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Ageing in human cells successfully reversed in the lab (2018) (theconversation.com)
97 points by novalis78 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments





I believe so many problems in our society would be solved by lifespan increasing technology. It would make people have to seriously consider the long-term ramifications of their actions, and I imagine adopt a kinder, gentler, more sustainable attitude. Climate change is a personal threat to you if you're immortal, not your children or your children's children. Crime goes down, as the risks of having jail time on your record grow and grow - it's one thing to be a felon for 60 years, but to be a felon for 500 years? 1000 years? No one would risk that just for the contents of a 7/11 cash register. Being nice and kind to everyone you see makes more and more sense, because the longer your lifespan the higher the probability you'll meet some of those people again and get your kindness repaid.

The only downside is potential overpopulation issues, but (perhaps this is naive of me) I imagine most people would accept sterilization in exchange for eternity.


I like your thinking here, but I don't know if it'd really happen. I think humans just generally aren't very good at long-term thinking. Heart disease—something almost entirely preventable—is our #1 killer. We tend prioritize immediate enjoyment over long-term benefits. I don't think immortality will solve this, unfortunately.

It won't solve it, but it certainly won't make it worse. I fail to see how immortality would cause any problems at all, instead of actually making things better, though it won't be the cure-all that some people seem to think it's being pushed as.

Even if ignoring the huge overpopulation concern, I'm still not so optimistic. How much social progress has happened simply because older people die off and can no longer vote? If we still had a significant population of people born in the 1700s, what might U.S. politics look like?

Why would there be a concern for overpopulation? Population is falling in every developed nation now, if you ignore immigration. People don't want to have a lot of kids when they have money and education, and this is happening to every nation as it develops.

>If we still had a significant population of people born in the 1700s, what might U.S. politics look like?

Not that different, because 1) there just weren't that many people alive back then in the first place, and 2) most of them would be dead anyway, because immortality doesn't make you impervious to accidents, murder, tornadoes, etc. Even with immortality, people are eventually going to get killed somehow.


Do you know more now than you did a decade ago?

The show Altered Carbon described an alternative consequence of extended lifespans - the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and because the rich don't die, there's no 'reset button' at the transition between generations and the situation never changes. The rich guy's money can accumulate interest indefinitely, while the poor guy may never get past the paycheck to paycheck life (or he lives long enough to eventually figure out how to save enough to improve his situation).

It would certainly be advantageous to be a member of the first generation of immortals. Imagine entering an economy as a young twenty something competing against people who've had centuries to build their careers and accumulate wealth.

Feels like the current situation with millenials and baby-boomers taken to the n'th level.

This can be easily and trivially fixed with some simple taxation to transfer wealth from the ultra-rich to everyone else. If that isn't happening, it's most likely a failure of the voters to demand such laws.

> easily and trivially

Really? I think the current ecosystem of lobbyists and tax evasion (remember the Paradise Papers?) puts the lie to that idea. I don't think you have any basis on which to make that claim.


Sure I do: there are other countries out there, you know, and they do tax very wealthy people more. There's more to the world than America.

How do these countries tax the money which is hidden in offshore tax havens?

I don't see why that's any of their business. The only thing that's the business of a government is the income generated inside its own borders by that person or company, and the government should be able to have access to that data to make sure that person/company is not cheating on their taxes. Once they've paid their taxes on that income, if they want to move it offshore, that's their business. If the person or company is generating income offshore, that's not the business of that government, it's the business of the government where the income is being generated.

> The only thing that's the business of a government is the income generated inside its own borders by that person or company,

> Once they've paid their taxes on that income

Tax havens allow you to move your profits by having the HQ in the tax haven while having a subsidiary which makes a loss in the actual country.


Are we talking about multinational corporations or about wealthy individuals now? This whole thread has been about wealthy individuals, and now you're talking about big corporations. Which is it?

Your comment was about people/companies so we are talking about both. Tax havens do not discriminate people and companies are welcome.

Why did you think I was talking about America?

