Dear Future Centenarian,
About 21 years ago, I was reflecting on some really dumb mistakes I made in my life and what I could do to keep from repeating them. So I drew on almost all the positive lessons I learned and on all the wisdom of people and mentors whose paths I crossed. The result was personal rules of life encapsulated in 100 credos. I named it Kekich’s Credo” and studied it religiously.
A friend of mine got a copy and published it in his newsletter. Then it spread to another newsletter and so on, and in some circles I became known as “The Credo Guy”.
Last October, Pete Hilgartner, a very bright and fascinating chiropractor, called me to ask permission to publish some of my credos in his newsletter. He went on the say he wanted to write a little essay on each as they pertain to health and well-being. Since then, he did about twenty. From time-to-time, I will share some of Dr. Pete’s gems with you, starting with this one:
1. People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. The easy roads to discipline are 1) setting deadlines, 2) discovering and doing what you do best and what's important and enjoyable to you and 3) focusing on habits by replacing your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns.
What health habits (or lack thereof) are you holding on to that are keeping you from your goals?
Are you trying to lose weight? Get strong? Get rid of back pain? Maybe you're ignoring your high blood pressure or triglycerides. "Yumm! that pizza just looks too good! I'll be more disciplined tomorrow..."
Here's a wake up call... NO YOU WON'T!
If you want a different outcome in your life, on any dynamic, you have to DO something different, NOW! The same-ol', same-ol 'is gonna get you the same-ol', same-ol'.
Yes, new habits are tough. They take you out of your comfort zone.
Getting up in the morning to stretch before you do anything else (OK, you can go pee first) is going to be new... but what will you gain? Is the pleasure of what you will gain worth the short term discomfort of doing what you haven't done before? What about giving up the donuts and replacing it with an egg? How about taking a walk instead of watching TV?
Change is actually easy once you decide what it is that you really want and don't let anything stand in the way of making that decision a reality. Excuses are simply a way for you to stay in your comfort zone.
When you hear that little voice in your head start to make excuses or rationalize, shout "STOP! Thank you for sharing...now go away...I choose to _______ (fill in the blank.) I'm DONE with my comfort zone!"
You can certainly stay in that warm bed and not go for that walk you planned. After all you can start tomorrow...
The choice is yours... but so are the results.
How are your choices working for you?
This guy is something else, isn’t he? How’d you like to have someone like Dr. Pete as your personal chiropractor? You can find more about him at www.drshilgartner.com.
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
The Age of the Cyborg (January 09 2009) http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/ubcreports/2009/09jan08/cyborg.html
The cyborg age is sneaking up on us by way of the tools of tissue engineering and improvements in nanoscale manufacture. Sooner or later most of us will have artificial structures in our bodies - though perhaps not the ones we imagined having when we were young: "With age, the human body wears out. And engineered materials - metals, polymers and ceramics - increasingly help repair or replace injured or destroyed body parts. As we become more sophisticated in our ability to design materials, particularly at the nanoscale, we open all kinds of opportunities for repairing damaged body parts. The potential is really unlimited. Considering the great strides materials engineers are making in developing materials that are readily accepted by the body and that accelerate the process of recovery and healing, the age of the Cyborg seems not so much science fiction as it does science fact - a good thing given the increasing life expectancy and enduring desire to lead active lives."
Most Likely Not Programmed Aging (January 08 2009) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/sumc-sru010509.php
From EurekAlert!: "Two previously identified pathways associated with aging in mice are connected. The finding reinforces what researchers have recently begun to suspect: that the age-related degeneration of tissues [is] an active, deliberate process rather than a gradual failure of tired cells. Derailing or slowing this molecular betrayal, although still far in the future, may enable us to one day tack years onto our lives ... There is a genetic process that has to be on, and enforced, in order for aging to happen. It's possible that those rare individuals who live beyond 100 years have a less-efficient version of this master pathway." I suspect that one reason that theories of programmed aging remain somewhat popular is that the reactions of our cells to a slow stochastic accumulation of biochemical wear and tear do look something like the unfolding of a program. Gene expression steadily changes as the damage mounts. So you see research like this, said to support programmed aging but which could just as well support aging as an accumulation of damage. Researchers are linking changes in gene expression previously noted to be important to aging and longevity, but without evidence of the root cause of these changes, it's premature to declare aging programmed.
Provoking Regeneration (January 08 2009) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/icl-scu010709.php
From EurekAlert!: "When a person has a disease or an injury, the bone marrow mobilizes different types of stem cells to help repair and regenerate tissue. New research [shows] that it may be possible to boost the body's ability to repair itself and speed up repair, by using different new drug combinations to put the bone marrow into a state of 'red alert' and send specific kinds of stem cells into action. In the new study, researchers tricked the bone marrow of healthy mice into releasing two types of adult stem cells - mesenchymal stem cells, which can turn into bone and cartilage and that can also suppress the immune system, and endothelial progenitor cells, which can make blood vessels and therefore have the potential to repair damage in the heart. The researchers were able to choose which groups of stem cells the bone marrow released, by using two different therapies. Ultimately, the researchers hope that their new technique could be used to repair and regenerate tissue, for example when a person has heart disease or a sports injury, by mobilizing the necessary stem cells. The researchers also hope that they could tackle autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, where the body is attacked by its own immune system, by kicking the mesenchymal stem cells into action."
