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The Body's "Fountain of Youth" Could Lie In the Brain

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the thinking-young dept.

Medicine 118

Zothecula writes "Instead of traipsing through Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León might have been better off turning his search inwards. More specifically, he should have turned his attention to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. At least that's what research carried out on mice by scientists at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests. They found that the hypothalamus controls many aspects of aging, opening up the potential to slow down the aging process by altering signal pathways within that part of the brain."

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Buffet (-1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43643301)

Warren better hurry up.

Yeesh (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year ago | (#43643455)

I wish you guys would restrict the posts to the scientific claim itself and not to metaphysical ooga-booga.

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643587)

I wish the unwashed masses would read up on the latest research on the topic.

Sincerely Yours,
Participant in one of the most recent studies giving strong indications for gene expression changes from yoga and meditation exercises

Re:Yeesh (4, Interesting)

dmt0 (1295725) | about a year ago | (#43643715)

In yogic tradition the location of hypothalamus coincides with what is known as bindu visarga. From that point emanates amrita, which is roughly translated as the nectar of immortality. It is considered that it flows downward from that point and gets consumed by the digestive system. Certain techniques, usually involving inverted body position, reverse the flow of amrita, which can than get assimilated by the body.

http://www.satyananda.net/articles/introduction-to-kriya-yoga [satyananda.net]

Re:Yeesh (4, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43644331)

A testament to the power of yoga and related mumbo jumbo, Wim Hof [wikipedia.org] .

Hof holds twenty world records including a world record for longest ice bath.[1] He broke his previous world record by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds at Guinness World Records 2008. The night before, he performed the feat on the Today Show.

Dr. Kenneth Kamler monitored the event to explain the effects of using the Tantric Buddhist practice of Tummo to control one's body temperature. Tummo has been practiced by Yogin monks in Tibet and other areas of the Himalayas.

Wim describes his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures as being able to "turn his own thermostat up" by using his mind.

In February 2009 Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within two days.[2]

In 2007 he attempted, but failed (due to a foot injury), to climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts.[3][4] Hof has been criticized for his stated justifications for this attempt: "Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mount Everest was a testament to human achievement; my climb of Mount Everest in my shorts will be a monument to the frivolous, decadent nature of modern society."[5]

In 2009 Hof completed a full marathon (42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi)), above the polar circle in Finland, in temperatures close to 20 C (4 F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes. The challenge was filmed by Firecrackerfilms, who make productions for BBC, Channel 4 and National Geographic.[6]

Hof again broke the ice endurance record in 2010 by standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 44 minutes in Tokyo, Japan.[7]

In 2011 Hof broke the ice endurance record twice, in Inzell in February and in New York in November. The Guinness World Record is now set for 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds by Hof.[8] On April 18, Hof got the test results regarding the "The influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response" case study, demonstrating that he is able to directly influence his own Autonomic Nervous System and Immune System. Hof seems to be able to raise his cortisol levels and lower the amount of cytokines (flammatory bodies) just by using his meditation techniques. A different study on Hof while immersed in ice showed that Hof suppressed the cytokines by 100 percent.[9] In September, Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. The run was performed under the supervision of Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels.

Not mentioned is that he also ran a marathon in 40 degree heat in his fifties without stopping for water.

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645199)

That's not due to Yoga, any drunk could do those feats!

BTW. The legs of first Tour de France races were longer than they are today and you were not allowed to drink or eat during the race.

Re:Yeesh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645501)

20 C = 4 F?

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645693)

I'm guessing that's the revenge of wikipedia: this time it's personal. -20c.

Re:Yeesh (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | about a year ago | (#43646027)

C = 5(F - 32)/9

F = 4 ==> C = 15.5 (to one decimal place)

Re:Yeesh (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | about a year ago | (#43646045)

F = 4 ==> C = -15.5 (to one decimal place)

Forgot the sign... Duh!!!

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645233)

Bindu Visagra life enlargement up to 3 inches.

Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643975)

Yoga:

1) Ruined my shoulders.
2) Ended my practice of martial arts.
3) Left me unable to lift anything heavier than a bowling ball for years.
4) Required me to have a surgery (pending) that will leave me without the use of my arm for over a month, and then without any serious use of it for 6 more months.

And that was basic intro yoga, nothing advanced. I didn't overdo it either...I just did what the instructor told me to do.

Your results may vary. Just be very careful....there are quite a lot of successful yoga instructors that don't actually know how to ensure your safety.

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644111)

So are you blaming yoga or your yoga instructor?

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644339)

Interesting. What have you learned from the experience so far?

