Longevity News Digest
Good and Bad Medical News
Dear Future Centenarian,Â
I met Peter Diamandis around ten years ago. You may know him as the X-Prize founder, the $10 million prize awarded for the first successful private space launch. He™s doing so much more now, and is instrumental in advances in health and longevity initiatives. His book, Abundance, is a must read.
I this recent newsletter from Peter, he states:
The healthcare system is massively broken.
It's not healthcare. It's sick care.
It's reactive, retrospective, bureaucratic and expensive.
First the bad news:
- Doctors spend $210 billion per year on procedures that aren't based on patient need, but fear of liability.
- Americans spend, on average, $7,290 per person on healthcare¦ more than any other country on the planet.
- Prescription drugs cost around 50% more in the U.S. than in other industrialized countries.
- At current rates, by 2025, nearly 1/4 of the US GDP will be spent on healthcare.
- It takes on average 12 years and $359 million to take a new drug from the lab to a patient.
- Only 5 in 5,000 of these new drugs make it to human testing. From there, only 1 of those 5 is actually approved for human use.
And Now, the Good News:
We are in the midst of a (medical) revolution driven by exponential technology: artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics and stem cells.
Today's $3.8 trillion dollar healthcare industry is in the deceptive phase of its march towards dematerialization, demonetization and democratization (as I discuss in my A360 Summit <http://a36.ontraport.com/c/s/U9Q/jMht/6/6W/WfD/62qJnz/z0TOI5Syyh> ).
What does that mean? Imagine a time within the next 10 years when:
- Sensors and AI democratize and demonetize accurate diagnosis. Where an autonomous health scan is identical for the poorest on Earth and a billionaire in Manhattan.
- Large-scale genomic sequencing and machine learning allow us to understand the root cause of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disease and what to do about it.
- When robotic surgeons can carry out a perfect operation (every time) for pennies on the dollar.
- When each of us can regrow a heart, liver, lung of kidney when we need it instead of waiting for the donor to die.
These breakthroughs are materializing because of the convergence of the following key accelerating technologies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI):
AI will enable better diagnoses and personalized medical recommendations.
- Johnson & Johnson is teaching IBM's A.I. called Watson to read and understand scientific papers that detail clinical trial outcomes.
- One such Watson system contains 40 million documents, ingests an average of 27,000 new documents per day, and provides insights for thousands of users.
- After only one year, Watson's successful diagnosis rate for lung cancer is 90 percent, compared to 50 percent for human doctors.
Wearables, connected devices, and quantified-self apps will allow us to collect enormous amounts of useful health information.
- Wearables like the Quanttus wristband and Vital Connect can transmit your electrocardiogram data, vital signs, posture and stress levels anywhere on the planet.
- Google is developing a smart contact lens that can monitor the wearer's blood sugar levels for diabetic patients.
- The $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is bringing the Star Trek Tricorder to life in the next 15 months¦ not for a doctor or nurse, but for you, the consumer.
The precision, accuracy, and mobility of medical robotics will allow us to serve more humans around the world, faster and cheaper.
- Over 1.5 million surgeries worldwide have been performed by Intuitive Surgical's Da Vinci robotic system using 3D HD vision inside the body, with precise movements that don't have the tremors of a human hand.
- Companies like Suitable Technology's BEAM, and InTouch health allow top physicians to beam into locations around the world for consultation and rounds at hospitals.
On-demand manufacturing will make medical devices cheaper and more readily accessible to millions, and it will make scarce resources like organs-for-transplant abundantly available.
- 3D Systems is 3D printing precise dental and anatomical models, custom surgical guides, implantable devices, exoskeletons, hearing aids, prosthetics and braces for scoliosis and other applications.
- Students at Washington University 3D printed a robotic arm for about $200. Traditional robotic limbs can run $50,000 to $70,000, and they need to be replaced as children grow.
- Dr. Anthony Atala's team are 3D bioprinting with cells to produce tissues, blood vessels and even small organs.
Genomics & Big Data:
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The cost of genome sequencing has plummeted 100,000-fold, from $100M per genome in 2001 to $1,000 per genome today¦ outpacing Moore's Law by 5x.
- At Human Longevity Inc., our mission is to accumulate the largest genomics data set ever. We will sequence over 1 million full human genomes, microbiomes, MRI body image scans, metabolomes, and more¦
- Next, with that large data set, we'll be able to unlock the secrets of our biology. We'll find insights into and cures for cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disease, and ultimately extend the human lifespan.
