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Conflict in the Anti-Aging Industry

This article illustrates a portion of the ongoing internal debate between segments of the anti-aging supplement and medicine industry. The lines are not clear-cut or easily distinguished, but it is clear that there are those who stand on the side of science and proven research and those who do not. Just which side of the line any given seller is on is usually up for debate. I believe that the level of infighting, misinformation and confusion in this massive industry -- the public face of anti-aging and life extension for all intents and purposes -- is greatly hindering our goals.

Link: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/5742127.htm

Understanding Stem Cell Mechanisms

From the new and improved Betterhumans, here's an article that illustrates the power of understanding the basics. When you know why something happens at the lowest level of the human cell, you become able to tackle many problems. In this case, knowledge of a humble cellular signalling mechanism promises to lead to easier stem cell production, ways of tackling cancer, and possibly a therapy to regenerate human tissue from the worst injuries. The more we know about our bodies, the better anti-aging medicine will become. Medical research is essential to our futures, so we must speak up to protect it.

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-30-3

Shorter Male Lifespan and What To Do About It

From the newswire section at Salon, a short speculative piece about the underlying reasons for the shorter male lifespan. Allegedly it's because men just don't place a high enough priority on maintaining their health. This sounds plausible, although one should always be wary of pop culture explanations of this sort. That said, posting this article is an opportunity for me to remind you all to set up and maintain a good relationship with your physician. It's not costly, and studies show that it will make a big difference to your future health and longevity. Don't put it off!

Link: http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2003/04/29/male_life/index.html

Yet More Promising Cancer Research

We can only hope that anti-aging research in 2015 looks as good as cancer research does now. Numerous very promising paths to a full, cheap, painless cure for all kinds of cancer are currently in the late stages of development. Cancer research as a field is the very model of successful advocacy, funding and research over the past couple of decades. From ScienceDaily, this article reveals the fortunate insights that may lead to an understanding of the cause of spontaneous remission in cancer patients. If this can be controlled, it would be another ingenious means of completely curing cancer.

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030429084756.htm

The Cost of a Cure

Aubrey de Grey, an aging researcher of note associated with the IABG, put together these notes in response to being asked about the cost of a cure for aging. Some very interesting ideas are in this proposal, and a surprisingly low cost. Of course, this is just one path of many that would have to be funded. As usual, it is clear that there are smart, capable, knowledgable people in the anti-aging research field who are woefully underfunded. It's almost criminal, and very frustrating!

Link: http://www.sens.org/IBGcase.htm

Working Around Legislation, Part 2

From the New Scientist, a story on efforts to find a politically safe way to obtain stem cells. Work with stem cells has so much promise, and so much work has been diverted or stopped by ill-considered government legislation. The time and money spent on this research (on stem cells from parthenogenesis) could have gone towards developing therapies using embyonic stem cells. Every day that therapies are delayed brings more death and suffering; we must oppose further legislation.

Link: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993654

On / Off Diet Works in Mice?

The New Scientist is carrying a piece on an interesting dietary study in mice. Scientists claim some benefits of calorie restriction are observed in a diet that alternates double portions with fasting. The CR Society is dubious on this count; there has been some discussion there in past weeks on this topic. My advice is to be a late adopter. Calorie restriction has decades of proven science behind it. This article comes from a single recent study. Always go with the weight of evidence and wait for proof before attempting anything that will affect your health.

Link: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993668

Senators Urge Stem Cell Expansion

From BioMed Central, a story on the current restrictive stem cell legislation. A few senators are trying to get the number of allowed lines expanded to allow meaningful research to be federally funded. (Should we be grateful, bearing in mind that these politicians are at fault for creating this problem in the first place? That's a topic for another discussion). This happens ahead of the forthcoming debate on banning theraputic cloning. Remember to contact your representatives and tell them what you think! If we don't make our voices heard, we are in danger of losing our best chances for future anti-aging medicine.

Link: http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030425/03/

From the Front Lines

My attention was drawn to this article at LEF News. I occasionally post items from the business world; meaningful anti-aging therapies will be delivered by corporate entities after they leave the labs. Here we see what looks like the powerhouses Geron and ACT validating the younger BioMarker Pharmaceuticals. This is a good sign! BioMarker is dedicated to developing therapies to retard aging. This article means that the big guys in the industry are taking this research very seriously.

