Tag Archives: fighting aging

Political Action – Call to Fight Aging

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I, Maria Konovalenko, leader of Longevity Party, call to fight aging on a global scale. Aging is a disease that needs to be cured. Eliminating aging will lead to much longer and healthier lives, to fulfilling your goals and desires, to self improvement, wealth and will give you much more happy days with your family and loved ones. Fighting aging is the first step to radical life extension. Everyone who believes aging has to be defeated, upload your pictures with posters like this one in front of memorable places in your city. It will be nice to have a gallery of places where people are vocally advocating longevity.

The pdf of the poster is here – Poster-Aging is a Curable Disease

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Know What You Look Like in 30 Years and Don’t Let That Happen To You – Fight Aging

 

“Don’t think you’ll ever get old?” – This is how the article in Wired starts. It explores the difference in people’s savings behavior depending on if they associate themselves with their future selves or not. I believe it’s very relevant not only for retirement plans, but also for fighting aging.

There is a study done by Stanford researchers that shows that people don’t save now, because they don’t think they will become this old person in need one day. There is no emotional link normally. However, this perception can be changed.

The researchers immersed test subjects into a virtual reality simulation that showed them a computer-generated vision of themselves at retirement age and then asked them questions about money. The study found that “those who interacted with their virtual future selves exhibited an increased tendency to accept later monetary rewards over immediate ones.” In other words, they were willing to save more.

And in other words – this could potentially motivate people to fight aging, be proactive in their health issues, become more informed about the latest technologies of life extension and give away their money for longevity research. Perhaps, we could start building these bridges in people’s minds that they won’t always be healthy, productive and good-looking. This is hard, because a person needs to interact with their future self, associate with them in order to change their attitude and behavior. But we can definitely start with this exercise, I mean, the web tool that “ages” your picture. There are plenty of these tools on the Internet. They could be incorporated into fighting aging related websites, for example, and become a necessary first step for the visitors. I know this is a slippery slope, however, since this is an exercise, a test, we can always switch back if the audience is not receptive. I would love to hear your opinions on this.

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I am an Aging Fighter Because Life is the Main Human Right, Demand and Desire

Here’s my essay on the Longevity Party published on the IEET website with the help of Hank Pellisier. I am coping the text below with tiny edits. Enjoy!

My name is Maria Konovalenko and I am an aging fighter. I work for the Science for Life Extension Foundation in Moscow, Russia. It is a small private non-profit headed by Mikhail Batin.  Our goal is to attract funding for research aimed at studying the fundamental mechanisms of aging and finding the ways of life extension. We are attracting around 5 million dollars a year on average, both from the government and the private sector.

I am a transhumanist. I would very much like to live forever, but most importantly I would like all the people in the world to have this opportunity. Therefore, I am spending 100% of my time on life extension projects. I graduated from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, which is the best Physics school in Russia. My major is Molecular Biological Physics. During my 5th year at school I had a course in Gerontology and this is how I became involved with the radical life extension initiative. I have spent 9 years in the music school and I’ve been swimming competitively for about 11 years in Murmansk, my home town, which is located in the very north-west part of Russia. It is a place where we have 9 months of winter, and I really wish I were joking.

Right now I am entirely focused on transhumanism, because I believe life extension is the top priority goal.

Why did we start the Longevity Party? Because life is the main human right, demand and desire. Trying to increase lifespan means wanting to live and be constantly healthy. In the modern developed society life expectancy depends on the state of biomedical technologies. And the state of health care is the issue of government policy. I am talking not only about the availability of modern technologies, but also about whether they are actually developed or not. This means that your life depends entirely on the budgets allocated for fighting aging and life extension. It is crucial that people in different countries demand funding the fight against aging, because the main interest of the voters is staying alive. So, the question whether you are alive or not is a political one. A party is a political tool, therefore it is essential the majority of countries have parties that place life extension on the top place in their agenda.

The idea of the Longevity Party is acting rationally in our own interest. I believe if there were 20 people in the US, who had the necessary level of intellectual resources, they could change the situation, possibly with the help of the Longevity Party. Unfortunately, there is no large-scale scientific project in the area of life extension. The task of the Longevity Party is to elucidate the super-importance of such a project to the people.

At this moment the will to live looks like a struggle of common sense against superstition and unbelievable stupidity. Idiocy is an incredibly strong enemy. You cannot just go ahead and tell people that living is good and dying is bad, because you will immediately hear in response that many “would be bored to hell to live that long” and they “don’t want to argue with nature.”

