Want to live forever? Join the club!
Join the growing number of people who are committed to living forever. Now that healthcare has merged with IT the exponential growth in medical technology means immortality may be closer than you think. From drug research and diagnostics to exoskeletons and nanobots – rapid advances are increasing our life expectancy every day.
Radical life extension is a growing industry – and more and more people are putting (a lot!) of money where their mouths are:
- 5 billionaires who want to live forever – Fortune Magazine
- Understanding Calico: Larry Page, Google Ventures, and the quest for immortality – The Verge
- Oracle founder Larry Ellison has proclaimed his wish to live forever and donated more than $430 million to anti-aging research. – Washington Post
Senolytics staves off dementia in mice – The Guardian – 19-Sep-2018
Research in mice shows that senescent cells contribute to neurodegeneration.
Senescent cells accumulated in memory and cognition regions of the brain.
Treated by administering a genetically modified enzyme to clear senescent cells.
Outward symptoms of dementia vanished.
Animals retained the ability to form memories and eliminated signs of inflammation.
In the past decade evidence has emerged linking senescent cells to Parkinson’s disease.
Further work is needed to test whether the findings translate into patients.
Soylent meal replacement gets UK launch – BBC News – 18-Sep-2018
Soylent will launch in the UK on 20th September 2018.
Change to formula to comply with British regulations.
7 ingredients replaced, some mineral & vitamin content adjusted.
Rebranded to replace “food voids” rather than a meal replacement.
Tastes slightly chalky with a hint of porridge.
400 calorie drink’s main ingredient is genetically modified soya protein.
Will be sold in ready-to-drink form via Amazon at £39.99 for 12 bottles.
Soylent was largest crowd-funded food project when launched in 2013.
Only 1 in 5 UK adults would choose to live forever – New Scientist – 18-Sep-2018
21% said they would be very likely to accept an offer of immortality.
30% said they would be somewhat likely to take up such an offer.
Around half of people appear to be reconciled to their own demise.
Main concerns are overpopulation and a “nursing home world” full of geriatrics.
2026 UK adults questioned 2018 New Scientist Asks the Public survey.
COMMENT: number of supporters would increased if they realised they could live forever youthfully, not in a nursing home
Targeted treatment for melanoma to be free on NHS – BBC News – 17-Sep-2018
New therapy is a combination of dabrafenib and trametinib drugs.
Clinical trial found a lower risk of the cancer recurring in some patients.
A gene mutation (BRAF) is found in approximately half of melanoma cases.
At present, patients have to hope their cancer will not return after surgery.
Hydrogen-saturated Water No Benefit To Parkinson’s Patients – Parkinsons News Today – 17-Sep-2018
Molecular hydrogen (H2) reacts with strong oxidants in cells.
It can rapidly diffuse into tissues and cells.
It does not disturb metabolic reactions or affect signaling ROS.
Study explored the potential benefits of the antioxidant activity of hydrogen.
Participants were randomized to drink hydrogen water or placebo water for up to 72 weeks.
Results could be due to hydrogen doses being too low.
Japanese clinical trial published in the journal Movement Disorders.
Aspirin-a-day risky in old age – major study – BBC News – 16-Sep-18
Elderly people in good health should not take an aspirin a day.
Large trial found no benefit for healthy people over the age of 70.
But the pills increased the risk of potentially fatal internal bleeding.
There are proven benefits for people after a heart attack or stroke.
Most research on aspirin is performed on people in middle age.
Study of nearly 20,000 over 70s with no history of heart problems.
Wounds Healed With Reprogrammed Skin Cells – Singularity Hub – 14-Sep-2018
Cutaneous ulcers can lead to serious infections or amputations.
Typically treated by surgically transplanting existing skin to cover the wound.
Isolating and growing skin stem cells from patient is time consuming.
Salk Institute approach converts naturally present cells into new skin cells.
Basal keratinocytes are precursors to many different types of skin cells.
But large, severe wounds no longer have any basal keratinocytes.
