It was a fun week.
I just returned from a large annual anti-aging conference and trade show. Every year unveils new “miracle” anti-aging products. Doctors and others lectured for almost a week, and the trade show lasted three days. Thousands attended, mostly physicians.
It was an interesting mix of practitioners, serious scientists, some serious and not so serious participants and a few hundred companies and individuals promoting a huge mix of anti-aging products and services.
I especially enjoyed meeting new people in this exciting field and getting together with old friends. Saturday evening was most stimulating, because I had a chance to take part in brain-stretching discussions with very legitimate scientists, physicians and activists at a private event. We even had a chance to discuss some of the newer products and services on the market. Some credible, backed by scientific studies. Some were worthless snake oil. And there were a whole lot in between that I just couldn’t figure out. I’m not the only one either.
So out of the hundreds or thousands of anti-aging products displayed at shows like this… or especially on the Internet, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? That’s an important question, since your life may depend on it.
How’s that? Your life?
Sure. And here’s why.
As you’ve heard me say over and over, we are going to be able to reverse the damage aging does to you one of these days. And when that happens, you, if you are still alive, could be transformed from the old person you are growing into, to a twenty-something improved version of your former self. And then, you will essentially have a youthful open-ended lifespan ahead of you.
But whether or not you live long enough to see that day could be largely up to you. Don’t forget, your genes only account for 25-35% of your destiny. (And science is working on fixing that 25-35% too.) You largely control the rest.
That’s why knowing which supplements or medical treatments work, and which don’t, might save your life. The extra few or more years the effective ones could add to your lifespan could very well be the difference between your living long enough to take advantage of tomorrow’s life extending miracles… or just barely missing out.
I had a very interesting conversation with two separate gentlemen at the event which led me to a conclusion. Maximum Life Foundation may be positioned to filter most of the anti-aging claims and information that overwhelm us. If we can find out what actually works and what doesn’t, then you will have a handy source of information. It will take several months to work out the details and to determine if we have the time to do this. And if we or someone else can, you will benefit.
Meanwhile, I just finished my longevity book, Life Extension Express, "7 steps you can take now, to catch the emerging wave of medical breakthroughs… for a youthful, indefinite (yes, indefinite) lifespan."
You can get a big jump on boosting your longevity by reading it. You’ll be able to get a copy from Amazon soon, but better yet, you can have a FREE downloadable copy by going to www.MaxLife.org now.
LATEST HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION HEADLINES
Gene Therapy Versus Periodontitis and Arthritis (December 12 2008) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/uom-gte121008.php
Via EurekAlert!: "Using gene therapy, [researchers] found a way to help certain cells using an inactivated virus to produce more of a naturally-produced molecule soluble TNF receptor. This factor is under-produced in patients with periodontitis. The molecule delivered by gene therapy works like a sponge to sop up excessive levels of tumor necrosis factor, a molecule known to worsen inflammatory bone destruction in patients afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, joint deterioration and periodontitis. Targeted Genetics released human trial results that showed the same gene therapy approach [had] positive affects in human patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The company tested 127 human subjects and showed a 30 percent improvement in pain relief, and gain of function, among other enhancements using the gene treatment. The gene also delivers quite a bit of genetic bang for the buck. The periodontal tissues were spared from destruction by more than 60-80 percent with the use of gene therapy. If you deliver the gene into the target cells once, it keeps producing in the cells for a very long period of time or potentially for the life of the patient. This therapy is basically a single administration, but it could have potentially life-long treatment effects in patients who are at risk for severe disease activity."
Manipulating Heart Cells into Regeneration (December 11 2008) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/haog-hra121108.php
Via EurekAlert!: "Up until today scientists assumed that the adult heart is unable to regenerate. Now, researchers and cardiologists [have] been able to show that this dogma no longer holds true. [They] were able to show that the body`s own heart muscle stem cells do generate new tissue and improve the pumping function of the heart considerably in an adult organism, when they suppress the activity of a gene regulator known as beta-catenin [which] plays an important role in the development of the heart in embyros. [Researchers] could now show that beta-catenin is also important for the regeneration of the adult heart. They suppressed this factor in the nucleus of the heart cells in mice. This way they activated heart precursor cells (stem cells) to turn on the regeneration of heart in adult mice. Four weeks after blocking beta-catenin, the pumping function of the heart of the animals had improved and the mice survived an infarction much better than those animals with a functioning beta-catenin gene."
