The Urge to Radical Life Extension

Those portions of the modern longevity community interested in bringing an end to aging and extending healthy human life span indefinitely tend to be the older portions, people who have been a part of the broader movement for quite some time. Newcomers tend to be more moderate, aiming at lesser goals. Perhaps this is a result of the successful projects, such as the SENS Research Foundation and Methuselah Foundation, tending to moderate their rhetoric as they attract a broader and larger base of support. I think that this road to moderation might be a problem, and that there is thus a continued role for those who loudly declaim that the goal is to control aging absolutely, via new medical technology, and that the natural consequence of that control is healthy, active, youthful life that extends for centuries or more.

If the goals that our movement works towards are broadly watered down from radical life extension of centuries to just adding a few more years, then marginal projects that can do no more than add a few more years will come to dominate the field to the exclusion of everything else. We are already more or less in this situation, in that that the vast majority of funding goes towards discovery and development of small molecules that tinker with the operation of an aged metabolism to make it a little more resilient to the underlying causes of aging. If that is all that is done, then we'll all age and die on basically the same schedule as our parents and grandparents. It will be a grand waste of opportunity, given that we have the knowledge and the means to do far better, such as by following the SENS agenda for rejuvenation biotechnologies based on repairing the root causes of aging.

This popular media article looks at a few of the people who do make no bones about aiming at radical life extension. It isn't terrible, thankfully, though it doesn't quite manage to escape the straitjacket of conformity, the author suggesting that it is somehow strange to want to live for a long time in good health, or strange to want to avoid a slow, crumbling, painful death. There is no present status quo so terrible that it will not have its defenders, and for whatever reason the status quo of aging and suffering and omnipresent death and loss are aggressively defended. But setting that aside, the article manages to capture the present state of development and the viewpoints of its subjects quite well, which is a change over past years of media attention.

How to live forever: meet the extreme life-extensionists

In 2016, an American real-estate investor named James Strole established the Coalition for Radical Life Extension, a nonprofit based in Arizona which aims to galvanise mainstream support for science that might one day significantly prolong human life. Standards in modern medicine are allowing us to live longer now than ever before. But that is not Strole's concern. What good are a few more measly years? He is interested in extending life not by days and weeks, but by decades and even centuries, to the degree that mortality becomes optional - an end to The End. He isn't alone. Life extensionists have become a fervent and increasingly vocal bunch. Famously, the community includes venture capitalists and Silicon Valley billionaires, non-gerontologists all, and nearly all men, who consider death undesirable.

The current life-extensionist strategy is twofold. First, achieve a "wellness foundation," Strole says. Second, stay alive until the coming gerontological breakthrough. All that is required is to "live long enough for the next innovation," and presuming you do, "You can buy another 20 years." Twenty years here, 20 years there, it all adds up, and suddenly you're 300. This is a common view. Last year the British billionaire Jim Mellon, who has written a book on longevity, titled Juvenescence, said: "If you can stay alive for another 10 to 20 years, if you aren't yet over 75 and if you remain in reasonable health for your age, you have an excellent chance of living to more than 110." To most, 110 seems a modest target. Why not forever? "It's not some big quantum leap," Strole says, by way of explanation. He invokes the analogy of a ladder: "step by step by step" to unlimited life. In 2009 the American futurist Ray Kurzweil coined a similar metaphor, referring instead to "bridges to immortality".

Aubrey de Grey, a serious scientist, considers life extension a health issue, which is perhaps the field's most convincing argument. Gerontologists are not hoping to end death, he says. Instead, "We're interested in people not getting sick when they get old." No matter how much society rails against the concept of immortality, nobody really wants to suffer through Alzheimer's, or suddenly fall foul of cardiovascular disease. Gerontology is the act of developing treatments for age-related diseases, de Grey argues - of reducing the causes of death, not death itself. "The benefits of living longer are not the point. The benefits are not having Alzheimer's disease." For de Grey, indefinite life is a by-product, not a goal.

Are we anywhere near to a breakthrough? So far, research has produced modest yields. Gerontologists speak prophetically of potential, but most warn a significant human development remains somewhere far off in the distance - almost in sight but not quite. Richard Hodes, the director of the National Institute of Aging, a US government agency, told me that, though research in animals has led to "dramatic increases in lifespan", some of them multi-fold, "There has been far less quantitative effect as those models have moved towards mammalian species." The biologist Laura Deming, who in 2011 established the Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm that supports "high-potential longevity companies", told me that startups continue to successfully root out biological markers of ageing - inefficient cells, mitochondrial decline - but that, in humans, "We really don't know right now what will work and what won't."

Much of gerontology focuses on identifying types of damage that accumulate with age and developing ways to halt or reverse that accumulation. It has been discovered, for example, that as we grow older, certain cells become senescent and harmful but nevertheless stick around, getting in the way like comatose guests at the end of a house party. Removing those cells have helped mice have longer, healthier lifespans. Similar forms of genetic engineering have been successful in other animal models. But to reach the mainstream, gerontologists must convince government agencies to support human adoption, a complicated and long-winded task, given the general view that death is a normal human process.

Comments

Reading the article, it's the first time I read about someone receiving death threats for being an advocate of life extension O_o

Posted by: Antonio at June 24th, 2019 4:17 PM

If I weren't so accustomed to this kind of media coverage, I would be quite annoyed by the identification of the life extension advocates with the supplement fanboys.

Posted by: Antonio at June 24th, 2019 4:55 PM

Yes the article is definitely a lot better than usual. I was waiting for the author to delve into the usual overpopulation and other usual objections.

Posted by: Jim at June 25th, 2019 2:22 AM

Hi there! Just a 2 cent. I read it too and was also stunned about the person receiving these menacing threaths; in the article I think they meant in 'the 1970s USA..back then'...he received them then as a young man in his 20s. Today, nearly 50 years later...it would have reduced considerably just guessing (and hoping) 50 years/half a century, people would have had time to acclimitize to this possibility of lonfer lifespan and stop calling him 'the devil' (as in the article), this means he was facing people 'from the south' probably that are more religious and see lifespan extension like an aberation of god, so that's why they called him so (for them you 'must' be mortal, as it says so in bible)..and sure, there might be still some people who will utter these threats at people for - daring 'to wanting live longer'.