Arguments are not enough to persuade the public, we need a powerful propaganda machine. How this machine is organized is perhaps the task of the Longevity Party, or perhaps the task of an incredible genius who will become the most significant person in the history of the civilization. I don’t know such a person yet. The goals of the party include finding this leader or leaders. Defeating aging is defeating narrow-mindedness, lack of education and inertia; it requires total intellectual superiority.

I envision a global Longevity Party. A national initiative [in numerous nations] to fight for radical life extension would be enough. The US, UK, Germany, Turkey and Russia all possess the budgets for radical life extension. However, the influence of transhumanists on national governments is zero. Probably the first goal of the international alliance for significant life extension is to impact the situation in a single small country, like Denmark or Israel.  We could play on the will of small countries to be noticed. People don’t listen to logical arguments, so maybe art can help us, like Pussy Riot or Femen.

The international Longevity Party is the alliance of people with firm character. If you have decided to be involved in transhumanism professionally – welcome. Our first step? Maybe we should let 400 coffins float down the Hudson River, that’s the number of people that die each day in NYC. I know only one thing – we need to be courageous. Forums, where mostly freaks hang out, are useless. Conversations among ourselves have given us exactly nothing. The Party is a tool of self-identification. We need to give people the opportunity to make a rational and moral choice, that is to join the Party.

So far, the response I have gotten from people about the Longevity Party is… okay. People are active and willing. There are no strong leaders, though. They are especially needed in the United States. Maybe a critical mass is lacking.

In Russia registering a political party is a rather bureaucratic procedure and is frowned upon by the government. We have submitted the application and we need to organize the founding meeting within half a year with representatives from 42 regions of the country. This is quite a significant amount of money for us. Nonetheless, we are going to give away membership cards. We will think of the hierarchy so that a person could grow within the Party and gain new knowledge.

My prediction for the future?  Will immortality be achieved? If humanity doesn’t perish, then immortality is inevitable. The only question is whether you, specifically, are going to make it. The most irrational human generation is ruling the planet now. It is missing the unique opportunity to radically extend their own lives. Undone is even a simple experiment of testing the longevity effects of pharmacological compounds in humans. This should have been done already, in the 1970s!

If this generation dies, it dies only because of its own stupidity. Because it doesn’t care about scientific research in the area of life extension. There is some research going on, but it’s pace and the amount of funding is ridiculous compared to the importance of the goal.

I believe that real technologies of rejuvenation could be created in 20 years provided there is a scientifiс megaproject on life extension. It is going to be expensive at first – several billion dollars, but after a while the price will fall down the same way it did with genome sequencing, which costs a couple thousand dollars today and will be less than a hundred dollars tomorrow. If you are less than 65 years old, then you can buy immortality with about 30 billion dollars. But you also need intelligence and will. Intelligence you need for not giving your money to frauds, and will – to not to stop half-way to eternal life.

If you are 20, you have pretty good chances to live up to 1000 years, if there’s no global catastrophe. There’s only one serious problem threatening immortality – Unfriendly Artificial Intelligence. Aside from that – people have got the whole universe ahead of them.

If you are older than 60 – you should do diagnostics of aging using numerous biomarkers, fight cancer, and be involved in cryonics.

If you are 50-60 years old – you should be involved in regenerative medicine and gene therapy, in particular, creating the “longevity viruses.”

If you are 40-50 – you should focus on therapeutic cloning, brain transplantation artificial organs, neuro-modeling.

If you are 30-40 – you should work on development of friendly Artificial Intelligence and nanotechnologies.

If you are 20-30 – do all of the above.

If you are less than 20, aging will be defeated without you. Your major risk is a global catastrophe. Work on creating the friendly AI and it’s going to solve all the problems and you will become a superhuman with capabilities that the Olympic Gods wouldn’t even dream of.

But of course, improve yourselves, study and look after your health at any age.

What do I see as the best path to Radical Life Extension?  Technology is convergent and genome manipulations are now absolute nanotechnologies. Most effective is stimulating our own reparative, regenerative mechanisms. We need to urgently bring the diagnostics of age-related changes, i.e. aging, to the clinic. We need to learn how to restore functioning of the damaged spine using stem cells and transplant brains in primates. We need to learn how to clone a human. We need to carry out the Human Epigenome Project.

I mentioned cloning, hence a few words about bioethics.

We need to make it clear to everyone that life extension and defeat of death is absolutely moral and righteous for humanity. Miscreants, religious zealots and unbelievable illiterates are using their rhetoric to slow down scientific progress. Progress, by definition, is the movement from bad to good. Today, we transhumanists must promote the ideals of goodness, to combat people in pulpits and media who harangue against life extension, mortifying millions of people in the name of “bioethics.” It is, quite obviously, quintessentially Ethical to save the lives of millions of people. The servants of Satan stand against us, when they try to inculcate their credulous parishes that they act out of love for them.

