Factor X have we finally found the fountain of Youth?

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williatw
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Factor X have we finally found the fountain of Youth?

Postby williatw » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:49 am


hanelyp
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Postby hanelyp » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:35 am

I doubt a fountain of youth would be as simple as a single factor, or without side effects, or we'd already see it in the wild.

williatw
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Postby williatw » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:49 am

hanelyp wrote:I doubt a fountain of youth would be as simple as a single factor, or without side effects, or we'd already see it in the wild.
But adult stem cells have only been recently added to our bag of tricks so to speak. I assume they mean IPS (Induced Pleuripotent stem cells). I would think they are also talking about life extension with some rejuvenation occuring. Seem to me if you could make organs from your own cells(not what they are talking about here but mentioned elsewhere) you could make as needed genetically compatible replacement organs. That by itself would extend life by decades.

choff
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Postby choff » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:55 am

Quite often what works on mice doesn't work on humans, but assuming it does and we all live three times longer, overpopulation becomes an issue. Only countered by having a third as many children, babies would become a very rare sight.
CHoff

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:07 am

If it was so easy I'd think that evolution would've found a way to make it happen. Some critter or other would've had the mutations fall into place in order to live for thousands of years, spewing out offspring the whole time and reaching the maximum carrying capacity of the planet for itself.

I've always suspected that senescence/senility is a way of slowly shutting down the cells so that they don't keep growing vigorously and get out of control, turning into tumors. Letting fresh stem cells loose in your body might seem like a great idea at first, but after a few years things might go wrong...

That said, if you can take some of your own cells, de-specialize them into stem cells, and then re-specialize them to grow into a new organ in a vat, you could probably transplant that organ into yourself without any real danger (apart from the surgery).

I'm not really worried about overpopulation. Every part of the world that starts to get more developed sees a massive drop in birth rates. The West, especially Europe, are below replacement level. Russia and Lithuania are already dropping in population counts. Japan will start to drop soon. The process is a few decades behind in the rest of Asia, but all indicators point the same way across the region. Right now it's only the Middle East (religious reasons) and Africa (lack of development) that still have high birth rates. I expect them to drop away by mid-century too.

Besides, being a space nut I want to see some population pressure to drive us outwards. Building domed cities in craters on the moon and on Mars is an interesting idea, but how about we test the designs out here on Earth first? Giant domed cities across Sibera, northern Canada, the Sahara and the Australian outback could hold a few billion people in very pleasant climate controlled environments. Once we get some new launch vehicle technology Mars and the moon could take a couple of billion later.

williatw
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Postby williatw » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:01 am

Wonder how far one can go with replacing organs/tissue/joints etc? Just keep replacing aging parts indefinitely. Trouble of course is the brain, even if all your body has been gradually replaced overtime with new parts, same old brain. Maybe you could repair/replace the brain stem, but the cerebral cortex? Even if you could grow a whole new enhanced body sans brain & transplant your old brain in it is still well old. Though to be really fanciful, assuming they never figure out how to download your brain's contents into a new brain, wonder if you could really get imaginative. Remove your old brain from your old body, put it in some kind of nutrient oxygenated bath with some kind of sensory imputs. As you are enjoying some kind of VR heaven your brain is gradually replaced a little at a time with new genetically compatible cells. If it happend gradually over many months considering how redundant memory is in your brain would you even notice?

Luzr
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Postby Luzr » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:10 am

choff wrote:Quite often what works on mice doesn't work on humans, but assuming it does and we all live three times longer, overpopulation becomes an issue. Only countered by having a third as many children, babies would become a very rare sight.


Well, it would only be continuation of existing trend.

Plus, even if we lived forever, all you need is to cap average number of children per women to less than two to stabilize the population (obviously, at much higher level).

Luzr
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Postby Luzr » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:14 am

CaptainBeowulf wrote:Besides, being a space nut I want to see some population pressure to drive us outwards. Building domed cities in craters on the moon and on Mars is an interesting idea, but how about we test the designs out here on Earth first?