''How do you dare...to not want to die. We all die (and want so). Bible says so. (thus it must be true (for everyone))''....

And it's interesting because it's mostly atheist would be more into longevity, and why today, as the church as reduced drastically since 1960s...it is a more permissive environment. You won't be called the devil for wanting to live longer and stop suffereing of aging/and dying.

But for some people - still today - this is aberation of 'the natural order'....they Don't think in terms of biology..they think in terms of religion, society benefit and 'Ethics'...always ethics.
Biology is not even on their mind. Small wonder why not so hot on lifespan extension.

And, not just that, now you have people (mostly ethicists) who wage war and even add religious people to their side...and like in this article...the flabbergasting line:

''How could you want to live to 180 years old''.....(I fell off my chair/was thrown). So, this means people just accept 'health' imrpovement and don't give about ultra-long lifespan; don't care. It's sad...but they will say: ''You are entitled riched selfish 'billionaire' of 30-40 years old wanting to live forever''....not seeing the so flagrant 'elephant in the room' - they too die, one day. We all agree to that, it's just they like it much quicker/don't care. They even think 180 is too long...yes 180 is long...but is..it really Really? I don't think so...not when death is eternity long. We should have a choice to decide when live or die...they Don't want you to Have a choice -they want the society To Decide For You / Your Life...because it's 'the majority'...and you are just a selflish 'one' individual..not caring of other (nonaltruistic). Which is so untrue..because we wish it For Everyone..that's how messed up their arguments are and 'run in circles' circular 'back to square 1/circle 1) logic. Want health span - but want death. It's so sad to read. The human vestigial 'order of things' is still very strong - you must age and must die one day...be replaced...rinse repeat. Maybe,, just maybe one day, lifespan extension - drastic would happen and it could turn an esoteric thing/fought against..or become celebrated for all and these people will 'jumpship' decide that..altogether...

they don't want to die (neither/change of idea/suddenly..they've seen enough people die in their family/life..it's sufficient..no more).

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 25th, 2019 2:50 AM

Radical messaging demonstrably does not work hence the swing to more moderate language. A few years is a poor goal but talking sbout centuries scares the shit out of the publuc. Better leaving it open ended and simply say longer and healthier lives. This message works for us and its important to walk the line between veing taken seriously and called a crackpot. Some people in the community are absolutely too moderate though for sure.

Posted by: Steve Hill at June 25th, 2019 4:49 AM

Hi everyone, just some thoughts.
Well, as I see it, people are not yet aware, or they don' t realize the true potential of radical rejuvenation therapies, and besides being disapointed about it, I can "understand" their point of view. We can't deny that for someone that is not interested in the subject (yes my friends, there are a lot of people that never heard anything about it :( )well, for those, it may be quite scary, not even in a religious way, to think otherwise suddenly, when most of the people in their 50s are thinking about retirement. We can't expect them to happily embrace the idea of staying in the work force for another 20, 40 or indefinite years ( just one aspect of all it will change, marriage, relationships...)
I think the transition from skepticism to beliving is going to be ( or will be) more natural for humanity, but it doesn't mean slowly. Something inherent to human beings is how fast get used to something ( something we see as good, that we like or that make our lives easier or better) like technology. In just 5-10 years we became completely dependent on wifi, or like medical advances that we got for granted, like antibiotics or a catheterization after a heart failure. The next technology/ breaktrough will be adopt for humanity in a shorter period of time that the previous one. So when the first therapies prove themselves to be sucesful ( not even radical), when some people benefit from avoiding arthritis, or sarcopenia, or cognitive decline, people will demand them, and we will climb the steps on the ladder much faster, esponentially. We must let it happend at the right time ( that I do belive will be faster and faster ), and do our best transmitting the goods of rejuvenation therapies to people, with empathy, if we want to change their point of view and have them take us seriously. And like this, probably, every new "beliver" will be an advocate of the cause ( and the cause needs as many advocates as it could get).
(Sorry for my English, it is not my first language).

Posted by: Bet at June 25th, 2019 5:49 AM

Religion and phony "bioethics" are the biggest fear we have, in the long run. Or religious extremists, I should say.

I think they believe that life extension technology somehow competes with their message of "everlasting life in heaven".

Posted by: Brett Mack at June 25th, 2019 7:58 AM

I deserve a longer, a 2nd chance, life. I spent my youth winning the cold war and didn't start a family until I was in my late 30's. Now, in my late 50's, I've figured things out and want 10 more kids. I'm focused on it and baby crazy. The Methuselah Foundation web page says "Making 90 the new 50 by 2030". I'll be 70 in 2030, so I'm assuming that will be the new 40, giving me plenty of time to do my part to solve the demographic collapse of the West.

I currently spend ~$100/month on supplements to minimize my interaction with the Medical Industrial Complex (zero in most years) and optimize my health and longevity. A message to big pharma: I'd gladly spend $2K/month to extend my healthspan indefinitely. You want my money? Make it happen.

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at June 25th, 2019 12:47 PM

Tom you can have life extension or 10 kids but not both. Fewer children is the trade off for living longer.

As for the state of the field, I view it more like the war on Cancer from the early 70s. The idea was we would get a cure for cancer, that never happened.

However that doesn't mean that you are no better off in 2019, with cancer, than 1970. Treatments have imprived massively, it is all small steps, incremental improvement.

Life extension medicine will be the same. I doubt we will get one miracle breakthrough. It will be small gains that tackle one aspect of ageing after another.

Like the wst on cancer, which started in the 70s, I think we are looking at a similar time scale, minimum, for any real progress.

At the moment the best advice is healthy diet and exercise. That is our state of the art anti ageing treatment. Supplements are worthless snake oil.