Btw, I don't consier what you get in 1 gym class as "yoga". However, caution is indeed warranted. It is actually part of yoga to not overdo it, but learn to listen to your body and mind. The wrong instructor can indeed do alot of damage, but it's fortunately very rare. Confusion on the other hand, is proliferate, as in life everywhere :)

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644573)

Roy Halliday? Is that you?

Re:Just FYI (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645035)

I think he said yoga, not masturbation.

Re:Yeesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643767)

I agree, they should stop linking to pseudocientific publications like nature.

Re:Yeesh (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43645357)

Could it be that people figured a lot of shit out threw intuition and transmitted it around through symbolism well before your purely right brained attack on the universe developed?

Re:Yeesh (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43646023)

Sure. There are lots of good examples of that. There are also good examples of people making up stories to explain things and, later on, specific details in specific stories happening to coincide with a bit of truth, by coincidence.

There are a LOT of pseudoscientific traditions that all make a lot of (usually very fuzzy) claims. Every once in a while one of them (in this case yoga, or a specific sub-tradition of yoga, more likely) managed to agree (in a very fuzzy way) with the general location and possible function of something noted in a Nature paper, then proceeded to get everything else wrong.

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43647299)

Agreed, But I find it ignorant when people discount the previous unscientific work done by humanity out of hand because it is not science. Does it have a specific place in the scientific process of discovering things itself? No, but its a great start.

That's like saying it's completely worthless to apply a method of testing the myriad folk remedies in use before modern chemistry and pharmaceuticals. This has actually been a lucrative means of discovering possible medicines.

Prejudice is bad when applied so unevenly. Science is not about prejudice it's about refining something from an idea and empirical testing and experimentation to form concrete models.

Well I could be wrong. I'm no scientist. Just an ignorant American. I don't even practice scientific methodology and don't have it in memory. I seem to get buy pretty good though and see things that are novel and probably test-able at some point through science though.

Re:Yeesh (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43647613)

It's quite logical to discount the previous, unscientific, improperly tested work done by humanity. Billions have been spent testing herbal and other alternative remedies. The result is that the vast majority that weren't investigated scientifically a long time ago are placebos. A notable exception is ginger, which really does help nausea.

Yes, it's worth running some studies on stuff like that to see if there's anything real there. That gets done ALL the time. But for the end user, if it hasn't been shown to be efficacious scientifically, it's probably a placebo.

As far as mechanistic explanations go, which is what we're really talking about here with the yoga stuff, it's virtually guaranteed to be plain fiction. Nice stories. Does meditation help relieve stress? Absolutely. It's been well studied. Does it do so by aligning your chakras, opening your third eye and encouraging proper energy flow? Absolutely not.

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43647665)

Hehe, yes, according to science ;p But you can let people keep pretending...

Is yoga more effective or less effective when you don't pretend about your chakra's. That could be tested maybe.

Placebo's do work though and that has been tested scientifically =)

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43647701)

* that also doesn't count that meditating about chakra's as real constructs does not have an effect in the mind as a specific form of meditation... meaning no real chakras but the mind has the power to make such a belief real enough to be measurable, maybe in a scientific way. Through health, were not talking about magical electrical fields or anything.

So define real... science has it's own definitions of "real" and the rest of us do too =)

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43647723)

** There's a lot of debate about the virtual nature of consciousness. Cant say how scientific it all is or not though. Some of it does look pretty scientific.

Re:Yeesh (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43647875)

The scientific definition of real is "works consistently." "Consistently" includes specifying all the factors that must be kept the same, and omitting all the ones that don't matter. "Necessary and sufficient" if you prefer. That is, the scientific definition of real agrees pretty closely with our common sense definition. What's different is the method of testing whether something is real or not. If you're superstitious you make up stories about things that seem real. If you're scientific you first test whether something actually is real or not, then test the stories to see whether they're real or not.

Yes, the placebo effect is very real, and is quite useful. Even supposing that mediation worked only if you think about chakra's, the chakra's aren't making the mediation work, thinking about them is.

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43648737)

I will certainly agree that there is no scientific basis for needing to meditate on chakras to gain the benifits of better aging through some mechanism of the hypothalamus. Or it could be said thusly: Religion remains unsupported by science and the science remains separate from religion in this case.

I'm probably stumbling around in the dark here. But I hope that might be a legitimate start to understanding what your talking about.

Another thought I had was that scientific methodology could be used to determine what kinds of mumbo jumbo worked best for certain types of people. Psychiatrists try to do this to some degree I think. But they don't want to directly touch or analyze religion unless they are a religious counselor. They usually copypast some kind of ritual or religious idea and then use very clinical and technical words for things. At least the first place I learned about meditation was from a professional psychiatrist. (I am quite aware that I'm not insane enough to be considered insane by normal standards thank you).

