We live in interesting times

For probably 10 years I’ve been nearly certain my children would have the opportunity to live forever. At first I figured I would just miss out. I’m now becoming more convinced I have a decent chance at having that same opportunity:

Scientists have reversed the aging process in mice: Are humans next?

A recent study published in the journal Cell found that by making DNA repairs on mice, scientists were able to drive age “forward and backward” thus manipulating the aging process.

“There is new research now showing that the aging process may be reversible,” Johns Hopkins health policy expert Dr. Marty Makary said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday. “That is, that the body may carry a copy of a gene in your body that codes for a younger response to everything physiologically.”


8 thoughts on “We live in interesting times

  1. I wonder how long you can go before your memory overloads? I mean you can remember stuff from your youth, when you get to old age better than what you had for lunch.
    It sounds good on it’s face. But until humans learn to control themselves better? The fountain of youth probably isn’t a good idea. But hey, we are, where we are!
    Ha! Vox Day is going to freak if boomers get to live another 100 years!
    He was so looking forward to the day of the pillow!
    To funny!

  2. We’ve been on the cusp of this for a long time. When/if it becomes reality, it will initially be frightfully expensive That’s frightening, as the first to have access will be the Davos crowd – the same ones who think most of us peons should go off and die. Will it ever be offered to the masses? And if so, what then? Will it stabilize our declining population? Will we never be able to retire, or will we become a world of young, healthy retirees? Interesting ideas to ponder…..

  3. Doesn’t matter anyway. In about a billion years the sun’s atmosphere will swell enough to boil away all water on Earth, followed in another few billion by engulfing (and melting) the planet. Climate change of that sort will definitely kill us all off anyway.

    • That only gives us about 999 million years to develop interstellar travel. We need to get started.

  4. Anyone who actually believes such a discovery would be made available to anyone but the uber rich and uber powerful is an abject moron.

  5. The article is annoyingly unspecific about what is being repaired in the DNA. So I think they’re doing something that’s been discussed for 30 years, rebuilding telomeres. Telomeres are a string of nonsense DNA code like leader tape at the ends of the chromosomes. (This and everything that follows is oversimplified popular science, including some reasonable guesses.) Every time a cell duplicates itself, it duplicates the chromosomes (mitosis) and a few DNA units are lost. When the telomeres are gone, bits of the actual code are lost and cells begin to die. This hits first where cells wear down and have to be replaced often throughout your life, including skin and the lining of joints.

    Obviously there is a mechanism in our DNA to rebuild the telomeres. Otherwise, babies would be born already old. But it’s turned off in early childhood, and this sets a limit on our lifetime. Reverse this setting or artificially rebuild telomeres, and we could live forever until we die of cancer.

    There’s a reason the ability to rebuild telomeres is switched off: this provides one protection against cancer. A tumor begins with a cell that mutates so it no longer obeys the limits on its replication. But that alone just gives you a small lump that has to stop growing because blood isn’t reaching the cells in the middle. There must be a second mutation or switch flip that gives the tumor the ability to call blood vessels to grow through itself.

    Then it hits another limit as the telomeres run out. Unless there’s a third mutation restoring the ability to rebuild telomeres, the tumor remains precancerous and self-limiting. A therapy that restores telomeres risks enabling cancer. Whether that’s a small risk or a huge one depends on the details of the therapy. But it’s not all bad – since applying this therapy only makes sense when you are close to running out the telomere-loss clock, it will give most people at least a few more good years, and maybe many more.

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