Dear Future Centenarian,
A few weeks ago, two of my friends “finally” got married.
It was an incredible wedding that I’ll tell you about in a moment.
One of the many things they have in common is their passion for life… and therefore… for extreme life extension.
I met Maria first, many years ago. She’s a multi-talented fox. Professional singer, songwriter, pilot, etc. Then I met Gary through Maria at a party largely made up of avid life-extensionists.
They were made for each other.
Their wedding took place in a local airport’s museum. A very cool setting for a wedding, featuring a multi-cultured wedding party and guests. And it was wonderful reconnecting with many of my favorite friends. It seems like we spend so much time in longevity pursuits that we barely have time for one another.
The altar’s backdrop was innovative and memorable… a replica of Flyer-1, Wilbur and Orville’s plane that Orville historically flew at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 2003.
Old warplanes and historical photos lined the perimeters. There was even a replica of the Apollo space capsule. I would have never guessed how amazingly cramped it was. Almost beyond description. Nearly like a hi tech (ugh) coffin. It would have given me a claustrophobic anxiety attack within five minutes. A trip to the moon? Unimaginable.
And then the ceremony.
More bridesmaids than I ever saw in one place.
An historical theme, a bunch of futurists, bride’s and groom’s family and childhood friends… all helping launch the couple into what we expect to be an extremely long and happy life together.
The rabbi was professional, glib and funny. The vows? Creative and rapturing. Most ceremonies are cookie cutter and… well… boring. Not this one. It moved at a fast clip.
But the best part was the reception (usually is).
At the end, Gary and Maria put on a skit. Basically, they vocalized their love and devotion for one another. Since Maria is a professional entertainer, I wasn’t surprised at her performance. I was with Gary’s. He spoke his lines (which could have been scripted by a major Hollywood screenwriter) and was backed up by three extraordinary female vocalists.
But before that was an “uh oh” moment.
Things were going smoothly when one of the more interesting guests and close friend, Aubrey de Grey, gave a speech. He gave away the bride, so he was integral to the event.
Now I’ve known Aubrey for going on 15 years. And he is one of the classiest guys you’ll ever meet who always manages to say just the right thing at the right time. But this time, he had me on the edge of my seat for a moment.
Aubrey drew a parallel between the wedding and another major event in his life. When he said it reminded him of his mother’s funeral, I almost fainted.
Then he explained. (This is a weak paraphrase, weeks later, that does not come close to capturing the essence of the poetic way Aubrey expressed it.)
He said his mother’s death was an end to suffering. She’ll never again experience joy. Gary’s and Maria’s wedding was a moment in his life that perpetuates joy. In fact, his life’s purpose is to perpetuate moments like that wedding… to allow others to perpetuate joy in their lives that was no longer available to his mother.
It was an emotional moment for me, and I’m sure for others as well. He hit the nail right on the head. What could be more rewarding than perpetuating joy? To perpetuate joy is to obsolete death.
I thought about that a lot afterwards. Still do. When it comes right down to it, Maximum Life Foundation’s mission is to perpetuate joy. Pure and simple.
I want all the joys in your life to be perpetual. And to intensify. Please allow me to make that happen by doing everything in your power to max out your lifespan.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
Attempts to Reduce Systematic Inflammation in Aging - Monday, September 15, 2014
Chronic inflammation increases with aging due to a progressive dysfunction of the immune system: it is overactive but yet ineffective, like a failing engine running hot.
Inflammation is a necessary part of the immune response, but if it is turned on all the time it causes all sorts of secondary forms of damage, and is associated with an increased risk of developing many of the common forms of age-related disease. Thus many research groups are interested in finding effective ways to reduce inflammation in aging, either by addressing the root causes of immune dysfunction, or more commonly, and as is the case here, by trying to alter biochemical signals and responses to those root causes.
This may be your answer: www.maxlifesolution.net
Effects of Lifestyle or Effects of Aging? - Monday, September 15, 2014
There is a distinction to be drawn between primary and secondary aging, which at this time we might consider as the division between the things you can't yet do anything about on the one hand versus the things can you do something about on the other.
Unfortunately the former are much more of a determinant of aging and age-related disease than the latter. Primary aging consists of damage-generating metabolic processes that we don't yet have the biotechnology to address, as described in the SENS view of aging.
Secondary aging consists of the biochemical consequences of becoming fat and sedentary, or at least that is the bulk of it. We live in an age of comparative comfort in which becoming fat and sedentary is increasingly the norm, but that comes with a significant cost to long-term health.
A Glance at Silicon Valley Longevity Initiatives - Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Here is a little more on some of the initiatives arising in the Bay Area venture and technology communities: the SENS Research Foundation, Calico Labs, and the Palo Alto Longevity Prize.
As I pointed out a few days back, it's not just a matter of attracting money, however. The goal of bringing aging under medical control requires spending that money on the right research initiatives.