More on Tissue Engineering of Bone Marrow (January 07 2009)
From the Economist: "tissue engineers have mastered the arts of artificial skin and bladders, and recently they have managed to rig up a windpipe for a patient whose existing one was blocked. But more complicated organs elude them. And simpler ones, too. No one, for instance, has managed to grow bone marrow successfully. At first sight, that is surprising. The soft and squishy marrow inside bones does not look like a highly structured tissue, but apparently it is. That does not matter for transplants. If marrow cells are moved from one bone to another they quickly make themselves at home. But it matters for research. Bone marrow plays an important role in the immune system, and also in bodily rejuvenation. Stem cells that originate within the marrow generate various sorts of infection-fighting blood cells and also help to repair damaged organs. However, many anti-cancer and anti-viral drugs are toxic to marrow. That leaves patients taking them susceptible to disease and premature ageing. Experiments intended to investigate this toxicity using mice have proved unsatisfactory. Nicholas Kotov of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his colleagues have therefore been trying to grow human marrow artificially."
Continued Improvement in iPS Cells (January 07 2009) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/bu-cas010709.php
Researchers continue to rapidly improve the technology of production for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells: a "research team has discovered a more efficient way to create [iPS] cells, derived from mouse fibroblasts, by using a single virus vector instead of multiple viruses in the reprogramming process. The result is a powerful laboratory tool and a significant step toward the application of embryonic stem cell-like cells for clinical purposes such as the regeneration of organs damaged by inherited or degenerative diseases. Prior research studies have required multiple retroviral vectors for reprogramming - steps that depended on four different viruses to transfer genes into the cells' DNA - essentially a separate virus for each reprogramming gene. Upon activation these genes convert the cells from their adult, differentiated status to what amounts to an embryonic-like state. However, the high number of genomic integrations - 15 to 20 - that typically occurs when multiple viruses are used for reprogramming, poses a safety risk in humans, as some of these genes [can] cause cancer. The major milestone [was] combining the four vectors into a single 'stem cell cassette' containing all four genes. The cassette (named STEMCCA) [was] able to generate iPS cells more efficiently - 10 times higher than previously reported studies."
More on Skulachev's Research and SkQ1 (January 06 2009) http://pmid.us/19120018
One of the items I'd like to see reasonably settled soon is whether longevity can be reliably engineered by targeting antioxidant compounds to the mitochondria and thereby slowing the accumulation of damaged mitochondria and their contribution to aging. We have good demonstrations that it can, and good demonstrations that it can't. Something interesting is clearly going on (as indicated by mice living significantly longer than they ordinarily would), but the details are still fuzzy. One of the lines of this research I've been following for a while is the work of Skulachev and colleagues in Russia, who seem to have developed an ingested compound called SkQ1 that can perform the mitochondrial targeting trick without the need for gene engineering of the sort employed by Rabinovitch. Here's the latest paper from that group: "Very low (nano- and subnanomolar) concentrations of 10-(6'-plastoquinonyl) decyltriphenylphosphonium (SkQ1) were found to prolong lifespan of [an] insect (Drosophila melanogaster) and a mammal (mouse). The lifespan increase is accompanied by rectangularization of the survival curves (an increase in survival is much larger at early than at late ages) and disappearance of typical traits of senescence or retardation of their development. Data summarized here and in the preceding papers of this series suggest that mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 is competent in slowing down execution of an aging program responsible for development of age-related senescence."
Enthusiasm for Regenerating Teeth (January 06 2009) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008593860_teeth06.html
From the Seattle Times: "the real news about the future of dentures is that there isn't much of one. It turns out wisdom teeth are prolific sources of adult stem cells needed to grow new teeth for you. From scratch. In your adult life, as you need them. In the near future. Regenerating a whole tooth is no less complicated than rebuilding a whole heart. Not only do you have to create smart tissue (nerves), strong tissue (ligaments) and soft tissue (pulp), you've got to build enamel - by far the hardest structural element in the body. And you have to have openings for blood vessels and nerves. And you have to make the whole thing stick together. And you have to anchor it in bone. And then you have to make the entire arrangement last a lifetime in the juicy stew of bacteria that is your mouth. It's a nuisance, but researchers are closing in on it. They think the tooth probably will be the first complex organ to be completely regenerated from stem cells. In part, this is because teeth are easily accessible. Nobody is predicting when the first whole tooth will be grown in a human, although five to 10 years is a common guess."
An Interview with Jason Silva (January 05 2009) http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2009/01/05/interview-jason-silva-on-how-science-will-make-you-live-forever/An interesting interview: "I believe humans have always overcome their biological limitations. It is what has brought us out of the caves and onto the moon. We have cured ourselves of diseases, we fly remarkable machines through the air at 500 miles per hour. We communicate instantly and wirelessly across the world. Why is it such a stretch to imagine us re-programming our biochemistry (much like computer software) so that we may alleviate suffering, decay, and death? Death is a profound tragedy. Human consciousness is basically a profound (and valuable) pattern of information residing in a complex biological machine. This machine can repair itself for a certain period, but over time it wears out and decays at a faster rate than it can fix itself. This is why we die. Today, however, we are at the verge of correcting this. Death is the loss of everything that matters - It is our memories, our loves, the images and dreams that define us - the songs that moved us and the films that shaped us. Death takes this all away. I argue that in the same way we feel compelled to preserve the works of Shakespeare and other great works of art, why shouldn't we extend this into our physicality?"
Dear Future Centenarian,