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Ask Aubrey de Grey About Longevity Research

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the take-your-time-phrase-well dept.

Biotech 639

There may be such a thing as a conventional scientist -- but Aubrey de Grey is not one. Instead, biogerontologist de Grey has spent much of the last 20 years investigating the science of aging by considering the aging process as a multifaceted disease whose manifestations can be mitigated, rather than an inevitability to merely accept. That might not be unusual in itself, but de Grey believes that by addressing the causes and symptoms of aging, human life can be extended to at least 1000 years — a stance has earned him accolades and contempt in various degrees. (He might not especially mind being called names like "rogue" and "maverick," though.) De Grey is also chairman and chief science officer of The Methuselah Foundation, whose M-Prize for extending the lifespan of mice has been mentioned on Slashdot before. Ask de Grey about his research below; he'll answer the top-rated questions, and we'll publish them in this space. The usual Slashdot interview rules apply — so ask all the questions you'd like, but please confine yourself to one per post.

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Why don't you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24121795)

shave your beard you fucking hippy?

Re:Why don't you (1)

Stephan202 (1003355) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122439)

What beard [ted.com] ;)

His "PhD" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121855)

How special. Given my 20 years in science, I should get one too.

Re:His "PhD" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24121971)

Rephrased as the parent poster doesn't understand how to ask a question:

Given Anonymous Crowhead's 20 years in science, should he get a PhD too?

Re:His "PhD" (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122167)

Given what feels like 20 years in grad school, can I get my PhD yet?

Re:His "PhD" (1, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122209)

If you went to Cambridge, and you can convince that institution that the work you've done in your twenty years since deserves a PhD, then you can have one too.

Re:His "PhD" (1)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122267)

Well, apparently if you were a Cambridge undergrad when the policy was in place, 'all' you have to do is make a significant contribution to the field, submit your work, and defend it in an oral examination. That's a reasonable approach - you make it sound like he has a self-awarded Ph.D., or that it came from the Jamaican Schhol for Advanced Studies, Periodonty, and Carburetor Repair...

Telomerase and aging (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24121861)

From the studies I've looked at, and the differing oppinions of the popular media, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions on the effects (or lack thereof) of telomerase on aging. Could you give a brief discussion of that (and possibly other factors/nonfactors and relative importance)?

Straigh to the Point (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121871)

What tangible, confirmed success have you had in extending the lifespan of humans, if any?

Re:Straigh to the Point (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122443)

On the individual scale, I have had 100% success, with 0 failures, at extending my own life each and every day.

Re:Straigh to the Point (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122565)

The problem with this question is that it's probably too late to extend any old person's life to a significant degree and it will take a person's life span to see any real improvements to, er, their life span. Unless we can take someone, say, in their 20's, and see if they look the same or are in the same health 20 years from then...in which case he wouldn't have had enough time to really prove much.

Re:Straigh to the Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122661)

It's called Calorie Restriction. Why bother asking questions you can find on the project's website?

Practical repurcussions (5, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121885)

So let's say that you or some other scientist in the field figures out a way to actually get humans to live to 1000 years. Have you or anybody in your field considered that humans living that long would grossly exacerbate the current crisis concerning population and resources?

Re:Practical repurcussions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122107)

No one says we have to keep making more people if the ones we have stop breaking. Infact, I think it would make the crisis better. THink about it, it would make every scientific field leap forward if people could continue studying or practicing for a thousand years. For example: if albert einstein were still alive today, imagine what else we may know about physics? Maybe the theory of relativity was just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:Practical repurcussions (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122417)

No one says we have to keep making more people if the ones we have stop breaking.

This won't stop the menopause from happening, and the urge to reproduce is one of the most basic animal urges that exists.

Re:Practical repurcussions (4, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122227)

Have you or anybody in your field considered that humans living that long would grossly exacerbate the current crisis concerning population and resources?

Have you considered the fact that humans who have longer lifespans tend to have lower birthrates? I'm not suggesting causation, of course, but I am pointing out the fact that birthrates decrease as poverty and disease are ameliorated.

If we stop aging... (5, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121887)

Has any research been done on how extreme longevity affects a person psychologically?

