Longevity Meme Newsletter, January 27 2003

January 27 2003

The Longevity Meme Newsletter is an infrequent e-mail containing news, opinions and happenings for people interested in life extension: making use of diet, lifestyle choices, technology and proven medical advances to live healthy, longer lives.



Braving the Great Internet SQL Worm proved to be harder than I had anticipated, but the Longevity Meme is up and running again as of today. For more on the worm, see:


I’m in the process of negotiating a shift to a more prepared hosting provider, so hopefully we’ll see fewer incidents of this sort in the future.


Those of us who have climbed the life extension learning curve tend to forget just how confused we were at the start. There are few reputable starting points, overviews or digests. There are many snake oil salesmen, kooks and cranks. There is a wealth of disorganized, fragmentary, contradictory opinion and research. New information arrives constantly, old information is disproved daily.

It certainly took me a fair amount of time and effort to find my way to a path and ways of dealing with new information that I am moderately happy with. I’m sure that many of you have had much the same experience: which resources are good? What diet and lifestyle advice to take? What to make of all these exotic supplements? How to process the flood of new life extension research? Does it really have to be this hard?

One of the goals of the Longevity Meme is to make sure that as many people as possible can easily obtain a good basic, practical overview of how to go about extending their healthy life. Life Extension 101, if you will. While there are many fine, informative life extension guides and overviews out there, I feel that most are too specific, isolated, technical or advanced to act as a starting point for the average man or woman in the street. To that end, I am working on an article that will surface -- worms allowing -- in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, what are the best basic resources for people who are new to life extension? What can you print out and use to illustrate life extension to the cousins who have never heard of the term before? Ben Best gives an overview of the philosophy at:


I come up a little short on a broad-ranging "HOW-TO" document for life extension. Feel free to make suggestions in the Longevity Meme forum if you think I’m missing an obvious and influential article:


Which I may be, you never know.


There has been some discussion on the Extropians and CR Society mailing lists about this rather interesting piece of research:


It poses all sorts of questions about what is causing what. Is less fat causing the changing gene expressions observed due to calorie restriction in other research? Or vice versa? Everyone is very curious. The only thing that isn’t in doubt is that calorie restriction really does work: it makes you healthier, and you live longer.

You can find links to the Extropians, CR Society and other online communities at:



On that note, time to send this e-mail before the worm returns…


Have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter?


Founder, Longevity Meme



Stay Fit and So Does Your Brain (January 27 2003)
Science Blog points to a study showing that staying fit helps to slow the effects of aging on the brain. Staying physically fit as you age is very important: there are many more benefits than just this one.

Hammered by the Worm (January 27 2003)
Our hosting provider was hit by the SQL worm; nothing major was lost aside from half a day of uptime. This has spurred us to move to a better provider, however. That should be occuring within a week.

Theraputic Cloning Trials Underway? (January 25 2003)
Betterhumans has this one: Christopher Reeves claims that theraputic cloning trials aimed at repairing spinal injuries are already underway. Amazing -- regenerative medicine is already underway in the field. We should be hearing about reviews and results in a year or two, if this is in fact the case.

Less Fat Explains Longevity? (January 23 2003)
New Scientist is covering some clever research on mice that suggests having less fat is the real underlying reason for increased longevity through calorie restriction. This may conflict with other recent research on why calorie restriction works; we shall see.

NYTA Symposium In February (January 23 2003)
The New York Transhumanist Association is holding a modest one day symposium on February 21st. Topics for presentation and discussion include human life extension; potential speakers and panel members are still being sought.

Alcor and Ted Williams (January 22 2003)
SunSpot.net is carrying a sympathetic, informative article on Alcor, centering around the recent high-profile cryonic suspension of Ted Williams. Cryonics seems to be the only potential way to cheat death at the moment (but stay tuned). Cryonic suspension may yet be shown not to work, but it's better than the alternative.

Okinawan Centenarian Study (January 22 2003)
Believe it or not, I hadn't actually noticed this until today. It's a fascinating and very readable research program on Okinawan longevity. As I mentioned in a previous posting, Okinawan pseudo-calorie-restriction traditions may play a large role in their longevity.

Nanotechnology and Life Extension (January 21 2003)
Chris Phoenix of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has penned a very accessible primer on the role of tiny machines in the future of life extension medicine. This article is now reprinted at the Longevity Meme.

Pace of Medical Research Picking Up (January 20 2003)
An informative article at the BBC underscores the rapid pace of aging reseach these days. Was it really just last year that telomeres were first appearing in mainstream news articles?

The Things We Forget About Aging (January 20 2003)
An article on MSNBC reminds us of the horrible consequences of one of the (supposedly) lesser effects of aging. It's downright primitive, when you stop to think about it, that people still have to suffer like this.

Kass Attacks Life Extension (Again) (January 18 2003)
Betterhumans notes that Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, is keeping up his attacks on life extension. It's fine for him to make that choice for himself, but it's immoral and unethical for Kass to continue to try to ensure that everyone else has no choice.

InfoAging on Stem Cells (January 17 2003)
InfoAging continues to be an extremely useful resource. They have just added an informative new section explaining stem cells and their role in the fight against aging.

IWAC 2003 (January 17 2003)
The newly formed Immortality Institute is holding IWAC 2003 in Birmingham, Alabama this coming weekend. It's a small affair, during which the Mobius Awards are handed out. Here's to future, larger gatherings.

Just a Little Willpower (January 16 2003)
A very mainstream health article from MSNBC, but sound advice anyway. "Healthy living is not just an exercise in abstinence. It’s about feeling better, looking better and living longer."

Adding Years to Your Life (January 16 2003)
This is a fascinating transcript from Dr. Austad's presentation to the President's Council on Bioethics on increasing human longevity. You'll note that Leon Kass, Chairman, is his usual obnoxious pro-death-and-aging self. We should all be worried about how this guy is influencing our future health.

Intra-Abdominal Fat a Health Risk (January 15 2003)
EurekAlert talks about research recommending exercise in older women to get rid of intra-abdominal fat. Of course, calorie restriction should have the same effect -- yet another reason to be practicing it.

A Glance at the Front Lines (January 15 2003)
This article reprinted at the Life Extension Foundation is an interesting glimpse into the sharp end of real, meaningful anti-aging research. These people work hard in an ugly business environment to make our lives longer and healthier.

Closing in on a Cancer Cure (January 14 2003)
Researchers have been circling in on a general cure or treatment for cancer over the past decade. A lot of promising research is going on right now. Betterhumans covers some of the latest work. Kudos to the scientists involved.


Do you have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter?


Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.