Monthly Archives: December 2013

Vote Kennedy in the Presidential Election

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If your life depends on someone other than yourself, that would be Brian Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy is the President of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a world’s leading research institute that brings together outstanding scientists who work together on solving the mystery of aging and revealing the ways of increasing our health span. Basically, it’s up to the successes of the large team led by Brian Kennedy whether you will live a long and enjoyable life, or not.

An excellent example of my  words is the most recent amazing work done by Dr. Pankaj Kapahi and his research group, who was able to extend nematode’s lifespan 5-fold. The trick was to switch off two genes in one worm simultaneously – the TOR  and the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (named daf-2) genes. It has been known that turning off TOR in a worm gives it a 30% longer lifespan, and turning off daf-2 doubles the lifespan. One could think that 100% + 30% = 130%, but Dr. Kapahi’s worms decided they know Math better and lived 5 times longer, proving that sometimes  100% + 30% = 500%. What happened is the synergy between blocking the two aging mechanisms – the TOR and insulin/IGF-1 signaling. I have always said that there are so many things  we know that extend lifespan – let’s try the combinations of those things. Indeed, this proved to be a fruitful strategy. I am looking forward to seeing more and more papers combining different interventions in aging mechanisms and getting synergistic results.

pankaj kapahiPankaj Kapahi's paper

Regardless of the country where you live, it always makes sense to vote for someone who may increase the chances for extending your lifespan. Of course, Dr. Brian Kennedy is not participating in the presidential elections, however it would be excellent if the politicians fought for our lives. I think it’s up to us to demand that the politicians include increasing funding for aging research as part of their programs. We have to show it matters. A lot.

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“You May not Die” Exhibit Starts December 9th in Marat Guelman’s Gallery in Moscow

One of the best art galleries in Moscow is going to host the first art exhibition about radical life extension – “You may not die”. This message is addressed primarily to the artistic community, and is a proposal for cooperation – let’s stand together and convince people that we have the opportunity to stay alive.

People don’t respond well to rational arguments. Therefore, Mikhail Batin (in the picture) and Alexey Turchin decided to turn to the artists and ask them to use their expression tools to show the hope that science can change the way things have always been and combat aging and all the diseases that come along. Alexey and Mikhail have created some art pieces of their own that contain the concentrated sense, which hopefully will inspire the painters to channel this sense to the public using their unique capabilities.

“The prestigious Moscow Gallery of Marat Guelman opens an exhibition of Alexey Turchin and Mikhail Batin “You may not die” on December 9, 2013.

During the opening Mikhail Batin will give a talk on transhumanism and immortalism. The exhibition will feature the Roadmap to immortality produced by Artemy Lebedev. The exhibition runs until December 15 at Winzavod in Moscow.

Death is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. In the beginning of the XXI century, development of biotechnology, nanotech and artificial intelligence has opened prospects to stop the aging processes, and achieve victory over death. However, society does not know much about the opportunities provided by contemporary science, so the pace of fundamental research is very low. If it becomes faster, our generation could become immortal.

The meaning of Alexey Turchin’s and Mikhail Batin’s art pieces completely subdues the form. They have no artistic merit – just pure message. Urgent telegram: ” You may not die.”

Rational arguments for the necessity to extend human life do not work. Only visual images have the power to convince the collective unconscious. The artist, who will do it, will change the world.

After 100 years from Dadaism, which was the apotheosis of nonsense, the concentrated absolute sense is proposed – the most important message in the history of mankind.

The text became the main content of the painting in the second half of XX century in the style of conceptualism, but it was mostly used to express irony or protest. Now contemporary art stands as a monumental form of cartoons, which works on colliding different value systems and their mutual annihilation.

The pieces of Batin and Turchin call for a new art that carries only positive content.

They inform the public about the undeniable facts. Short abstracts of two or three words, that can not be changed or disprove, will imprint in the brain.

Radical life extension can be achieved within our lifetime, if we focus all our energy on it. This is the meaning of the statement ” You may not die.” This is both a promise and a challenge, good news and a huge responsibility. It is a necessity to abandon any prejudice for the sake of rationality and science.”


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Don’t Drag Me Along into Your Grave, Daniel Callahan

I don’t want to die, but apparently Daniel Callahan wants me to.  He wants me to say nothing, do nothing about aging and just wait until I am 75 and die quietly. Well, that’s not going to happen, mister.

Bioethicisits like Callahan are the ones responsible for our suffering from the horrors of aging-related diseases and death. And here’s why. The opinion of bioethicists prevents the progress from being fast enough to cure aging. The decision-makers rely upon what senior “thinkers” like Callahan have in mind on the problem of life extension. Unfortunately, in the case of aging, this opinion is merely a handling of the topic by people, who  are not competent enough and don’t take all the society in consideration. They claim they do, but they don’t really. As a matter of fact, the ethical position is on the transhumanist side. We believe the life of a person is the most important thing, and it is worth fighting for regardless of the situation. A person’s life is the ultimate value. Callahan, on the contrary, states that, basically, people shouldn’t be alive if they are over 75 years of age, because they are too expensive to be alive for the country. Well, apparently, this doesn’t concern Mr. Callahan’s life, which is too precious for the country that his ethical position makes an exception and lets him perform a heart surgery at 80 and be perfectly fine with it.

What is obscure for Daniel Callahan is the fact that even if the current biomedical advances are not yet powerful enough to cure aging and prolong the youthful state of the body, they definitely will be in the future. There’s a good chance researchers will come up with ways to cure emthysema and heart failure, meaning not only alleviate the ill health, but get rid of the causes of those nasty diseases. I believe it will be possible to return people to their youthful state by applying gene therapy, various drugs, maybe stem cell therapies and other things that scientific progress will come up with. But in order for the science to move along and give us the gifts of not getting old and maybe even reversing old age and bad health, biothicists like Daniel Callahan should stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the society.

I’m pretty sure Callahan doesn’t think he’s going to live much longer, and he is trying to make longevity seem like an undesirable thing – a world populated with oblivious elderly like in Swift’s Gulliver’s travels, so that he doesn’t feel bad for himself. But by doing so, he is making this sick dream of a 18th century schizophrenic writer a reality. He is slowing down the progress by making other believe that life shouldn’t be extended.

Life should be extended. It’s the most ethical thing to do. There is always hope that science will come up with the solution to your particular situation and your health problems will be gone. The future is worth fighting for, so don’t give in to the “oh, there’s nothing we can do about aging” mood and start learning about all the exciting research news on longevity, post about the importance of aging research in social media and meet with like-minded people online and in real life. These simple steps can be a great counterbalance to all the Callahans in the world.

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