Re:If we stop aging... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121939)

... Damnit.

Re:If we stop aging... (1)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121975)

It's eternity in there...

Re:If we stop aging... (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122211)

The Jaunt?

Re:If we stop aging... (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122031)

Has any research been done on how extreme longevity affects a person psychologically?

I'm happy to be the psychological guinea pig if everyone else wants to hold off on longevity until my 1,000 years is up.

Re:If we stop aging... (3, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122175)

Very good question! I would be interested to know if there is a cap on the amount of long-term memory storage in the brain.

Re:If we stop aging... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122235)

I'd think that there certainly is, and that we already see it in action.

I guarantee I remember less about 10 years ago than I did 9 years ago.

Re:If we stop aging... (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122471)

Yeah. Raising the retirement age to 975 is going to prematurely age a lot of people by itself!

"My attitude..." (4, Funny)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122519)

"Personally, I've been hearing all my life about the Serious Philosophical Issues posed by life extension, and my attitude has always been that I'm willing to grapple with those issues for as many centuries as it takes." - Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Re:"My attitude..." (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122639)

Its hard to grapple with philosophy when your batshit crazy because of some weird psyche issue caused by extreme age.

Dorian? (4, Funny)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121889)

Okay, I'm sure you've gotten this joke a statistically significant number of times, but have you done any metrics on how many people ask you... "Longevity research? De Grey? Dorian Gray [wikipedia.org] ?" per month? Does this joke get weaker over time, or stronger? Can you give us some sort of picture of the phenomenon?

What Have we Learned so far? (5, Interesting)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121903)

Most people understand that parts of biological life break-down over time for various reasons, mostly environmental. What have we learned so far about humans, for example, and why cell death occurs?(Setting aside environmental causes like cancer, virii, toxins, etc.) If you had 60 secs to get a college student excited about wanting to study and research life extension, what would you say besides the obvious 'live-forever' meme?

Re:What Have we Learned so far? (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122129)

If you had 60 secs to get a college student excited about wanting to study and research life extension, what would you say besides the obvious 'live-forever' meme?

"Just think how much money you could charge for it".

Re:What Have we Learned so far? (2, Informative)

theJavaMan (539177) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122205)

Viruses, goddamnit! Not virii, viruses!

Re:What Have we Learned so far? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122277)

[...] why cell death occurs?(Setting aside environmental causes like cancer

*Cancer* is *not* environmental. Cancer lurks inherently in our genes and just waits for the moment to pop up like a jack-in-the-box.

Environmental influences can increase the probability of cancer popping up. But so does time.

Economics of Anti-Aging (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121947)

Most people are very afraid of dying, and would spend almost any amount of money to live longer. Anyone promising to help them do so can extract nearly limitless quantities of money from people. Given that, why should we believe you aren't a complete charlatan?

Re:Economics of Anti-Aging (4, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122483)

Because he has the same overpowering incentive to do the work that investors would have to invest in it?

Because he's dedicated his life to longevity research and made many breakthroughs in the field?

Why in the world would you propose someone is a charlatan when they in fact have dedicated massive (and to some degree, successful) effort to the cause you're proposing they're being fraudulent about?

Re:Economics of Anti-Aging (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122615)

He never achieved his PhD in any conventional sense. He studied computer science as an undergrad at Cambridge. His bio, the way he touts himself, makes it appear he earned a PhD in biology from Cambridge, which he did not. He is not associated with Cambridge in any way, yet he weasel words things to make it easy for people to misinterpret his association with them. There are good reasons to believe he is a charlatan.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24121949)

Old people do not want to die but have lots of money. Is it really as easy as you make it look to have them give you their money?

After Death? (3, Interesting)

mbeware (1171639) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121959)

Do you think that there is something after death? If so, why extend life?

Re:After Death? (0, Offtopic)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122597)

Presumably, de Grey is smart enough to prefer the observable reality of life in the here-and-now to the fairy tale of an afterlife.

I have one question. (0, Troll)

azav (469988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121965)

What's up with the damn beard?

Really. Troll me if you want but that thing is strange.

Re:I have one question. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122387)

The chairman of an organization called Methuselah must have a beard.

