Radical Life Extension
Computer Mimics Isaac Newton
posted on April 14, 2009
I keep finding supporting evidence that our predictions for radical life extension in our lifetimes could become a reality. A few days ago, I read a Science Daily article which hits you right between the eyes if you are sensitive to life-extending implications. After you read these excerpts, tell me how you interpret the report.
Being Isaac Newton: Computer Derives Natural Laws from Raw Data
If Isaac Newton had access to a supercomputer, he'd have had it watch apples fall – and let it figure out the physical matters. But the computer would have needed to run an algorithm, just developed by Cornell researchers, which can derive natural laws from observed data.
The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that become established laws – yet without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer. They have tested their method, or algorithm, on simple mechanical systems and believe it could be applied to more complex systems ranging from biology to cosmology.
The researchers tested the method with apparatus used in freshman physics courses: a spring-loaded linear oscillator, a single pendulum and a double pendulum. Given data on position and velocity over time, the computer found energy laws, and for the pendulum, the law of conservation of momentum. Given acceleration, it produced Newton's second law of motion.
The researchers point out that the computer evolves these laws without any prior knowledge of physics, kinematics or geometry.
Fascinating, huh? If we would have seen an article like this ten years ago, it would have made international headlines. So why did it slip by, largely unnoticed by the press? Because rapid progress has been sneaking up on us for a few decades now, and we take what used to be considered as scientific miracles for granted, as they are reported along with a thousand other news items.
OK, so we’re desensitized to scientific breakthroughs. We’re overloaded with information and are spending our time trying to master the newest cell phone technology before it becomes obsolete. We spend so much time trying to keep up that we usually don’t step back and analyze how some of these technologies could impact our lives. Let’s take a moment now though to see how this Cornell research could affect you.
Grasp the implication. A 2009 computer rediscovered one of the one of the key laws of physics, first discovered by one of the most brilliant men of all time, and arguably the most important man in history. Virtually every mechanical and electronic device can trace its roots to Newton’s Laws of Motion. Just about every convenience you enjoy and every bit of technology you and the world depend on can be traced to Newton. That includes the computer at Cornell which duplicated a big part of his work, without the benefit of Newton’s prior education.
In a nutshell, this means computers are getting smarter all the time, at an accelerating rate, and will surpass human intelligence sooner than most think. While that is happening, and after it happens, scientists will use these computers to help solve the aging and disease processes that currently kill us.
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
Steps towards Reprogramming Cells For Regeneration (April 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4155
Researchers are working, step by step, towards the knowledge needed to reprogram cells to regenerate damage they presently let stand. Here is one small step forward: "A protein that the heart produces during its early development reactivates the embryonic coronary developmental program and initiates migration of heart cells and blood vessel growth after a heart attack. The molecule, Thymosin beta-4 (TB4), is expressed by embryos during the heart's development and encourages migration of heart cells. Tremendous medical progress has been made to counter the damaging effects of heart attacks, but ordinarily, mammalian hearts are incapable of repairing themselves following damage. They are also limited in their ability to form new blood vessels. ... In this mouse study researchers found that TB4 initiates capillary tube formation of adult coronary endothelial cells in tissue culture. The molecule also encourages cardiac regeneration by inhibiting death in heart cells after an injury such as a heart attack and by stimulating new vessel growth. We observed that by injecting this protein systemically, there was increased cardiac function after a heart attack. We hope this protein can inhibit cell death that occurs during a heart attack in the short term, and that it may initiate new growth of coronary vessels by activating progenitor cells in the long term."
Stem Cells versus Corneal Damage (April 10 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4154
From EurekAlert!: "Stem cells collected from human corneas restore transparency and don't trigger a rejection response when injected into eyes that are scarred and hazy. The findings suggest that cell-based therapies might be an effective way to treat human corneal blindness and vision impairment due to the scarring that occurs after infection, trauma and other common eye problems. Corneal stem cells were able to remodel scar-like tissue back to normal. Our experiments indicate that after stem cell treatment, mouse eyes that initially had corneal defects looked no different than mouse eyes that had never been damaged. The ability to grow millions of the cells in the lab could make it possible to create an off-the-shelf product, which would be especially useful in countries that have limited medical and surgical resources but a great burden of eye disease due to infections and trauma. The cornea and [its] stem cells themselves appear to be 'immune privileged,' meaning they don't trigger a significant immune response even when transplanted across species."
