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Old 10-25-2005, 10:08 AM   #1
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we see things they'll never see/ you and i are gonna live forever ...

[Q]The Man Who Would Murder Death
A rogue researcher challenges scientists to reverse human aging
By THOMAS BARTLETT

Cambridge, England

If you wish to be a prophet, first you must dress the part. No more silk ties or tasseled loafers. Instead, throw on a wrinkled T-shirt, frayed jeans, and dirty sneakers. You should appear somewhat unkempt, as if combs and showers were only for the unenlightened. When you encounter critics, as all prophets do, dismiss them as idiots. Make sure to pepper your conversation with grandiose predictions and remind others of your genius often, lest they forget. Oh, and if possible, grow a very long beard.

By these measures, Aubrey de Grey is indeed a prophet. The 42-year-old English biogerontologist has made his name by claiming that some people alive right now could live for 1,000 years or longer. Maybe much longer. Growing old is not, in his view, an inevitable consequence of the human condition; rather, it is the result of accumulated damage at the cellular and molecular levels that medical advances will soon be able to prevent — or even reverse — allowing people to go on living pretty much indefinitely. We'll still have to worry about angry bears and falling pianos, but aging, the biggest killer of all, will cease to be a threat. Death, as we know it, will die.

Mainstream gerontologists do not agree and hate to even raise the topic in public. They shy away from talk about life extension or "curing" aging and prefer to focus on keeping older people healthy for as long as possible, a goal referred to in the discipline as "compression of morbidity" or "healthspan." Many of them write off Mr. de Grey as more beard than brain.

So ... is he crazy? Not in the sense that he is divorced from reality or just making things up as he goes along. Mr. de Grey is a serious, thoughtful, sincere, prolific, even brilliant researcher and thinker who seems to have devoted every last ounce of his intellect to conquering the single biggest medical menace facing mankind. Along the way, he has acquired plenty of supporters and detractors — and gained the respect of some of the top scientists in the world.

He even has a plan. It is, to say the least, ambitious, and it depends on a number of techniques and treatments that have yet to be developed (curing cancer, for instance, is one of the steps). His approach, which he has dubbed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, draws from different branches of science and medicine and is enough to spin the heads of specialists and nonspecialists alike. It has also caused a stir, something Mr. de Grey certainly knows how to do. "One hundred and fifty thousand people die every day, and two-thirds of those die of aging in one way or the other," he says, while nursing a pint of fine English ale. "If I speed up the cure for aging by one day, then I've saved 100,000 people." He pauses thoughtfully for a moment. "Actually, I probably do that every week."

[...]

HOW TO CURE AGING

Aubrey de Grey has a seven-step plan he says will "cure" aging and allow people to live for a very long time. Here it is:

The problem: Cell loss or atrophy
Mr. de Grey's solution: Develop stem cells to replace lost cells. Or use chemicals that stimulate the division of cells to produce new ones.

The problem: Cancer
Mr. de Grey's solution: Aggressive gene therapy will make it impossible for cancer cells to reproduce. Stem-cell therapy will prevent side effects.

The problem: Mitochondrial mutations
Mr. de Grey's solution: Mitochondria are the cell's power plants, and they house separate genes that are prone to harmful mutations that cause diseases. To prevent those problems, copy the critical mitochondrial genes and insert the copies in the cell's nucleus, where they will be better protected.

The problem: Unwanted cells (such as fat cells)
Mr. de Grey's solution: Possibly stimulate the immune system to kill unwanted cells.

The problem: Stiffening of proteins outside the cell
Mr. de Grey's solution: Proteins outside cells help support tissues, making arteries elastic and ligaments strong. But chemical reactions throughout life link those proteins and make them less mobile. Specific chemicals could break those links and allow the proteins to move more easily. One chemical is already in clinical trials, says Mr. de Grey.

The problem: "Junk" outside the cell
Mr. de Grey's solution: Plaques accumulate outside the cell and may lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's. Small molecules called beta-breakers may break these plaques down.

The problem: "Junk" inside the cell
Mr. de Grey's solution: As cells age, molecules can change in ways that make them stop working. Those structures can accumulate in cells and and eventually overwhelm them. Extra enzymes from bacteria could be given to cells to degrade the unwanted material.

More details can be found on his Web site: (http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/sens/AdGbio.htm)


http://chronicle.com/free/v52/i10/10a01401.htm

[/Q]



yes, yes, yes ... the man may well be a quack.

but, think about it: how long would you want to live?
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:29 AM   #2
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This is insane. Seriously, if you initiate any serious effort to essentially extend the human lifespan into the far reaches of centuries, one of two possiblities arise:

1. The science is reserved for an elite, who will eventually rule the rest of us like gods.

2. The science is applied to most everyone, in which case, wild overpopulation ensues, or we decide to put an end to procreation since it is no longer warranted.

