LONGEVITY MEME NEWSLETTER
March 10 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.
You will find the new "Take Action" section is up and running on the Longevity Meme:
There *are* ways in which you can help to make meaningful anti-aging, life extension medicine a reality. The current action items won't take much of your time and are absolutely worth it. Visit the new "Take Action" section today and see what needs to be done. Take a front seat in the process of ensuring your future health and longevity!
MOVING BEYOND TALK
I ended the last newsletter by promising to suggest practical ways in which the life extension community can expand and move beyond talk. This I will do, if not quite in the manner I had in mind two weeks ago. What happened to upset the schedule? Visit the following link to see:
The US government is trying to legislate the most promising branches of anti-aging research out of existence. If the Senate passes this bill, it will be very damaging to our future health and longevity. Research will be delayed, or more likely never happen. Potential cures for dozens of serious age-related conditions, the development of replacement organs grown to order, all will be abandoned or greatly held back. Vital funding is already vanishing due to the uncertainty hanging over anti-aging research.
Unfortunately, this is not just an isolated bill. This is not just about reproductive cloning and embryos, with beneficial theraputic cloning caught in the crossfire. No. This is one of the first salvos in a larger battle, deliberately targeted at anti-aging, life extension technologies.
Members of the President's Council on Bioethics - especially Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama - have always spoken openly against life extension. For their own reasons, they are pro-death, pro-aging, pro-suffering and pro-status-quo. Their views are nothing short of cruel: that we shouldn't attempt to find a cure for Alzheimers, that we shouldn't find ways to defeat the crippling affects of aging. Unfortunately, they represent and guide the views of the current US administration, so it isn't just talk. The members of the bioethics council were selected for their views, in order to rubber-stamp legislation like the bill criminalizing theraputic cloning research.
I'm sure regular readers of the Longevity Meme news are well aware of this. Many of the news articles in this newsletter are connected with bioethics, the council, recent legislation and responses from the media. Given this article:
and the source material from the bioethics council:
I think that we can expect to see more hostile legislation in the near future. Needless, to say, this is very worrying. This is *our* future health and vital medicine that these people are trying to criminalize, ban, and legislate out of existence! They are basically telling us that we should age, become crippled and die because *they* think it is appropriate!
We can't sit back and assume that this legislation won't pass. France has already done it. Other states may follow. This is where it comes to action: when it comes to telling politicians what we think and what we want, there are things we can do. Visit the following link:
On the page above, I try to outline the most effective way in which we can make our voices heard. Do the following: 1) Tell your friends about this. Everyone's health is on the line. Forward this newsletter. Put it up online. Send it to bloggers. The more people who follow through and make themselves heard, the better. 2) Call or send a well-worded fax to your elected officials. You can do this online; visit the above link to see how. 3) Call the President's comment line. Again, visit the above link for details and helpful suggestions.
We *can* raise our voices and be heard. Your actions *do* have consequences. So exercise your voice! Let's get out there and tell these politicians and bioethicists exactly what we think of their cruel and ignorant legislation!
MOVING BEYOND TALK, PART II
I greatly admire Christopher Reeve. There are few people in the world I can say that about. The man is nothing short of a powerhouse of advocacy in the face of adversity. As you may have noticed, Reeve has been speaking out in past months in opposition to theraputic cloning and stem cell legislation. Have a look at the following link:
With all that he has to fight already, he still stands in our side of the court to battle legislation that affects us too. The least we can do is to support Christopher Reeve and his foundation. We should let him know how many people agree with him, and that his is not the only raised voice.
I have put together an action item with this in mind. Visit the following link to see how you can help:
Reeve is influential and well regarded. His voice is heard, and heard widely. We should encourage him to continue on his current path.
A FOOTNOTE ON GROWING THE COMMUNITY
Communities grow in times of adversity. People realize that interests are aligned, and become more involved. It isn't just life extensionists that are threatened by government legislation and bioethics council positions. Valuable research into many conditions, diseases and cancers is also under threat.