Heat Shock Proteins and Neurodegeneration - Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Heat shock proteins are one portion of an array of cellular housekeeping and repair mechanisms that swing into action in response to circumstances that cause elevated levels of damage to protein machinery: heat, exercise, toxins, and so forth.
Some research groups are interested in building therapies based on inducing greater repair activity by raising the levels of heat shock proteins present in cells, but most researchers in the field are gathering data only.
AGE Levels Associate with Bone Fracture Risk in Aging - Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Our bones become dangerously weak with advancing age. A lot of this stems from a growing failure of maintenance processes and an imbalance in the bone remodeling that constantly takes place - too much bone removal, and not enough creation.
In addition, however, rising levels of the sugary metabolic wastes known as advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are also thought to play a role in weakening tissue structures like bone. There are many different types of AGE and not all are relevant to this type of dysfunction: some are short-lived and usually cleared out by the body, and thus their presence indicates a failure in clearance mechanisms or some form of metabolic dysfunction such as diabetes, while others are long-lived and hard for the body to break down, and these build up steadily over time.
There is a wide range of current capabilities for measuring and manipulating AGEs: the basic toolkit for working with the most important long-lived human AGE glucosepane is only now being developed, for example.
Here researchers demonstrate an association between one common species of AGE and increasing bone frailty independent of the loss of bone density. Because of the points noted above this is a case of measuring what you can measure with the data to hand - it would be interesting to see this same data with glucosepane levels, as the measured form of AGE may be just a marker rather than a measure of the agent of harm.
A Master Regulator of the Heat Shock Response - Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The heat shock response is an important process in cell maintenance, a coordinated set of mechanisms that recycle damaged proteins, activated by conditions likely to cause that damage.
It is not only triggered by heat, but also by a variety of other potentially damaging circumstances such as raised levels of reactive oxygen species released by mitochondria during exercise, the presence of many types of toxic molecules, and so on.
Increased heat shock response is involved in some of the methods demonstrated to slow aging in laboratory animals, and a few research teams are working towards ways to trigger it safely as a therapy - though as for the prospect of artificially inducing autophagy, another of the principal cell maintenance processes, there seems to be a lot of early stage research and little concrete progress towards this goal as yet.
Connecting the Lab and the Clinic in Regenerative Medicine - Thursday, September 18, 2014
An interview with the director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine can be found at the Methuselah Foundation blog.
A Look at a Future of Slowing Aging - Thursday, September 18, 2014
This article is an example of the rising awareness of ongoing research into altering the pace of aging so as to extend healthy life. This is a good thing if you are thinking about raising funds for research on therapies for aging, as the more public attention the better, even if it is focused at first on a poor choice of scientific strategy. Working to slow aging is a course that will produce only marginal benefits and a slight change in the course of life and structure of society: people will live a little longer, and the present trend of adding a year to adult life expectancy each decade will continue or speed up a little. Everything will be essentially the same at the end of the day, however, and we will all still suffer horribly from age-related diseases and die because of aging.
Aging is an accumulation of damage at the level of cells and protein structures, and altering our metabolism to slightly slow-down that process is both hard and not all that beneficial, since none of the prospective or envisaged treatments can slow it down all that much. The best of paths to actual therapies at this point in time are not as beneficial as the practice of regular exercise or calorie restriction, and that isn't something that is expected to change any time soon.
My hope is that the current enthusiasm for slowing aging will give way to work on reversing aging, producing actual rejuvenation by repairing the damage of aging rather than just slowing it down. For that to happen, the currently minority field of rejuvenation research needs enough funding to demonstrate that it can produce far better results and for far less investment - which should be the case just as soon as the first prototype treatments are deployed in mice.
Repair of a failing system is obviously better than building a new system that fails more slowly: existing old machinery can be restored, and that repair process can be performed over and again to extend its healthy life indefinitely. Further, the causes of aging are very much simpler and more completely understood than the details of our metabolic machinery; building ways to repair these causes is a much easier prospect than reengineering metabolism.
How Neural Stem Cells Help to Repair Damage - Friday, September 19, 2014
Researchers have identified a novel mechanism by which neural stem cells can help to repair and assist other brain cells.
A History of Life Extensionism in the Twentieth Century - Friday, September 19, 2014
Subcultures and initiatives that support the extension of healthy life through medical research have grown considerably in the past twenty years, finding one another and merging with the spread of the internet, then raising funds and attracting attention in increasingly large cycles.
Prior to this, however, these subcultures were thin threads indeed, tiny groups and single individuals out on the fringes of culture. Yet these roots of the present day life extension movements extend back a long way, and as is argued in the book "A History of Life Extensionism in the Twentieth Century" they were influential upon medicine even then.
Here is an interesting review that touches upon the greater public support for extending healthy life that exists in Eastern Europe and Russia versus the West, something that has been noted in recent years with greater contact and collaboration between the English language and Russian language longevity science communities.