Posted by: Bartlebe at June 25th, 2019 1:57 PM

Of course there are two separate issues to contend with. The first is whether life extension for a complex mammal like ourselves is possible. Assuming it is, the speed of development of treatments doesn't depend on science but economics.

At the moment such technology is risky and unproven. No-one knows if it will work, how regulators will react or what the market is. That is why the first treatment to market is vital, even if it only offers a few extra years.

If it sells, the funding floodgates will open. A successful profitable treatment will have the major drug companies and investors piling in. Billions spent on research will speed things up no end, over the millions spent today.

So in away it is right to go for easy wins as a proof of concept, to get the research funding for the big wins.

Posted by: Bartlebe at June 25th, 2019 2:11 PM

Bartlebe: "you can have life extension or 10 kids but not both. Fewer children is the trade off for living longer." Say's who? Says the depopulation malthusians? Try to stop me. People across the West are waking up to the malthusian's attempts to slow progress of the West with their de-population schemes. The solar system has enough resources for quadrillions of well off people before we begin populating the billions of planets (attached to stars or not) of the galaxy. That is the glorious future we can create in the next 1,000 years.

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at June 25th, 2019 2:39 PM

Before we get to the stars we have to get off the planet. It takes a lot of energy to get off this rock (that's why Van Neumann probes make a lot more sense for asteroid mining). The golden age of superabundance is not here yet and there may be some pretty rough periods until it gets here (*if* it gets here). Waiting a few decades should not be a problem for someone if they are absolutely certain they will live for millennia. Also, we are almost now at a point when we can modify our own genomes at will, so thankfully no more 'choose your parents wisely' conundrum, at least in terms of genetic stock.

Posted by: CD at June 25th, 2019 4:59 PM

@Bartlebe

Having 10 kids is possible even today. If you can be in good professional health till 100 you can love on a state of a permanent parent with 2 kids. Of course, not many will choose to do so. In fact, if you have the expectation to be young indefinitely you might decide to postpone having kids until you are much older like 100. Or 200.

Probably, we can even have population reduction for to accidents and suicide which might become the leading cause of death. In 100 years we will have the economic means to result feed and provide a nice lifestyle for twice as many people as there are currently living. but probably the doubling will take much longer.

@CD

Having a lifespan of hundreds of years makes planning and executing an interstellar probe possible even weight 0.5 to 2% of the speed of light. Sorry sails cold be used to accelerate and slow down there probe. At 1% c. Sending a probe to proxima Centaurus would take some 450 years. Plus 4 years for the signal to travel.
Visiting the closest stars in person would require much more advances and quite a determination. Say at 10 percent of the speed of light. Still possible and doable for humans living hundreds if years. Even many simple infrastructure projects require an attention span over many decades. There's a reason we don't see protect timelines longer than 30 years. Mortgages are usually capped at 35...
Long story short, a lot of things will become feasible with longer, even without other scientific breakthroughs...

Posted by: Cuberat at June 25th, 2019 9:42 PM

@Steve Hill: Yes but what was considered radical messaging 15-20 years ago isn't so radical anymore because people have become accustomed to exponential technological progress - two decades ago no one would have believed smartphones were even possible.

In my opinion we threw in the towel way too soon. All this nonsense about increasing healthspan while dying more or less on schedule (because the older you are the faster time goes, which means that a gain of 10 years will mean little to an octogenarian) is really depressing. Currently old people accept death because they are so frail and weak that all activity becomes closed off to them.

But can you imagine the psychological pain that a strong and healthy 80 year old who is enjoying life to the max will endure knowing that his body will soon pack up? Paradoxically, increased healthspan without radical (by which I mean at the very least 50 years) life extension will INCREASE humanity's suffering. And I think that even if few amongst the general public can articulate this feeling, most sense it. Hence people's lukewarm - at best - attitude to life extension as it is marketed today.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 12:47 AM

Sorry partially off topic here, but does anybody know why the vast majority of life extensionists seem to be men? Or is it just this forum? (I think I am pretty much the only regular female poster here) Because if it isn't, the current message is missing half the world's population.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 12:54 AM

@ Barbara T, I wondered the same thing myself. I think it must have something to do with motherhood, and giving your body/youth up for children (and also menopause). Men like me never have to make that choice in the same way as women do. To get mothers on side we'll have to really have some good rejuvenation treatments, such that the female body can fully revert to pre birth and certainly pre-menopause state.

Posted by: Mark at June 26th, 2019 3:19 AM

My experience has been a lot of hostility towards women from some males (often among the most vocal) in the life extensionist community. I've been on forums where female users show up, offer interesting contributions, then suddenly disappear - so I expect they have experienced the same.

Some women have been brainwashed to think that wanting things for themselves is inherently selfish (to me it isn't if you are not taking from someone else) and will not admit publicly to wanting rejuvenation; ever hear of 'beauty secrets' - they are 'secrets' for a reason.

Posted by: CD at June 26th, 2019 10:39 AM

@Barbara T: Not sure. Maybe it's because generally in tech/science/futuristic forums men are the vast majority. I didn't see any special hostility towards women in the LE community. I do think that flame wars are more frequent here (and generally in tech/geek forums) than in forums for more popular topics. So posters need to have a more heavy mental armor, so to speak, and don't be easily intimidated.

Posted by: Antonio at June 26th, 2019 11:37 AM

@Antonio - I object to the assertion that women are more easily intimidated or lack mental armour. What a stereotype! I don't know what the actual problem is, but either way the fact that women aren't on board or are disinterested means that the there is something seriously wrong with the message - radical or otherwise - since it is ignored by 50% of the human race.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 11:55 AM

By hostility I mean posts specifically denigrating women as a group. Ironically, even discussions of 'why women don't participate' devolve into denigrating women as a group.
~
@Barbara T.
You are not the only regular poster here who is female.
~
@cuberat
There are time frames to be considered. In the near to mid-term, literally getting off the rock - into orbit - is quite energetically costly and not feasible to do for large numbers of people. Then there's that whole spewing more carbon into the atmosphere thing - which will kill us all (and by 'us' I mean all humans and pretty much everything else except perhaps for tardigrades and some bacteria) if we don't figure out a way to deal with it soon. Of course, getting to the 'gee whiz' technological state will require both more know how and resources such as rare 'Earth' metals which can be obtained from asteroids, or so I'm told. A PBS Spacetime video said there are already companies developing von Neumann probes for this purpose. Once the singularity is here, then pretty much by definition all bets are off as to where that will take 'us'* - literally and figuratively.
* (post-singularity 'humans' may not bear much resemblance to 'us')

Posted by: CD at June 26th, 2019 12:11 PM

PS:

Just a 2 cents.

