Deleting Genes Could Boost Lifespan by 60%

The secret of extending life by decades may lie in switching off certain genes, scientists believe, after showing that small genetic tweaks can make organisms live 60 per cent longer.

Source: Deleting genes could boost lifespan by 60 per cent, say scientists

Don’t get excited just yet – they’ve only done this with yeast.  But claim the genes deactivated were specifically mammalian related.  Not even mice yet…

How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class. Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

Source: How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Aging is very expensive for post-industrial society. The reason why pensions, retirement plans and government stipends like social security exist is because many old people are not physically able to work anymore and have a huge range of medical conditions, all stemming from the frailty of aging, that need to be treated or, more likely, merely stanched and bailed out like a sinking ship.

A cure for aging would minimize these expenses, but now you have more people in the workforce who aren’t leaving any time soon.  The age of retirement gets pushed back, and the retirement planning changes.  There’s also the sociological impact of older people who continue living – lots these days have grandparents who are incredibly racist/bigoted.  I don’t advocate the death of simply because, but there is something to be said for a generation passing the torch so we can evolve.  Which also plays into health aspects, as an older generation is likely to be susceptible to something future generations might not.

There are some very serious implications to keeping people alive longer.

Are Limited Lifespans An Evolutionary Adaptation?

Since the time of Darwin, evolutionary biologists have wondered why the lifespans of different species vary so significantly. A new model now suggests that the life expectancy of any given species is a function of evolutionary pressures — a conclusion that hints at the potential for powerful anti-aging interventions in humans.

Source: Are Limited Lifespans An Evolutionary Adaptation?

I always take issue with lengthening the human lifespan.  The inevitable competition for resources, considering that population growth is [currently] logarithmic.  Resources includes jobs – locally, we have seniors competing with teens for jobs because the seniors don’t have enough accumulated via  investments or a pension.  Then there’s the question: will long life be a matter of quantity vs quality?  At some point I will have to surrender my drivers license (assuming cars aren’t self-driving), but being unable to look after myself is not what I consider “living”.

The article does not mention:

  • telomeres, which are generally regarded as an indication of mortality
  • species lifespan in the wild vs captivity

How to Free Yourself from Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

Fasting for weight loss might sound as silly as drinking water for thirst, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Let’s look at a special kind of fasting, called intermittent fasting (or IF), that can be a powerful tool on your fitness journey.

Source: How to Free Yourself from Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

I would say IF has become a buzzword, and the hype around it has been inflated over the mild benefits. Much like any other fad diet, if you can be hungry for a while but not eat, you lose weight! It works for some people who just go hungry, but likely will result in poor long term weight loss like most fad diets.

Alcohol’s Evaporating Health Benefits

If you’re sober and happy the morning after drinking; you drank in moderation.

Beneficial associations between low intensity alcohol consumption and all cause mortality may in part be attributable to inappropriate selection of a referent group and weak adjustment for confounders. Selection biases may also play a part.

Firstly, in health as elsewhere, if something looks too good to be true, it should be treated with great caution. Secondly, health professionals should discourage suggestions that even low level alcohol use protects against cardiovascular disease and brings mortality benefits. Thirdly, health advice should come from health authorities, not from the alcohol industry, and, finally, the alcohol industry and its organizations should remove misleading references to health benefits from their information materials.

Source: Alcohol’s evaporating health benefits

The real take home lesson for this is not to put much faith in any observational study. Such studies typically inflate the magnitude of the putative effect (both for ‘good’ and ‘bad’), typically use inappropriate statistical methodology and suffer from various well known sources of bias.  Unfortunately, it makes progress in the medical field very slow and inconsistent since good studies are difficult to impossible to do. Basically, you’re gonna die at some point. Within some broad levels of moderation, do what makes you happy. Imbibe what ever makes you feel good.

Don’t sweat the details. Even though we live in a world with horrible chemicals, air pollution, endocrine disrupters, radiation, GMOs and PETA most of the Western world is living longer and healthier than ever. Not that there aren’t problems with the world – presumably we can do better, but the constant drumbeat of falling skies can safely be ignored.

Born Under A Bad Sun: Solar Activity Blamed For Much Shorter Lifespans

New research suggests a surprising factor in human longevity. A look at 200 years of birth records found that high solar activity in a person’s birth year was correlated with a five-year reduction in lifespan.

Source: Born Under A Bad Sun: Solar Activity Blamed For Much Shorter Lifespans

Please see my kickstarter for X-Baby iShields. Moms just need to wear this lead apron* from time of possible conception to birth. Plus, it will keep you fit, as walking around with forty pounds of lead is good exercise.

*Lead may be harmful to babies. There isn’t 100% consensus. Teach the controversy.

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉

We’re Living Too Long

…The longer life span doesn’t bode well for the corporate pension plans that are supposed to support workers into old age.  New mortality estimates released Monday by the nonprofit Society of Actuaries show the average 65-year-old U.S. woman is expected to live 88.8 years…

Source: Rising U.S. Life Spans Spell Likely Pain for Pension Funds

The article is behind a paywall, but there wouldn’t be a concern about the pension if the population size per generation were the same or bigger.  The largest on record was the boomers, and those since are significantly smaller so there’s concerns with pensions and jobs.  This sums the generational mentality perfectly.  I was told in school that jobs would be plentiful because boomers were going to be retiring – never happened, and with depleted pensions they’re less likely.  But eventually they will leave the workforce, and we don’t necessarily have the population to staff those jobs.  Which in turn means taxes and such for local governments…  Which means looking at immigration to stave the demand.  Even with it’s strict policy on official citizens, the US has only managed to stay at par because of immigration.

There’s real impact to resources, society and biology if we live longer.  Consider that two people need an organ transplant – one is 40 and the other is 70…  There’s some research that suggests ailments are due to having a father who was 40+ at child conception.  People living longer means financial resources to support that – some won’t retire, or will have to take jobs previously held by teenagers.

On a slightly more uplifting note, I’ve enjoyed some of the “Ask a Mortician” youtube series.  But that might’ve been because of the Type O Negative clip I heard once…  Here’s a couple of the ones I’d enjoyed and/or recommend:

Being cremated is my last hope for a smoking hot body.  But you have to urn it 😉

Bonus link: What Happens to Your [US] SSN When You Die?