Oceans! Given that most of earth surface is water, what about living in gigantic nuclear powered self-sustainable ships cruising forever through oceans? Sound like quite a fun way to spend all these longevity years...

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:36 pm

hanelyp wrote:I doubt a fountain of youth would be as simple as a single factor, or without side effects, or we'd already see it in the wild.
Here is some wisdom.
The reason we live as long as we do is because we are programmed to die at that time.

To which I hear a resounding... WELL DUHH!

Actually, sit back a minute and let it soak in.

Our cells are programmed to cease replicating after a given number of divisions. If they were not, any small tumor which knocks the clock a-kilter and causes cells to replicate rapid-fire could overwhelm the body in short order. But MOST of them reach the replication limit and die off without an issue. Cells with clocks a-kilter AND with the replication limit turned off are called cancer. If the cells in our body were not programmed to die, we would be killed by the multiple non-cancerous tumors that grow and die within us throughout our lives.

If we were not programmed to die at "three score and ten", we would die sooner. Amazing feed-back mechanism, the human body.

Diogenes
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Postby Diogenes » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:17 pm

williatw wrote:
hanelyp wrote:I doubt a fountain of youth would be as simple as a single factor, or without side effects, or we'd already see it in the wild.
But adult stem cells have only been recently added to our bag of tricks so to speak. I assume they mean IPS (Induced Pleuripotent stem cells). I would think they are also talking about life extension with some rejuvenation occuring. Seem to me if you could make organs from your own cells(not what they are talking about here but mentioned elsewhere) you could make as needed genetically compatible replacement organs. That by itself would extend life by decades.


I think we are "there" on this issue. I saw a story the other day where they created a windpipe from a man's own cells. They took out his diseased one, and transplanted in this newly created one, and it works! No chance of rejection, no need to take anti-rejection drugs!

They are also making bladders now, and I believe they are attempting to make a liver. This stuff is so unfreakingbelieveably wonderful!

By the time I need it, perhaps they'll be making replacement brains? :)

(Yeah, Yeah, I need one now, some might say.) :)
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

Diogenes
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Postby Diogenes » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:27 pm

KitemanSA wrote:
hanelyp wrote:I doubt a fountain of youth would be as simple as a single factor, or without side effects, or we'd already see it in the wild.
Here is some wisdom.
The reason we live as long as we do is because we are programmed to die at that time.

To which I hear a resounding... WELL DUHH!

Actually, sit back a minute and let it soak in.

Our cells are programmed to cease replicating after a given number of divisions. If they were not, any small tumor which knocks the clock a-kilter and causes cells to replicate rapid-fire could overwhelm the body in short order. But MOST of them reach the replication limit and die off without an issue. Cells with clocks a-kilter AND with the replication limit turned off are called cancer. If the cells in our body were not programmed to die, we would be killed by the multiple non-cancerous tumors that grow and die within us throughout our lives.

If we were not programmed to die at "three score and ten", we would die sooner. Amazing feed-back mechanism, the human body.



Absolutely agree. That is the conclusion that I have come to as well. We die of old age because we are programed to do so. What is in the best interest of an individual, is NOT NECESSARILY in the best interest of the species. Mutations accumulate. Some create beneficial evolutionary characteristics, and some create detrimental characteristics. Nature uses mass replication to try as many of them (mutations) out as possible, and the successful ones reinforce over time.

It is the method by which evolution adapts organisms to the changing nature of their environment. (Social as well as physical) Were it not for the fact that previous models die off, they would swamp the creation and potential success of new models.

The old must go so the new and improved young can have their place in the Sun. (for awhile.)
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

williatw
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Postby williatw » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:07 pm

Diogenes wrote:It is the method by which evolution adapts organisms to the changing nature of their environment. (Social as well as physical) Were it not for the fact that previous models die off, they would swamp the creation and potential success of new models. The old must go so the new and improved young can have their place in the Sun. (for awhile.)