I can't believe I'm even taking this stuff seriously. Not because it is not scientifically possible (perhaps it is), but because it is. just. insane.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:31 AM   #3
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Of course 'we' don't and won't decide anything.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:38 AM   #4
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No it is not insane, while practical application of technology such as lengthening telomeres without having cancerous side effects is distant it does not mean that it shouldn't be explored. We are having less children in the developed world, below replacement levels in most places. With extended lifespan and increased wealth there would be a market for these technologies when they are fully developed and exploited (thinking decades to centuries from today).

In principle I would have no problem at all prolonging and improving my life or augmenting my ability with technology, the idea of transhumanism does have an element of appeal, I would not like to live for an extended period in an infirm state and if the means were there and within my grasp I would have no moral qualms about being "upgraded", replace organs, limbs, mind (I think that computer technology is inevitably going to interface with the human brain).

We don't know what the future may bring and I am certainly not banking on these technologies being an inevitability in my lifetime (19 now, hopefully have a good few decades left), but whatever there is I am willing to greet it with open arms and hand over a great big wad of cash for it.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:54 AM   #5
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but would you want to live to be 100? 200? 500?

assuming your brain remained in solid working order, how much human wisdom could be accrued over those extra years? what good might you be able to put it to use?

would this alter how you live your life?
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:10 AM   #6
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If I had preference, I would live as long as I choose to exist, but that is unlikely.

Existence is conditional on factors, what sort of world would exist for an individual if they no longer had physical being?

I would prefer to be alive and for lack of better word physically operational. Being able to move around as well as I am able to now, im sure that the constant of vanity would ensure that any such life extending technology would be accompanied with youth restoring treatments, after all whats better eternal life or eternal youth?

To answer your question specifically I cannot think of how long I would like to live of forsee a point in good health or not under circumstance where I would like too end existnece, I do not think that I am afraid of death, it is no doubt the same feeling as before I was born i.e. nothing at all.

It would not be a matter of doing good, existence is amoral and it is flawed to apply moralistic justification to it in this context (which is different from say choosing the good person to get life saving treatment over the evil person).

We don't know what conditions or level of existence is defined under future conditions. I know that I can accept an existence like I am used too here, but I don't know if I could accept being a sentience simply connected to a computer. Very, very, very speculative.
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but would you want to live to be 100? 200? 500?
I think few people would answer this in the positive. Especially those who have been around or cared for the elderly.
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I think few people would answer this in the positive. Especially those who have been around or cared for the elderly.


but you wouldn't necessarily be elderly.

elderly is a function of wear and tear and more of a health condition, it's not necessarily an age.
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:49 AM   #9
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Which is the quality of life issue, which is where the issue of such technology would inevitably lead. I think that if we had the ability to extend life to such a degree then creating a static state of physical ability would come in, i.e. eternal youth.

Couple any extension to life with the neccessity for full neurological function, without degenerative disease which would no doubt be a great threat.

What good is living to 200 if you develop alzheimer's when your 120
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but would you want to live to be 100? 200? 500?

A life span that ended in the early 40s or 50s was common at one time.

People in their 40s had lost all their teeth, hair, ability to reproduce or even procreate.

People in their 50s, 60s and ? are still active, and healthy today.

If you imagine a person 100+ trapped in a feeble, broken down body without a full life, it is not appealing.

100 years ago many would not have wanted to live much pass 50 or 60.
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I think few people would answer this in the positive. Especially those who have been around or cared for the elderly.
sounds like you are referring to quality of life?

Terri Shivro?
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:18 PM   #12
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In addition to quality of life, would anyone really want to live to be super old if none of your family or friends were around? It's all well and good for me to be 248, but if I'm alone and don't have my friends around then count me out.
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Old 10-25-2005, 03:30 PM   #13
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randhail makes an interesting point....unless all of your friends and family are 248 years old too i guess.

personally i'll take my 70 or 80 years...or however long my quality of life is acceptable...and then get the hell out.
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Old 10-25-2005, 03:39 PM   #14
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Aw fuck! Forty or fifty years of working is long enough -- I would hate going to work every day for 200, 300, 400 years.
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Old 10-25-2005, 03:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Aw fuck! Forty or fifty years of working is long enough -- I would hate going to work every day for 200, 300, 400 years.


what might you accomplish, though?

what if U2 were to continue at about the same level for another 50 years? might they become so expert at their endeavor, that we'd hear things no one has heard before? what if Scorcese were to continue, only not tiring or slowing down with age but simlpy accruing more knowledge, more know-how, more experience?

what might we gain by extending the quality of life where, in the future, your typical 90 year old would have the health of your typical 45 year old?
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