Social/Societal Implactions of extreme longevity (5, Interesting)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24121969)

Do you or your organization research the societal implications of extreme long life? How will our cultures, society, and laws, and families/family structures have to change to accommodate long life? Are we ready for it?

1000 years? (5, Interesting)

dh003i (203189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122009)

Given that the most promising research to-date on life-extension (resveratrol and caloric restriction) can produce about a 40% increase in maximum lifespan at best, how do you estimate that we can achieve a lifespan of 1,000 years (about a 10-fold increase in current maximum lifespans)?

Re:1000 years? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122181)

he's talking out of his ass, that's how.

even those calorie restricted diet studies in humans are B.S., they go for x months. pffft, people aren't rats.

Re:1000 years? (2, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122333)

Given that the most promising research to-date on life-extension (resveratrol and caloric restriction) can produce about a 40% increase in maximum lifespan at best, how do you estimate that we can achieve a lifespan of 1,000 years (about a 10-fold increase in current maximum lifespans)?

It's a big round number.

Re:1000 years? (3, Interesting)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122435)

Because the statistical rate of death from accidents involving major trauma yields about one event every 1000 years.

He's assuming we can solve the aging & disease problems, but not being splattered by a semi.

What about the insurmountable problems? (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122025)

I'd love to believe that we might "cure" aging within my lifetime, but several of the aging mechanisms discovered over the past 20 years (many of which you personally get credit for) appear more-or-less absolute limits to longevity. As just one example, telomerase - Inhibit it (as most human cells do), and cells can only divide a finite number of times; reenable it, and we live right up until we die of cancer.

Given such limitations, do you still consider near-immortality as a realistic possibility, or will we merely see a continuation of the current trend of higher functionality up the extreme natural limit to our lifespans (110 to 120 years), at which point people simply die of nothing?

Re:What about the insurmountable problems? (1)

Zebraheaded (1229302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122343)

Look into his work. WILT specifically adresses the problems brought about by telomeres.

Human Fertility (4, Interesting)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122047)

If you increase the lifespan of the average human to 1000 years would they remain fertile in proportion? Would a women remain fertile until about age 350?

Also, would a child not encounter puberty until age 130?

Surely you've been asked the overpopulation question before, what is your response?

Probably not (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122183)

Not everyone will live 130 years.

Re:Human Fertility (1)

Amisinthe (1308593) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122363)

Puberty would not last until age 130 because that is not what anti-aging targets. Currently we don't begin to "age" (in a cellular sense) until well past puberty.

It may however prolong the onset of menopause.

5 things (2, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122067)

What 5 things can anyone do to guarantee an extension of their life? IE: foods, habits, etc.

The Valenzetti Equation (0, Offtopic)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122073)

4 8 15 16 23 42

What hit you on the head ... (-1, Troll)

0racle (667029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122079)

What hit you on the head, and how hard, to make you so nutty?

what are some of the most promising.... (2, Interesting)

Nex6 (471172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122089)

what are some of the most promising technologys that could have the most impact? and how soon?

-Nex6

How to Deal With the Memories? (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122099)

Let's say we can live for 400, 600, 1000 years. How will we cope with all those centuries of memories? Even people nearing a century often (usually?) can't cope with that much info about themselves. Their personalities are often severly constrained, or at least exclude quite a bit of who they were 3/4 of a century ago. Is perhaps some of that limitation not merely "hardware", which your research targets, but also our "software", the way we integrate experiences into our personality and worldview?

Across 1000 years, a lot of those experiences are going to conflict, made as they are out of the human condition. How do we keep our minds together as well as your medicine proposes to maintain our bodies?

Myself, I drink to forget. Maintaining a window of clarity here towards the end, at the expense of a murky past I can't recall, is my own contribution to your grand project. Here's mud in yer eye!

Re:How to Deal With the Memories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122239)

It is pertinent to this question that many studies have shown that our current life time is enough to exhaust the brains capacity to remember and function at all. Only through constant mental exercise is it possible for someone to remain functional past 90, which most people are not capable of at all.

The question I would correlate with the above is:
What, if any, neuro-physiological research has been done to extend the brain's lifespan and has this been a major concern in your research?

