Monthly Archives: November 2011

NIA Director Has to Resign

resignation, NIA Director has to resign, NIA funding system, failure

Funding distribution in the NIA is ridiculous. Not only the existing decision making system of grant approval is not effective, it’s actually harmful. Researchers have to submit grant applications only on the type of research where they  know what results they’re going to have. Otherwise they wouldn’t get any money at all, because the research project would have low score. This system makes scientific breakthroughs impossible and good research results not likely. This is what I call ridiculous.

Apparently, there’s no chance for promising, but ‘risky’ research like the one on senescent cell removal by Dr. van Duersen, to get funding in the NIA. Even though there is compelling evidence that further research will bring results. The article in the FightAging! blog Reason describes the situation in greater detail. I would like to focus on the fact of the overall misery of the NIA funding system. Felipe Sierra in the New York Times article motivates the refusal with the overall lack of funding. I think this is not an excuse. NIA is spending approximately 1 billion dollars a year on research, however nearly all of that money goes to ‘safe’ projects with known results. This makes the whole funding absolutely meaningless.

NIA as a government agency has to lobby its research interests. There should be a constant struggle for funding increase to be spent on innovating, promising, ground-braking aging research. We don’t see that. Scientists are silent, because they don’t want to argue with the authorities, because they want to get grants in the future. This type of cowardice will lead the field towards extinction. I firmly believe scientists involved in any type of aging research must be very vocal. They have to claim their goals loud and clear. They have to fight for their future, the future of their research results. Even if they have to fight with the NIA as a government agency. The existing order has to be changed. For the sake of science.

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Filed under Policy

TED Talk – Cynthia Kenyon: Experiments that hint of longer lives

I really enjoyed the talk by Cynthia Kenyon on possible “weak points” in aging processes that can be “attacked” with drugs. Her idea is to identify substances that would make FOXO proteins more active. These proteins are associated with longevity not only in model animals, but also in humans.

The more TED Talks about ways to intervene in aging processes we have, the faster people all around the world would understand the feasibility of life extension therapies. By the way, I was glad to see that there are quite a lot of folks, advocating for longevity in the comments discussion about the video. I think this is another sign of TED audience becoming more and more educated and open-minded in regard to the idea of radical life extension. I would like to address the TED events organizers and ask them to do more talks on the topic of aging.

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Filed under genomics

Life Extension Initiative in Kazakhstan

People in Kazakhstan really decided to fight aging. Nazarbayev University, life extension, biomarkers of aging, personalized genomics, regenerative medicine, conference on gerontology. Kazakhstan is the only country in the world where life extension can become a government policy. Kazakhstan is the only country in the world where fighting aging is on the agenda. Let’s support their initiative and try to understand how it became real.

 

 

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Filed under Life Extension

Senescent Cells Removal Alleviates Age-Related Pathologies

Getting rid of senescent cells improves health in mice. In the picture we can see two mice of the same age, however one of them has lordokyphosis (the obvious problem with the spine), sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), cataracts and other age-related pathologies. The other one has got its senescent cells removed by the group of researchers led by Darren J. Baker and Jan M. van Deursen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Senescent cells are the aged cells that stopped dividing, but still secreting tons of various molecules into their environment. A lot of those molecules are harmful. The hypothesis expressed by Dr. Judith Campisi was that these senescent cells contribute to aging processes in our tissues and are the cause of aging and pathologies. In the paper published in Nature Journal the link between the presence of senescent cells and age-related diseases was established. Researchers took a rapidly aging strain of mice and genetically changed them in a way to be able to selectively kill these senescent cells that expressed the p16Ink4a gene by triggering apoptosis (cell suicide). Senescent cells were removed only from the skeletal muscles, fat tissue and lens. As a result there was a significant reduction in aging pathologies in these tissues. Unfortunately, there was no difference in life span, but researchers believe it was because the main reason of death in this strain is heart failure. Senescent cells were not removed from the arteries walls and cardiac muscles, so this may be the reason why both groups of mice live the same amount of time. It would be very interesting to see if lifespan will be increased if researchers remove senescent cells from all of the tissues.

Read the story about senescent cells removal in NY Times

Read the original paper

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Filed under Mechanisms of aging

Bad Cinema

Imagine the following movie plot: A lot of characters. They fall in love, get married, sometimes get divorsed. They dream about something, and they seek something in life. Some of them achieve what they want, others don’t. And after that they all become very sick. They start to loose the ability to see, hear and walk. Some of them start to rot alive, spit blood. The majority is in terrible pain, they suffer and they are lonely. And then they all die.

Here’s another movie. Some people want the future to be the way they want it to be and do a lot to make it happen. Other men and women see their future in a completely different way and conflict with the former. The rest don’t even think about what’s ahead of them. But it’s pain, suffering and death that’s ahead of all of these people, regardless of what they have been planning for themselves.

Oh, and here’s another movie. The characters live for their children. They take care of the kids, parent them, nurture them, love them so much. Then they all die, the kids die too, a lot of them die in the throes.

Millions if movies. Different plots, events, circumstances. Different characters, habits, ideals, goals, meanings. Different people. But the end is the same. Death of everyone.

Not the best cinema, right? I wouldn’t go. Although it’s not a movie. It’s our life. This is the destiny of every person who lived on our planet: pain, suffering and death. There were some who died with no pain, but this doesn’t change their sorrowful fate. There were some who wanted to die. Because of their pain and senile dementia. But it’s not what these people wanted when they were only starting to live.

It’s aging that kills people. Also it’s stupidity and greed that kill people. It exactly the stupidity and greed that prevents people from doing much to survive. The society spends an abysmal amount of effort on life extension. Minimal interest and microscopic funding goes to studying of fundamental mechanisms of aging. Resources are being spent on any galimatias, but not on longevity. Years go by, and people become dung. Because of their own stupidity and imbecility of others.

Almost everyone who comes to somebody’s funeral should keep saying: «We are the sick people, we killed you by our passivity. Moreover, we keep on bringing death further on. The thought to identify the underlying reasons of death and to try to eliminate them doesn’t even steel into our empty minds. It’s actually just money and pleasure what matters to us. Indulging into that we seek our own death.»

When people become better, they will be immortal. Isn’t it about time?

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Filed under Life Extension