And I will be the first to say that method of looking at things can fall flat on its face. I once did see a Catholic priest about my disenfranchisement with the service and he did not help me understand it one bit.

P.S. Thanks for taking the time to share your understanding with me. I feel like I learned from it.

Re:Yeesh (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43648779)

Thanks I actually understand what you mean. Sciences claim a different method then what religion claims. Sciences method is now much more consistently provable while religious method is based entirely in faith.

Now I understand why people want to hear about that scientific method vs the mumbo jumbo. Becuase thats whats on the table to discuss.

Sure it is... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643485)

This research (at least as presented in the summary) is demonstrably false. Organisms without a brain or at least a highly developed brain experience aging. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile this fact with the researchers' theory.

Re:Sure it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643549)

Actually, can you define aging? A cell splits and becomes two... And? Don't tell me you're one of those people who thinks atoms have an age?

Re:Sure it is... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43643663)

The null hypothesis here is based on telomere degradation. Telomeres are a part of DNA that is reduced every time a cell splits by mitosis(but are restored by meiosis). It's beleived that as they degrade they turn individual genes on and off.

Re:Sure it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644097)

Actually, can you define aging? A cell splits and becomes two... And? Don't tell me you're one of those people who thinks atoms have an age?

Atoms have no age. But body cells have, sort of. A body cell can only split a finite number of times. Which shows that there's something in the cell which changes with the number of splits.

There's an exception to this rule: Cancer cells. For a cell to become a cancer cell, that counter must somehow be deactivated. Which actually gives a strong hint about why that counter exists in the first case (and that "eternal youth" may actually mean "early death from cancer").

Re:Sure it is... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about a year ago | (#43644171)

Aww, don't say that. My atoms just celebrated their 13,783,913,225th birthday and now you've hurt their feelings. I just hope they don't react by joining the free radical movement.

rgb

Re:Sure it is... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#43644893)

Aww, don't say that. My atoms just celebrated their 13,783,913,225th birthday and now you've hurt their feelings. I just hope they don't react by joining the free radical movement.

rgb

Or worse, they could be so offended that they just split!

Re: Sure it is... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about a year ago | (#43644649)

Or we all turn into Deadpool [wikipedia.org] !

Re:Sure it is... (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43646063)

The summary doesn't say anything like "aging is caused by the brain." But I suppose actual reading comprehension gets in the way of being a smartass AC on Slashdot.

slight catch (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43643631)

Your cells can only divide so many times before those little barbell-shaped molecule thingies get too short so really you need the mental control over processes, the cognitive capability breakdown problem in the brain, and the cell division problems all solved or it's not going to go so well.

Re:slight catch (3, Insightful)

oic0 (1864384) | about a year ago | (#43643707)

Even if it has no effect on telomeres, it could still keep the body functioning better into old age. I would rather have 70 good years before I die than 40 good, 20 that are so so, and 10 that suck.

Re:slight catch (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43644863)

Take a look at this commercial [youtube.com] . It really demonstrates the point quite well. With modern medicine, most people can live to 70 or 80 no problem, but the quality of life for those in good physical and mental shape is very different. No matter what you do, you probably aren't going to live much past 100, but how you live the last 30-50 years of your life can be vary greatly.

Damn It! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643635)

Damn it. I already named the hippo in my brain Thaddeus instead of Thalamus. Better luck next reincarnation.

Unfortunately... (4, Informative)

dentin (2175) | about a year ago | (#43643701)

... it's not quite that simple. There are many mechanisms which impact and cause aging, and while regulation of the hypothalmus may allow the body to more easily compensate for or reduce the impact of some aging symptoms, many other unaffected systems continue to go wrong and grow old. For a better description and more thorough analysis, see:

http://fightaging.org

While this information is interesting from a research standpoint, it's likely to be near-useless in the long term. The only real strategies to properly handle aging are the repair and maintenance approach. Currently, the SENS foundation is one of the biggest funders of research into repair mechanisms, and they could certainly use more support.

http://sens.org

-dentin

Re:Unfortunately... (2)

bkaul01 (619795) | about a year ago | (#43643939)

While this information is interesting from a research standpoint, it's likely to be near-useless in the long term.

They demonstrated an ability to slow or halt age-associated cognitive decline in the mice; that could potentially have real long-term utility in dealing with age-related phenomena such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

dentin (2175) | about a year ago | (#43645163)

That depends very much on your definition of long term. Assuming it even works in humans (which isn't very likely given past experience with mouse models), will it gain a year or two? Five? Ten at the outside, before some other factor overwhelms it? Will using this mechanism have unacceptable side effects? Even if it violates everything we know about aging and happens to be a perfect cure for this class of problem, it still gains us at best 50 years: at age 120, the remainder of the body will fail due to AGE (primarily glucosepane) accumulation, which is utterly beyond the scope of brain regulation.