Link: http://www.lef.org/news/aging/2003/04/24/pr/0000-2337-ca-biomarker-elects.html

European Stem Cell Legislation Debated

Here is a CORDIS article that follows up on the ongoing European Parliament debate on criminalizing embryonic stem cell research. Quote for the day: "[T]he dignity of a human embryo weighs less heavily in the ethical balance than of a suffering human patient, and should be reflected in the eventual outcome of the debate." I urge European readers to contact your MEPs to ensure that a ban on research -- one far more restrictive than the current poorly considered US legislation -- is not enacted.

Link: http://dbs.cordis.lu/cgi-bin/srchidadb?CALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN=EN_RCN_ID:20147

Yet More Reasons Not To Be Overweight

Being overweight -- even slightly overweight -- is being shown to be increasingly bad for your health and longevity. Not a year goes by, it seems, without researchers finding a new way in which more weight is damaging your future. This time it's cancer: being overweight means that you have a significantly higher chance of dying of cancer. So talk to your physician, look into calorie restriction and sort out your weight! It's really not hard to be healthy, and the benefits are great.

Link: http://www.infoaging.org/news_article.html?SMContentIndex=0&SMContentSet=0

Boost For Adult Stem Cell Therapies?

ScienceBlog is reporting on experiments that might enable adult stem cells as a basis for treating neurological conditions of aging. Early days yet (I seem to be saying that a lot recently), but this is exciting research that promises answers within a year or two. Adult stem cell research is important because it is not (yet) restricted or banned by legislation. Of course, it would be even better if legislation that bans promising medical research had never been passed in the first place.

Link: http://www.scienceblog.com/community/article1530.html

New York Gets New Aging Research Office

Betterhumans notes that the American Federation for Aging Research has opened a new office in New York. Since its founding in 1981, AFAR has provided more than US$64 million to researchers. As I've pointed out before, this amount of money is very significant to aging research, but a drop in the bucket when compared to cancer, AIDs or heart disease funding. Aging research must become a higher priority to more people in order to obtain necessary levels of funding. If this doesn't happen, we will all certainly face the threat of aging, decrepitude and death.

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-25-1

Theraputic Cloning Webcast Transcript

The PDF transcript of a webcast discussion on theraputic cloning is up in the SAGE Crossroads archive. Nothing new is said; the sides are worlds apart. On the one hand we have researchers who want to cure the incurable, relieve suffering and extend healthy life. On the other hand we have bioethicists who want to criminalize research and leave the sick to suffer and die. It's astonishing that someone can acknowledge the great potential of theraputic cloning for therapies, cures, health and longevity, yet still try to ban it.

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.com/transcripts/042203transcript.pdf

Baby Teeth a Source of Stem Cells

I wasn't going to post this article from the New Scientist, but it occurred to be that it illustrates an important principle of research. Finding baby teeth to be a source of stem cells is just the sort of fortuous discovery -- obvious in hindsight -- that happens after a new field reaches a critical mass of initial research. Similar things are happening for calorie restriction, but we still seem to be waiting for the shoe to drop in aging research. More money, more advocacy, more sites like the Longevity Meme are needed!

Link: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993643

Winning the War Against Aging

From the pages of THE FUTURIST, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes asks "why die?" There may soon be nothing preventing great-grandparents from being as agile in body and mind as their descendants are.

Copyright © Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Imagine that your grandmother looks like a teenager, plays soccer, parties at the clubs all night, and works as a venture capitalist. Or imagine your grandfather teaching you the latest high-tech computer software in his office, which you hate to visit because of the loud heavy metal music. Such a scenario is hard to envision because we are taught to accept aging and the resulting suffering and death as an immutable fact of life. We cannot picture our grandparents in better physical shape than we are. Nonetheless, aging may soon become nothing more than a scary bedtime story, perhaps one your grandfather will tell your grandson after a day of white-water rafting together.

Can Aging Be Cured?