Newly generated cells functioned like healthy skin in mice.
Robots ahoy! Mapping Earth’s surface – BBC News – 13-Sep-2018
Less than 15% of the ocean floor depth has been measured properly.
Competition requires system to survey 500-sq-km of seabed in a day.
Team-members cannot themselves be in the survey zone at the time.
GEBCO-Nippon Foundation team has completed 24-hour trials ready XPRIZE final.
Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) will create map using an echosounder.
Will be launched from the back of a robotic boat, known as SEA-KIT.
Prototype pandemic vaccine without the shot – Washington Post – 12-Sep-2018
Flocking to health centres for a shot could spread the infection.
Novel patches administer vaccine by simply sticking it to the skin.
Bandage-like strip lined with microneedles that only penetrate upper layer of skin.
Could even be distributed rapidly by post.
H5N1 vaccine tested gave protection against target and related viruses.
Molecule has anti-aging effects on vascular system – Medical Xpress – 10-Sep-2018
Researchers identified a small molecule that is produced by calorie restriction.
β-Hydroxybutyrate is a water-soluble molecule that contains a ketone group.
Compound found to delay vascular aging through endothelial cells.
Promotes cell division and prevents cells entering senescence.
Also increases activity of stem cell factor Oct4.
Can This Brain Implant Reverse Paralysis? – labroots – 6-Sep-2018
NeuroLife implant could revolutionize care for spinal cord injury patients.
Tiny chip is implanted in the primary motor cortex of the brain.
Patient thinks deliberately about the movement they want to make
Machine learning algorithms then decode the brain activity.
Neural bypass sends signals to a wearable sleeve.
Sleeve is covered with 260 electrodes that spur the muscles to perform intended action.
One patient achieved continuous cortical control of six different wrist and hand motions.
Prototype is large and unwieldy but hopes to make portable and wireless.
Lack of exercise puts one in four people at risk – BBC News – 5-Sep-2018
25% of people worldwide are not doing enough physical exercise.
High-income countries, including the UK, were among the least active.
In those countries figure has risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016.
Wealthier countries are transition towards more sedentary jobs and hobbies.
WHO report looked at 358 population-based surveys in 168 countries .
Public Health England says they are working to get the nation moving more.
Tech Can Sustainably Feed Cities of the Future – Singularity Hub – 5-Sep-2018
Virtually all net population growth will occur in urban regions of developing countries.
New technologies can create more resilient urban food ecosystems.
Would create unprecedented opportunities for small farms to reach wider markets.
New opportunities within cities will appear with the creation of vertical farms.
Agricultural Revolution 4.0 will integrate everything into a collaborative economy.
NAD+ Repletion Shows Potential Against Aging – LEAF Science – 5-Sep-2018
NAD+ is essential for many cellular processes, including signaling and DNA repair.
Created from simple amino acids or in a more complex way via the intake of food.
Difficult to infuse cells directly with NAD+ as too large to pass through membrane.
In mice study rejuvenated muscle of 2-year-old mice to tissues of 4-month-old mice.
David Sinclair restore blood flow in old mice using NMN which converted into NAD+.
Now running a small-scale human trial on NMN.
NMN could be a useful stop-gap while waiting for more robust therapies to arrive.
New Versius robot surgery system coming to NHS – BBC News – 3-Sep-2018
Versius is smaller, more flexible and versatile than existing robots.
Each of the robot arms has flexible joints like a human arm.
Controlled by a surgeon using two joysticks and a 3D screen.
Surgeons can learn to suture in fraction of time of manual laparoscopic tools.
Expected to receive a European approval mark within the next few months.
‘Killer robots’ ban blocked by US and Russia at UN meeting – Independent – 3-Sep-18
UN held talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems in Geneva last week.
Some countries want treaty to ban fully autonomous weapons systems.
Would prevent development of weapons which can act without any human oversight.
Advanced military powers including US and Russia blocked progress.
Yet to agree on definition of what a lethal autonomous weapons system is.