The incontestable leader in biotechnology is the United States. Maybe China will come up with something significant. Europe has kind of mentally surrendered in the technological race. Governments in Europe act mostly to please the middlebrows with their not-so-sophisticated values: how to eat tasty food and watch football. Europeans are forced to transform into social animals that live in autopilot mode. On the other hand, Life Extension is a creative goal. People in society have to come out their psychological comfort zone.

When we understand that aging isn’t absolutely required, Death becomes horrifying. The nation where a critical mass of people think like that, will be the nation that solves the problem of life extension.

What do I need to help me with my endeavor? Money. As a biophysicist, I can tell you that money is the source of life. Unfortunately, our supporters have very little money. There are almost no people in the world working on advancing transhumanism who are not thinking about where to get food, clothing and housing.

If you haven’t got many resources, spend them on self-education in the area of molecular biology, artificial Intelligence or similar things. Even if you have tons of money, you should do the same thing. Studying stimulates neurogenesis and helps you make the right decisions.

The Longevity Party needs design, movies, art, scientific research, organizational work, lobbying, advertising, websites, remote education. Even making an interactive multimedia textbook on aging costs several millions of dollars. Nonetheless, we have to act even in these hostile circumstances. Supporters of radical life extension should meet together often, so that new projects can originate from discussions. We have to persuade the people around us. We have to spoil each and every party with conversations about immortality and emerging technologies.

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We Created the Longevity Party

We made the first step towards the creation of the Longevity Party. On July, 19 the initiative group of 10 people gathered together in Moscow to establish the first political party aimed at extending human lifespan using technological advances. Among these 10 people were Mikhail Batin, Alexey Turchin, Leonid Kaganov and Elena Milova. This is the very first step in the long and hard process of legally registering a political party. I believe this is one of the most important things that happened in the past few years in fighting aging. Nowhere in the world never before people expressed their desire to life longer in a form of a political movement.

The main goal of the Longevity Party is to increase human lifespan so that people could live for as long as they would like to and remain young and healthy. We would like to achieve this goal by promoting scientific research and technological advances in regenerative medicine, genetics of aging and longevity, neuroscience, computer modeling of biological processes and other areas of life extension. Longevity Party is 100% transhumanist party.

There are so many things that we need to do in order to legally register the Party, and we have already started doing them. I will be posting the updates as frequently as possible. Next big thing we need to finalize is the Program of the Party. Then we have to have at least 2 people in 42 regions of Russia as representatives of the Party and have the founding meeting after which the Party can be registered and eventually appear in the voting ballots.

Our goal is to influence the authorities to support life extension technologies and increase funding for research aimed at improving people’s health and extending longevity.

Join us. Together we will win. Longevity Party must be a global initiative.

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People Who Justify Aging are Profoundly Wrong – Aging is Abhorrent

I have read this recent opinion in the New York Times “Age and Its Discontents” by author Louis Begley and it resonated so much with my personal feelings about the topic. The author vividly describes the last years of his mother’s life, who had been a widow for the previous 40 years before her death. Begley lets us feel the pain in her joints and in her heart. He obviously sees aging as nothing but misery and loneliness. But I think he misses the point – he believes his mother’s solitude is the reason of her woes, but it actually is aging, her declined health, pain and suffering – these are the real reasons of her tragedy. If she had been young she would have had no diseases, but only good looks and the opportunity to start over, but alas! she rot alive. Louis Begley caught the very overwhelming in its inevitability, horrifying feeling that it’s all over, no need to buy new costumes. They will not be worn for a long time and they’re not worth spending time and money.

Mr. Begley was widely criticized – and by whom? Who do you think justified aging?  Executive director and chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation wrote:

Mr. Begley’s bitter portrayal of aging is neither universal nor inevitable.

This is unbelievable. So wrong. In reality it’s exactly the opposite – aging is universally debilitating and inevitable. While this type of words are coming out of the mouths of people who are the advocates for aging research, nothing good will happen. There will be no money for research to live longer in a younger body. And the reason is the faulty idea that aging can be healthy, productive, or enjoyable. It can’t by definition. Aging is the worst thing and it’s happening to everyone of us every second of our lives, sucking up our strength, youth and beauty. I want to fight this widely spread idea of how old age is full of pleasure, when your grandchildren sit on your lap. Sure, that’s nice, but it’s not even remotely enough. For example, it would be much better to have the possibility to go to a night club after your grandchildren’s visit and be able dance all night long. But this can never happen while we have leaders of Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundations saying that aging is ok. Opinion leaders have to understand how harmful justifying aging is – this position is killing us.