Re:How to Deal With the Memories? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122495)

How will we cope with all those centuries of memories?

Same way we deal with memories we don't want to deal with now - alcohol!

Mr. De Grey, what vitamins do you recommend? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122113)

What vitamins would you recommend to slow the process of aging?

And are there ways in which we can collectively lower the cost of production and distribution?

Retirement age (1)

GlassMaster (746620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122115)

Does this mean I'll have to work for another 700+ years before I can afford to retire?

Think of the mice! (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122121)

How many of you out there have had a mouse that ended up getting a tumor? Or perhaps a rat?

The problem with extending aging, as you can see with these rodents, is eventually they all get cancer. This is because their life in the hands of a caring human being can be MUCH longer, relatively, than if they were out scurrying in a forest somewhere. Maybe you can extend general human life, but you are going to start seeing a lot more cancer and a lot more Alzheimer's.

When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122123)

When is it realistic to think we could expand one's life (I'm 28 year old)? Will by grandchildren be able to live much longer?

Preventable diseases TODAY (2, Interesting)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122133)

Given that so many well understood treatable and cureable diseases TODAY are not treated or cured, isn't it putting the cart before the horse to concentrate one life extension?

Given our overpopulation, limited natural resources, and great resistance to any sort of population control, throttling, etc, isn't age extension an irresponsible idea? Couldn't the effort be on making sure the earth is still habitable for at least another 1000 years?

Dude, what's with the beard?

Re:Preventable diseases TODAY (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122437)

Given that so many well understood treatable and cureable diseases TODAY are not treated or cured, isn't it putting the cart before the horse to concentrate one life extension?

With the exception of infectious disease, most serious diseases are closely linked with the aging process. Healthy young people rarely get cancer, and they hardly ever have heart attacks or strokes.

Given our overpopulation, limited natural resources, and great resistance to any sort of population control, throttling, etc, isn't age extension an irresponsible idea?

People will, as a rule, have more children faster if they themselves don't expect to live as long. If you know you're going to be around for a thousand years, you could, say, have one child at age two hundred and another at age five hundred, and call it good; you have in fat contributed less to overpopulation than someone who expects to live fifty years and has five kids between the ages of fifteen and forty (about the norm in many third-world countries.)

Logically, if you believe that long life is the worst problem we face, then you should support some kind of Logan's Run policy where people are killed off at a relatively young age. You should also oppose any kind of medical research, or even treatment, whatsoever -- the more people die, the better! But of course you don't, and neither does any sane person.

Couldn't the effort be on making sure the earth is still habitable for at least another 1000 years?

Aargh, I really hate the "how can you be so concerned about X when Y is such a problem" argument. Look: smart, dedicated people work on the problems that interest them. De Grey may be brilliant, or he may be a kook -- the jury is still out. If the latter, then what he does isn't going to matter one way or another. If the former, then sorry, you can't just tell him or any other genius to switch gears and start focusing on (say) environmental research instead of the biology of aging. You may not consider his line of research especially worthwhile, but that's his choice.

And even if he doesn't end up finding a way for us to live a millennium or more, his work will undoubtedly produce knowledge that will be useful to other researchers working on more immediate concerns. Medical science, like all science, does not take place in a vacuum. Pretty much every treatment your doctor can give you if you get sick today is the result of centuries of work by people who were motivated by simple curiosity. Practical applications come later.

Dude, what's with the beard?

Maybe he wants to make sure that any F/OSS that comes out of his project will be successful?

Re:Preventable diseases TODAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122529)

Given that so many well understood treatable and cureable diseases TODAY are not treated or cured, isn't it putting the cart before the horse to concentrate one life extension?

Age is a significant factor in many diseases. A "young" body is one that can stave off illness more effectively as well as recover from illness more quickly and fully.

Given our overpopulation, limited natural resources, and great resistance to any sort of population control, throttling, etc, isn't age extension an irresponsible idea? Couldn't the effort be on making sure the earth is still habitable for at least another 1000 years?

Obviously, living longer would have to come with some trade-offs. There would indeed probably have to be some mechanism for population control.

Dude, what's with the beard?

Seriously.

