To me it seems that choosing whether or not to live is a very personal choice, arguably the most personal choice you can make. Not wanting to contribute to a goal another might have is fine, nobody should be forcing you to contribute to anti-aging research or experimentation. However I don't think you should have a say in whether or not another ends/extends his or her life. It follows that you aren't allowed to forbid research into this area either, you might think it immoral, dangerous or distasteful, but it's not your choice to make.
There are a lot of arguments against changing what people think of as the 'natural order'. Various people are concerned that it will lead to overpopulation, perhaps it will. Perhaps when it gets really bad wars and/or famine will break out. Nature doing its 'job'.
Perhaps it's selfish of me, but given the choice between inventing a 'cure' for aging (that I can then subsequently use) and dying when 'my time has come'. I'll pick the cure for sure. I do care about the consequences, just not enough to stop me from producing and using said cure.
And I think that goes for many people. Only they're afraid to make that point and/or follow through with what they are actually advocating. Why else would you prefer dying of old age, to not dying at all?
If you truly think it's better to die of aging, and thereby preventing <insert horrible future> why don't you just decide to end yourself, and leave others be?
People who see dire consequences to reversing aging can't make a difference by suicide; it's only in the aggregate that there is disaster or averted disaster. It's like saying to someone who thinks carbon emissions will heat the planet and doom our species: "If you think that, sell your car and leave the rest of us alone".
Given that there are so many causes of death, and each one is so hard to avoid, we could spend unlimited resources trying in vain to stamp out death for good, at the opportunity cost of much better returns on other things we could do to make life better for humans other than just the wealthiest people who have so few problems that mortality is their highest priority. Right now and in any plausible future scenario there is simply not a choice "whether or not to live." Everyone dies eventually, merely making modern healthcare available is too hard for us to do worldwide and people (poor brown people "somewhere else") are still being crippled by polio, for example.
Rather than telling people you disagree with to commit suicide, it would help if you understood that what you are asking for is a fantasy and that it is problematic to accept literally any cost to other humans in its pursuit.
Life insurance policy that pays out upon death to Alcor.
Paradigm-shifting discoveries tend to come from unexpected, unexplored territory. By taking away funding from "useless" pursuits (like pure maths, arts, theoretical researchers) and focussing solely on the bottom line (i.e: what matters, what is profitable), we make advances in a given field less likely, not more.
Reminds me of the Louie bit where David Lynch instructs Louie to "Be funny: 3... 2... 1... Go". -- That's not how things work. Achieving that level of mastery of his craft is 90% non-funny related activities (life experiences, personality, self-reflection etc.), and 10% actually focusing on "being funny" in itself.
What if the key to longevity comes from a cancer researcher, what the techniques needed come from an applied mathematician researching complex systems? What if the technology required to even model the problem in order to ask the right question is developed by computer scientists modelling data in a completely different field of research? There's just no way to know.
I don't think, in this case, it's a "let's not waste resources" argument being made. The GP post wasn't saying "Hey, cancer! AIDS! Lazy non-cancer/non-AIDS scientists!" but rather, "Fixing aging will give us the time and resources we need to do everything else."
In other words, investing in a cure for aging will pay huge dividends in other areas of research. It's like earning $0/yr going to college for four years so you can get $100+k/yr for the next 60, instead of $50k/yr.
Hundreds of leads are summarized in the histogram at
The May 22 paper by Hashizume et al suggests
I took the liberty of data mining my big spread
sheet of life span experiments for it.
It turns out that it was reported in 2011 that
adding glycine to the diet of lab animals let
them live 28% longer.
A ton of other cool experiments have already been
 Epigenetic regulation of the nuclear-coded
GCAT and SHMT2 genes confers human age-associated
mitochondrial respiration defects, Nature, May 22,
2015, Hashizume et al.
 The World's Biggest Spread Sheet of Life Span
 The FASEB Journal. 2011;25:528.2, Dietary
glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension
by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344
rats, Brind et al.
That's the only solution. Space travel isn't it.
Well, we can make it so that every human can have at most one child. If the rule is enforced perfectly, each generation will have at most half as many offspring, and the series sum of 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... is 1, leading to at most a doubling of the population, even if everyone lives forever.
They can "accidentally" be born sterile. Shh, nobody tell.
I'd expect this approach would just slightly delay the population issue meanwhile creating a massive black market for pledge-breakers.
People might be mistaking more abstract, existential urges with more plain ones. Do you really want to, in some kind of sense, propagate yourself through time after your death? Or do you just want to fuck, and perhaps also take care of little people (they're so cute...)?
Evolution and survival happens to most species with less developed and abstract brains. I don't see why our own needs for survival would be tied to some idea of "carrying on ourselves after we die".
That would be fine if we had a billion people on Earth, but whatever number ends up being stable, it's an orthogonal issue.
Space travel it is.
There's lots of good reasons for humanity to go into space; population control is not one of them.