Hi CD! Just a 2 cents. Tardigrades/Water Bears are incredible indeed and tell us much; they make me think of NMRs (Nakes more rats...well you could call Tarrdigrades Naked Tardigrades/Water bear too). The main mechanism for them is oxidtive stress resistance - they are hardy, Hardy Bears...they emulate what happens with C.elegans whom oxidative stress resistance - about equal to a tardygrade. And also, a Naked Mole Rat. The difference is they may survive in dead space ..in space because of mechanisms of 'protein preservation' and a bit like dessication/amino acid antiracemization/antihydrolysis. They activate tons of anoxic genes taht turn the body into a crystal and dauer state - a bit like 'vitrification' by liver cryo liquid in frozen toads and reptiles...crocodiles can be frozen a full winter in an ice cube..and in the summer they 'melt' and 'relive again'. Tardygrades share those same mechanism.
I hope too that we can 'get off the rock' but I realize it might be too early as other said, it takes certain decades to 'put it in place'..and 'then leave'...it might be in 2100s..before we Really have a colony on moon or mars..or wherever...will be around still? The closest we got now is NASA making missions and billionaires like Elon Musk preparing it for real..(with their billions of dollars 'at work', not so selfish, it's the billionaires who will take place first..obviously, their dough...but thyey make a great service to humanity - by advancing progress; it's always bout money, and time; money = time = money).

I think that the reason that women are less/disappear from forums about longevity extension may be due to a strong male 'lead' about this...women can lead of course..not denying that..but as some said, the large pool are male (and billionaires, like Musk, are dudes) and 'go getters hustler 'competitor' sort of...it's a male trait (with 'success'/money), that does not mean there are no billionaire woman (some are more competitive (a generalized 'male trait'...not to generalize/stereotype (but generalizing a lil bit) than supportive female trait)..there are extremely rich- but what are their endeavor...oftenly a bit less....like society advancement but what about aging/death/....that falls more in male domain...and ok I'll be honest...certain men (and woman) are very selfish...you need a little bit of that..it's ego thign..male ego..fragile. (I'm male) and success is closely tied to the ego/indivdualism; not to say selfish..I would not say Musk is selfish...he is trying to help - yea sure..it's 'Him' first who will go to mars...obviously. It's not selfish per say...so it's why when I here : ''Just another spoiled selfish man 30-40y with billions of dollars''...I am not agreeing totally, and I take a step back and look myself in mirror (not selfishly/narcissistically..but ...I know I'm not alone...everyone is looking themselves in the mirror, so it has to be communal effort/helping everyone to defeat aging and.. some people have more means (Musk $$$ billionaire dudes and billionaire women)...etc they will help us reach the next tech progress...if they do realize their imperativity of using their money to change humanity - instead of dying rich. (smart money/money smarts, make dollars count because time is counted) dollar use/creation per minute (animals that burn the fuel live longer if they have more of these resources - burn those resources when aplenty, not missing any). For, me only, I rather be poor and alive then rich and gone.

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 26th, 2019 2:47 PM

@Barbara T: Stereotype or not, by my experience, women tend to avoid conflict more frequently than men. They try to not engage in a fight or try to solve the conflict in a different way. That, of course, is only a general trend, it doesn't mean that all people are so (for example, my girlfriend is way more agressive than me).

"the fact that women aren't on board or are disinterested means that there is something seriously wrong with the message"

Well, more than 90% of primary school teachers are women and more than 80% of nurses are women (at least here in Spain). Does that mean that there is something seriously wrong with nursery or primary school?

Posted by: Antonio at June 26th, 2019 5:53 PM

The current anti aging movement started as a geek thing. And women tend to be senecent underrepresented among geeks. Now why aren't women being recruited in is a whole different question.

Posted by: Cuberat at June 26th, 2019 6:50 PM

@Antonio: Well, whether women - or in fact anyone - need a "mental armour" to be on longevity fora is a matter of opinion. In mine, the problem is that women just aren't interested, and that's because life extensionists (historically mostly male) don't seem to notice or care that their message doesn't stick.

What I really don't understand though is your nursing and teaching comparison... what is your point?

Again, what I meant is that the way the life extension message is currently packaged, which is the topic of the OP, is less than ideal if it doesn't get through to half of the world's population.

All these worries about making sure that it isn't too radical for some while 50% of voters are still treated as an afterthought. Without the intent of stirring up controversy here, I do believe that the field is seriously machista - to everybody's eventual detriment.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 6:54 PM

@Cuberat: But that was exactly my question... predicated on the observation that by the look of it the message isn't getting through.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 6:57 PM

@Barbara T, I'm a woman and very much interested in these subjects. I don't comment mainly because I know nothing about medicine, chemistry or biology and English isn't my first language, but I really appreciate the site and all the comments.

Posted by: mcmp at June 26th, 2019 7:18 PM

@Barbara T.
It means the anti aging concept has to be completed for in front of many groups. For the time being it was pushed to the microbiology and gerontology researchers. Now we need a grassroots movement for the general population.

Posted by: Cuberat at June 26th, 2019 7:28 PM

@mcmp

Reason does a very fine job of keeping track of the latest research and state of the art theories.

As for being less active on the forum, well , you might try explaining the concepts in front of your friends, instead. After all, we will see soon human results. For now there are fisetin (skin, anti-inflammatory), quercetin (neuropritector), NAD+( helps with hair, and skin. There are rapamycin, metformin, and Dasatinib, which require prescription and are dangerous but seem to work( those I would not recommend yet, though).