Aging is a "barbaric phenomenon that shouldn't be tolerated in polite society," says University of Cambridge gerontologist Aubrey de Grey. However, the more than 50% increase in longevity of the past century was due mainly to advancements in the war on infectious diseases, not aging. Present anti-aging treatments do not slow aging and do not extend life span more than quitting smoking, exercising, eating a good diet, or heeding ordinary medical advice. The only way to achieve another 50% increase in human longevity in this century is by finding ways to retard the aging process itself.

In recent years, many advances in anti-aging science have been made at the cellular level. Normal human cells have a built-in program that prevents them from replicating more than a predetermined number of times. Using the enzyme telomerase, it is possible to genetically modify human cells to overcome their programming and make them divide indefinitely. But telomerase alone does not solve the aging problem: Mice do not live longer when they are genetically modified to have lots of this enzyme.

Genetic engineering can double the longevity of worms and increase by almost 50% the life span of flies. Results are also promising in mammals: Scientists have extended longevity in mice by 50% through genetic interventions. If such outcomes could be achieved in humans, then it would come to be normal to have grandparents more than 120 years old. Several research groups, including Kronos Longevity Research Institute (Phoenix, Arizona), Centagenetix (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and other groups in academia, are conducting research aimed at retarding aging. If the breakthroughs of recent years are anything to go by, it is likely that we will see several-fold longevity increases in mice within the next decade or so.

Achieving similar results in humans will be harder: Scientists have already identified genes that appear to accelerate human aging, but they have yet to find genes with the opposite effect. With the sequence of the human genome, we are now in a better position to find out more about aging in animals as well as humans. Drawing from the technological breakthroughs of the past 10 or 20 years, researchers are likely to develop methods to considerably delay human aging within the next few decades. "The prospects of dramatically increasing human longevity are excellent," declares Steven Austad, biology professor at the University of Idaho.

Although some scientists argue that aging will never be cured and our grandparents will continue to fit our stereotypes, many others remain confident we will soon learn how to modulate the human aging process. "I believe our generation is the first to be able to map a possible route to individual immortality," says William Haseltine, CEO of Human Genome Sciences Inc. in Rockville, Maryland.

Shaping Up for Long Life

One method available today might delay human aging: caloric restriction, which simply means a diet with fewer calories that still delivers the required nutritional content. Experiments have shown longevity increases of more than 50% in certain mammals and other beneficial secondary effects, but most people find it hard to stick to such a diet. If science is to extend human longevity, it will have to do so by extending the healthy life span while preserving youth and vitality, not by prolonging the time spent in age-related disability. The extra years must allow future grandparents to enjoy life rather than just cling to it.

It is unlikely, but possible, that a cure for aging and associated age-related diseases will appear suddenly. Since scientists have already developed new genetic interventions to delay aging in animals, therapies aimed at human aging are expected to gradually progress in power and efficiency. If a therapy could slow human aging by 50%, for instance, we would have 30 or 40 more years of life. In that time, new discoveries could be made that would allow us to live even longer. The cycle could continue until a cure for aging was discovered. "It's possible that some people alive now may still be alive 400 years from now," claims gerontologist S. Michal Jazwinski of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. But what would be the consequences of extended human longevity or a real cure for aging?

A World without Aging

Suppose that we eliminate a majority of age-related diseases, such as cancer, and can maintain the vitality of the body indefinitely. Under these circumstances, everyone can expect an average life span of more than 1,000 years and a virtually unlimited maximum life span. Estimating a future average life span of 1,000 years is based on removing age-related mortality from current statistics: accidents and other causes of death still remain, of course. Aubrey de Grey believes that human life expectancy at birth in 2100 will be 5,000 years, however. He takes into consideration not only anti-aging discoveries but also changes in technology and attitudes as people strive to reduce or avoid risk and make dangerous activities safer.