When it comes to health, we really are all in the same boat. So mention the important of this issue to a friend today. Point it out to a mailing list. Put it up on your blog. Forward this newsletter far and wide!
And that's all for this newsletter. Please take a little of your time to visit the links I have presented and take action. It is very important that we as a community make ourselves heard. We are facing a hostile, influential group of luddites, conservatives, bioethicists and legislators who are out to stop medical research in its tracks. If we remain silent, we risk the most promising opportunities for important medical advances vanishing, one by one.
Have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter?
Founder, Longevity Meme
Criticism of Fukuyama's Views (March 09 2003)
Francis Fukuyama is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and is deeply involved in attempts to ban and restrict anti-aging research and other vital medical technologies. In this review in the mainstream New Democrats Online, Fukuyama's position and opinions are nicely dismantled.
If Theraputic Cloning Is Criminalized (March 09 2003)
CAMR reprints a pointed essay on the possible criminalization of theraputic cloning research. Again, this is another good example of something standing up to say obvious things that have to be said: that this is politics on the back of human lives and human suffering.
Reeve Speaks On Stem Cell Research (March 08 2003)
It is very good to see influential advocates like Christopher Reeve speaking out against current government and bioethics council positions. (Article from Newsfactor). We need more people like Reeve to stand up and say the obvious. I urge you all to use the following link to congratulate Christopher Reeve and his staff on his recent stem cell advocacy.
Stem Cells Heal a Broken Heart (March 07 2003)
Wired carries commentary on the recent use of stem cells to treat serious heart damage. As the article points out, legislative opposition to stem cell therapies could be muted by demonstrations of new life-saving medical technology. I certainly hope so.
Developing Drugs to Extend Life (March 07 2003)
A solid, informative article on life extension research from Newsfactor. Some good quotes and good advice on what to expect in the near future.
Sterling Example of Bioethics Council Thinking (March 07 2003)
Here is an excellent example of the way in which the members of the President's Council on Bioethics think. It's a paper on life extension technologies and techniques. The first half outlines the tremendous promise for lengthening healthy life and ending suffering. The second half is airy, dangerous philosophical nonsense that attempts to justify preventing research and use of life extension medicine. Pah! These people need curbing.
Bioethics Council Attacks Life Extension (March 07 2003)
The President's Council on Bioethics attacks life extension in the article over at biomedcentral.com. This isn't unexpected, given previous comments from the council. Still, one has to wonder what world the council members are living in. To them, getting old, losing your health, becoming crippled and dying are all good things! Given that this council reflects and steers the legislative policies of the US government (such as the current criminalization of theraputic cloning research), I think that we have to be worried.
Another Nice Local Article (March 06 2003)
Here's another good pro-life-extension article from a small local press (and reprinted in the Life Extension Foundation News). Some great quotes and a positive can-do attitute make this a very welcome sight. It really is wonderful to see the concept of near-term scientific life extension spreading into journalism as a whole. Now if we could just speed things up a little...
Interesting Upcoming Events (March 06 2003)
The event calendar at Betterhumans is stocked with a lot of upcoming life extension and related events at the moment. It's worth a look to see if there's anything in your area that you'd like to check up on.
Be Wary of Snake Oil Salesmen (March 05 2003)
(From ctnow.com). Sorting out good from bad is one of the biggest problems facing new life extensionist. Sad to say, but it's best to assume that anyone trying to sell you information, supplements, medicine or advice online is in the snake oil business. Start from this assumption, and then research carefully. Remember that nothing other than calorie restriction has (yet) been proven to extend life, and CR costs nothing!
Bionics for the Masses (March 04 2003)
A short article from Business 2.0 on a side of medicine I haven't talked about all that much. Artificial implants and replacements are expected to become better, more versatile and cheaper as the years go by. They'll be competing with grown-to-order replacement organs, however. (Assuming that the wave of anti-research legislation doesn't continue, that is).