Posted by: Cuberat at June 26th, 2019 7:45 PM

@most of the commenters above: while women in STEM are still the minority, women with a PhD in biological and biomedical sciences (which is what counts the most here) are the majority:

https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem/

@mcmp, yes but:

1) I am a social scientist, reason for which I never comment on sciency stuff either, apart from topics I trained in like demography and public health. Fact is, there is a dearth of women on the advocacy side of the life extension movement, here and all over the internet. What this suggests is that it's the common jane that doesn't take to the idea, not the female scientist, who is in fact well represented in the field.

2) There must be lots of men who also prefer to read without commenting like you. I am just looking at the visible ratios on this and other fora, and while I don't know the actual f/m proportion since some people use acronyms and pseudonyms, it is pretty evident that the discourse is dominated by men.

Therefore, since there is no intrinsic reason why women should be happier to die of old age than men, the advocacy message is far from being as effective as it should.

There's worry about antagonising joe bloggs with promises of ungodly amounts of extra life, but not much ado about the fact that, by and large, women's response to the message is lukewarm. Massive, massive missed opportunity.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 8:28 PM

@CD: "Ironically, even discussions of 'why women don't participate' devolve into denigrating women as a group." Indeed.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 8:29 PM

PPS: Just a 2 cents. I'm just talking, for myself, as a dude...but I greatly appreciate the women's comments and views/opinions; it's important, both genders die (a very 'captain obvious' statement). But, as is being said, there seems to be a certain clash between women 'voicing' their opinions online about lifespan extension...they Should do it, it would broaden and let us hear divergent povs; which is good because, as said, we all die, both gendesr; it concerns us all and we need Everybody - irrespective of gender, creed, country etc...as long you want to defeat aging/death (and not go ethical awol on us continuously) - we want to know more and thus if people rally to the cause, we'll defeat it; but not alone (impossible). We are very much aware of ethical issues, but time ticks...tick tock tick tock. THen oneday. no more tick tock.

Still, it seems, as is suggested, that there may be a certain pervading stereotype going on and, thus, would partly explain why women would shy away from more participation in aging/lifespan extension. And, women themselves, may think the stereotype is true (believing it 100%, and even placebo effect) and make it continue/unknowingly (or knowingly) perpetuating it. It happens with 'roles'...you fit your role...gender roles...female role, male role. From very young age, it's decided what role you from your biological gender (sexual organ/hormones)/your parents instill you (though later dependinn on sexual orientation this may affect your gender role/even your gender (changing/swithc gender operation).

It may be possible that women just not being interested in longevity (either thinking is for nerds/geeks - mostly male again...so there are 'images' stereotypes that linger...and affect millions of people and affect their notions/pre-conceived notions/bias...about what gender is someone suppose to be if they like lifespan extension.
Women have high education and thus, there are many health-related jobs occupied by women...and in science too...but there may be a stereotype that the bio 'lab jobs' etc...are mostly male - this affects every women down the line...if not enough come forward.. they all believe it 'it must be true'...taht it's just men there....again stereotypical. But stereotypes linger, long. And then, like a self-fulfiling prophecy or self-placebo...people believe them and they become/true.

Cuberat had a good point in earlier msg...that it may related to women - and reproduction...pregnancy; some women may feel that there is not real reason 'to want to live longer'...they don't care...once they had their children...yes their clock ticks down..like a man's...but it seems there is this strong effect on women (Biological clock ticking..menopause) and because men have adropause so late..but women after having children...it's almost a very 'sefless' act...like I have 'birthed'...I have made the humanity survive, I did my purpose on earth...and now I want to age gracefuly near my beautiful children..but I do not want to Outlive my childern..I want to die before them.

It's a parent's mind...fathers can think that too of course, but men 'have children' but 'don't birth'...like woman...pregrancy may affect the perceptions of women...there may be a clash between 'single women - no kids' and 'women/mothers/single mothers/with kids'...it'S the balance between work and family...but some single women are more career driven...and they may decide to have different perception and will want - No Children. But will, instead, want a Very Long Life. So, again, this is the whole individual vs collective thing (individualism vs altruism). But mothers or single women can Both by in lifespan extension..but, like Cuberat said, this aspect they make certain women see it as 'I want to live healty..and die besides my husbad...one day...'...there is less thought to own mortality...and just WAnting to die...So to end, there may be certain women, that sadly, continue this 'laissez-faire' and just don't care..don'T want..had kids..had enough..don't take it seriously...not afraid to die...
0 interest in ultra-longevity, just nice life (.and even when Other Women try to convince them they Too mater/should want to live longer)...that'S not helping for sure. And, hence, not so many women on longevity websites. (we have to Have the Will/Bother...Want to live; no one can force you/change your mind, it comes from inside; if certain women see no point, it is such; from the other side, we have to double efforts to convince more women, especially, skeptical ones and not bothering/hating the Male vibe on these websites - the other women must come out and show them, to change their mind).

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 26th, 2019 9:36 PM

@CANanonymity: If women were more invested in their children than men, they would have an even greater incentive to support radical life extension, since that would stop the kids from dying. As a woman I can assure you that we aren't any keener on kicking the bucket than men. The problem is with the way the message is crafted, as it doesn't reach and/or resonate with and/or convince a huge swath of the female population. It's a marketing issue.

Case in point, this thread is snowed under with patronising stereotypes about women: we don't get it because we are nurturing, selfless breeders (by the way, the one self proclaimed "baby crazy" poster is a man), or non-confrontational shrinking violets.

No wonder the male-dominated life extension community speaks Greek to us. Yikes.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 10:51 PM

@Barbara T.
I think that until now the main lobbying and promotional efforts were towards the scientific community. But now the time is ripe to broaden the scope. Here we basically preach to the choir and we exchange thoughts on the bleeding edge experimentation. There might be many good or bad reasons why this or that group gravitates towards specific outlets and platforms. There are historical reasons that SENS and the whole anti-aging concept is lumped together with the singularity, exponential growth and research, computers and geeks. And some of the geeks are antisocial and can scare away the normal people.