Our first instinct when we consider a world without aging might be a concern about overpopulation. Yet we cannot see breakthroughs in aging research as isolated events. Technology evolves; civilization evolves. For example, worldwide agricultural output has more than doubled in the past 50 years. In fact, future problems resulting from overpopulation have been widely touted for decades, most famously in the 1970s ("Mathusianism"). These warnings have always proven wrong, as the proponents did not account for advances in food, energy, transport and renewable technology. Of course overpopulation in some regions might be aggravated by life extension technology. Even so, letting people suffer and die of aging or disease to control overpopulation is repugnant and ethically unacceptable, so other solutions must be sought--and humans have a History of finding solutions.

Another issue related to an unlimited life span is the ability of a 200-year-old human to absorb new ideas. If not, we would have age differences in the mind instead of age differences in the body, which could lead to cultural stagnation. As German physicist Max Planck once put it, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

There is also the danger that people considered threats--someone like a Stalin or a Fidel Castro--will remain in power much longer than they would if they faded away or died because of aging. Prisoners convicted of violent crimes would eventually be released and, as they would keep young bodies, could continue to pose a threat.

Delayed aging will lead to huge social changes, and perhaps even to some bizarre possibilities: your children dating your grandparents' friends, for example, or your children looking younger than your great-grandchildren. Age stratification in the population will change or disappear, and with it, many of our preconceived ideas. But civilization continually evolves to encompass new ideas and new possibilities. Most important of all, in defeating aging we will have eliminated one of the greatest causes of suffering, pain and death.

Elderly people in an aging-free tomorrow will be extremely productive, changing careers from time to time throughout their lives. They will have the experiences of a lifetime - or two lifetimes, or three, or twenty - combined with a young physique. The burden of age-related diseases on health care will disappear. That is why the grandparents of tomorrow will live longer and happier lives. You and I are the grandparents of tomorrow. With hard work, scientific research, anti-aging advocacy and a bit of luck, we may be around for centuries to come.

About the Author

João Pedro de Magalhães is a doctoral fellow at the University of Namur-Facultes Universitaire Notre Dame de la Paix (FUNDP) in Belgium, where he is a microbiologist studying the biology of aging. Website: http://www.senescence.info.

A Pointed Article on a Bad Product

I'm always ready to say that there is a lot of junk and nonsense out there pretending to be legitimate anti-aging products and information. Here (from Newsday.com) is a pointed and enjoyable article on one such product. The take-home message here is "be careful!" Don't take anything you read online, in a store or in a catalog at face value. Always run it past a reputable source, do your own research and talk to your physician. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Your health is too valuable to waste on frauds, quacks and dubious products.

Link: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-dssupp3248165apr22,0,2967448.story?coll=ny-health-headlines

Diabetes Drug Produces Anti-Aging Effects?

It looks like a drug used to treat diabetes has been found to mimic the healthy life extension effects of calorie restriction in mice. (Reported in Canada Newswire). This is interesting, if early, research that parallels other efforts to discover a way to gain the benefits of calorie restriction without the calorie restriction. As ever, take this with a grain of salt until other researchers validate and build on the findings. Still, I'm happy to see more of this promising line of research. There should be more results coming in the next year or so from ongoing research on the mechanisms of calorie restriction.

Link: http://www.newswire.ca/releases/April2003/23/c3617.html

Caleb Finch on Aging

(From the LEF News). This is an interesting article on one of earlier pioneers of modern aging research. An interesting character to be sure, he is still slugging away at important aging research today. Many aging researchers are currently in the process of establishing solid reputations like this, but there are nowhere near enough of them, and there is nowhere near enough funding! Supporting research and driving funding is just as important as practicing current healthy life extension techniques. A longer, healthier future can grow from new, more advanced medicine, but only with greater funding and support.

Link: http://www.lef.org/news/aging/2003/04/20/eng-krdigital/eng-krdigital_051927_7637424747747576258.html

More Proof For Telomere Involvement in Aging

This article from Betterhumans is a clever illustration of the role telomeres play in aging. You will recall a flurry of articles a few months ago on telomeres and aging; researchers have been back in the labs since then, it seems. A good basic introduction to telomeres and why you should know about them is at InfoAging. This article opens up some intriguing possibilities for comparatively quickly testing the effects of telomere extension on skin grafts. If it works to halt premature aging in the grafts, then that would be strong evidence for trying the procedure elsewhere.