It would be nice to reverse Idiocracy tendancies (Stupid people procreating more than intelligent leading to a general decline)
Anything more, like only allowing the smartest or the most wealthy is going to get dystopian pretty fast, I would think
Physiologically, IIRC, sleep cleans brain up from certain metabolites, which happens in REM state. If we eventually manage to induce REM artificially, I assume you wouldn't want to experience REM in awake mode, during your job.
Injections of acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which effectively increases available acetylcholine, have been found to induce paradoxical (REM) sleep in humans and other animals already in slow-wave sleep. Carbachol, which mimics the effect of acetylcholine on neurons, has a similar influence. In waking humans, the same injections produce paradoxical sleep only if the monamine neurotransmitters have already been depleted.
Based on the last sentence (and provided the Carbachol mechanism of action is the same), it looks like you can't enter REM sleep if you aren't 'tired' enough.
At any rate, aging is going to take a long time to solve. Throwing time and money directly at it might not be the most effective solution. Maybe we invent an AI to do research and it eventually solves the problem, for example.
What an interesting world that would be, a world where we would still be burning witches. You wouldn't be typing this on a computer musing about ending aging; computers would not exist and neither would you.
Can't find it now but it sure resonated with me. Invent immortality, kiss social change goodbye.
In the US we went from sexual orientation being something that was socially acceptable to ridicule or attack with violence, to widespread social acceptance and same sex marriage being law in most of the county in just 15 years - less than one than one generation.
This change wasn't brought about by killing off every over the age 30. I think as long there is some kind of reconciliation method in place for people to say "I was wrong and now I've changed" without being attacked (like Sen Matt Kirk was), then social change can be facilitated much quicker than waiting for an entire generation to die.
Edit: Not that I consider either answer particularly likely; I have no idea what would happen.
Not by choice, in most cases. N.B. There's also a lot of research on restoring neural plasticity.
Seems many invent at an old age. Also seems that some few are responsible for great many breakthroughs, only stopping at their death beds...
> If that's the only point to our existence, we sure waste a lot of time with arts and sciences
There is no point to our existence. Extending your existence will not change the quality.
Well, if keeping population up is your goal, then fine, sure. Obviously some people have different priorities.
Most people want to have children, and many even see the cyclic regeneration of the entire population as a net benefit to humanity. If anti-aging is to become a popular movement, it needs to have better answers to the questions of how to solve overpopulation and what a world with nearly no children should be like to be livable.
Is life a team sport, where we're all just trying to get as many points as possible for "team human"?
The flaw in your argument is that at some point, you're going to have to pick a maximum allowable age. How old is "too old"? At what age should we set mandatory executions? And, on a side note, have you seen Logan's Run?
I'm not sure what you mean "what a world with nearly no children should be like to be livable"? I don't see how it would be any more or less livable. That doesn't even seem to make any sense.
Do you have children? I do. Given the choice of extending my own life indefinitely but having my daughter vanish from the world, or dying today but knowing her life will go on, I would undoubtedly choose the latter.
It's sentimental, but that doesn't make it any less true. To many people, children bring a fundamental joy to the world, and it's hard to understand why it should be replaced with neverending calligraphy practice in spaceships.
Those people are free to kill themselves. That's not just a flippant response- nobody is talking about forced immortality.
Frankly, what a depressing world.
Pretty much everyone I've ever asked who have had kids wasn't consciously trying for their first child. I've personally always felt that a lot of parents later rationalise a decision they didn't really make.
Not to mention, more than one problem can be worked on at a time.
I would say it puts it pretty LOW. It's not like death is a hard thing to accept. We've always been dying. Life would suck without it.
If you don't want to work on that problem I understand. Which of the other top 100 problems are you currently working on? There are 7 billion people on the planet. There are more than enough people to work on all of the problems.
But...if we were to live forever, that time would be so different than anybody could think of today, and the ethics, relative to ours, would be pretty incomprehensible today. So...doesn't matter right now I suppose.
This research has been in a different area of aging - preventing mitochondria damage. This is also an important part of keeping cells operating correctly.
According to  telomere-lengthening treatments may (the author points out that this conclusion may be incorrect since the data measurement may need some changes) only give you an extra 5 years.
So research in other directions is definitely interesting.
Then you should be taking Astragalus. It lengthens them. I'm not convinced the telomeres are key. They're actually still quite long in people 90+ years old.
Read the paper, not the publicity materials in this case - they are more than usually misleading.
In the past researchers have shown that reprogramming adult cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells sweeps away some specific forms of damage observed in old cells. In particular it seems to clean up damaged mitochondria, which is of considerable interest given the role of mitochondrial DNA damage in aging. It is possible that this has some connection to the aggressive cleanup that takes place in early stage embryos, stripping out damage inherited from parental cells. There may be the basis for a future therapy somewhere in here, but is also possible that finding out how to apply this sort of process in isolation to adult cells safely is going to be very hard, and the end result impractical in comparison to other technologies: if induced pluripotency as it currently stands somehow happened to many of your cells, you would certainly die.
