Be Extraordinary or Be Dead

Ordinary people don't pay much attention to the science of aging. Ordinary people don't keep an eye on the longevity industry or read scientific papers or donate funds to non-profits supporting important research. Ordinary people don't carefully and rationally self-experiment with plausible age-slowing interventions while measuring outcomes. Ordinary people are not signed up for cryopreservation. Ordinary people are not trying to gain access to new medical therapies a decade in advance of approval by regulators, or after approval but well before widespread availability. One could say much the same for ordinary high net worth individuals, by the way. Wealth is no escape from the median.

Which is all fine. Life is what you make of it, an instant of time that is all yours, come and gone in a flash before the yawning abyss of a billion years of a future empty of your present self. There is no meaning to this life beyond the meaning that you ascribe to this life. It is a narrow and winding path, a balancing act between nihilism on the one side and solipsism on the other. Every ordinary person that you pass in the street is their own snowflake of personal choices in ways that you cannot see, whether you judge them for it or not.

Like gravity at the cliff edge, the biology of aging is a force of nature that cares nothing for our opinions on these matters. It runs as it will, and there will come a time when you, and I, and every present adult that you know well will be faced with the consequences of past choices. Given the present state of aging research, and paucity of viable interventions that may slow or reverse aspects of aging, we will all have the one important choice. Every one of us will either have chosen to be extraordinary, to have learned about aging research, supported progress, and sought out therapies well in advance of widespread adoption, or chosen to be dead, accepting the mortality that attends untreated aging.

The processes of degenerative aging and consequent mortality will not wait on indecision. They will not wait for the regulators to slowly approve, or the scientists to slowly innovate, or the entrepreneurs to slowly meander their way towards practical therapies. The hammer will fall, and bodies will fail and die absent the means to treat aging.

In the matter of treating aging as a medical condition, to be extraordinary is to support research that will bear fruit in twenty to thirty years, whether as a patient advocate, funder of academic projects, or by starting a company to shepherd projects to the clinic. To be extraordinary is to read around the subject and try out the most plausible (and plausibly safe) approaches. To be extraordinary is to go to conferences, meet people, learn that the Intervene Immune trials for thymus regrowth are running, and arrange participation. Or the same for tests of Khavinson peptides, or learning how to source and use senolytics, or any number of other approaches that seem more rather than less likely to pay off. To be extraordinary is to have an agreement with a cryonics provider and a plan to ensure that the arrangement works out. To be extraordinary is to take better care of your health in the simple, effective ways that most people omit in this day and age. So few individuals are undertaking these initiatives in any rigorous way, and yet it doesn't take more time or will or effort than any significant hobby.

Be extraordinary or be dead. That choice lies ahead.


Well said - and agreed completely.

Posted by: Edward F Greenberg at January 31st, 2022 2:53 PM

Hi ... Conceptually I agree but my main takeaway from reading your site (the parts I can understand as a non-scientist) is that so far no real breakthroughs have happened that are accessable to the regular person. Aging remains basically a genetically determined processes, with some modest marginal impact from life choices. No?

Posted by: Kgaard at January 31st, 2022 3:14 PM

I'm considering self experimenting with heparin nasal spray to try and deal with my chronic sinusitis. One theory of chronic sinusitis is that your mucus membrane get into a chronic inflammatory state, which then disrupts their barrier function leading to bacterial infection and even more inflammation.

I'd like to be an ordinary person, but unfortunately if I ever want to get back any sort of functional happy life I have to go to these extremes.

I'm currently trying to buy some Heparin from Chinese direct sale sites.

Posted by: European bob at January 31st, 2022 5:16 PM

hey @Kgaard

I would recommend reading the "The Root Causes of Aging" on this website (it's on the right).

After that, just read as much as you can from this site! I think you'll come to find that some pretty interesting things are going on right now. Within 20 years I think we'll probably have some pretty advanced cancer treatments, heart disease treatments, senescent cell treatments... just to name a few.

I think there is definitely cause for optimism!