But to give the idea its do..if I could replace my body even a little bit at a time I could improve/upgrade it to. Many times faster than natural evolution could. New designs could be tried, designs that were well "designed" intelligently instead of just random mutations. I mean for instance if we ever terraformed Mars, we would likely design the life including our selves to live there. Respirocytes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respirocyte to make one better adapted to the lower O2 higher CO2 condition of a partially altered mars for instance. Our Evolution in the centuries/millenia to come will likely be a directed process not only altering our germ line but our somatic as well. That is we will willfully upgrade ourselves and any progeny we have.
Last edited by williatw on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Diogenes
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Postby Diogenes » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:14 pm

williatw wrote:
Diogenes wrote:It is the method by which evolution adapts organisms to the changing nature of their environment. (Social as well as physical) Were it not for the fact that previous models die off, they would swamp the creation and potential success of new models. The old must go so the new and improved young can have their place in the Sun. (for awhile.)

But to give the idea its do..if I could replace my body even a little bit at a time I could improve/upgrade it to. Many times faster than natural evolution could. New designs could be tried, designs that were well "designed" intelligently instead of just random mutations. I mean for instance if we ever terraformed Mars, we would likely design the life including our selves to live there. Resprocytes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respirocyte to make one better adapted to the lower O2 higher CO2 condition of a partially altered mars for instance. Our Evolution in the centuries/millenia to come will likely be a directed process not only altering our germ line but our somatic as well. That is we will willfully upgrade ourselves and any progeny we have.


Absolutely. Mankind has reached the level of intelligence necessary to allow him to "game the system." We will be able to kick "nature" out of the drivers seat.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:33 pm

Diogenes wrote: By the time I need it, perhaps they'll be making replacement brains? :)

(Yeah, Yeah, I need one now, some might say.) :)
Good call. :lol:

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Yeah, the way I have often phrased it is that evolution by natural selection will be (partially) replaced by self-directed evolution. "Self" at a species level, although individuals will have some choice over the specific "upgrades" they want.

I think we have a long way to go though. I can't really see how we get around the problems of altering an already complete organism: retroviruses can deliver genes to your cells, but they can't splice them in at exactly the same place on the chromosomes in each cell to create a coherent change. Somatic changes are much easier - we could manipulate a single fertilized egg or even the gametes before joining them to create new "enhanced" people, but I think that those of us already wandering around posting on forums like this are pretty much screwed.

Although, those of us who are relatively younger and have no major health problems may make it to somewhere around 150 years with the aforementioned organ replacements grown from our own cells. I agree that it will be central nervous system failure that will finish us off.

There are people in their 90s who still have really good mental acuity. I remember my grandmother in her 90s - her body was failing, but her mind was still there. In some cases the memory/logic lapses start because blood flow/nutrient levels/sensory input starts to fail because the other organs/tissues are breaking down. So it depends on the person. We don't really know how long the CNS can last provided the rest of the body is healthy (and no genetic predispositions to dementia causing illnesses).

Oh well, maybe we'll somehow get the "mind downloading," although it's difficult to see how that could work. I can see getting memory imprints, but copying the whole personality seems iffy.

Diogenes - absolutely agree that it was necessary for our distant ancestors to die off generation after generation in order for us to evolve. However, when you reach the level where you can start to modify yourself, the rules could well change. As I've said elsewhere, I think that lifespan is becoming a limitation on our ability to innovate at this point - with the amount of knowledge we now have, we need more time to learn, gain perspective and make new connections than our ancestors ever did. And, if we can finally get a grip on space flight technology, we can open a new frontier - so people who are frustrated by old hidebound societies can head out to explore and innovate on the frontier.

Also, concerning the thing about ocean liners - I seem to recall various sci-fi stories over the last several decades also having cities built in domes under the sea... although I would be more careful about the environmental consequences of disturbing the seabed environment vs. desert and arctic tundra.


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