Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Close are We to Living Forever?

Maybe not that far. Boonsri Dickinson reports:
Scientists believe they’ve found a drug that can slow down premature aging in mice and could one day be used to extend human life. This is the story of a drug called rapamycin, nicknamed the forever young drug. The key chemical in this drug was discovered in the soil on the famed, remote Easter Island, reports Technology Review.

Previously, the drug’s wonderful fountain of youth effects were seen in only in invertebrates such as fruit flies, yeast and nematode worms, where it helped cells manufacture new proteins and kept bad cells at bay. But now, the scientists are seeing that it has similar effects on the aging process in mammals.

In the study published in Nature, scientists show that when rapamycin is administered to mice as a food supplement, it expands their life span. Now in human years, that would translate to an extra decade of a healthy living. The work was the result of three separate studies conducted at a number of institutions including Jackson Laboratory. The independent groups reported their results to the National Institute of Aging’s Interventions Testing Program, which aims to investigate which drugs might slow down aging in mice...

The researchers think that the drug could target the same pathway that occurs when the body is put under a calorie restriction diet, a technique used for extending life. Calorie restriction dates back to 1934, after it became known that cutting calories extended the lifespan of rats.

However, it is not known just how effective this drug would be in humans, considering its known side effects of pneumonia and fungal infections. Still, scientists are more hopeful that it could be used to keep old age diseases under control. It could buy more time by simply slowing the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, resulting in a longer, healthy life span for humans the way it did in mice...

The famous gerontologist Aubrey de Grey thinks we can actually “cure” aging by preventing molecular and cellular damage before it spins out of control. De Grey tells Reuters that, ““if we could do that in the case of certain modified forms of cholesterol which accumulate in cells of the artery wall, then we simply would not get cardiovascular disease.” In other words, try to stop cellular damage before it becomes pathogenic and we can live for a long time.
The full story is here.


  1. Unless the retirement age goes way up the social security program will REALLY be in trouble.

  2. De Grey doesn't seem to realize that its not clorestorol that does the damage to arterial walls, its smoking, stress and sugar. As for staying alive for another decade, its not like your getting another decade of prime living, just another ten years of decrepitude.

  3. I suggest checking out resveratrol and the supplements that have it, particularly the brand Longevinex. It quite possibly can extend lifespan longer than a decade if taken early enough, without pneumonia and other side effects.

  4. Whatever.. according to Kurzweil, we'll all have robotic bodies and be able to upload our minds by 2040.

  5. On a related note, recent studies have yielded evidence that "intermittent fasting" diets may be as effective (if not moreso) than calorie restriction diets - in terms of short term benefits and long term benefits; notably potential lifespan increase. Intermittent fasting, by the way, is essentially eating within a small window of time (e.g. 8 hours) and fasting for a longer amount of time (e.g. 16 hours), but doesn't necessarily mean you have to "restrict" your calories. I've been doing it for about a year now, more or less consistently. If you're interested, I recommend reading Martin Berkhan's site,, and searching PubMed.

  6. Thanks to fascist Obama and ObamaCare, you can bet that those deemed "undesirable" will not be allowed to have the drug.