A personal question, perhaps, but relevant: (5, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122145)

This is rather personal, I know, but I feel it is relevant to your work.

What system of philosophy do you subscribe to that drives you to discover such things? Is it just the desire to see man taken to his highest potential, or is it something deeper?

Mr. de Grey, Will overcome the death instinct? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122161)

I want to ask, if in your opinion transhumanism has any hope of overcoming the death instinct?

It seems that a lot of people hate life and don't want transhumanists working to increase the human lifespan. How will you deal with the political pressure?

Altered Carbon (1)

qdaku (729578) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122171)

(Not a question).. but whenever this topic shows up I'm always going back to reading it. It's more a detective story in a world where body swapping with memory retention is possible. Quite good, cheesy, gory sci-fi. Disturbingly thought out torture (torture, bodyswap, rinse repeat).

But the meths! the meths! What great characters. The ultra-rich that have been around forever, have all the money, all the power, and never die. Begs an interesting question, how likely is this to be for the 'average' human vs. the 'ultra-rich', and how tightly controlled? Is this even a good idea (overpopulation, strain on the planet, etc). What impacts does it have for violent crimes (murder, etc)?

Just thoughts to the general slashdot folks..

Re:Altered Carbon (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122321)

Well the poor get the 'poor man's' immortality, uploading their personalities into a robotic device, which of course are servant's to the immortals.

So see, no more poor people!

Re:Altered Carbon (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122541)

Well, perhaps some of those rich immortals might, after a few centuries, have the opportunity to learn the difference between "begs the question" and "raises the question." But that's probably too much to hope for.

deGrey reports... (2, Funny)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122173)

..."I've been working on this for about eighty years now, and we've only made a bit of headway. I expect that I've got a few more decades of research to do before we have something we can hang our hats on. I may even be retired by that time."

What about Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122187)

Despite using stem cells and other methods of rejuvenation, gravity is constantly pulling us down. What do you suggest to combat the inevitable sagging of internal and external structures due to this?

Stagnant Aging vs. Constant Aging (5, Interesting)

Caboosian (1096069) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122191)

If the average human lifespan were extended to 1000, would the average human age at a normal speed (i.e., like now), then hit a certain specific age and remain at that age until the end (everlasting youth), or would the aging be constant?

Is it just a funding issue? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122261)

If the 3 trillion dollars spent on the Iraq war was spent on life extension instead, how much would this extend the average human life?

I always figured the best way to get everyone to live longer to have a life race like the space race of the cold war years?

Longevity Experts (1)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122283)

We should be learning about longevity from people like this [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Longevity Experts (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122451)

We should be learning about longevity from people like this [wikipedia.org] .

Actually he *really* was born in 604 BC and died much later than is usually believed although it's usually kept very hush hush. He also sold the recipe of Marmite to the British and later helped designed the Colossus during WWII.

And don't quote me I'll deny everything anyway.

Re:Longevity Experts (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122585)

And also, people like this [wikipedia.org]

Prevention or cure (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122295)

Will medical advances alone be enough to extend our longevity to the extent you believe it can be, or will health promoting lifestyle changes also need to be made? If health promotion is more important that medicine, how can we achieve this?

Beard required? (4, Funny)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122307)

Is the beard [wikipedia.org] a requirement for working with the Methuselah Foundation?

Whole-body Interdiction of Lengthening of Telomere (1)

Zebraheaded (1229302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122335)

Of everything I have read involving your work, I've easily found the WILT proposal the most fascinating. Could you provide a brief overview of it, so people may learn of this fascinating possible treatment.

Also, a quick update on how you're going about bringing this treatment to become a reality?

social implications (0)

Plunky (929104) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122339)

What social problems do you forsee occurring if your research is moderately successful but the cost is too high for the vast majority of the population, and how do you personally plan to avoid being ripped apart by the mob?

Ok... (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122349)

Ask Aubrey de Grey About Longevity Research

So, um, Mr de Grey, what can you tell us about longevity research ?
(damn, I should have taken that job at the beach)

What can we do NOW? (5, Interesting)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122351)

If I gave you a lab rat today, how long could you extend his life?