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-22-3

Examining the Bioethics Council

SAGE Crossroads presents an informative article on the members, views and short history of the President's Council on Bioethics. For the most part, it is a fair assessment of the unsavory views held by the more vocal members of the Council (such as Leon Kass, who believes that you should all die young and that medical research should be suppressed). I think that the author does let other members of the council off too easily. We should make no mistake: the Council as a whole is strongly anti-research and stands opposed to healthy life extension.

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.net/news.cfm

More on Progeria Research

The LEF News is reprinting another article on the recent Progeria breakthrough and its application to aging research. From the article: "It suggests a whole new target to study in aging research," Huber Warner of the National Institute on Aging said. "If changes in the nuclear envelope can cause these changes rapidly, you have to ask what changes might be occurring slowly, but continually, in the rest of us?" This is a small step when seen as a part of the big anti-aging research picture, but an important one. A cure for aging is built of many such small steps. We should place our support 100% behind the researchers who work so hard to ensure a long, healthy future for all of us.

Link: http://www.lef.org/news/aging/2003/04/17/krtbn/0000-0433-DP-AGING.html

Yet More Ways to Defeat Cancer

An article at Small Times (found via KurzweilAI.net) discusses some amazing research that should lead to an efficient way of nailing cancer cells in the body within the next few years. We should bear in mind that the current crop of near-breakthroughs in fighting cancer are the end result of three decades of intensive advocacy, funding and research. This can happen for aging itself if we work towards our goals and support future research. In the meanwhile, it is good to see cancer on the way out!

Link: http://www.smalltimes.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=5867

Common Sense Longevity Advice

Common sense on general health and longevity from MSNBC: use the tools you have to hand to live a longer, healthier life. Quote: "[it's] astonishing how many of the ingredients that predict longevity are within your control." This article corresponds to Step 1 in my introduction to healthy life extension. There is far more beyond this that is also within your control! Acting together, we can all help to ensure that the medicine of the near future will help us lead far, far longer, healthier, more active lives.

Link: http://www.msnbc.com/news/900777.asp

Competition for Calorie Restriction?

I don't normally post research articles that require people to look up words, terms and chemicals. This is an interesting one, however, currently running on the LEF News. Apparently, healthy life extension benefits similar to those offered by calorie restriction have been observed in rats fed a diet that is light in some amino acids. It'll take a while for this to percolate through the system and become something that you or I could practice. Nonetheless, it is very interesting indeed. Kudos to the researchers!

Link: http://www.lef.org/news/aging/2003/04/17/eng-newsrx/eng-newsrx_164444_3572758721583767431.html

Urging Congress to Increase Research Funding

(From Eurekalert). The Task Force for Aging Research Funding is calling for greater government funding of the NIH. From the article: "Our nation is on the threshold of major medical advances that could help alleviate the pain and suffering that accompanies aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease." We can't just agitate and expect government to pick up the whole tab, however. Private enterprise and funding is capable of provided far more money and impetus, should the people in charge become convinced that there is a market to be served. They will see a market if we all shout loudly enough to show them one!

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/afar-ruc041703.php

Upcoming Webcast At SAGE Crossroads

SAGE Crossroads is hosting a webcast on theraputic cloning and aging research on April 22nd. (It will also be accessible in their archive within a week or so after the webcast). This is a part of the larger theraputic cloning debate: opponents of progress have failed to find real, meaningful arguments for a ban on promising medical research. They are still trying hard, however, and a lack of real, meaningful arguments is no protection against foolish legislation. Remember that the Senate will soon debate a ban on theraputic cloning. You should make your voice heard while there is still time.

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.com/webcasts.cfm

Vaccine for Degenerative Conditions on the Horizon?

Some interesting basic research on mechanisms of degenerative diseases is reported at EurekAlert. While one should always take such early-stage research with a grain of salt, it raises the possibility of a single therapy that would be effective against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, type II diabetes and CJD. Most of these are age-related conditions and all cause great suffering. Whole-body and brain degenerative conditions are of great concern to people who practice healthy life extension: organ replacement or other near-term regenerative medical breakthroughs are not effective treatments. Research on underlying causes and work towards effective therapies is therefore of great importance.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/uoc--tmm041403.php

Progeria Research May Shed Light on Aging

A heartening scientific success story in the making is reported by EurekAlert. Researchers have made great and rapid strides in discovering the cause and workings of progeria, a condition that appears to cause accelerated aging and early death. This sort of success story bears watching. It is exactly the sort of model for new, invigorated and successful research that could be repeated for the causes of aging itself. Modern research technology allows for rapid results: we should be pouring money into the fight against aging!