That's the big problem with stuff like this - it's a very specific result, in a very specific environment. It may not compound with other factors - for example, this same pathway may be one of the active pathways in caloric restriction. In fact, this is quite likely, given how deep the calorie restriction hooks are embedded in biology.

I'm not saying that it isn't valuable. It's definitely an interesting result, and one more piece of the puzzle that is age related disease and metabolism. However, it's not system repair, and without system repair, it cannot have a significant impact over the long term. Even living to 120 is not long term to me; it is an awfully young age to die, and should not be tolerated by polite society any more than starving to death should be.

-dentin

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43646133)

Hey, even with repair you're doomed sometime in the few trillion years from the heat death of the universe so that's not a long term solution either. Wait, your "long term" isn't measured in quadrillions of years?

It's too bad you had to take a reasonably informative post and ruin it with some silly arbitrary limits. No, fiddling with your hypothalamus isn't going to make you live forever. Nobody claimed any such thing, least of all the summary or article. An extra fifty healthy years would be pretty awesome. An extra ten would be great too. A drug that slows or stops dementia would also be fantastic.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#43648735)

An extra 10 years gives you time to use the other anti-aging techniques that are discovered in that period. Are you going to turn down 10 years because it's not enough for you?

Here comes the Hypothalamus Diet! (5, Interesting)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year ago | (#43643803)

The worst part of this kind of scientific research is all the quacks who'll use it to make a quick buck, and possibly even do some harm along the way. Reminds me of a recent M. Curie special and all the products they put Radium in after the discovery, and how little things have changed in the rush to capitalize on anything "discovered".

For some odd reason (probably since I only signed up to watch the new pilots and had no history) recently Amazon "recommended" that I buy a diet book called How to Heal your Pineal Gland to facilitate Enlightenment optimize Melatonin and Live Longer [amazon.com] which claims to do everything imaginable and quite a few things that are impossible for you or your health. Just reading the description out loud had my M.D. girl and myself rolling in laughter, with one amazing claim after another... enjoy.

In this book nutritionist Joel Blanchard cheerfully offers information and tools designed specifically to help us create a reality of health, happiness and enlightenment for ourselves. He alerts us to the fact that our pineal glands have almost certainly become damaged by environmental conditions on this industrialized planet. Your pineal gland is responsible for making the majority of your melatonin, which is much more than just a neurohormone or sleep aid. According to the studies cited in this book, the melatonin molecule, which is found in every plant and animal on this planet, may very well be the most powerful cell-protecting molecule in existence. Unlike normal hormones, melatonin is welcome inside every cell of your body, where some scientists believe that it communicates with and protects your DNA. Research studies have demonstrated that melatonin can help keep your cardiovascular system healthy, help protect your cells and organs from damage, help to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, help to increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, dramatically increase your body’s ability to make antibodies, help people lose weight and lower elevated blood sugar levels, help counteract many, if not all, forms of cancer and ultimately may determine how long you are going to live! In addition to all of these profound health benefits of optimal melatonin levels, Joel discusses your pineal gland’s role in perception, intuition, self-mastery, and insight. There are reasons why Rene Descartes stated "In man, soul and body touch each other only at a single point, the pineal gland in the head." This gland is considered by many spiritual practitioners, philosophers, cultures, religions and researchers to be either the center of your “third eye” chakra or an information receiver, or both. Joel explains how to restore the health of this gland and get your melatonin levels to where you want them to be, and relates some of the amazing experiences he had after he got his pineal gland functioning properly again. These experiences ranged from being able to “receive” the contents of an email message without using any electronic device to resuming a conversation with an off-world being that he had not been able to speak with, while awake, for 13 years. Joel also discusses the role cannabis (marijuana) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) can play in creativity, melatonin production and personal epiphanies. Are you ready to turn your pineal gland back on and start receiving the kind of creativity and body energy you had as a child, before your pineal gland became calcified? Are you ready to use your built-in Enlightenment App?

Re:Here comes the Hypothalamus Diet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644427)

The worst part of this kind of scientific research is all the quacks who'll use it to make a quick buck, and possibly even do some harm along the way. Reminds me of a recent M. Curie special and all the products they put Radium in after the discovery, and how little things have changed in the rush to capitalize on anything "discovered".

For some odd reason (probably since I only signed up to watch the new pilots and had no history) recently Amazon "recommended" that I buy a diet book called How to Heal your Pineal Gland to facilitate Enlightenment optimize Melatonin and Live Longer [amazon.com] which claims to do everything imaginable and quite a few things that are impossible for you or your health. Just reading the description out loud had my M.D. girl and myself rolling in laughter, with one amazing claim after another... enjoy.