I'm all for it, but I think you're overoptimistic. Climate deniers aren't generally making a selfish but rational calculation that they're unlikely to be affected - many have children they care deeply about, after all. Instead, they're flinching away from uncomfortable ideas and refusing to acknowledge the unfolding catastrophe.

Maybe the benefits to brain plasticity would undo some of this retrenchment, but that's a big maybe.


> Instead, they're flinching away from uncomfortable ideas

In my experience of talking with 'climate deniers', that has never been the case.


Fair enough, but it's been mine. There are loud voices telling people they don't have to worry about the impact of their choices. That's seductive, and the truth is painful - many people instinctively prefer comforting lies.

Fair enough. In my case it's been more motivated by conspiracy theory, that maybe there's some suppression of incongruous data going on. Which could be reasonable, given Monsanto & Snowden.

Conspiratorial thinking is widely regarded to be an example of the phenomenon I mentioned: people find it comforting to think that the world is explainable in simple terms rather than chaotic, even if the explanation requires us to blame sinister and secretive actors for bad things. People think there should be a reason for things happening, when often there's really not.

Disclaimer: I don't have a citation and I'm not a psychologist.


Honestly, it could go both ways. It can also be a comforting thought that the world isn't sinister and corrupt, and that people who think it is must have psychological problems. :)

Same disclaimer applies.


IYE what is the case - what is their motivation for their position?

Generally, complete stupidity plus being told falsehoods by people who stand to benefit. It's the exact same with anti-vaxxers.

Actually, I think increased lifespan is likely to reduce overpopulation.

Worldwide, over many years, we have consistently seen fertility rates decreasing where life expectancy is increasing. There is debate as to cause and effect[1,2], but I believe it is largely due to a lessening of perceived risk to successful reproduction.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK233807 [2] https://ourworldindata.org/fertility-rate


If watching the Boomer generation has taught me one thing, it's that people do not necessarily grow milder and wiser with age. I think it would be catastrophic if society gets locked down in its current model because people simply will not vacate their place (in work, in housing, in use of resources) by dying.

People will still die, due to accidents etc., just not as quickly. History has shown that younger generations aren't always better than older ones. The rise of Naziism in the 30s wasn't because of a bunch of elderly people.

Accidents are a small percent of overall mortality, and the likelihood of accidents has been decreasing over time, and can be decreased further with lifestyle choices that reduce such risks.

Warfare can and will kill many, but the rich are generally the least likely to die, because they are the most mobile and can afford the best defense.


>Accidents are a small percent of overall mortality

No, they aren't. Where'd you get this crazy idea? Car accidents alone are the largest killer of younger people in the US. 30,000 people every year die in the US alone in cars.

Here's a list of leading causes of death from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

Accidents is #3, at 170,000 people per year.

>and can be decreased further with lifestyle choices that reduce such risks.

So what? What makes you think people are going to do that? They aren't doing it now; they're happily taking up stuff like vaping, which is now killing people and is all over the news.


> 500 years? 1000 years?

I'm genuinely curious what the average life expectancy would be if we were able to prevent deaths due to "old age" and its concomitant ailments.

There are plenty of other ways to get yourself killed so you're still guaranteed to die some day.



We already have way too many people on the planet. if no one died, it would cause all our environmental problems, lack of wealth problems to multiply.

Actually, I think we need to get our population down to a much lower level where we're not stressing our the planet and not stressing the limited resources we have. politically speaking, we just can't handle this many people on the planet.


Yes, I also think that killing literally everybody is the most reasonable solution to environmental and social problems.

Or maybe on a long enough timeline everyone's a criminal with a record, and the social ramifications of having a record become less significant because it's so ubiquitous among adults.

I could see it having an opposite effect, people make strange decisions when they view outcomes as inevitable.


I wrote some scifi story where immortality tech exists, but is only used as punishment for serious crimes. One of the characters was serving an eternal sentence for doing something really bad a long time ago...

Don't forget that long starship travels and long timeline scientific endeavors are now a reality.