FA is a low volume and a low scale blog. There are a couple of dozens comments per day, at most. So it might be rather that the size is small and it is not representative enough to draw final conclusions. And even this small community managed to attract a couple of trolls, spammers, or outright crackpots. I, for example, try to stay civil, as I find no point of insulting , trolling, and rather prefer to not distract Reason and the visitors from working on the anti aging. Some of us prefer to remain anonymous to avoid writing lengthy legal disclaimers and involve employers legal or HR department. And I have a very liberal shortage to the grammar and orthography, for example.

What really matters now how the ideas can be disseminated to wider groups. That we bring a critical mass for political and financial support. Either by votes or even direct benefactors.

Posted by: Cuberat at June 26th, 2019 11:17 PM

@CD "Ironically, even discussions about why women don't participate devolve into denigrating women as a group

Agreed. Because a lot of men can't stop themselves from attributing the fact that they don't speak up to insulting generalizations. BarbaraT asked a simple question and for that, the backlash has been severe.

I work for a fortune 100 company. Guess what. Seventy two percent of women in positions of leadership site backlash as the number one reason why they do not speak up in meetings. I am wondering right now if BarbaraT will be willing to speak up again at this forum after such insulting remarks toward women and the comments that make women feel unwelcome to comment when they do.

As an aside perhaps a lot of women do not comment because:
1. Most people who are interested in aging research are older
2. This site is scientific
3. Most women who sought a science degree 30 years ago were summarily drummed out of the field by the men who ran the science departments

As an example: When I was getting my masters degree I had to sit through slide presentations with beaver shots in them (hilarious) and watched the head of our department grab one of the female student by the belt and suck her belly into his mouth. My thesis advisor, who was about 60 pounds overweight, used to come to our thesis meetings with nothing on but a Speedo. Good times. And that's nothing compared to the patronizing and discouraging attitude of the professors.

#timesup guys. Have some respect.

Posted by: KTR at June 26th, 2019 11:32 PM

@Barbara T.

Not only women are not keen on dying but they have to have the issues of aging much earlier than the men. The mens fertility declines with age but doesn't go completely South after 40. It is socially acceptable for me to look older or uglier than women, and so on. So it is not about the need, but, as you said , it is a question if marketing and promotion. Let's face it. Abrey has negative charisma at first sight. So it takes the mental and not emotional processing to accept his ideas. For the broader audience it stops there.

Posted by: Cuberat at June 26th, 2019 11:33 PM

@Cuberat: women don't age faster than men, quite the opposite. Starting from precisely the age you cite, 40, their age-specific death rates are lower than men's, reason for which they end up living longer. Across genders, fertility isn't a measure of aging - mortality is.

And beyond stats:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-10-women-age-slower-men.html

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190204172217.htm

Also, what's the obsession with women's reproductive potential on this thread? This is a longevity forum, not an endocrinologist's office.

Finally, about the fact that it's more socially acceptable for men to look old: that's what men desperately want to believe. Young women don't think old men are hot. They either like their personality (just as a young man can like an older woman's personality) or their wallet.

All I've read today is an avalanche of sexist untruths and stereotypes... sigh. If this is a measure of the anti-aging community's attitude to women, I now understand why they give it a wide berth.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 26th, 2019 11:59 PM

@KTR "I am wondering right now if BarbaraT will be willing to speak up again at this forum after such insulting remarks toward women and the comments that make women feel unwelcome to comment when they do." Oh, no worries about that :-)

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 12:11 AM

"What I really don't understand though is your nursing and teaching comparison... what is your point?"

That you say that the problem must be in the message instead of other explanations like women are less interested in LE than men or less interested in following the day-to-day research news or less interested in discussing here, etc. So I showed you two examples where there is nothing wrong with the field/topic or the way it's communicated but nevertheless one sex is the overwhelming majority.

Posted by: Antonio at June 27th, 2019 1:02 AM

Hi Barbara! Thanks for that. Just a 2 cents.

I mostly doubled down on what was said, in trying to answer your question; I apologize if some of the stuff I said was patronizing. I am of this same idea...that women Should want to live longer...I wish it for them....but the point was simply that, some women, though not meaning you specifically, may feel like a certain 'aging/menopause/pregnancy/reproduction' affects their perception; so they may say things that you and I are like - Huh? It's almost flooring (like you said..if they really cared more in their children they would care more about lifespan extension because their children would live longer lives, thus, logically, they would Want lifespan extension)...but/alas, some women may not see a point to lifespan extension (still even after you told them that :'' Don't you want your children to live longer - and you too?'' (like I spoke to women in my family and I could see that sometimes it was very 'laissez-faire'..kind of like 'forget about it..not happening - we are dying - that'S happening') and why, not coming here. That'S understandable, but since there are not many...then it can mean either they hate the male overepresentation (do not feel welcome) or they don't know/understand/care about lifespan extension - even if we explained to them (And same thing goes for men too who think lifepan extension is bs and think 180 is too long) Goes both ways.

It could be possible that the message is not getting through/clearly to women...and so they are a bit in the dark about it or are intimated as was said by others (like this site is scientific...biomumbojombo)
but...also, some people, are in denial (both genders). To end, from the stuff you read, you realize quickly that many (people on street/regular people online/people not into this) think that it's all bs and as such, they think lifespan extension is nice (like supplements and skin beauty therapies) but most think it's not going to happen - and Even if it does - many don'T care and just want 'healthspan', they don't want to suffer of diseases...but when talking of lifespan extension..that'S it you're a crackpot. We have to be modest...but tomorrow 'eternal life on a silver plate'...wouldn't take it. Thus, it'S the Will inside - you have the Will to Live/Want to Live - Go Get It/Survive - inform yourself online - With Men thrown in. It must come from them/inside, you have value life More and yeah it's not perfect...nothing is. But that'S what we got right now/and we hope to improve things, if women come and talk.

Just a 2 cents.

