Summary of living forever news from Ray Kurzweil 21-June-2013

Some more “it’s definitely going to happen” stories from Ray’s newsletter. All links get copied to their respective page for archiving.

Avert Death

New technique to Alzheimer’s restores already lost synapses – alternative to failed approaches that attack amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

I try to avoid filling up the “avert” section with cancer advances as there are so many, but this story describes a totally novel approach using high molecular weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA) that has been determined to help the naked mole rat live cancer free.

Survive Disaster
Grand Challenge announced by NASA to find all asteroids that threaten significant human populations – one of big ones that we may need to survive however immortal we make our bodies. In fact, the longer we live, the more likely we’ll have to deal with a potential planet killer in our lifetimes.
Extend Life
Rhodiola rosea found to increase fruit fly lifespan by 24% on top of restricted calorie effect.

Six of the best from Ray’s newsletter

Ray Kurzweil’s Accelerating Intelligence newsletter was packed full of developments that could really impact the ability of people to live forever – I admit that sometimes there are a few general science padding items in the newsletter but not this week, so here are 6 of the best – I wish I had time to properly consider and blog about each one.

Nanorods found better than spherical nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery

Lifespan-extending drug given late in life reverses age-related heart disease in mice

Nanofiber sensor instantly detects diabetes or lung cancer in breath

Turning human spare parts into exports

A simple, non-invasive gene therapy restores sight

How to quickly generate a large quantity of personalized nerve cells

Anti-aging industry to drive real life extension technologies

Although most of the technologies mentioned in this interesting article by the IEET fall into what I would call life extension and rejuvenation, I do believe that the cosmetics driven anti-aging industry is where some of the first breakthroughs will come from. There are plenty scientists working on the big killers like heart disease and diabetes who compete for public funding to help humanity, but this is could be matched by the R&D budgets of companies that produce radical and scientifically tested anti-aging procedures, be it a cream, injection or minor surgery.

It is estimated that the market for anti-aging products will soon reach $290 billion, which if we estimate 5% for research and development that’s a budget of $14bn which is the same as global funding for cancer research.

In the UK, when a respected documentary reported that a particular face cream really did help rejuvenate the skin under dermatology examination the product sold out nationwide having sold 5 month’s worth of stock in a day. The cream stimulated the production of fibrillin-1, a protein that promotes elasticity in the skin, however had the effect been truly instantly visible I suspect the product would have been even more successful.

With that sort of profit surge, a company could fund further advances for years to come. And once skin deep appearance has been addressed the natural (or unnatural in some people’s eyes) next step will be to address under the skin conditions that actively improve underlying health rather than just one’s appearance.