We are now in the earliest stages of stem cell therapy development. Future therapies will be transformative and, frankly, mind-boggling.
- Stem cell therapy promises tissue regeneration and renewal “ and thus a "cure" for everything from blindness to spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis.
- In 2012, researchers at Cedars-Sinai reported one of the first cases of successful therapeutic stem cell treatment “ they used patients' own stem cells to regenerate heart tissue and undo damage from a heart attack.
The disruption and transformation of medicine is happening right now. That's why each year I work with Dr. Daniel Kraft, head of the Medicine track at Singularity University, to hold an amazing 3-day event that brings all of the coolest and most powerful technologies together at an event called Exponential Medicine. <http://a36.ontraport.com/c/s/U9Q/jMht/s/6x/WfD/62qJnz/z90qCjthSc>
If you'd like to attend this click here. <http://a36.ontraport.com/c/s/U9Q/jMht/v/6d/WfD/62qJnz/vxu9GpPQLH>Â It's my pleasure to extend to you a significant discount to attend. Just enter the code XMEDPHD to get a $750 discount on the general ticket and a $1,000 discount on the VIP ticket.
It's called Abundance 360.
There's never been a better time to be alive.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
A Look at Various Approaches to Prosthetic Vision - Monday, October 6, 2014
Artificial vision for the blind lies ahead, and this research and development proceeds in competition with regeneration medicine approaches that aim to reverse degeneration and damage in the eye.
Some of the most advanced prototype devices presently in use take the approach of linking a camera to an electrode grid embedded in the retina, building a moving picture of glowing dots. But this isn't the only way forward.
Blocking Blood Vessel Inflammation to Diminish Atherosclerosis - Monday, October 6, 2014
Researchers have a found a way to selectively interfere with inflammatory processes in blood vessel walls so as to slow the onset of atherosclerosis.
Female Survival Advantage Diminishes with Age - Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Women live longer than men, and while there is no shortage of theories as to why this is the case, the research community has yet to convincingly demonstrate which of them are correct.
Adding an additional twist that will need to be explained, these researchers suggest that the size of the mortality rate advantage enjoyed by women diminishes considerably in late old age.
A Look at the Current State of Drug Treatments for Amyloidosis - Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Amyloids are formed from handful of types of misfolded proteins that interact to form insoluble deposits in tissues. The presence of amyloid grows with aging, and eventually causes the serious, fatal disruption of tissue function found in the family of amyloidosis conditions.
The best approach to dealing with amyloid is to simply remove it, such as by using immune therapies of the sort currently in early stage trials for Alzheimer's disease. These are treatments that aim to use the immune system to break down harmful amyloid aggregates, and success should lead to a general technology platform that can be turned against any form of amyloid.
There is a way to go towards this goal, however, and in the meanwhile the present state of drug-based therapies for various forms of fatal amyloidosis is better than nothing but leaves a lot to be desired.
As is still the case for many forms of cancer, the mainstream focus is on improving survival on a scale of adding additional months or a few years to remaining life, and reuse of existing drugs is always the first thing to be tried rather than the development of entirely new technologies.
Enhanced Catalase in the Mitochondria Improves Muscle Function in Aging - Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Mitochondria are the cell's power plants, swarming in bacteria-like herds to create chemical energy stores.
They bear their own DNA, distinct from that in the cell nucleus. This mitochondrial DNA can become damaged in aging and some forms of this damage create harmful, malfunctioning mitochondria that overtake their cell and cause it to export damaging reactive compounds into surrounding tissues.
One possible cause of this mitochondrial DNA damage is the fact that generating chemical energy stores results in the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a byproduct. This flux of ROS influences cellular activities in many ways, such as by spurring greater or lesser levels of housekeeping activity, and by causing damage directly through reactions with important molecular machinery.
In past years researchers have demonstrated benefits resulting from the delivery of targeted antioxidant compounds to the mitochondria, with the assumption that they produce benefits by soaking up more of the ROS before they can cause harm.
One approach here is to use genetic engineering to increase levels of the natural antioxidant catalase: some studies have shown extension of life in mice via this method, while others have not. The delivery of artificial mitochondrially targeted antioxidants as drugs has been studied more closely, in comparison, and the results there are generally more consistent, showing small effects on life span and enough of a benefit to health for some conditions to make it worth building treatments.
HIF-1 and AMPK in Regulation of Mitochondrial Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species - Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Many of the varied genes and proteins that can be manipulated to extend longevity in lower animals are associated with mitochondrial function, and specifically the pace at which mitochondria generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the course of performing the task of generating adenosine_triphosphate, a chemical energy store used to power cellular processes.