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/nhgr-iog041603.php

Okinawan Diet Concepts Making Progress

I always say that it's encouraging to see healthy life extension concepts showing up far and wide in the media. In this case, the Naples Daily News discusses the root causes of health and longevity reported to result from an Okinawan diet. It's worth noting that the Okinawan diet isn't anything special. It's a sensible, lower-calorie, balanced diet. It's the way most people should eat but don't, in other words. It's also worth noting that members of the CR Society argue that most beneficial effects of an Okinawan diet are due to the lower calorie intake.

Link: http://www.naplesnews.com/03/04/neapolitan/d911971a.htm

SAGE Crossroads on Calorie Restriction

The latest article over at SAGE Crossroads talks about calorie restriction (or "CR") at some length. As usual, they err far to the side of caution and central regulation. As someone who practices CR, I can say that it's neither hard nor torturous, as the article would have you believe. The article includes interesting mention of current medical research into drugs that would mimic the beneficial effects of CR. Quoteable quote: "studying CR -- and determining how it works -- is important because this intervention provides the most promising avenue of research on forestalling aging."

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.com/news.cfm

Florida Bans Theraputic Cloning

As reported in the Orlando Sentinal, the Florida legislature has criminalized theraputic cloning. This despite research under way at the University of Miami and the University of Florida that shows theraputic cloning might produce therapies to treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal-cord injuries, strokes, burns, heart disease and arthritis. What are these politicians thinking? In one quick debate, they have shut down vital, valuable, ongoing research that could lead to healthier, longer lives.

Link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-loccloning15041503apr15,0,82855.story

Confusion About Anti-Aging

An article from Betterhumans tells us of the staggering size and growth of the "anti-aging" market. I put it in quotes because almost none of this has anything to do with real, meaningful anti-aging medicine. It's mostly supplements, cremes, cover-ups and a large amount of snake oil on the margins. If even a fraction of the money in this market was spent on real research, who knows how far ahead we'd be by now in the fight against aging. Instead of throwing money at the symptoms, we should be aiming at the cause. Next time you are about to buy an "anti-aging" product, consider donating that money to a medical research fund instead. It will do you more good in the long run.

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-14-4

Confusion About Theraputic Cloning

An article at Reuters illustrates a state of self-induced confusion on the part of bioethicists and politicians. Needless to say it misses the obvious point by a country mile: banning theraputic cloning research will seriously damage the future health and longevity of everyone in this country. It's that simple. We want a better quality of life through regenerative medicine, so we must allow theraputic cloning to continue. I urge you all to contact your representatives to express your support for this research.

Link: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=2553052

Low Calorie Diets Work (Again)

If something is worth saying, it's worth saying twice. This piece from EurekAlert is more direct and to the point than the MSNBC article I posted a few days ago. Studies (and common sense!) indicate that getting yourself down to a healthy weight leads to a longer life with fewer medical problems. Added to that, we can tout the well-researched benefits of calorie restriction diets on health and longevity. Go and have a look today.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/sumc-srr040303.php

Oppose the European Stem Cell Ban!

We have put up a page here at the Longevity Meme to help Europeans like myself express their disappointment and anger at the recent vote to ban embryonic stem cell research by the European Parliament. Your voice will make a difference to the future of European medical research. Contact your MEPs today to express your displeasure with this vote. Take control of your future health and longevity!

Link: http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/oppose_the_european_stem_cell_ban.cfm

Science For Seniors

Science for Seniors is a good resource on medical research and the major age-related conditions (Alzheimer's, cancer, and so on). They have a good, solid, sensible outlook on anti-aging research: "Make no mistake, there's no Holy Grail, no Ponce De Leonic Fountain of Youth. Instead you have a group of very intelligent men and women in research labs, pharmaceutical companies and universities around the world, discovering new ways to maintain our health as we age."