Posted by: GREGORY S SCHULTE at January 31st, 2022 5:33 PM

It is extraordinary to say that people choose their purpose.All living organisms innately know their purpose if that can be logically equated to something that they do all the time and only for themselves (without exception), That something is desire to grow. In terms of physics the process is known as constraining entropy. Only humans can think that they have some other purpose and there is of course many opinions and no lack of promotion. That is all deception and self deception. Truly mysterious.

About sinuses, consider that mucous is body's mechanism for waste disposal and is composed almost entirely of water (edeama). There is not an endless supply of mucous but maybe there is a virtually endless supply of the problem causing thing. Must be small,no? Oh this is so difficult.

Posted by: Morris at January 31st, 2022 7:07 PM

I couldn't agree more on this. I don't want to wait another ten years for these treatments to become available. I may aspire to be extraordinary, but sadly I'm not independently wealthy.
I've been in touch with Greg and Bobby at Intervene immune. It will be at least three years until they believe that they'll be able to bring down the price of GH to make it more accessible to the average person. I also reached out to Dr. Kiprov in SF to see if I could get on the neutral plasma exchange trials but again the price is extremely prohibitive. It's frustrating that I'm willing to be part of a trial, but I'm not able to do it.
I feel like I'm a wasted resource, and I'm sure there are many people who feel the same. There seems to be incredibly amounts of money floating around for new startups, but why can't we find a way to divert some of that funding into practical trials with people like myself and others who are willing to try? If companies like Intervene Immune can gather enough data to show that we can rebuild the human immune system and get it out to the public, then surely this would be a huge win for the industry and would help accelerate process.

Posted by: Paul 2.0 at February 1st, 2022 12:01 AM

OK. Well...

Who here has tried to replicate the neutral blood exchange experiment of the Conboy's. Who has done their or morgan levine's phenotypical age calculator before and after donating plasma a few times in rapid succession?

What else, other than eating gobs of fisetin is there at this point?

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 10:46 AM

Isn't it a very good chance that within 10 years we'll have senolytics that work so well they will shift the median lifespan by 10 - 20 years?

My big hope is that computers will be able to scour the functions of the cell & automate much of the discovery of how it all works.

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 10:56 AM

@Reason you seem focused on thymus rejuvination here... how about just replacing the function of the thymus with injections of whatever the thymus is creating?

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 10:59 AM

Rubbish! There's nothing the average person can do to boost the anti aging research and there are only very few minor unproven ways to slow your own aging (fasting, exercising, nutrition).... To have a minor impact on the anti aging research and be "extraordinary" as you say, you'd have to be either a scientist or a multimillionaire. I'm neither, so all I can do is read this blog and hope for the best, even though I'm not holding my breath. I think any significative life changing anti aging therapies are several tens of years away.

Posted by: mcmp at February 1st, 2022 11:00 AM

just going to brainstorm out loud here:

"To have a minor impact on the anti aging research and be "extraordinary" as you say, you'd have to be either a scientist or a multimillionaire. I'm neither, so all I can do is read this blog and hope for the best, even though I'm not holding my breath."

I feel a bit the same way, in that I am interested in these new ways of thinking about medicine, but I really don't do much for the field other than occasionally giving really small amounts of money to SENS.
BUT!! after seeing the success of pulsechain and how it raised 27million for SENS, and watching Reason's most recent investor meeting for his company Repair Biotech:

I keep thinking there must be a way to "IPO" to raise money, without actually IPOing as the law understands it at this point. Pulsechain was very clear when you 'sacrificed' your money for some pulsechain tokens: "these are worthless, you are giving something and getting NOTHING in return"... and they raised $15billion! I feel like if there was someway an up and coming company could promise something that will eventually be traded on an open market, you could attract vast amounts of money from a public who has shown itself to LOVE markets for markets sake (crypto, tulips, stocks... people trade for the idea of making money via trading).

Making a crypto coin seems too hard.. maybe?
Maybe a company could sell NFTs of photos of their first experiments? lol i don't know.
But the idea is selling something that can later be traded on the open market. Lots of money goes to things like that. Let people get their gambling fix, and use that capital to do some real things!