And I want to live. I want all the people on Earth to live. In order to achieve this everybody who is involved in the field of aging has to be more courageous. They have to speak up for themselves and for their work. They have to say that they want to fight aging, that they want life extension. Cancer researchers say that cancer is their greatest enemy, that cancer has to be illuminated and viola – the amount of money that went to cancer research from the National Cancer Institute in 2010 was almost 5.1 billion dollars – that’s like 5 times more than on aging. And cancer is just an individual case of an aging-related pathology. We have to learn from oncologists, cancer researchers and advocates. We are fighting aging and we have to speak about it freely and explicitly. Make no mistake – our goal is to defeat aging completely.

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Fighting Aging is the Most Important Goal

 

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The Most Important Scientific Discovery of the Year

Our body is constantly being stressed. There’s nothing new about it and everybody seems to understand what it means. But I’d like to clarify what stress is from the biological point of view. The term stress stands for the negative effects including oxidation of macromolecules with free radicals, inflammation and infections, lack of nutrients, increase or decrease in temperature, light regime disturbance, impact of ionizing radiation. It all leads to damage on molecular and tissue levels. Our body has got the mechsnisms that protect us from this damage. It’s the mechanisms of stress resistance: DNA repair (the glossary is below), autophagy, proteasome activity, xenobiotic detox systems and anti-oxidant systems, heat shock factors, LON mitochondrial protease, methionine sulfoxide reductase, neuroendocrinological regulation of homeostasis.

A paper of extreme importance for fighting aging came out in the Nature journal on Thursday. A research group from Buck Institute lead by Professor Gordon Lithgow was able to prolong life of nematodes by 78% by adding one compound to the worms’ diet – a dye Thioflavin T. The authors showed that the effect of the dye was due to activation of stress resistance mechanisms, which lead to significant increase in median (60%) and maximum lifespan (43-78%). Thioflavin T is used to mark the amyloid protein aggregates in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Lithgow’s group showed that this compound regulates protein homeostasis, which leads to life extension in nematodes and improvement of their health later in life. The effect of Thioflavin T depends on autophagy, proteasomal functions, heat shock factor-1 (HSF-1) and transcription factor SNK-1. Both of these proteins play a role in response to stress in nemamtodes: HSF-1 triggers the production of heat shock proteins and SNK-1 takes part in neutralizing oxidative stress. So, Thioflavin T intensificates cellular stress response by activating signaling pathways dependant on HSF-1 and SNK-1, which lealds to misfolded protein stabilization and increased longevity.

This article proves the possibility to prolong life by activating stress resistance using chemical compounds simply added to the diet. There’s also some research where the positive effect on longevity was achieved by mutations in genes governing stress resistance. For example, the work of Dr. Alexey Moskalev, where they activated the DNA repair gene GADD45 and extended maximum lifespan of drosophilas by 77%. Right now it is necessary to identify the chemicals that would activate GADD45 genes in humans and develop drugs based on these compounds.

I’d like to highlight the need of creation of a new class of drugs – geroprotectors. Their distinctive feature is that not so much they will cure the already manifested diseases, as they will prevent them. And the most important part is that geroprotectors will extend our lives. In order for these drugs to be created it is necessary to fund research on activation of stress resistance genes and clinical trials of chosen chemical activators. Again, I’d like to stress that it is time to start clinical trial of geroprotectors.

Glossary:

DNA repair – restoration of damaged DNA structures

Autophagy – process of digestion of cellular components, including damaged proteins and organelles, in lysosomes

Proteasome – protein complex that degrades proteins in the end of their life cycle

Xenobiotics – foreign chemical compaound for an organism, like antibiotics

Heat shock proteins – class of protection proteins, which expression is increased upon high temperature or other stresses

LON Mitochondrial protease – enzyme that cleaves oxidized proteins in the mitochondrial matrix

Methionine sulfoxide reductase – enzyme that restores the oxidized proteins structure by turning methionine sulfoxide into methinine

Neuroendocrinal regulation of homeostasis – maintaining the equilibrium of the internal environment of the organism via the vegetative nervous and endocrine systems

HSF-1 – heat shock factor-1, triggers synthesis of heat shock proteins as a response to ovarious types of stress

Transcription factors – regulatory proteins that control the transfer of the information from the DNA to the mRNA molecules that recognize their target genes by binding to specific fragments of DNA

SNK-1 – transcription factor in nematodes that participates in protection from the oxidative stress

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