Link: http://www.scienceforseniors.org/

European Parliament Votes to Ban Stem Cell Research

The BBC reports that MPs in the European Parliament have followed the US lead by voting to ban embryonic stem cell research. The BBC article contains a number of choice quotes from people who are disappointed and angered by this legislative stupidity. Stem cell research offers the prospect of true regenerative medicine, cures for currently incurable diseases and the hope of longer, healthier lives for all. One would hope that one day we can all look back on this sort of legislation as some sort of temporary insanity.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2932421.stm

UAMS Wins $5M For Basic Aging Research

As noted in Arkansas Business, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has received a sizable grant from the NIH for basic aging research. It's very true that we just don't know enough yet about aging. It's also worth pointing out that a mere $5 million grant in any mainstream medical research field would never merit a news article. It would be a drop in the bucket; this comparative lack of funding for fundamental aging research is a big problem.

Link: http://arkansasbusiness.com/news/headline_article.asp?aid=33711

Defining a Healthy 80-Something

A heartening article from Signs on San Diego on older health and the future of longevity. It is good to note that realistic, sober, practical discussion of the fight against aging is seen in more and more general interest articles on aging. This article concludes by noting that we should soon ask "how healthy is healthy at age 100?" That could be soon indeed if aging research were fully funded!

Link: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20030409-9999_mz1c9aged.html

Bailey on Kass

Ronald Bailey has another fascinating article on Leon Kass and the President's Council on Bioethics over at Reason Online. Kass' views are appalling and his policies will cause great suffering if carried out: he believes that you, I and everyone else should suffer and die young. It's amazing that anyone in this modern world could hold such views, much less become chairman of a bioethics council advising US government policy.

Link: http://www.reason.com/rb/rb040903.shtml

Low Calorie Diets Work

In this flurry of articles about weight and longevity, here is one on the efficacy of various diets from MSNBC. This is relevant in light of the airplay that "eat all you want of this type of food" diets like Atkins have been receiving recently. The simple answer is that low-calorie diets (such as calorie restriction) are the most effective. If you think about it, this is exactly what you'd expect: eat fewer calories, lose weight.

Link: http://www.msnbc.com/news/897376.asp?0dm=C15NH

A Longer Life, Revisited

The LEF News reprints a Canadian article on our increasing life expectancy. This is one of a number of similar articles that have appeared in the press in recent weeks, and it makes some good, sensible points. On health: "Longer life doesn't mean a prolonged dotage." On retirement: "People don't become instantly useless a day after their 65th birthday, he argued. Many remain productive well into old age."

Link: http://www.lef.org/news/aging/2003/04/02/eng-canadianp_national/eng-canadianp_national_173908_1016307841206080642.html

Reeve Speaks at Yale

The Yale Herald carries a short article on a talk Christopher Reeve gave to the Yale University Stem Cell Interest Group. This is a part of Reeve's ongoing advocacy of stem cell research and opposition to restrictive government legislation. This research holds the promise of cures for a wide range of conditions, including age-related problems and perhaps even therapies for aging itself. To quote: "Stem cells are the future of medicine, and that word needs to get out more." Remember that you can and should support Christopher Reeve through the Longevity Meme.

Link: http://www.yaleherald.com/article.php?Article=1990

Japanese Seek the Key to Longer Life

The Japanese are forging ahead in stem cell and other anti-aging research according to this article from the Washington Times. It has been suggested to me that countries like Japan and China are eagerly devoting resources to the aging problem as a result of a deep-rooted cultural respect for the elderly. It's certainly very good to see people working hard towards a cure for aging!

Link: http://washingtontimes.com/world/20030404-72315532.htm

Why Retire If You're Having Fun?

An article from ctnow.com discusses the trend of healthy, active, working seniors. This possibility for senior life comes as a result of advances in medicine and quality of life. We can expect to see this trend continue, and I for one look forward to it. Why quit when you're getting paid to have fun doing something that you love? We shouldn't settle for retirement and ill health when we could be out there advocating better anti-aging medicine and more research dollars for healthy life extension!