I've linked to the open access paper above rather than the publicity materials because I think that the latter are misleading as to what was accomplished and the significance of the research. The researchers theorize that the ability to restore mitochondrial function, and then break it again when you take the induced pluripotent stem cells and redifferentiate them back into ordinary cells, means that mitochondrial DNA damage is not a primary source of harm, but rather something under the influence of the state of nuclear DNA and thus some other cell process. For example, perhaps epigenetic changes in nuclear DNA are mediating the pace of replication-induced DNA damage in mitochondria.
All in all it is interesting work, and programmed aging supporters, who theorize that aging is largely caused by epigenetic changes, will no doubt find it encouraging, though I think that at this stage there are other possible interpretations of what is taking place here. For example, in how reprogramming restores function and how that function is lost again: one could proposed clearance and damage mechanisms rather than direct regulation mechanisms. The researchers are in most circumstances looking at mitochondrial function (via oxygen consumption rates) rather than at mitochondrial DNA damage, which greatly muddies the water. The two do not have a straightforward relationship, and there are any number of simple drug treatments that can tinker with the results of measures of mitochondrial function without touching the issue of damage. I'd like to see the same work done again with mitochondrial DNA damage assessments at each stage and each intervention, and also animal studies rather than just cell line studies in the case of the interventions in ordinary aged cells - which seems to be where this research group is heading in any case.
Aubrey de Grey commented to me that:
It has long been very obvious that mito dysfunction in the elderly is hardly at all caused by mutations (since they are too rare) and rather, by elimination, almost entirely by “deliberate” (i.e. regulated) nuclear gene expression changes, occurring as an adaptation to other things that are going wrong. That’s not to say that mito mutations are harmless though, not at all - but that their harm is via other means, such as my “reductive hotspot hypothesis” from 1998. There is one interesting result in the paper, namely that glycine supplementation partly rejuvenates mito function - but I don’t think the authors believe that the result is robust, because they have relegated it to one sentence at the end of the results and one supplementary figure.
I have a question, since you seem to be rather conversant with aging research. I am a physicist, and I'm interested in how mitochondrial function is measured and the efficiency is defined. I know that it is measured via oxygen consumption rates, but all the papers that I have read do not define precisely how this is measured and defined. Would you kind enough to point me to some resources on this? I am capable at reading the medical/biology literature, but searching it can be a different matter.
Imho there's way too much uninformed "meta" debate going on in the comments, without anyone reading the article.
Hm, there's some meat on the bones of that concept from a science fiction direction. People living very long lives, but only if they go away for three months every five years for agonizing stem cell therapy.
Like the Odinsleep, but with screaming.
80 year old racists would be 200 year old racists.
People might start caring about their communities if they knew they had to deal with it 200 years from now.
People might stop caring about their communities because of a prolonged phase of youthful self-centeredness and a lack of any urgency?
From there I ask: how great or small is the moral difference between preventing such technologies from coming to fruition, and killing people off once those technologies have been developed?
Antibiotics are a Good Thing. So is having doctors wash their hands. If we can use science to buy some more time for humans to live, all the better. I know it's hard to believe, but maybe not having people literally lose their minds and decay to the point of death between ages 70-100 would be kind of nice.
Living forever is caring about the future. Just not caring about the future in the way you deem "right", or "true".
Also, wanting to live forever has nothing at all do with the birth, nor does it mean that birth can't occur anymore. How about you leave your doomsday straw-man out of this, please.
Countries like Japan have more deaths than births. The more advanced a society is, the closer the ratio of births/deaths is, so I'm not that worried.
Reversing aging will improve your quality of life, but will also force your death to be brutal, since the only cause of death is now accidental or some illness. So you'll die not wanting to peacefully go away as people aging in good condition do, but you will die wanting to live, hurting badly. I'll stick with buddhism.
As an ancillary point, there is no such thing as "aging in good condition". Aging is the process by which your body gradually fails to function until it can't function at all. It can be better or worse, but not good.
So difference is live one life to 500, or
Live 5x100. Come back at 10 or 1 or whatever. I know this idea is totally fantastic, but, as a thought experiment, I'd prefer this.
I think you've just described everybody as they currently exist. there's a lot of memory from childhood that my brain has stripped of detail and archived; probably more that I don't even know I've forgotten.
This does not fill me with existential quandary. I look at my hands, and I'm still here. shrug ;)
Memories don't randomly vanish; there's pretty good evidence that the brain does retain useful content. So if you're arguing that "500-years-in-the-future you would be such a different person that we might as well say now-you is dead in 500 years," I think the burden of proof is on that claim because we don't make it for modern elderly people. It passes neither the common-sense sniff test nor the extrapolation test ("What's special about 500 years out as opposed to 70 years out that breaks continuity?").