In this book nutritionist Joel Blanchard cheerfully offers information and tools designed specifically to help us create a reality of health, happiness and enlightenment for ourselves. He alerts us to the fact that our pineal glands have almost certainly become damaged by environmental conditions on this industrialized planet. Your pineal gland is responsible for making the majority of your melatonin, which is much more than just a neurohormone or sleep aid. According to the studies cited in this book, the melatonin molecule, which is found in every plant and animal on this planet, may very well be the most powerful cell-protecting molecule in existence. Unlike normal hormones, melatonin is welcome inside every cell of your body, where some scientists believe that it communicates with and protects your DNA. Research studies have demonstrated that melatonin can help keep your cardiovascular system healthy, help protect your cells and organs from damage, help to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, help to increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, dramatically increase your body’s ability to make antibodies, help people lose weight and lower elevated blood sugar levels, help counteract many, if not all, forms of cancer and ultimately may determine how long you are going to live! In addition to all of these profound health benefits of optimal melatonin levels, Joel discusses your pineal gland’s role in perception, intuition, self-mastery, and insight. There are reasons why Rene Descartes stated "In man, soul and body touch each other only at a single point, the pineal gland in the head." This gland is considered by many spiritual practitioners, philosophers, cultures, religions and researchers to be either the center of your “third eye” chakra or an information receiver, or both. Joel explains how to restore the health of this gland and get your melatonin levels to where you want them to be, and relates some of the amazing experiences he had after he got his pineal gland functioning properly again. These experiences ranged from being able to “receive” the contents of an email message without using any electronic device to resuming a conversation with an off-world being that he had not been able to speak with, while awake, for 13 years. Joel also discusses the role cannabis (marijuana) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) can play in creativity, melatonin production and personal epiphanies. Are you ready to turn your pineal gland back on and start receiving the kind of creativity and body energy you had as a child, before your pineal gland became calcified? Are you ready to use your built-in Enlightenment App?

Even bad science can be good science.

Bad science can still tell others what happens in a experiment. Even a negative outcome can still shed light.

Look at chemotherapy. If invented before it was used for cancer treatment people would have mocked them for creating something that only harmed the human body and did nothing beneficial. Now it still has negative effects on the human body but it also can save a life by burning out cancer. Its not perfect but its a step in the right direction.

Very little in medicine has ever started out perfect.

Re:Here comes the Hypothalamus Diet! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43646059)

"Very little in medicine has ever started out perfect."

That is categorically untrue. If you would ever watch an epiode of 'House', you would realize that doctors can solve ALL problems, and in fact do so in the 1/2 hour time slot allowed by network tv.

The only truth is the truth as expressed by television. The only opinion that matters is the opinion expressed by the talking heads on our ohh so informitive network news programs. Today Jerry Springer is a multi-millionair, and Grigori Perelmn is living in his mother's basement.

So in conclusion:
    a) science is for faggots.
    b) being on TV is where all the important usefull people hang out.
    c) If you can't do science perfectly, and in half an hour, you are a stupid faggot, and need to find another job such as pizza delivery.

Don't believe me, just watch TV. It never ever lies. Hence the reason sooo many people watch it.

Re:Here comes the Hypothalamus Diet! (1)

alexmipego (903944) | about a year ago | (#43644707)

While reading that book sinopsis I didn't find anything really impossible until it says:

"These experiences ranged from being able to “receive” the contents of an email message without using any electronic device to resuming a conversation with an off-world being that he had not been able to speak with, while awake, for 13 years."

I mean... it's still not impossible(tm) but really, how the hell does this help an otherwise "science"-based book?

rotf

Zombies aren't so dumb after all (4, Insightful)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#43643851)

Why else do zombies eat brains? There's plenty more nutritive parts of the human body. They want to delay the aging process (decay in their case) just like anybody else...

Re:Zombies aren't so dumb after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645777)

Why else do zombies eat brains?

Brains have electrolytes and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. It's what zombies crave.

feralimnal master race reporting in: (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43647459)

I thought brains naturally contained dimethyltriptamine and adrenochrome. The adrenochrome is what zombies crave. Has all my research been for naught?!!

Re:Zombies aren't so dumb after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43647067)

Have you read "Bug Jack Barron"? (Norman SPinrad) not far off the truth.

Wasn't this the plot of Iron Man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43643857)

How very timely.

Until they have a cure for baldness... (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#43643921)

I will withhold my faith in scientific advancements! How can I believe any progress is being made in science and medicine, while that shining area above my forehead keeps growing? How hard can it be scientists?! *** Lazy bums! ***

Re:Until they have a cure for baldness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644241)

SCIENCE! [youtube.com] It works, bro.