What about me - is there anything I can do (other than a healthy lifestyle), or could have done, today, to start extending my life?

How long before the answers to either of these questions change significantly? 5 years? 10? 20?

Re:What can we do NOW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122635)

Well, castration for males seems to improve longevity by about 20% IIRC.

Living for 1000 years (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122369)

Imagine for a second that humans could live for 1,000 years. Putting aside the inevitable overpopulation effects, I could see this having two very different effects on humanity, depending on how the aging slowdown works.

If you effectively stay 20-40 for a few centuries, I could see this as a boon to mankind. People would be able to try different careers out and save up a lot of money for their retirement at the ripe old age of 900. Advancements might be made quicker as people bring new perspectives from their old careers into their new ones.

Alternatively, if you effectively age to 60-80 and then stay there, I could see progress being stifled. People naturally tend to get set in their ways as they age. (I can see it happening with me and I'm not even 35 yet!) The older generation tends to view new technology with a suspicious eye while the younger generation embraces it. Right now, an aging "baby boom" generation might make laws to hold back progress because it offends their moral/religious views or because they just fear it. However, that generation will naturally be replaced by a younger generation more willing to accept the change.

Imagine if the stifling baby boomer generation's reign lasted for 600 years, though! They could hold progress back long enough that, by the time they were ready to give up power, the "younger" generation would be old already, set in their ways, and used to things the way they were under the stifling reign. Society's and technology's advances would slow to a crawl.

My question would be: Which of these scenarios do you think is more likely given a radical increase in human lifespan?

Longevity Plan (4, Insightful)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122389)

In your opinion, if I wanted to give my best effort to extending the number of years I'm alive, what would be the top things I should do?
I'll let you decide how many things to include.

Thank you
Gary

Regenerated Brain Cells and the Self (2, Interesting)

xdancergirlx (872890) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122401)

Assuming that the "self" (ie. the soul/consciousness/memory/etc.) resides biologically and physically in the brain and considering that, from what I understand, longevity research has a great deal to do with regeneration of cells more than extending lifetimes of individual cells, what implications are there if an individual has wholly "regenerated" the cells in their brain?

For example, somebody may have a brain that is composed of entirely new brain cells than they had X number of years ago. Does this have implications of their memory of themselves, their sense of self, etc.?

my simple questions (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122429)

Do you want to live forever? In any case, do you have a fear of death?

How will you prove it? (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122431)

Once you're satisfied with your findings/research/results/theories, will you apply it to yourself first in order to prove it to the rest of the world?

Only controversial until working cures are found.. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122453)

My opinion of the "Methusalah Quest" is that any treatments that come out of it will instantly become non-controversial as soon as they become readily available. As a sufferer of "andropause" [wikipedia.org] , I can tell you that like a lot of other men I've never even thought twice about availing myself of Taldafil [wikipedia.org] when the need arises. (Something which falls into the category of a miracle of modern science, as far as I'm concerned.)

.

Oh, I'm supposed to ask a question, so I will. I believe that as treatments appears to fix the "inevitable" aspects of the aging process, they will be widely utilized and fairly non-controversially included in modern medicine, much as treatments for both great and small age related diseases have been up until now. Do you agree? Or do you expect villagers with torches and pitchforks to storm Frankenstein's laboratory when he comes up with a method to let Granddad hang on for a few hunderd years more?

Neuronal apoptosis (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122485)

There is some indication that neurogenesis occours in adults around the ventricles, but it doesn't appear to contribute significantly to the population of brain cells, and it also appears unlikely that it can completely renew the whole brain.

Furthermore, mature neurons don't divide, there's been some suggestion that new neurons would have their own "personalities" and could not be integrated into the brain without affecting function.

The brain cells that you have when you're 20 are apperantly all you are going to have.

While neurons can survive for quite a long time, they eventually succumb to damage (not just from alchohol, also from normal cellular function.)

To sum up, once you're an adult you're constantly losing brain cells and they're not coming back.

My question is, if we do extend our lives much further, what is our mental state going to be? A lot of the mental decline among seniors might be due to other health problems, but at some point, aren't we going to be noticably brain-damaged? Is there any indication at what point this might become a factor for "healthy" individuals?

