Tag Archives | Anti-Aging

Google Backs Calico, A Company Focused On Stopping Aging

google.cover.inddFirst Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Ray Kurzweil, who famously wants to live forever. Now they’ve started a new company, Calico, to be run by a top bioscience executive Arthur Levinson (formerly head of Genentech) and focused on anti-aging. It’s enough to make you think that the guys in the Googleplex want to live forever. The news is all over the media, but apparently only TIME had exclusive access to Larry Page which it proclaims in its cover story “Can Google Solve Death” (at right):

“In some industries,” says Page, who spoke exclusively with TIME about the new venture, “it takes 10 or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Health care is certainly one of those areas. We should shoot for the things that are really, really important, so 10 or 20 years from now we have those things done.”…

Unfortunately TIME is hiding the rest of the interview behind its paywall, so here’s another report via USA Today:

Google is not happy just organizing the world’s information.

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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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Bones Grow In Woman’s Eye Following Cosmetic Anti-Wrinkle Stem Cell Procedure

Leap into stem cell revolution without caution, and strange things can happen. Via Popular Science:

Stem cell surgery, in which stem cells from a patient’s body are transplanted into some other part of the body, is gaining in popularity. One patient in Los Angeles found out the hard way that the surgery is largely untested and unregulated.

Stem cells are sometimes used for anti-aging purposes, the idea being that they’ll turn into brand-new tissue and help heal aging cells nearby. But her doctors also used a dermal filler largely made of calcium hydroxylapatite, which happens to trigger stem cells to turn into…well, bone, rather than new tissue.

The woman is recovering nicely, but it’s a really fascinating story of how powerful and potent stem cells are–and how we need to be careful with how we use them in these early stages of stem cell use.

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Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?

PSM V33 D765 TurritopsisSo there might just be something positive to say about jellyfish after all. Nathaniel reports for the New York Times:

After more than 4,000 years — almost since the dawn of recorded time, when Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that the secret to immortality lay in a coral found on the ocean floor — man finally discovered eternal life in 1988. He found it, in fact, on the ocean floor. The discovery was made unwittingly by Christian Sommer, a German marine-biology student in his early 20s. He was spending the summer in Rapallo, a small city on the Italian Riviera, where exactly one century earlier Friedrich Nietzsche conceived “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: “Everything goes, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again. . . .”

Sommer was conducting research on hydrozoans, small invertebrates that, depending on their stage in the life cycle, resemble either a jellyfish or a soft coral.

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Flatworms Could Hold Key To Immortality

flat-worm_2152792bIs this the most advanced creature on Earth? Via the Telegraph:

British researchers believe that the worms, which live in ponds and lakes, could live forever after examining their ability to repeatedly regenerate.

“Our data satisfy one of the predictions about what it would take for an animal to be potentially immortal,” Aziz Aboobaker, who led the research. “The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal.”

Flatworms, known as planarian worms, have long fascinated scientists because they have an extraordinary ability to regenerate. A planarian worm split lengthways or crossways will regenerate into two separate living worms. The researchers found that flatworms can continuously maintain the length of a crucial part of their DNA, known as telomeres, during regeneration.

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‘Fountain of Youth’ Human Enzyme Lengthens Lives of Mice

MouseVia New Scientist:

A contender for the elusive fountain of youth: an enzyme found in humans appears to lengthen the life of mice. Researchers hoping to slow the march of age were dealt a blow in 2010, when signs that an enzyme called sirtuin 2 extended the life of worms were shown to be false due to flawed experimental design.

Mammals have seven types of sirtuin, so Haim Cohen and Yariv Kanfi at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, turned to sirtuin 6 instead. They compared mice genetically engineered to have increased levels of SIRT6 with normal mice, engineering the mice in two different ways to control for genetic influences.

Male mice from both strains lived 15 per cent longer than normal mice or females. Older modified male mice metabolised sugar faster than normal mice and females, suggesting that SIRT6 might extend life by protecting against metabolic disorders such as diabetes …

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Playing Music Can Offset Aging Process

Photo: Stilfehler (CC)

Photo: Stilfehler (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Age-related delays in neural timing are not inevitable and can be avoided or offset with musical training, according to a new study from Northwestern University.

The study is the first to provide biological evidence that lifelong musical experience has an impact on the aging process.

Measuring the automatic brain responses of younger and older musicians and non-musicians to speech sounds, researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory discovered that older musicians had a distinct neural timing advantage.

“The older musicians not only outperformed their older non-musician counterparts, they encoded the sound stimuli as quickly and accurately as the younger non-musicians,” said Northwestern neuroscientist Nina Kraus. “This reinforces the idea that how we actively experience sound over the course of our lives has a profound effect on how our nervous system functions.” …

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Easter Island May Hold Anti-Aging Miracle Drug

easter-island-head-289121-swThe secret to slowing down aging is in the soil? Easter Island continues to grow spookier and spookier. The Independent reports:

A drug originating on Easter Island, the mysterious South Pacific home of a lost statue-building people, may become the first substance to slow down human aging, new research indicates.

Rapamycin, a pharmacological product used to prevent rejection in organ transplants, has been found to extend the lifespan of mice by up to 38 per cent, raising the possibility that it may delay ageing in people.

Rapamycin is a bacterial product originally found in a soil sample from Easter Island. Originally developed as an anti-fungal agent, rapamycin was soon found to have powerful immuno-suppressant properties and thus be valuable for preventing rejection of transplanted organs. Now, however, it has been shown to affect the ageing of mice – the first time that this has ever been shown with a mammal.

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Turtles Could Hold the Secret to Human Immortality

TurtlesInteresting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:

All animals eventually grow old and die. It’s an inevitable fact of life — except when it isn’t. Some animals, like tortoises and lobsters, never grow old, and learning their secrets could let humans live as long as they want.

For most animals, there are three basic ways they can die: disease, injury, or old age, which is also called senescence. But a select few species are seemingly immune from aging itself, a phenomenon known as negligible senescence. The gradual accumulation of cellular damage and degradation that will eventually kill other animals (including us) slows to a virtual standstill, prolonging the life — and, in fact, the youth — of any animal lucky enough to be negligibly senescent.

Tortoises are the most famous negligibly senescent animals. An Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita was thought to be 255 years old when he died in 2006, and carbon dating of his shell confirmed that he really had been born around 1750.

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Man ‘Survives Without Food’ For 70 Years?!?

Please make up your own mind about this one. Sky News reports via Yahoo:

Indian doctors are studying a remarkable 83-year-old holy man who claims to have spent the last seven decades without food and water. Military medics hope the experiments on Prahlad Jani can help soldiers develop their survival strategies.

The long-haired and bearded yogi is under 24-hour observation by a team of 30 doctors during three weeks of tests

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