From Around the Healthy Life Extension Blogosphere

Herein find a brace of items of interest from the healthy life extension community, starting with a call to action from the Methuselah Foundation:

Great Happenings and the Next Level

I am writing to you to relate some momentous developments at the Methuselah Foundation. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has generously pledged $3.5 million to our research effort over the next three years. $500,000 of this sum will be immediately put to use with a view to securing near-term validation of the SENS strategy. The remaining $3,000,000 is offered in the form of a matching grant - Mr. Thiel will contribute 50 cents for every $1 that we raise for SENS-related research. (Note that donations to the Mprize do not attract this matching money.)

The Methuselah Foundation is now transitioning from its start-up phase to becoming a fully operational scientific research organization. Researcher John Schloendorn at Arizona State University has just been awarded a scholarship in recognition of his original work under our LysoSENS initiative in identifying bacterial enzymes that are particularly effective in breaking down intracellular debris. At Cambridge University, doctoral student Mark Hamalainen has begun Methuselah Foundation-supported work on mitochondrial DNA. And I have identified several more promising research projects that we can start work on as soon as funding is in place.

Next, researcher Attila Chordash interviews himself as a part of his series of discussions with the healthy life extension community - you have to be completist to be competitive in the world of molecular biology.

The story of my life&extension commitment

I have a sharp memory about the formulation of the argument that led me to this “aim” conclusion: I, A.Cs. would like to become a good scientist, but I need 50 years for biology, 50 years for physics, 50 years for mathematics and so on…and the only way to achieve this is not concurrently but consecutively, so I need more time, a lot much more than my evolutionarily fixed biology allows me to expect.

I like this logic; it is a very rational approach to life. There simply isn't enough time to achieve even a modicum of what we might. In past decades, we would simply have to cut our ambitions down to size - to become less than ourselves, in other words, to accept limits we have no choice in. But we are entering an age in which we can do far better than that: we can say "first things first" and invest our previous time to create much, much more time - to build the technologies that will greatly extend our healthy life spans. We have eliminated so many of the crushing limitations that weighed down our ancestors, destroying their potential amidst suffering and hard labor for the simplest tasks. The defeat of degenerative aging is a very logical, economical continuation of this process. We stand facing the world and our present limitations, knowing that we can do better. And so we should.

On to a couple of commentary posts on recent science:

Aged Neural Stem Cells Divide Less

Replacement of aged stem cells by younger stem cells will some day be a core component of rejuvenation therapies. So how many neural stem cells will we need to replace in our hippocampuses? Some human brains weigh 1400 grams as compared to 2 grams for a rat.. The difference is approximately a factor of 700 (though human and rat brain sizes vary considerably). So if we could create 700 times 50,000 or about 35 million human neural stem cells and inject them into a human brain's hippocampus we should be able to make our aging brains act younger again.

Think about that. We know one of the causes of lower brain performance as we age: A very small portion of all brain cells gradually lose their ability to divide. That portion of brain aging is a problem that seems solvable within a couple of decades at most.

Calorie restriction slows immune system aging

These findings have significant clinical ramifications: Resistance to infection decreases over the lifespan, especially among the frail elderly (many of whom exhibit a dramatic increase in circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines, possibly originating in part from senescent memory T cells). Finding a means of boosting immune function in these individuals - e.g. by finding a CR mimetic compound that could trigger the T cell improvements observed in this primate study - could help turn decades of decrepitude and chronic illness into more robust “golden years” for millions of human beings.

Calorie restriction has been racking up the points of late - the outcome of greater funding for research. You should look into it; your future self of decades to come will thank you for it.

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