PS: I also didn't want to sound like 'because women make kids (are 'done')/are supportive flowers...etc' they can't want lifespan extension for themselves..or something I didn't mean it like that; I very much understand that women, like men, would want to live longer lifespan; like any human (and that is something I wish for them) but certain women may not see it that way (and do not care). We can't speak for everybody, there are so many different people with different views (which is great), but some of them are not interested in lifespan extension; it's possible a larger percentage of them may be women. Let's hope, as you said, that the marketing message reaches women better and this could see an increase of interest by women - and they will come and men will try to improve to make them more welcome.
If it wasn't for women and their great inventions we would be so behind...like Cynthia Kenyon, Elizabeth Parrish, just to name a few...these specific women show that it's possible for women to integrate highest position and most skilled/educated..and want to live long lifespan...these women, did it, by wanting it/improving lives of people/biology/gerontology/science. Other women may not be as 'go getter' but we must convince them, as these specific conveyed, that there is a place/welcome in the domain, despite it being mostly male.

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 27th, 2019 1:28 AM

Barbara T said: "with a PhD in biological and biomedical sciences (which is what counts the most here)"

I don't think so. If you look at the fathers of the movement, like Ettinger, Drexler, the Chamberlains, de Grey, etc. and also the first advocates, that created the first forums and blogs... they didn't come from the biological or biomedical fields but from mathematics, computing, physics and engineering. Also, AFAIK, most users on sites like Longecity don't come from biomedical fields. I didn't do any survey, but from the conversations I remember, it seems to be so.

KTR said: "I am wondering right now if BarbaraT will be willing to speak up again at this forum after such insulting remarks toward women and the comments that make women feel unwelcome to comment when they do."

Well, men could also thought they are insulted when people here say that they are deliverately ignoring women in their outreach, or worse, they are constructing their message so that women don't come. But guess what? No men cared to get offended. In the current western society (and particularly in the social sciences), it seems that every difference between men and women, be it real or not, must be considered an offense to women (never to men, of course).

More than 90% of fatal accidents at work occur to men. Do you hear any man protesting about discrimination in work security? Around 3 in 4 suicides are by men. Do you hear any man saying that there is something seriously wrong in how society prevents suicide? We don't run to see a conspiracy against men in every problem we have.

Posted by: Antonio at June 27th, 2019 1:55 AM

PPS: I should add that, also, the new articles that come out show that there two extremes - infinte lifespan extension or 'how can people want to live to 180'...this fosters cynicism and 'not taking it seriously' - yet we have to talk about it seriously 'what if...it did happen'...for now it's better to moderate the message and just say lifespan extension or healthspan extension...some women may read these articles...it's vicious circle that would confirm their bias - we are dying/who could want to live 180, and infinite lifespan (that's just so ridiculous/not serious)....so for now, disease/health span is pretty much the only 'safe' talk to be had unless you want to be seen as a joke/an usurper of the 'natural order of humans living and dying = good'. It has to be two things: 'you don't care about lifespan extension..living to 90 is sufficient'...or 'you just want to live 90, maybe 100-110...' in good health, no disease'. (thus, no real lifespan extension, only healthspan extension is what it is and very much dying before/or at the human maximum, because for them the maximum is already 'a lot/too much' (122 years) and why they say : 'How could you want to live 180!!?').

:face palm: (and double sigh.)...yet if We talk about living to 180 then laugh in our face - and do 'face palm'...'just another clueless selfish spoiled billionaire who wants to live forever and wants to sell me snakeoil - 180 years old, you're kidding right (I can't even fathom 90 years - it's way too long and boring, I'll be decrepit or die healthy one day to the next) - too d*mb to realize you will die. One day. And so, not 'accepting death'...stop being afraid; grow up/mature...we all age and die; you will come to accept it'

:face palm: (and triple sigh.)

Is this what the future is?

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 27th, 2019 2:02 AM

@Antonio: I have never said there's something wrong with the field: have we just met? What I did say in reference to the de-radicalisation of the message is that in its current form it's not very effective. This because whilst it does resonate with x% of men, it gets through to only x-n% of women. I honestly don't know how to make it any clearer.

And certainly there isn't something wrong with women, even though it has been implied repeatedly that we must be fine with dying since all we want to do is reproduce. Or that we won't be interested in longevity until we get a guarantee that our body will return to its pre-menopause glory, because pleasing the male gaze is our sole purpose in society (well, after breeding.) On the other hand, men can be decrepit and butt ugly no problem.

In response to the comment about women not speaking up for fear of a backlash, I now think they are probably just dead tired of repeating the same thing over and over and over and over to men who are unwilling to listen. Because you know, we are just a pair of ovaries, so what do we know about *serious* stuff like life extension. Our comments can be shot down after a cursory scan. I mean, we can't possibly say something of substance, can we?

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 2:06 AM

@Antonio:
1. Please stay on topic.

2. And what is it, exactly, that men should get offended for? Have I or any other woman here suggested that men's hormones and biology prevent them from understanding the point of longevity? Or that they should really worry about anti-aging because they must get back that hot bod they had at 22.

3. "OUTREACH" to women?? Are you serious? So now we are some marginalised group that needs to be converted and brought to reason?

This thread is getting more surreal by the minute.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 2:17 AM

Barbara T said:

"I have never said there's something wrong with the field"

"I don't know what the actual problem is, but either way the fact that women aren't on board or are disinterested means that the there is something seriously wrong with the message"

"the problem is that women just aren't interested, and that's because life extensionists (historically mostly male) don't seem to notice or care that their message doesn't stick"

"Again, what I meant is that the way the life extension message is currently packaged, which is the topic of the OP, is less than ideal if it doesn't get through to half of the world's population"

Surely you said that there must be something seriously wrong with our advocacy in regard to women. I insist, that doesn't need to be the case. It's totally unfounded.

"And certainly there isn't something wrong with women"

Again totally unfounded. You don't know whether the problem is in the message or simply they are more interested in other things or more active in other fields.