And by the way, Reason, if you are still looking for funds for Repair Biotech... I would gladly buy an NFT from you for like less than $1000, and I have friends and family who would probably be interested as well!

Posted by: GREGORY S SCHULTE at February 1st, 2022 11:44 AM

@Matt: The thymus generates an intricate balance of T cells of different types and capabilities. The only plausible way to produce that outside the body is to grow a patient-matched thymus and run patient-matched thymocytes through it in a bioreactor of some time. It will be far easier to regrow the thymus in situ.

Posted by: Reason at February 1st, 2022 11:55 AM

Hi Reason
Read your site frequently over the years.. my scientific knowledge is basic but have followed longevity research since the early 80s after sending a money order for Secrets of Life Extension by John Mann (via ad in Playboy magazine!)… anyway base ideas , most have proven wrong over the years . My initial interests were more about complicated health issues I was experiencing in my 20s and general frustration dealing with medical doctors. I felt I had no choice other than researching and self experimentation given that I felt I had nothing to loose. Made many mistakes over the years but also some good choices and am in my mid 60s now and have managed to keep the wheels on the bus despite some rare and genetically fixed metabolic issues. I no longer have to go to medical libraries and dig through microfilm etc. Resources are plentiful now for both literature and potential/accessible interventions for many health issues and also potential treatments that might increase health span. None of these possible interventions will be offered by the medical community soon or if ever. It might be reckless being your own science project but for myself it was the only choice available. The body is a complicated landscape but I think some good choices can be made given the information and resources available.

Posted by: Barry at February 1st, 2022 12:23 PM

@Reason Has it really been fully studied how intricate of a balance it is? Is it really outside the realm of IPSC + differentiation / gene therapies to get the right batch and then just add back to the patient / human every so often?

Aren't cancer researchers studying how to do something similar with their car-t therapies? They tweak the cells ex situ, then add back in. And I believe they are attempting to generalize these therapies so they can have a one size fits all or, hopefully at least, many approach.

You also have the destroy and rebuild method used in recent MS therapies, which I've read recently may generalize to other auto-immune problems. This is not the same as replacing with cells grown outside of the body.. but it could be.

Ultimately humans will have to get very good at 1. finding damaged cells and destroying them and 2. replacing them with new versions.

Sorry if I've gone off topic.

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 1:41 PM

@Matt: CAR-T therapies involve grabbing the existing mix and adding a single alteration. What the thymus produces from thymocytes is a set of trained T cells that are negatively selected to not attack the body while being positively selected to have a diversity of countless different T cell receptors. And that is before we get into subtypes of T cell that are devoted to different behaviors. You might take a look at T cell repertoire analysis to see how complex the system is.

Posted by: Reason at February 1st, 2022 1:50 PM

ok will do, thank you Reason.

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 3:04 PM

First hit on youtube for 't cell repertoire analysis' is great:

A couple things jumped out. She said that when forming these TDJ sequences there can be errors introduced. So... maybe a place where a lab could do it better? (though she seemed to say that the diversity caused by errors may help distinguish more tumor types?).

She also talked about some sort of t-cell amplification that can happen... which sounds a bit more like an ex-vivo approach. If we can amplify then we can surely read and write as well and if not now, then not too long from now.

Also says that t-cell diversity can be measured. Why aren't anti-agers demanding this test? Is Fahy including that test?

Oh the conviction of the naive! (talking about me here)

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 5:04 PM

Near the end of the video she is talking about engineering t-cells to recognize a kras mutation cancer cell. Amazing stuff and so this seems like a fundamental tool in the fight against aging.

1. recognize the cell you want to kill.
2. create a t-cell to kill it
3. test your cell in vitro with all the various cell types present to be sure you won't be killing those. I'd guess AI / deepmind sorts of algos will one day make this possible without having to use an actual petri dish or model animal.
4. deploy (inject)

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 5:19 PM

Is transplanting a pig thymus to a human a good idea?

I just was impressed by a recent achievement in xenotransplantation, when a pig heart was successfully transplanted to a human. I know that even though editing of 10 genes, there is a very strong rejection and it requires taking a lot of organ rejection drugs, which is obviously not good for health. However, thinking in advance, when not just 10 genes but may be hundreds of genes are perfectly edited making pig organs pretty the same like human organs and having no rejection at all, can a pig thymus transplantation to a human be beneficial? What do you think?