Campaign to Stop Killer Robots hopeful an international treaty can be reached.
Austria, Belgium and China recently joined support for an outright ban.
First iPS Cell Trial for Heart Disease Soon – The Scientist – 31-Aug-2018
Clinical trial in Japan will use reprogrammed stem cells to regenerate injured hearts.
Sheets of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes will be implanted into three patients.
Participants will receive iPS-derived cells from a donor, instead of their own tissue.
Induced pluripotent stem cells have proven effective in improving heart function in animal models.
Unclear whether cells become beating heart cells or just release factors that help existing cells.
Team led by Osaka University cardiac surgeon Yoshiki Sawa.
AI predicts how cancers will evolve and spread – Institute of Cancer Research – 31-Aug-18
REVOLVER (Repeated evolution of cancer) picks out patterns in DNA mutation.
Uses the information to forecast future genetic changes.
Ever-changing nature of tumours is s big challenge in treating cancer.
Could intervene before it has had a chance to evolve or develop resistance.
Machine learning technique can transfer tumour knowledge across similar patients.
What You Should Know Before Buying Nootropics – Men’s Health – 29-Aug-2018
US nootropics industry valued at over $1.3 billion in 2015.
Stacks assume synergies among ingredients yield additional benefits.
Rare if evaluated for harmful interacts or whether one cancels another out.
They can claim to make you smarter but not to treat or cure diseases.
Taking days off work helps you live longer – Independent – 29-Aug-2018
People who take fewer than 3 weeks leave a third more likely to die young.
37 per cent more likely to die over the next 30 years.
Men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less.
A healthy lifestyle does not compensate for working too hard.
40-year study involved 1,222 middle-aged men born between 1919 and 1934.
China Won’t Share Its Samples of a Deadly Flu Virus – Live Science – 28-Aug-18
China is withholding samples of deadly bird flu virus H7N9.
Samples are needed to develop vaccines against the virus.
Infections which can spread globally within days.
A new strain of H7N9 first appeared in China in 2013.
Has a 40% fatality rate but doesn’t spread easily between people.
Lorcaserin safe but only modestly effective – NHS – 28-Aug-18
Lorcaserin did not increase risk of heart attack or stroke.
Drug can be prescribed in US but is not approved in Europe.
Average weight loss was 4.2kg compared to 1.4kg for placebo.
Combined treatment plan also included dietary changes and exercise.
Randomised controlled trial of 12,000 overweight & obese people.
Telomerase Gene Therapy Does Not Increase Cancer Risk – LEAF – 27-Aug-18
Gene therapy study reactivated telomerase gene in cells.
Used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) to deliver the payload.
Study used mouse model that is at high risk of lung cancer.
Did not increase the risk of developing cancer.
Does not integrate into the genomes of the target cells.
Telomerase activation only lasts for a few cell cycles.
Effective against cardiac infarct, aplastic anemia, & pulmonary fibrosis.
Tech Interfaces Need to Get Better. Extended Reality Can Help – Singularity Hub – 26-Aug-18
Physical tools (e.g. hammers, paintbrushes) are natural extensions of our bodies.
But electronic devices require us use them via its interface to perform tasks.
Both the device and the physical world command our attention.
Devices should be “ready to hand” and act seamlessly with our body movements
Extended reality (XR) encompasses both augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
Superheroes’ powers come easily to them.
Wrinkled forehead linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease – Independent – 26-Aug-18
Furrows in the brow could indicate risk of heart condition or stroke.
Those with deep wrinkles may be 10x more likely to be killed by CVD.
Could be linked to hardening of arteries due to plaque build-up.
Blood pressure and lipid profiles a more accurate test.
The higher your wrinkle score, the more your CVD mortality risk increases.
Analysed 3,200 adults over two decades aged 32 to 62 at the start.
No alcohol safe – result from global study – BBC – 24-Aug-2018
There is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
Moderate drinking may protect against heart disease.
But benefit outweighed by risk of cancer and other diseases.