Re:Until they have a cure for baldness... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43648821)

I'm going to guess Kabooki without even clicking the link. God damn advertising...

Less aging, more cancer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644007)

One of the current theories of "why we age" is that it is cancer prevention - as tissues age, they accrue mutations that make those cells more and more likely to become dangerous cancers. In response, the body naturally allows tissues to wear out - let them age and die, rather than turn cancerous and kill the entire organism. Here's something that speaks to this theory - http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/traits/telomeres/

From another angle, we have already achieved immortality for human tissue - the problem is that the tissue is cancer tissue. Look up HeLa cells for more info.

I would love for an age reduction therapy / treatment, but as with most things in biology, I wonder what the consequences will be - there's usually a good reason for the way things are.

meditation as a means to control thoughts (3, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#43644009)

the next breakthrough would be to work out a categorical and undeniable way to demonstrate what those thought processes *are* that make a difference, i.e. what *kinds* of thoughts result in slowing down of ageing.

the very very unfortunate thing for those people who like to bash religion, meditation *and* science by sitting on one side of the fence or other and slinging mud [cue down-moderation of this post as an example, because i dared to link science and meditation *shock horror*], will be that it will be found that deep restful states of meditation are the way to gain the kind of control over the hypothalamus that is being described, here.

this link between thoughts and "physical effect" really isn't that hard to imagine. examples are as follows:

* "i'm hungry". if you're a dog, you automatically salivate at the sight of food.
* "i'm angry". you release chemicals into your bloodstream, such as adrenaline.
* "i hate you". your body releases chemicals that are similar to SNAKE VENOM. hatred *literally* poisions you.
* "i love you". all sorts of wonderful endorphins released. and a hell of a lot of hormones.
* fulfilment of vengeance (revenge) releases a chemical that *literally* tastes "sweet". hence the phrase "revenge is sweet".

thought. chemicals. thought. chemicals. thought. chemicals. the chain is *really* clear.

why is it therefore so hard for people to understand that control over thoughts can result in significant life-prolonging benefits?

perhaps it is because it's actually quite hard to keep control over our thoughts. or maybe we wish to deny the link, so that it's possible to continue to feel whatever-we-wish-to-feel without considering that there might be consequences [for ourselves]. that would be a *lot* easier, wouldn't it. i'll be interested to see if the "wisdom of crowds" a la "slashdot moderation" as a whole accepts these kinds of words. very interested indeed.

Re: meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644325)

Thank you for that bizarre quackery. However some actual science would have been nice.

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644327)

All examples you gave are not thoughts, but feelings. Now the feelings may be triggered by some thoughts, but the point is that it's the feelings that have the effect, not the thoughts.

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644623)

Actually, you probably mean emotions [differencebetween.net] , and the text-examples *are* thoughts ;-) However, having those thoughts usually mean heightened awareness. Most people are not aware at all of their emotions most of the time, only of their effects, aftershocks and trying to avoid or force them.

There is a link between thoughts and emotions, which you can learn in a proper yogacourse (and if you don't, it's not a proper course).

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644547)

It's actually very very easy. No thought, is the most effective meditation.
However, breathing exercises, yoga, selfless work, will enhance the effects, and "training" should ideally be done over a significant amount of time (5-10 years).
The effort should not be to gain something, but rather let go of stress and "follow your inner yearnings", whatever that may be, ie.: something you REALLY want to do, something you'd like to share with the world. Go for it, see where it leads you, what you learn about the world, yourself and relationships to others.

The teacher cannot tell you what you will learn. If someone tries to define your experience, RUN! It should be a unique experience for everyone. We all come here with our own unique and intricate patterns. Having a human life means you get a chance to unwrinkle your patterns and letting go of your limitations. It is a very rare opportunity that is comically silly to waste. There's so much waste in the world it's hillarious! :)

Many many people around the world have direct experience with their inner energy, and have even awakened energy centers (NEVER recommended by serious practitioners to attempt for, it should just unfold by itself following a proven regime).

If you read up on research on hormones and gene expressions, you'll find that the link between thought and body is already proven medically, despite the negativity in those who think they know it all better than those who actually do the practice.

Captcha: journeys

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (1)

foobsr (693224) | about a year ago | (#43645757)

something you REALLY want to do

You may perhaps call this "intention".

gene expression
As I think, especially gene expression within the ECM (which is heavily modified by practicing) is of relevance if you consider long term outcomes.

CC.

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43646773)

You may perhaps call this "intention".

That does not really hold my meaning completely. You could call it your "dream", your "life task", your "dharma" or "actions that brings you *your* freedom".