Which is more difficult an issue to tackle? (3, Interesting)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122525)

Considering your line of study, would you say the more difficult issues to deal with regarding life extension are technical ones (how do we do it?) or moral ones (why do we do it?)

extended life (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122555)

One thing I have often though about when considering longevity is the importance of perpetually "curing" aging. For example, if you did get us 1000 years we could reasonably expect to be able to get more life out of us with technology 1000 years more advanced than we have now, so we can keep continually extending the "mortal coil" and so long as it moves even slightly faster than we do we'll be safe for ever.

But what I really want to know is, how important do you think the next 100 years will be in this effort? Do you take the view that if we can still be here in 100 years we stand a really good chance of getting the 1000 years (I assume, for example, Moore's law would help)? Or do you anticipate that every step will have roughly the same difficulty.

Repair or replace? (2, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122567)

Would you consider it a success if we replace broken body parts with prosthetics, artificial organs, or lab-grown replacements? Or are you focusing on keeping our original stock components?

Quality of life (1)

A Pressbutton (252219) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122573)

What quality of life does he expect someone aged 40 in 2008 to have when they reach 100 in 2048.

Assume they live a averagely healthy life (but do not die).

Please rate as an approximate percentage of what they experience now in 2008 for

Sight
Smell
Taste
Touch
Hearing
Mental faculties

I'll Bite... (5, Interesting)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122575)

Here are the spots that seem like monsters to overcome..

1. elastin.. It's not alive, it doesnt regenerate. and even if replaced in a full sized organism, it would already be "loose" because it tightens as we grow, and eventually breaks down.. How do you replace this substance throughout the body? (I'm hoping this covers a bunch of the other materials of the same type)

2. degradation of cell function.. as mutations occur in cells, the functional protiens become non-functional.. while these arent cancerous, they are problematic as they're just hobos in the body. to stop this would require freakloads of genetic therapy, rather than the smaller amount needed to repair cancer.

3. Overcoming telomerase,, so does it get nuked by your gene therapy, or are the stem cells engineered to full length only..

4. How do you keep the protein digesting enzymes needed for removing garbage from inside cells from eating barr bodies and other useful proteins that would normally inhabit and possibly pollute a cell.

5. How do you prevent damage to someone who has 2 copies of a gene that are both useful (the two having a broader functional range than any known single gene) from getting your genericized version at both? wiping out the advantage.

6. How do you keep the memories from fading to nothing?

Thanks,

Storm

Mentality ? (2, Interesting)

geggam (777689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122589)

Do you feel humans have the capability to cope mentally with a 1000 years of life ?

selective breeding (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122613)

Populations of fruitfly have been bread to live quite a bit longer simply by destroying eggs laid prior to a certain (gradually increasing) age of each generation. I belive this took 50 generations or so. What would be the effect if say China (where couples are only supposed to have one child) allowed couples to have 2 or more children only if all 4 grandparents live to at least a certain age - gradually increaseing. Could we simply select for longevity? What biological dangers would be present in such an approach? Yes, this would be huge social issue, but 1/5 of the human population is already having reproduction regulated.

The power to extend life, and to take it away... (3, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122623)

Are you a proponent of assisted suicide?

Should humans someday find that living to 1,000 as "normal" (through genetic advances, let's say), there will certainly be some that would prefer to live to 750, 500 or 100. Do you find it ethical to provide them an "early ticket"?

Best advice? (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24122641)

Based on the current level of your research, what is the best advice you can give to beat aging?

Cellular Reproduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24122649)

Based ony my understanding of aging it is centered around cellular reproduction. Each time a cell reproduces, it can effectively do one of three things.

1. Reproduce a working copy
2. Reproduce a flawed copy
3. No complete the reproduction

In many cases, those flawed copies will be unable to reproduce again or may reproduce rampantly (cancer) or continue reproducing flawed cells that do not function in whatever organ they are a part of. Over time as the number of properly working cells reduces, you effectively "age".

Here are my question(s):

1. Are the assumptions above accurate
2. Does your research treat each symptom of aging as a separate "disease" to be treated, or does it all focus around the notion of cellular reproduction?

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