Journalists Still Chewing On Alcor (March 04 2003)
This article from AZCentral on Alcor and cryonics isn't as negative as some recent articles have been. Still, any publicity is good publicity for Alcor and cryonics in general. You can find out more about Alcor at their website.
Search for a Youth Pill (March 02 2003)
LEF News is reprinting a short life extension research piece from a small news outlet. It is encouraging to see more unbiased articles like this in print. Seeing reporters becoming aware of the life extension community (scientific and otherwise) is very gratifying.
Make Your View Known to the Senate! (March 01 2003)
The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research has put up an action page that will allow you to make your views known on the forthcoming senate theraputic cloning vote. Folks, this is important -- life extension medicine worldwide will take a big, big hit if the senate passes this bill. Your future health and lifespan is on the line.
House Bans Theraputic Cloning (February 28 2003)
They went ahead and did it, these self-destructive idiots who pass for elected representatives. (Article from MSNBC). Now we're one short senate debate away from criminalizing the most promising lines of anti-aging and regenerative medicine research. Not to mention the prospect of cures for many currently untreatable conditions, such as Parkinsons.
Ronald Bailey on Fukuyama (February 27 2003)
Another excellent article by Ronald Bailey at Reason Online. Francis Fukuyama (a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, alas) is an influential bioethicist who is in favor of early death, disease and disability. Ronald Bailey dismantles Fukuyama's position with his normal competence. It's sad that we even need to explicitly point out the cruelty and idiocy of Fukuyama's views, but we need to combat these ideas more effectively.
House Debate on Cloning Starts (February 27 2003)
Here we go (article from CNN). The house debate on criminalizing all forms of cloning has started. This includes the theraputic cloning vital to research into regenerative, life-extending, health-preserving medicine. Some day, this will be seen as grand, self-destructive folly. I hope that we're all still alive by then.
10 Years Until Anti-Aging Medicine? (February 27 2003)
An article on Betterhumans talks on when we can expect to see real anti-aging medicine in the local pharmacy. This is qualified with several big "ifs" -- if drug companies start work now, if there is tangible, loud demand, and so forth. In essence, we need to be out there shouting "where is our anti-aging medicine?" and waving checkbooks.
Bioethicists Groping for Excuses (February 27 2003)
UPI (found via KurzweilAI.net) is carrying a fairly typical set of bioethicist mumblings. People are living longer! The sky is falling! It is appalling that anyone can try to justify the continued suffering and death -- of tens of millions of people every year -- on the basis such flimsy maunderings. Bioethicists just like this are a real threat to our future health and access to medical technology.
Snake Oils and the Anti-Aging Battle (February 27 2003)
An article from earlier this month in Health Central discusses the ongoing battle for the term "anti-aging." Researchers on one side, retailers on the other, and consumers getting the worse of it as usual. Some valid points are made in the article, and all are worth remembering.
Answering Leon Kass (February 27 2003)
Here's another good article from the Immortality Institute. Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics is strongly opposed to medicine and medical technologies that increase human lifespan. Kass has stated on numerous occasions his belief that people should be forced to get old, suffer and die. This is a position that demands an answer.
Stem Cell Therapy Primer (February 25 2003)
I've talked a lot about stem cells in recent news articles, but never stopped to mention why they are so important to future anti-aging medicine. That was inconsiderate of me. Follow the link above to read a useful and informative primer on stem cells and stem cell medicine at InfoAging.
James Watson Stands Up For Stem Cell Therapies (February 25 2003)
This article on pending legislation in Wired is worth reading for the final quote by James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA structure: "If it looks like it may work in humans, it'd be wrong not to do it. For you to say the people who have Parkinson's don't need it is crap." Well said.
Powerful Stem Cells From Blood (February 24 2003)
EurekAlert reports that Argonne researchers have succeeded in producing the most potent form of stem cells from normal adult blood. This is an important research result, and the researchers have a right to be proud of themselves. Congratulations are due!
Do you have comments for us, or want to discuss the newsletter?