CR Mimetics Are Not CR (December 10 2008) http://pmid.us/19056839
By way of a reminder that there's still a world of difference between calorie restriction (CR) and a CR mimetic drug that reproduces some of the same observed biochemical changes: "resveratrol may produce calorie restriction-like effects on metabolic and longevity endpoints in mice. In this study, we sought to determine whether resveratrol treatment elicited other hallmark changes associated with calorie restriction, namely bradycardia and decreased body temperature. We found that during short-term treatment, wild-type mice on a calorie-restricted diet experienced significant decreases in both heart rate and body temperature after only 1 day whereas those receiving resveratrol exhibited no such change after 1 [week]. We also used [obese] mice to study the effects of long-term treatment because previous studies had indicated the therapeutic value of resveratrol against the linked morbidities of obesity and diabetes. After 12 [weeks], resveratrol treatment had produced no changes in either heart rate or body temperature. Strikingly, and in contrast to previous findings, we found that resveratrol-treated mice had significantly reduced endurance in a treadmill test. We conclude that the bradycardia and hypothermia associated with calorie restriction occur through mechanisms unaffected by the actions of resveratrol."
Another Approach to Restoring Hair Cells (December 10 2008) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hI6vwfg3SuetvGrNdvVr1wKBUq6Q
Researchers are exploring a range of options to restore the hair cells of the ear that are lost with age, leading to deafness: "Damage to hair cells in the inner ear due to ageing and overstimulation is a major cause of deafness, affecting 10% of the worldwide population. The cell loss is irreversible because the cells have a limited capacity to regenerate. However, a new study suggests that the ependymal layer of the lateral ventricle of the brain contains stem cells which share characteristics with inner ear hair cells and which have the potential to reproduce. According to the scientists, these cells could potentially be transplanted from a person's brain into their ear, where they would undergo a functional switch to enable them to replace the damaged ones. The authors concluded that transplanted cells could alter their functions to work as inner ear hair cells and thus restore hearing. They suggested their findings on the flexible function of certain cells could also be extended to offer treatment for other problems affecting the nervous system."
Hourglass VI (December 09 2008)
The sixth edition of the Hourglass blog carnival on aging and longevity science is up at Ouroboros. One of the linked posts is a series of thoughts on the way in which we humans cut ourselves short by discounting the
future: "The best example of human’s irrational dealing with the future is what is called hyperbolic discounting (also called: temporal discounting, or future discounting). Hyperbolic discounting is the human preference for small immediate reward over larger future payoffs. The further the time in the future of the reward the greater the discounting. Humans are generally bad at delaying rewards and hence we too easily take the immediate smaller reward rather than delaying our immediate gratification for a greater reward in the future. I propose here that unless humans soon become better at thinking about the future - and not discounting it so much - we might not be able to make the changes we need for a better world and society. The same could be said about longevity research - if we can not imagine ourselves living longer and healthier lives - and not imagine it as only happening to a 'stranger' we [are] unlikely as a society to invest in this imagined future."
Newsweek on Mainstream Longevity Science (December 08 2008) http://www.newsweek.com/id/172561/output/print
Newsweek has a general interest article up online on the topic of mainstream longevity science: projects aimed at the hard target of metabolic manipulation to slow aging. "Since the days of Ponce de Leon, if not before, people have been seeking the elusive Fountain of Youth. Until recently, such pursuits were the realm of quacks and charlatans. And there are still plenty of snake-oil salesmen out there on the Internet and in so-called anti-aging clinics, hawking everything from longevity-bestowing Ecuadoran waters (which are probably harmless) to growth hormones (which could be downright dangerous for adults). But serious scientists are now bringing respectability to the field, unraveling the secrets of aging on a cellular level and looking for ways to slow it down. And while the science is still young (so to speak), legitimate longevity-boosting treatments could be available in 10 to 15 years - although the gains would be [modest]. Some critics of the scientific quest for longevity say it's God's will that we should die when our time comes. But in the past century, a clean water supply, antibiotics, vaccines and improved medical care have boosted life expectancy at birth by roughly 50 percent in the United States - from 48 for men and 51 for women in 1900 to 75 for men and 80 for women today. No one seems to object to that."
A Viral Cause for Alzheimer's? (December 08 2008) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081207134109.htmThis release via EurekAlert! is very compelling - but how does it fit in with the good evidence that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetes? "The virus behind cold sores is a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease [AD] sufferers. [researchers] investigated the role of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) in AD. Most people are infected with this virus, which then remains life-long in the peripheral nervous system. HSV1 DNA is located very specifically in amyloid plaques: 90% of plaques in Alzheimer's disease sufferers' brains contain HSV1 DNA, and most of the viral DNA is located within amyloid plaques. The team had previously shown that HSV1 infection of nerve-type cells induces deposition of the main component, beta amyloid, of amyloid plaques. Together, these findings strongly implicate HSV1 as a major factor in the formation of amyloid deposits and plaques, abnormalities thought by many in the field to be major contributors to Alzheimer's disease."
New "Miracle" Anti- Aging Products
It was a fun week.