That is far from the only downside. Economic stratification would be a major one.

Related: Recent podcast: Why We Age - And Why We Don't Have To > https://jamesaltucher.com/podcast/492-david-sinclair/

Related: Fable of the Dragon Tyrant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZYNADOHhVY

Ways to improve life expectancy:

    A. keep children alive till adulthood (mostly done)
    B. keep adults disease-free/healthy (somewhat done)
    C. keep old people alive till natural death (little done)
    D. stop natural death (possible?)
    E. reverse aging (possible?)
If natural death is just rolling constitution checks long enough to get a critical miss, then perhaps it's enough to complete C.

If natural death is some sort of cellular countdown, it may suffice to stop the time, as in D.

I think for most people, what they really want is not eternal life in a 90+ year-old body, but to be able to live in a young body, which necessitates E.

It's interesting to consider scenarios where we accomplish some but not all of these, especially where C and/or D are possible but E is not.


yeah, an interesting thought experiment would be a scenario where one could stop, but not reverse aging. The people young enough would probably stop at their prime, with the upper part of the society (those past their prime) being stuck in their respective age.

I would look at life very, very differently if I would know that I would have a significant longer life-span. I would just chill and live more in the moment and not worry about time so much (I worry about time quite a lot right now, probably because a chapter in my life just (a day ago!) ended).


Agreed. Happy birthday!

Thanks, but near miss :) I moved cities to start my masters, so my chapter of living in karlsruhe (where I moved for my bachelors) is closed, especially since I won't be coming back. I have not done everything I've wanted, stayed longer than I've thought and left some things unfinished. If only there would be more time, but your twenties unfortunatly don't have more years in them than the other decades. I probably wouldn't have started my masters yet but instead take a break and do something crazy. Like move to berlin, try to survive as a DJ and maybe get into producing music. Maybe study some philosophy. I feel like some opportunities just rush by and some doors just slowly but steadily close. And you have to decide for one, maybe two.

Looks interesting, but very misleading headline.

"Mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide attenuates endothelial senescence by selective induction of splicing factors"

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30026406


In what way is it misleading? The original title and abstract are beyond my knowledge.

In that they did not reverse aging. They affected one aspect of aging in a significant way, but did not completely stop or reverse it. And it was only in one type of tissue, and they don't know that there won't be dangerous side effects. There are still many other aspects of aging that they did not affect.

> By using a “molecular postcode” we have been able to deliver the molecule directly to the mitochondria, the structures that produce energy in cells, where we think it acts, allowing us to use tiny doses, which are less likely to cause side effects.

Is there more information on this? I want to know when I can expect a pill for this. :)


Definitely interesting and waiting for the pill as well.

Currently, there are a few pills you can take to capture a similar effect (slow down but not reverse):

1. DHEA 2. Niagen 3. CoQ10

YMMV - Please consult a physician before adding any pill/altering diet in your regimen.


CAUTION

I am not a doctor, but I want to caution against blindly taking supplements like this.

DEHA is a steroid hormone. These are key components of signalling networks in your body, and they can up or down regulate many different things. It could definitely be pro-cancer [1]

Niagen is a precursor to NAD+. Screwing with the NAD+ metabolism might promote cancer [2]

There seems to be good concensus on CoQ10. It may not have an associated cancer risk (I couldn't find any literature), but it may lower blood pressure and that should be carefully considered [3]

Please do your homework and ask your doctor before taking any of these. There are pros and cons and a whole lot of uncertainties.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-dhea/art-203641...

[2] https://siteman.wustl.edu/pathway-linked-slower-aging-also-f...

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-coenzyme-q10/ar...