Health risks rise rapidly after one drink a day.
Analysed data from 15 to 95-year-olds in 195 countries.
Global Burden of Disease study published in the Lancet.
LG adds an exoskeleton to its line of CLOi robots – engadget – 23-Aug-2018
LG CLOi SuitBot is designed to support a user’s legs.
Provides limb strength to people who lift heavy objects.
Features rotating joints and sandal-type shoes with automatic adjustments.
Can connect to LG’s service robots as part of a smart working network.
COMMENT: there’s something disconcerting about a human being part of a robot network
It’s Official, The Transhuman Era Has Begun – Forbes – 22-Aug-2018
Gartner identifies five emerging transhumanist technologies.
Will blur the line between human and machine.
Over the next decade, humanity will begin its “transhuman” era.
Yesterday’s science fiction movies are now a very present reality.
The distinction between man and machine will redefine our world and lives.
Clay to Fight Bacteria in Wounds – Mayo Clinic – 21-Aug-2018
Use of mud as a poultice is common practice in some cultures.
Reduced iron-bearing clay may help fight bacteria in wounds.
Including particularly challenging bacteria grown as biofilms.
Some types of clay may conversely help bacteria grow.
Research by Mayo Clinic researchers and Arizona State University.
What if the rich lived forever? – Korea Times – 19-Aug-2018
Death is the great equalizer. Until now, that is.
It’s not inconceivable to have a treatment that rejuvenates aging cells.
Such a treatment is bound to be revolutionary … and expensive.
62.5 percent of Korea’s billionaires inherited their wealth.
Compared to under 30 percent in the U.S., Japan, and China.
They can actually live and perpetuate their inequality forever and ever.
The rich can literally become immortal. They are de-facto gods.
Disparities in wealth only shrinks with warfare, revolutions, and epidemics.
Cybord matches video to EEG activity – Quartz – 19-Aug-2018
MIT Media Lab experiment records video and physiological data.
Mnemo collects heart rate, temperature and blood oxygen levels.
Also monitors brain activity via an EEG cap.
Able to match video to physiological data to identify emotional spikes.
Made participant aware of his nervousness when using a phone.
Could eventually develop into an artificial psychologist.
Goal is to build a memory bank big enough to help people with memory loss.
Low-carb diet could shorten life by 4 years – BBC News – 17-Aug-2018
Moderate carbohydrates consumption is healthiest option.
Moderate means getting 50-55% of your energy from carbohydrates.
Slightly lower risk of death compared to low and high-carb diets.
Low-carb diets include Atkins and ketogenic diets.
Carbs include bread, rice & potatoes as well as fruit & vegetables.
Best to get protein and fats from plant-based sources.
Based on US study of fifteen thousand people over 25 years.
3D Printed Paracetamol Tablets for Personalized Medicine – 3D print – 15-Aug-2018
Drugs affect everyone differently.
Dosages can be customized to suit people with different metabolic rates.
regenHU bioprinter created three different geometries – solid, ring, mesh.
Tablet surface area influenced the speed of the drug release.
Mesh tablets released 70% of drug within 15 minutes, only 12% for solid tablets.
High extrusion temperature of FDM 3D printing requires heat-stable active ingredients.
Fresh Ebola outbreak has potential to spread – CNN – 14-Aug-2018
The outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province.
Health officials gravely concerned due to an active conflict in the area.
Conflict means people may have difficulty getting health care and support.
Number of health workers already affected with Ebola is worrying.
The region has over 1 million internally displaced people.
Refugees migrating to neighboring countries.
Not related to outbreak recently declared as over.
Vaping could cause chronic diseases – Independent – 14-Aug-2018
E-cigarette users could be at risk of lung disease.
Study shows how they can lead to harmful chemical buildups.
Nicotine infused liquids become much more potent cell killers when vaporised.
Majority of research on e-cigarette safety looked at the liquid chemicals.
Still have a lower risk of lung cancer than conventional tobacco products.
But manufacturers’ safety claims may be overstated.