Link: http://www.ctnow.com/business/hc-workingto100.artapr07,0,522149.story?coll=hc-headlines-business

Canada Debating Theraputic Cloning Ban

The Western Catholic Reporter is one of the few outlets to talk about the effects of Canadian bill C-13 on theraputic cloning. The bill, currently under debate, is ostensibly to do with reproductive rights. However, it looks like it may end up banning all theraputic cloning research as well. This would be another blow to vital research seeking cures for age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinsons and cancer. I urge Canadians reading this to contact Health Minister Anne McLellan or your member of parliament and make your views known.

Link: http://www.wcr.ab.ca/news/2003/0407/government040703.shtml

Longevity Meme Site Redesign

As you may have noticed, the Longevity Meme is colorful and easier on the eyes as of today. We hope that you approve of our new look. We're always happy to hear any comments and suggestions that you may have. You might be interested in glancing at the new "start here" section, which provides a better introduction to the Longevity Meme than has previously existed on the site. If you encounter any problems with the new site, please do let us know.

Link: http://www.longevitymeme.org/

Lose Weight Now and Live Longer

This is a very straightforward and unambiguous study on weight, exercise and longevity as reported by Reuters. Being overweight will shorten your life. This is all the more reason to take up calorie restriction now! From the article: "These findings are exciting," Corrada and Paganini-Hill added, "because they suggest ways an individual can take control and extend his or her own life."

Link: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=2510248

Real Stem Cell Progress From Geron

Geron is powering ahead with stem cell research. As reported at Betterhumans, researchers have made demonstrable progress in showing that stem cell therapies can safely treat a number of age-related conditions. They look to be methodically following up on other research, deliberately aiming at the goal of real, working therapies. Go Geron!

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-03-5

Kass Criticized For Wrong Reasons

BioMed Central has an article that has been doing the rounds in recent days. Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics is being criticized for being outspoken. Not, you will note, for advocating cruel, luddite policies on medical research that will lead to suffering, ill-health and shorter lives for all of us. The rest of the Council votes with Kass. They are just as bad, even though they get fewer column inches in the press.

Link: http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030328/02/

Promising Alzheimer's Treatment

From Betterhumans, news of a treatment that slows and in some cases reverse the effects of Alzheimer's. Why is this important for life extension? Because the brain is the one organ we can't just patch up or replace using near-future regenerative medicine. Alzheimer's and other brain conditions are a real threat for everyone who plans to live long through anti-aging medicine.

Link: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-03-3

Lighten Up to Live Longer

There are a number of news items in circulation at the moment on the connection between your weight, health and lifespan. I thought I'd note one of the better, clearer articles (from PhillyBurbs.com). It's worth remembering that we must stay healthy in order to benefit from future anti-aging and regenerative medicine! Calorie restriction is your friend in this regard: look into it.

Link: http://www.phillyburbs.com/intelligencerrecord/article1.asp?F_num=1492705

Aging Debate at SAGE Crossroads

You can now download Windows Media audio files of two recent and very interesting debates on aging research and life extension from SAGE Crossroads. SAGE Crossroads has a cautious and pro-regulatory editorial stance, alas, but the debates speak for themselves. This medical research holds great promise, and should move forward. Anyone who reposts the interviews in a more friendly audio format should feel free to let us know.

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.net/webcasts_archive.cfm

Another Cancer Treatment Entering Trials

New Scientist reports on another very promising cancer treatment to enter trials next year. The current crop of potential cures for cancer are the end result of more than thirty years of intensive research, advocacy and funding. We can hope that present efforts lead us to the point of saying much the same about aging in decades to come.

Link: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993574

DHEA Strikes Out on Alzheimer's

DHEA is touted as an anti-aging supplement on the basis of a number of studies. (The Life Extension Foundation is a good place to find out more about this particular supplement. Do bear in mind that they are trying to sell to you, however). This story in ScienceBlog details a new study that seems to show DHEA to be ineffective in preventing Alzheimer's. More research needed here, I think.

Link: http://www.scienceblog.com/community/article1373.html