That is why I also cycle up/down Sulforaphane to up-regulate NRF2 and activate several genetic expressions that increase cell autophagy and apoptosis. I also use Berberine (some use metformin) to modify p53. I also take aged garlic extract to break down the biofilm on cancer cells and bio-availability enhanced Curcumin to block metastases or the process. I also do not consume glucose, as cancer cells and tumors require glucose. Operating off Ketones is very beneficial to starving cancer cells. All of that said, based on the studies I have read, the results of CoQ10 only start to become more beneficial at older ages or in people that have had heart damage. It also helps to ensure you are not deficient in potassium and magnesium, as those are very important for mitochondria. Dr. Bruce Ames has done a lot of research in this area and has theories about "conservation" and how various longevity functions in our bodies are muted when we only get the RDA or lower of critical components. I don't have an opinion on NAD+ precursors for humans. Mice studies have produce great results, but it isn't clear yet if NR/NMN help humans AFAIK.

Do you have a starting point for me to read up on this? I'm very interested but this is so far from what I know I didn't even understand half your post. Thanks.

It is a lot of reading. A starting point would be to use google to search for various studies on nih.gov. So in google, use "site:nih.gov topic_of_interest" and don't stop with the first study you find. Some of them are well funded and sometimes for the wrong reasons. I could give a two hour talk on just reading studies on that site.

Then after reading everything you can find on each of those topics, you can also watch youtube videos with Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Dr. Bruce Ames on conservation theory. She also talks about sulforaphane at great length. She has a two hour video with another scientist and they go into some of the DoD studies being done with sulforaphane and children in reversing autism. Then for starving cancer cells, both nih.gov and youtube videos by Dr. Eric Berg (DC, not MD) and has spent the last several years researching these topics and making them more consumable by the general population. Dr. Berg sometimes leaves out important pieces of information, so keep reading on any topic he makes youtube videos about.


rasengan posted about DHEA, a compound often found in Fish Oil, not the steroid hormone DEHA.

Sorry, that was a typo. The link I cited is on DHEA. DEHA is an organic compound, not a hormone.

Are these three typically taken in a cocktail or individually?

It remain to be seen if this doesn't cause the cell (even if 1 in 10 million) to start behaving like cancer.

Great hopes! But I still think maybe it's easier for programmable nanobots with MHC complex attached to it to fix individual cells to allow us to live longer. Or maybe even change the hardware for $BRAIN_SOFTWARE.


One of the reasons cells die is to fend off cancer. A hallmark of cancer is cell immortalization. The body has a multitude programmed cell death pathways for this reason. And if the cells themselves decide not to die, the immune system kicks in to help (so long as the cancer doesn't out-evolve detection).

We must be very careful here.

I am not a doctor, but my advice for those looking to live longer in an age where we don't have a magic pill :

- eat right

- get plenty of cardiovascular exercise

- avoid stess

- avoid inflammation, especially chronic


If it were actually reversing the ageing process shouldn't cancer be less likely?

Cancer rates increase with age so younger cells in theory should mean a lower likelihood of cancer.


Or - intermittent fasting could be used for cell regeneration. http://news.mit.edu/2018/fasting-boosts-stem-cells-regenerat...


IMO there is no point in undergoing age reversal if you haven’t already been maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. If you’re fat and 65 and treated your body like a dumpster your whole life I see no point in going back to being a slightly younger fat blob.

I also think that true age reversal will never be achievable anyway the way people think, but stopping aging may be possible. I have met some individuals who seem to exhibit qualities of negligible senescence, the only physical thing that gives away their true age is probably the quality of their skin and hair, which does not look as fresh (but still pretty good) as someone much younger.


Baseless claims. Doesn't matter how good your lifestyle was, by 80 it's genetics. Science will continue to progress despite what you believe. There are biological organisms who don't age like we do or even go back and forth; young to old then young.

>There are biological organisms who don't age like we do or even go back and forth; young to old then young.

Citations please? If we're talking about slime molds or amoebas this might be interesting trivia, but is completely irrelevant. Multicellular animal models would be more interesting.


Look into the Turritopsis dohrnii. It's a species of Mediterranean jellyfish (very definitely a macroscopic, multicellular animal) that is essentially immortal, and periodically ages in reverse, for lack of a better description.

Google for "naked mole rat".



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