"even though it has been implied repeatedly that we must be fine with dying since all we want to do is reproduce. Or that we won't be interested in longevity until we get a guarantee that our body will return to its pre-menopause glory"

Those are other people's statements, not mine. My explanation was different and only tentative.

"In response to the comment about women not speaking up for fear of a backlash, I now think they are probably just dead tired of repeating the same thing over and over and over and over to men who are unwilling to listen."

Or maybe men are tired of all problems, real or imaginary, being their fault.

"2. And what is it, exactly, that men should get offended for?"

See? Only women can get offended, as I said.

"3. "OUTREACH" to women?? Are you serious?"

It's you who started saying that our outreach messaging is seriously wrong for women and we must radically alter it to reach them.

Posted by: Antonio at June 27th, 2019 3:05 AM

Regarding imaginary problems:

Lack of funding for research is the REAL problem.

Whether women, or black people, or muslims, or blondies, or left-handed people, or presbiterians, or pet-lovers... percentage in the movement equals their percentage in the global population is an IMAGINARY problem, mostly created by the far left in US universities.

Posted by: Antonio at June 27th, 2019 3:20 AM

You are really oblivious to how insulting the word "outreach" is, uh?

But let's cut to the chase: if you want to sell something (=life extension) to people who need it (=women) and you can't (by the look of it) then you should redesign your communication strategy rather than bemoaning your missed target's disinterest. Or else shut up when you don't get the numbers you need.

As for the rest, yawn. Half of your post doesn't even make logical sense and I am dead tired of explaining things... again... and again... and again...

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 3:41 AM

Have we just crossed the line into disparaging minorities here? Or was white heterosexual man accidentally left out of your list.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 3:51 AM

"But let's cut to the chase: if you want to sell something (=life extension) to people who need it (=women) and you can't (by the look of it) then you should redesign your communication strategy rather than bemoaning your missed target's disinterest. Or else shut up when you don't get the numbers you need."

Nope, I don't need the numbers at all. It's you who needs them. There is absolutly no reason nor need that X group must be represented by Y% in the LE movement. Indeed, demanding that the members of the X group must be always represented by Y% in any movement or field, whether they like it or not, is a highly totalitarian and stupid demand. The only thing that must be guaranteed is equal opportunities to enter and stay in the movement. Whether they enter or not is their freedom.

And I finish the OT here before Reason rightly stops it.

Posted by: Antonio at June 27th, 2019 4:00 AM

Haha. Sure, because we don't want research funding or political goodwill if it comes from women..."absolutely no reason nor need" for it. Riveting.

Posted by: Barbara T. at June 27th, 2019 4:08 AM

Mcmp : "I'm a woman and very much interested in these subjects. I don't comment mainly becaus nothing about medicine, chemistry or biology and English isn't my first language, but I really appreciate the site and all the comments." That's exactly my opinion, I'm a woman and yesterday I send my first comment, afraid for it could look clumpsy or naive, but I'm truly interested in the subject, and love the site.

Posted by: Bet at June 27th, 2019 6:16 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, this conversation has drifted into unhelpful territory. I'd suggest a halt. The cryonics industry has spent decades on these same questions with no resolution; I don't think you're going to get anywhere useful in the next few days.

Posted by: Reason at June 27th, 2019 7:22 AM

@Cuberat, my friends don't care about these subjects, they all think about death as a certainty, something there's nothing you can do about. I'm kind of an oddball to them. You sure are optimistic, I don't think we'll see any human results in my life time and I'm 57. Still it sure is entertaining reading about it, though...

Posted by: mcmp at June 27th, 2019 7:42 AM

I think Reason is exactly right that "this road to moderation might be a problem" because "we have the knowledge and the means to do far better". The longevity community, and all its scientists and medical researchers, need to stay as radical and ambitious as possible. To be moderate and humble in seeking life extension is to ensure that everyone reading these words will end up DEAD.

Posted by: Zan at June 29th, 2019 10:14 AM

Oh dear - the "I'm a victim" "I'm so offended brigade" has finally arrived at this site. I have found the comments, like the science, to be gender neutral on this site - i.e. not targeted to any particular sex, race, age etc. If people in one of these categories should not BOTHER to read the articles then that is their choice & not the fault of the site or its readers.
p.s. I haven't seen any Asian names signing off the comments. My god there is also a massive issue to be addressed there too :-)

Posted by: TB at June 30th, 2019 11:54 PM

Will there be any sort kind of anti-aging medical treatments available to humans in the near future? Will these be accessibly and affordable to the majority of the population?

Posted by: Jenny at October 21st, 2019 1:31 PM

@Jenny

It depends on how you define things. What do you mean by near future? How do you define treatments and accessibility?

If you mean that by 2025 for the process of 500 USD one can go from 90 to 40, that definitely will not happen (ok 5-7 sucks confidence)

On the other hand, even now there are some unproven therapies. Metformin, as a week calorie restriction mi minetic slows down the age related decline a bit (2-3%).

Senolytics do exist now but there's no accepted protocol for humans. Dasatinib is expensive but in a few years they patents will expire. Fusetin is less pricey but is not that expensive , if bought in bulk.

I will expect that by 20-35 there will be a bunch of therapies some of them will end up costing as eye surgery . Some will be more expensive. 10 to 15 more years those therapies will become affordable (autocorrect insisted on adorable) so in 25 years we have good chance to have a whole bucks if therapies costing about 5k each, and probably requiring one of them reach year after 45-50. The costs will be lower in pooper countries door to lower personnel costs, so while not cheap they will be affordable. Initially, many of the treatments cold easily costs in the millions but that is R&D for one-off projects. Of course, procedures requiring printing and implanting major organs will be way more expensive than some pills or injections of of the shelf components. But even organ replacement can become airfare, if not cheap if unseeing economies of scale and automation. The rich people will be able to afford the best options but at the end, our bodies are not that different , and once the research of done , and the equipment paid for the same procedure can be repeated much cheaper. And the rich people will want to make the procedures more affordable just to amortize the costs and improve the available treatments, so they can benefit from them too

Posted by: Cuberat at October 21st, 2019 2:21 PM

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