Posted: Wed, February 20, 2013 | By: David A. Kekich
Dear Future Centenarian,
I watched a fascinating Gerontology Research Group presentation which was held at UCLA.
The guest speaker was James Watson, M.D., a plastic surgeon who is also an aging and stem cell authority. Dr. Steven Coles usually presents, but he observed this time while recovering from cancer surgery.
Dr. Watson returned from a Mao Clinic conference and summarized some of the pertinent issues in his talk. He covered cell senescence as it relates to longevity.
He said if we can reverse cell senescence, which makes cells undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death), that would be a big anti-aging boost. The process could even reverse DNA damage if it is caught in time. Of course, DNA damage can lead to cancer as well as accelerated aging.
He went on to report that inflammation is largely caused by a small number of senescent cells which infect surrounding cells – sort of a “bad apple” theory. This becomes increasingly true as we age, but the processes start at early ages. In fact, Mao went as far as to say we should stop calling inflammation “inflammation” and instead refer to it as “cell senescence.”
The key to slowing cell senescence is inhibiting mTOR. (mTOR) is a protein that regulates cell growth, proliferation, motility (ability to move food through its digestive tract), survival, protein synthesis and transcription (the first step of gene expression). If you’ll look over these functions, you’ll see why inhibiting mTOR is a key to treating cancer and probably preventing many cancers.
According to Dr. Watson, 80 genes are regulated and changed, and eleven factors contribute to mTOR inhibition. As far as he can determine, the only compound that addresses all eleven is low doses of the drug rapamycin.
A link to the presentation is HERE
Am I encouraging you to run out and try to get a prescription? No. Side effects can be dangerous, especially at high doses. Although many people experiment with it for anti-aging purposes, I don’t. Maybe I will someday, but not until we know if the anti-aging benefits it gives to mice will translate to humans.
We are seeking safe natural alternatives. One may be on the horizon. It’s an adult stem cell therapy. If and when it’s proven, I’ll let you know.
Watch this flick
If you have an interest in the future, and especially in the implications of future technologies that will change the world, virtually overnight, then get a copy of The Singularity. It’s spell-binding, educational and entertaining. You can find the trailer HERE.
Critics rave about it. Here’s the plot summary:
Within the coming decades we’ll be able to create AIs with greater than human intelligence, bio-engineer our species and re-design matter through nanotechnology. How will these technologies change what it means to be human?
Director Doug Wolens speaks with leading futurists, computer scientists, artificial intelligence experts, and philosophers who turn over the question like a Rubik’s Cube. Ultimately, if we become more machine-like, and machines more like us, will we sacrifice our humanity to gain something greater? Or will we engineer our own demise?
THE SINGULARITY is a comprehensive and insightful documentary film that examines technology’s accelerating rate, and deftly addresses the resulting moral questions.
This essay originally appeared HERE