Posted by: Alek Ales at February 2nd, 2022 4:01 AM

I am surprised that I see so little commentary on the possible regenerative applications of photobiomodulation in the longevity community. I have been using 660/830nm light for many years and apply directly to my thymus approx twice a week. The potential regenerative applications are numerous and volume of literature huge......also cheap.....maybe no financial incentive!?:(
Aging of lymphoid organs: Can photobiomodulation reverse age-associated thymic involution via stimulation of extrapineal melatonin synthesis and bone marrow stem cells?

Posted by: Barry at February 2nd, 2022 6:12 AM

@Barry. light applied directly to your thymus? Did you swallow a laser or?

Posted by: Matt at February 2nd, 2022 11:15 AM

Hi Matt...sorry should clarify ...that is infrared lights (simple LED source) applied over the thymus area. Studies vary but 660nm is approx 3 mm penetration and 830nm is approx 4-5mm.
Effect of wavelength and beam width on penetration in light-tissue interaction using computational methods
Caerwyn Ash,corresponding author1 Michael Dubec,2 Kelvin Donne,1 and Tim Bashford1
There are many sources regarding depth of penetration in the literature...

Posted by: Barry at February 2nd, 2022 1:37 PM

ps....MIchael Hamblin is probably one of better sources of all things photo medicine related....has definitely published the most papers and texts..

Handbook of Photomedicine Paperback - June 30 2020
by Michael R. Hamblin (Editor), Yingying Huang (Editor)

Posted by: Barry at February 2nd, 2022 1:50 PM

extra-ordinary humans die too. they can be frozen and put into cold storage, no guarantee of revival after defrosting them.
fighting against aging process will not make one immortal, but it may reduce suffering due to aging process.

Posted by: nicholas d. at February 5th, 2022 6:27 PM

Talking about all this crude, primitive, narrow anti aging therapies.

You have to ask yourself,
Before taking any supplement or therapy.

If you don't have great nutrition, a supplement will not fix this shortcoming.
Vegetables, fruits, fiber, not processed.
Low calorie.

Do I have great muscle mass? Bodybuilding.

Do I walk, safely, enough?

Being top notch healthy, nutrition, is currently the gold standard of anti-aging.

Everything else is wishful thinking.

Posted by: Liveforever at February 6th, 2022 10:20 AM

@Barry Since you've been applying light to your thymus for "many years," what effects, if any, have you seen?

Posted by: Carl at February 6th, 2022 10:35 AM

Hi @Kgaard

Think there are a number of things you can do now without expensive supplements etc

1) Eat mainly unprocessed plant-based (like the longest lived people ie Blue Zones populations; as advocated by David Sinclair of Lifespan; as advocated by Valter Longo of the Fasting Mimicking diet)

2) Subject your body to various stressors (temperature / food (ie fasting) / oxygen (ie exercise))

3) Instead of supplements, favour foods that have the compound in question. For example quercitin is found in red onions, berries etc

Posted by: Rob at February 6th, 2022 6:19 PM

Hi @ Liveforever… it would be difficult to nail down specific benefits in an honest fashion as I do so many different interventions simultaneously and my interests are broad and fairly eclectic ( don't get me started!)…. Not a good a candidate for a scientific trial as too many exclusions would arise! I follow whatever literature I find interesting and the the rest at this point (for me) is intuitive. Generally do my best to stay away from doctors whenever possible and do minimal diagnostics/labs … life is amazing and to mind improbable given the complexities..yet here we are. I just try to keep the bus rolling. Anyway the existing literature on photo modulation is impressive in terms of potential benefits with not many known downsides (yet!).

Posted by: Barry at February 7th, 2022 6:45 AM

Regarding Reason… just wanted to express gratitude for his intelligent, diligent approach and impressively tenacious work ethic… an amazing service and resource… probably the major hub for aging research.

Posted by: Barry at February 7th, 2022 9:06 AM
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