ravaged by a debilitating disease and your life has devolved into absolute hell on earth, you’re legally required to suffer that hell. This is how nuts we are when it comes to spirituality. We threw Jack Kevorkian in fucking jail God help us all (or God Hates Us All if you’re going with the Slayer narrative).

As a spiritual person, I have exactly zero interest in living to be very old. As a matter of fact, I sort of think I was trying to kill myself with booze for most of my twenties but a guiding force prevented me from doing so. I’ve got things down here I’m supposed to accomplish apparently. The prison guards weren’t going to let me out so easily, especially on bad behavior.… Read the rest

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Sequenced Genome Of Sacred Lotus May Yield Anti-Aging Secrets

sacred lotusContemporary science meets ancient wisdom via redOrbit:

A team of international scientists report today that they have sequenced and annotated the genome of the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). The research was co-led by Ray Ming, a plant biology professor at University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology; Jane Shen-Miller, a plant biology professor at UCLA; and Shaohua Li, director of the Wuhan Botanical Garden at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The team have sequenced nearly 90 percent of the plant’s 27,000 genes.

The sacred lotus has the ability to repair genetic defects, and may hold a key to the secrets of aging; the seeds of the lotus can survive up to 1,300 years. The sacred lotus is known from the geologic record as early as 135 million years ago. The plant has been grown in China for at least the last 4,000 years, and has long been used there for food and medicine.

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The Price of Fame? An Early Death

Warhol graveSo is it better to die old in obscurity or young in the limelight? From Reuters:

The price of fame can be high with an international study on Thursday finding that people who enjoy successful entertainment or sporting careers tend to die younger.

Researchers Richard Epstein and Catherine Epstein said the study, based on analysing 1,000 New York Times obituaries from 2009-2011, found film, music, stage performers and sports people died at an average age of 77.2 years.

This compared to an average lifespan of 78.5 years for creative workers, 81.7 for professionals and academics, and 83 years for people in business, military and political careers.

The Australian-based researchers said these earlier deaths could indicate that performers and sports stars took more risks in life, either to reach their goals or due to their success…

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Western Style Diet Leads To Early Death

English breakfast - catorze14No doubt the headline will cause some septuagenarians who eat nothing but processed meat and fried food to claim the “Western style diet” never hurt them, but a new study shows that for most people eating this stuff is likely to shorten your life. From Alpha Galileo Foundation:

Data from a new study of British adults suggest that adherence to a “Western-style” diet (fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) reduces a person’s likelihood of achieving older ages in good health and with higher functionality. Study results appear in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

“The impact of diet on specific age-related diseases has been studied extensively, but few investigations have adopted a more holistic approach to determine the association of diet with overall health at older ages,” says lead investigator Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD, Inserm, Montpellier, France. “We examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with aging phenotypes, identified after a mean 16-year follow-up.”

The AHEI is a validated index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

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The Island Where People Forget to Die

Armenistís ikaríaA fascinating account by Dan Buettner of the amazing longevity of the residents of Ikaria, a Greek Island, in the New York Times:

…For a decade, with support from the National Geographic Society, I’ve been organizing a study of the places where people live longest. The project grew out of studies by my partners, Dr. Gianni Pes of the University of Sassari in Italy and Dr. Michel Poulain, a Belgian demographer. In 2000, they identified a region of Sardinia’s Nuoro province as the place with the highest concentration of male centenarians in the world. As they zeroed in on a cluster of villages high in Nuoro’s mountains, they drew a boundary in blue ink on a map and began referring to the area inside as the “blue zone.” Starting in 2002, we identified three other populations around the world where people live measurably longer lives than everyone else. The world’s longest-lived women are found on the island of Okinawa.

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