As I think, especially gene expression within the ECM (which is heavily modified by practicing) is of relevance if you consider long term outcomes.

I would worry less about outcome. Just live your life freely and unconditionally. Have trust everything will fall into place as it should. Stop rejecting it, *seek that* instead.
It's fun to discover that there are provable physiological changes, however letting go of that also.
Brings such freedom.

People are so caught up denying themselves, denying others, being afraid, intolerant, or too naive, open minded and too trusting. We need time to retreat into wisdom, that's the only true security and comfort we can really attain in this world. If it's true wisdom, it'll become your very own, and nobody else's. You can be servant to everyone, but slave to nothing.

Captcha: interest (that's the short version of it, I'm beat ;-)

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (1)

foobsr (693224) | about a year ago | (#43647493)

Have trust everything will fall into place as it should. Stop rejecting it, *seek that* instead.

Admittedly, I have a hard time with that one right now (found my wife dead in the flat when I returned from a 5hr trip on Jan 2 and I am still shaken).

We need time to retreat into wisdom,
I cannot agree more.

Thank you for your helpful reply.

CC.

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644657)

So the optimum solution here is to take out revenge against those you love.

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43647499)

No it's to love revenge, and sweet flavors.

KHAAAANNNNNNN!!!!....

P.S. Its not crackery, its frackin psychology. Depressed people are stressed and unhappy and fucking commit suicide. Making your self un depressed by changing your perceptions using happy thoughts can work to make you happier. It doesn't require science to work. You can drive your car and take a shit without science.

Lots of unscientific things work.

*I am not saying there's no place for science, science is indeed great, for whatever it is that science does...

Re:meditation as a means to control thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43647951)

Does the name "Pavlov" ring a bell?

if there really is anything to this (1, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#43644127)

then dont be surprised if you never hear about it again, there are 7 billion+ people on earth and the population keeps growing, the power/elite in finance and politics that control the world wont let the general population have this, they will keep it for themselves

Re:if there really is anything to this (2)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43644385)

I hope to God you are right. Can you imagine what it would do to the planet if suddenly everyone lived, for example, 25% longer?

Re:if there really is anything to this (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about a year ago | (#43644667)

Start driving wooden stakes through their hearts? Or maybe the zombie approach, shots to the head?

Re:if there really is anything to this (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year ago | (#43644981)

Can you imagine what it would do to the planet if suddenly everyone lived, for example, 25% longer?

Hopefully, after realizing that they would be here for that much longer, people would take better care of it.

(scroll down when you're done laughing)

Yeah, it sounds like we'd be screwed. But this doesn't account for people who die from accidents, non age-related diseases, or other causes. This would initially only benefit those who take care of their health, and are lucky. By the time the other leading causes of mortality are eradicated, we'll probably have enough other tech that this won't be a problem (for our great-grandchildren).

Re:if there really is anything to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645855)

Can you imagine what it would do to the planet if suddenly everyone lived, for example, 25% longer?

The same things that happened when the life expectancy jumped from 40 to 70 years with modern medicine and sanitation? A larger population. It's not like the world ended when we reached one billion.

Re:if there really is anything to this (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43646425)

I doubt it would realistically have much effect. Assuming you have to start treatment before you get old, by the time this kicked in properly the world would probably be in the decreasing population mode that's expected in the future anyway. It might slow down that slide a bit. Also, the people who have the best health care also tend to be the ones whose population is already falling.

Re:if there really is anything to this (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#43648815)

Can you imagine what it would do to the planet if suddenly everyone lived, for example, 25% longer?

Please think through what you're posting. If "suddenly everyone lived 25% longer" that would mean that everyone who died recently would come back to life.

Re:if there really is anything to this (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43644741)

Remember FudRucker, the truth is out there.

Other changes needed too (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year ago | (#43644289)

It works if one also lived like the test animals - in a controlled dust and aerosol free environment on an optimized non-excessive diet. So in essence everybody should turn into nature lovers.

I'm afraid this will just turn out to be one more pill...

but what about telomeres? (1)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43644357)

Perhaps telomere shortening in the cells of the hypothalamus mediates the control of the aging process? Then again, all the genetic research [utah.edu] studies could have had it wrong!

Re:but what about telomeres? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43644753)

Telomerase has been shown to regenerate the telomeres. Wikipedia has some good entries on the topic, I suggest reading them.

The Fountain of Youth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43644589)

Lies in my pants.

TANSTAAFL (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43644613)

I'm all for living longer (as long as that time is worth living), but it would also guarantee nearly 100% of folk will encounter cancer (especially men), which probably won't help much with health care costs.

