Grailsearch and the Myth of Death by Old Age

Pimm should be in your reading lists already, by virtue being a pro-healthy life extension blog written by a molecular biologist - someone actually working away on the core biotechnologies of tomorrow. I'm all for more visible evidence of the support within the life science and biotechnology communities for plausible, rapid progress towards far longer, healthier lives. A growing community of scientists discussing healthy life extension for a broader audience will make the job of raising public awareness and support for specific longevity research far less troublesome.

A couple of the recent posts over at Pimm are worth a second look:

Grailsearch.org: aging information from a systems biology perspective

Grailsearch is a “community web portal intended for use by biogerontologists, students of biogerontology, software engineers, biochemists or anyone else interested in working towards the search for systems solutions to the diseases of aging.”

[Grailsearch developer] Jim was interviewed at Pimm in November, 2006, and said that: “I have adopted life extension as a hobby. I now study microbiology, proteomics and molecular design about 20 hours per week and plan to guide the next 20-40 years of my career through bioinformatics and eventually into de novo drug design with an emphasis on aging solutions.”

The initial set of blog posts on the site seems really exciting for the multi-disciplined systems biologists of the future. As my point of view on indefinite life extension technology is systemic regenerative medicine, I am strongly committed to all the computational based large scale model approaches and quantitative aspects of the human body

Dying of old age: an unfounded myth?

“There is no compelling explanation for the cause of death in old but otherwise healthy humans, mice, worms or flies, or any other organism for that matter. The colloquial expression ‘dying of old age’ belies our knowledge of the biological basis of this event. ... Yet no hypothesis has emerged that yields a useful definition of dying of old age in terms of cell and tissue biology.

Everyone who grows physically old dies from some specific combination of events - but "old age" is a catch-all for our ignorance in the face of complexity and the unknown. Ideally, that situation would persist, as we have far better things to do with resources devoted to research than to understand the details of the final stages of life for the sake of accurate postmortem notation. Instead, we should be aiming to develop the medical technology to make becoming physically old, suffering and aging to death a choice rather than a fate set in stone.

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