Cells react to the levels of ROS produced by their mitochondria, such as by dialing up their housekeeping and repair efforts when ROS output increases during exercise. More extended periods of increased cellular housekeeping lead to extended longevity for all the obvious reasons, as damaged molecular machinery and metabolic wastes are given less time to cause further damage.
Thus it isn't too surprising given current knowledge to find links between genes and proteins involved in cellular housekeeping and the behavior of mitochondria, and further between those involved in nutrient sensing and immune system regulation. Researchers interested in the intersection of metabolism and aging are exploring a network of interacting machines and feedback loops, in which every change causes reactions and adaptations elsewhere in the grand collection of machinery we call a cell.
Linking Blood Vessel Degeneration with Age-Related Failure of Amyloid-Î² Clearance - Thursday, October 9, 2014
Amyloid-Î² is one of the forms of misfolded protein that accumulate in tissues with age, precipitating to form solid clumps and fibrils. This one forms in the brain and is associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Amyloid levels are fairly dynamic, and their growth with age appears to be a slow failure of clearance mechanisms rather than a gradual accumulation. One of those discussed here in the past is the choroid plexus, a filtration system for cerebrospinal fluid. Here, however, is consideration of another failing mechanism, one that is more tightly bound to the degeneration of blood vessel tissues.
This is of interest because Alzheimer's risk is strongly correlated to blood vessel health. Further, the process of age-related degeneration in blood vessels is one for which the links to forms of cellular and molecular damage that cause aging are fairly well understood at this time: cross-links formed by metabolic waste degrade blood vessel elasticity, for example.
Ways to effectively remove those cross-links, such as those envisaged as the end result of work underway at the SENS Research Foundation, should be broadly beneficial to brain health as well as other tissues.
Transplanted Dopamine Neurons Can Last a Long Time - Thursday, October 9, 2014
Many cell transplants have been shown to produce no long-lasting cells in the recipient.
In stem cell treatments, for example, it is frequently the case that the stem cells have a short-term effect on the signaling environment that boosts regeneration by changing the behavior of native cell populations, but the transplanted cells do not take up residence and are gone within a few days to a few weeks.
The research noted here lies at the opposite end of the spectrum, however, and confirms that dopamine-generating neurons transplanted to replace those lost to the mechanisms of Parkinson's disease last for a very long time indeed.
NAD Mechanisms Necessary for Calorie Restriction Benefits - Friday, October 10, 2014
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide cycles between two forms, NAD+ and NADH, in the course of participating in important cellular processes such as the mitochondrial respiration whose dysfunction is implicated as a cause of aging.
Earlier this year researchers showed that NAD levels decline with age and restoring them can improve measures of health in old mice. Here the same research group notes that NAD mechanisms are required for most of the health and longevity benefits produced by the practice of calorie restriction, and their data suggests that this has a lot to do with changing the operation of mitochondria.
Alterations to mitochondrial function show up time and again in considerations of aging and longevity, and are a factor in most of the known ways to slow aging in laboratory animals.
Considering Cellular Senescence in the Development of Type 2 Diabetes in Aging - Friday, October 10, 2014
To be clear, type 2 diabetes is a self-inflicted harm for the majority of sufferers, caused by too much food and too much fat tissue carried over the years.
It is a condition that can be turned back even in comparatively late stages by nothing more than weight loss and a much reduced diet. Nonetheless it is a prevalent condition and a great deal of research effort is focused on finding more sophisticated methods of treatment.
Here researchers consider the role of cellular senescence in the loss of active pancreatic beta cells involved in the condition: to what degree is type 2 diabetes age-related because of the trend towards increasing weight gain and lack of exercise versus the rising numbers of senescent cells in older tissues?
Cells become senescent, removing themselves from the cell cycle, in response to damage or tissue conditions and a signaling environment that implies damage lies ahead. Senescent cells accumulate with age and are a meaningful contribution to the aging process, playing a role in the pathology of many age-related conditions. Given the trials showing that lifestyle choices can reverse type 2 diabetes, however, I am skeptical that cellular senescence is an important factor in most of the cases seen these days.
DISCLAIMER:Â News summaries are reported by third parties, and there is no guarantee of accuracy. This newsletter is not meant to substitute for your personal due diligence and is not to be taken as medical advice. For originating report, please see www.fightaging.org/
David A. Kekich
Maximum Life Foundation
"Where Biotech, Infotech and Nanotech
Â Â Â Â Meet to Reverse Aging by 2033"