And as harsh as it sounds, I don't think we want a bumper crop of folk living an extra 20 or 30 years with severe senility issues.

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43646519)

senility is fixed through rigorous mental exercise. Grandpa shouldn't spend his retirement years watching bonanza reruns until his brain turns into gelatin.

Aging is necessary (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43644889)

I get the feeling that without a proper regulation of cellular growth and regeneration, we would end up with so many tumors that life wouldn't be worth living.

Just spit-balling here, but I think we'd better understand aging before we start tinkering with it.

There *ARE* natural things we can do to live longer, happier and healthier and we have done much of it already. But there are also some things we are doing which result in more miserable lives as well. We need to stop that but it's not a topic that works well with this one. I think, in the end, we need to plan to die.

And isn't that one of the great things about humanity? That we die? No one jackass can dominate the world or a region forever. "Families" can do that for a bit longer and so can groups, but it requires a collection of like-minded individuals which is something pretty hard to maintain if history is any indication. And I think that is it precisely because we know we will die that we can give up on this notion that we much control and dominate everyone and everything. Many people haven't gotten the memo yet, but it is my hope that one day they will... just as soon as they give up on religion and using religion as a tool to control others.

Re:Aging is necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645627)

And isn't that one of the great things about humanity? That we die?

No.

Re:Aging is necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645765)

Tinkering with it is how we understand it

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#43646365)

Curing aging is not about making people immortal. People will die eventually, even if by boredom. Curing aging is about making people healthy and young looking for an indefinite amount of time. It's about being 60 years old, and going to college again to pursue a new career. It's about being 85, and instead of being a senile old man who can't go across the room without feeling pain, being a strong and healthy enough to go to the beach and play volleyball. You say that it's a great thing we die. I couldn't disagree more. The fact that we live such fragile and short lives only makes life cheaper for most people. If we lived for centuries, we would give a much greater importance to human life in general.

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43646661)

It's mostly about being a rich bastard and keeping it because you can't take it with you.

And frankly, the richer the few get, the more miserable the many get and it's a matter of simple economics and of human history. The defense of the rich must always come from the power of or permission of the government. And when that becomes the norm, you end up with what we have today.

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#43648713)

You speak as though only the rich would benefit from this. As if it's in the interest of the wealthy and the governments to have millions of unproductive elderly people living off pension and social security, not to mention the cost of medical treatments related to old age (alzheimers, parkinsons, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc...) which is an ever increasing cost to all the nations, when they could be young and productive. You also fail to realize the good probability we'll eventually reach an age of abundance, where the differences in quality of living between the wealthy and the lower classes will be greatly diminished.

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43648875)

And aren't you speaking as if all people would have equal access to immortality? I'm pretty sure we wouldn't.

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#43648961)

Eventually, yes. Like all technologies, it starts expensive then becomes cheap. Think of it this way, if a reasonably priced treatment could keep people young, what government wouldn't prefer to sponsor it for it's population, so they could be productive and not incur in the absurd cost that comes from having millions of sickly, retired old people?

Re:Aging is necessary (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#43648885)

Your pseudonym says it all, "erroneus". Human production is not a zero sum game; both history and theory show that in free countries those who earn riches do so by making possible better lives for others. Producing televisions does not make the lives of others worse.

would only slow aging, not reverse it (3, Informative)

arobatino (46791) | about a year ago | (#43644929)

The legendary Fountain of Youth [wikipedia.org] was supposed to actually reverse aging. This would only slow it down.

Re:would only slow aging, not reverse it (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43647927)

The legendary Fountain of Youth was supposed to actually reverse aging.

The real fountain of youth is to have kids. That reverses aging of your genetic material by resetting it to zero years old

Alas for most slashdotters, this goal will be as unattainable as the legendary Fountain of Youth.

Brain controlling regeneration process.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645095)

I saw this in a movie and it ended badly for some of the test subjects.....

But it would be cool to regrow an arm or melt a iron girder with my bare hands...

Until I 'sploded....

Vivisection is medical fraud... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43645553)

Yet another ludicrous Slashdot article about solving a problem in MICE. You must have read hundreds of such articles during your lifetime - none of those 'cures' transferred to humans.

Re:Vivisection is medical fraud... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43646499)

Virtually all modern drugs were tested for efficacy in mice before being tested in humans. There are lots of things that look promising in mice that don't work in humans, but pretty much everything that works in humans worked in mice first.

Re:Vivisection is medical fraud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43649253)

It's worked so well in ..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rats_of_NIMH

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_for_Algernon

Ponce de León (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#43646853)

I know that the writer was just trying (unsuccessfully) to make a joke, but I suspect that investigating the hypothalamus with 16th-century technology and 16th-century medical theory would probably not have helped much.

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