Common Sense, Health, and Longevity (April 09 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4153
The things that common sense tells us are good for long term health are in fact mostly good for long term health. Good diet and exercise will do more for you in the long term than any presently available therapy - which is all the more reason to get behind the wheel to push for the working medicines of rejuvenation that we know enough to create in the decades ahead. Here, Forbes looks at the basics: "Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England followed 20,000 middle-aged men and women in England for 11 years and found that nonsmokers with the healthiest eating and exercise habits at the outset had a 14-year-life-expectancy edge over the people with the worst habits. This followed a 2001 Loma Linda University finding that Seventh-Day Adventists who kept good habits lived to an average age of 88, versus 78 for those who behaved less well. Seventh-Day Adventists [have] a life expectancy four to seven years longer than that of average Americans, probably because their faith preaches a vegetarian diet and exercise. Researchers at the Pacific Health Research Institute in Hawaii who followed 5,820 Japanese American men for 40 years found those who avoided risk factors such as obesity, heavy drinking, smoking and high blood pressure in
CXCL5 and the Imflammation That Fat Tissue Generates (April 08 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4151
Researchers have been demonstrating over the past couple of years that excess fat tissue contributes to chronic inflammation, with the role of macrophage cells being particularly important. Here's more on that topic from EurekAlert!: "the inflammatory chemokine known as CXCL5 rises and falls with obesity and subsequent weight loss in humans. (Chemokines are structurally related signaling proteins that are secreted by cells.) Fat tissue known as white adipose tissue (WAT) is primarily involved in energy storage in the form of triglycerides and energy release in the form of free fatty acids, Fajas' team explained. However, WAT is more than a fat storage organ; it also secretes numerous other factors with roles in both health and disease. [CXCL5] is expressed at high levels in WAT, particularly in immune cells known as macrophages. Moreover, they report that CXCL5 is dramatically increased in the blood of people who are obese compared to those who are lean. Those CXCL5 levels drop when obese people lose weight and are also lower in obese individuals that continue to respond to insulin than in those who are insulin resistant. The [receptor for CXCL5] is active outside of muscle, in cells that line blood vessel walls and in the lung and intestine, for example. Therefore, increased CXCL5 circulating levels as observed in obesity could lead to other problems, including atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases."
NOTE: Chronic inflammation is one of the deadliest conditions you will ever face. If you need to lose weight, understand the consequences of not doing so. You might try one 24-36 hour fast each week. It’s surprisingly easy if you keep busy and don’t dwell on food. Not only will you lose weight, but you will get many of the healthful benefits of caloric restriction without the pain.
How Overeating Leads to Insulin Resistance? (April 08 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4150
While some researchers are exploring the mechanisms by which calorie restriction brings health and longevity benefits, others are looking at how overeating harms us: "Obese people have been found to harbor proteins called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) at far higher levels than non-obese people. The suspicion has been that these amino acids, in combination with a high-fat diet, contribute to insulin resistance. In the case of the amino acids, we also are finding increased levels of their metabolic breakdown products, which suggests the whole system for handling the amino acid metabolic process has been overloaded. Our rat studies show that this overload causes changes at the cellular level that can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurred in animals with a diet high in the branched-chain amino acids, but only if they were ingested along with a high level of fat in the diet. BCAAs comprise as much as 25 percent of amino acids in dietary protein, and are particularly enriched in diets high in animal (meat) proteins. I want to be clear that our animal data suggest that there is nothing wrong with obtaining protein from sources that are high in branched-chain amino acids, as long as you are not eating beyond what your energy needs are. If you add a lot of unneeded protein to a fatty diet, perhaps that's where you get into problems. The ancient Greeks were right: everything in moderation."
SENS Foundation Launches (April 07 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4148
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) research will be conducted by the SENS Foundation going forward. This initiative is spun off from the Methuselah Foundation, which will renew its focus on the Mprize for longevity science and a number of other less research-focused endeavors. From biomedical gerontologist and SENS Foundation co-founder Aubrey de Grey: "I want to give you a feel for what we are achieving by summarizing just two of the many recent elements of SENS-related scientific progress. One shining example is the discovery of enzymes that can destroy A2E, a by-product of the chemistry of sight, which is thought to be the primary cause of age-related macular degeneration (in turn, a major cause of blindness in the elderly). The other example, this time relating to mitochondrial mutations, [is] the breakthrough by Marisol Corral-Debrinski's Methuselah-funded group in Paris in cracking the problem of hydrophobicity of the proteins encoded by mitochondrial DNA. This obstacle, which had for over a decade completely stalled progress in the 20-year-old idea of making mitochondrial DNA redundant by duplicating it in the nucleus, is now largely solved, and there is great hope that this strand of SENS can be brought to complete fruition within only a few more years. I have no doubt that SENS Foundation is the right organization to take the next evolutionary steps in the engineering of comprehensive regenerative therapies. It promises to be a remarkable journey, and I look forward to your continued interest, support and collaboration as we increase our pace and set our sights ever closer to the horizon."
Stem Cells That Grow New Blood Vessels (April 06 2009) http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/vnl.cfm?id=4146
Via EurekAlert!, we learn that a research group has "has identified how to use selected stem cells from bone marrow to grow new blood vessels to treat diseases such as peripheral artery disease. [Researchers] drew human bone marrow and simultaneously isolated three different types of stem cells that co-ordinate together to form new blood vessels. These are called pro-angiogenic stem cells. They were purified to remove any inflammatory or contaminated cells, and then injected into the circulation of mice which had one of their leg arteries ligated and removed. The researchers showed how these stem cells have a natural ability to hone in on the area of ischemia to induce blood vessel repair and improve blood flow. We can select the right stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow and put them back in the area of ischemia to allow these cells to coordinate the formation of new blood vessels. These principles could be applied not only to ischemic limbs, but to aid in the formation of new blood vessels in ischemic tissue anywhere in the body, for example after a stroke or heart attack."
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