Suspicious Minds



If you want a logical reason for the complete disinterest in longevity research shown by the powers that be, the most obvious, if you’re even a little paranoid, is that they already have the secret, and aren’t interested in distributing it to the hoi polloi.  If so, members of the inner circle would obviously have to fake their own deaths every so often – otherwise they might face mobs of angry peasants bearing torches. Still, occasionally losing your identity is a small price to pay for for the privilege of being a sequoia farmer.  It wouldn’t mean losing power – real power is already invisible.

Of course, if you were truly the top dog, there would be a temptation to occasionally drop the disguise and shake up the groundlings.  Even if this was reported again and again, every serious person would know that it was just fodder for trailer trash.

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78 Responses to Suspicious Minds

  1. MawBTS says:

    It means there’s also an industry of plastic surgeons who modify the ruling class’s faces so that they appear to be aging.

    Kudos to Rupert Murdoch for getting an elephant’s scrotal skin grafted over his face. It couldn’t have been very pleasant for him.

  2. Anon says:

    I thought everybody here knew better. There is no conspiracy. People, including the sociopaths at the top, are stupid.

    • candid_observer says:

      Yeah, that’s my reaction.

      Do we really need an explanation for why the champions of conventional wisdom can’t break out of conventional wisdom?

  3. dearieme says:

    Eat more fish. Even if it doesn’t extend your life it will bring great pleasure. Even if it doesn’t bring great pleasure it will make you more intelligent. Bertie Wooster said so, so it must be true.

  4. little spoon says:

    We are the haves. We must focus on the have nots. End aids in africa. Who cares about us and our inevitable demise and death? Focus on inequality, not what we don’t have.

    • Jasper says:

      I think you may be the anti-me, we must never meet lest we self-annihilate.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Did you hear what the latest population projections are estimating for the population of Africa by 2100 little spoon? 4 billion. Guess what happens waaaaay before the population of Africa reaches 4 billion. It’s a multiple choice question. We have…
      A. starvation
      B. murder
      C. disease
      D. all of the above

      I’m sadly discouraged that leadership is smart enough to figure out a better solution or that people are as caring and sharing as little spoon. No more hamburgers for you, from now on we eat feed corn so that 4 billion Africans won’t starve.

  5. Dale says:

    Politically, there’s not much pressure for longevity research that I can see. A priori, that seems odd, because every human should have the same interest in the subject. But in practice, you have to work on people hard to get them to even give up cigarettes — why would you expect them to pay tax money just to live longer?

    • gcochran9 says:

      The two cases are of course not comparable.

    • Lars Grobian says:

      Do you have any idea what kind of preposterous crap has made it’s way into the federal budget?

      Granted, a few billion dollars to provide politically connected Boston mobsters with free structural steel makes more practical sense than longevity research, but it’s still dumber than smoking.

    • DrBill says:

      Politically, there’s not much pressure for longevity research that I can see. A priori, that seems odd, because every human should have the same interest in the subject.

      So, a priori, you expect diffuse interests to beat concentrated interests in political struggles, and, thus, you expect the most diffuse imaginable interest—one that we all share equally—to be the most powerfullest. It might be your a priori views rather than the facts which are odd.

  6. Lars Grobian says:

    If Elvis were a vastly powerful immortal illuminatus with his hands on the levers of American power, that would explain a lot.

  7. Francisco says:

    Not even to their own children?

  8. Sisyphean says:

    See now you’re just making me wistful to re-watch Being John Malkovitch, at the heart of which was just such a hidden longevity scheme, and puppetry as well, great amounts of glorious puppetry.

  9. j says:

    You are talking about the Gowachin elite that lives forever. By the way, here is the recipe of frog legs in garlic butter.

  10. STALIN says:

    I wouldn’t sell you life insurance after that post

  11. DdR says:

    Mr. Cochran,

    Where do you propose that longevity researchers start looking? I recall a post you made last year that figuring out how to extend youthfulness is not impossible as one just needs to devote energy to reverse the entropy. I believe you said to first look at why germ cells don’t age whereas somatic cells do. Any other thoughts? Maybe in a separate blog post?

    As I grow older and feel the effects of growing old, and begin looking around for any remedies, I see there are scant few. Testosterone-replacement therapy is the new rage for men, but you need to be closely monitored otherwise your red-blood count will increase too much, thereby causing a heart attack or stroke. For women, oestrogen-replacement therapy was looked at as a godsend, but then it was determined to increase risk of breast cancer. HGH is an obvious candidate, but I’m terrified of the cancer implications, and frankly it turns your skin beet red. Look at Stallone. In fact, look at any star/person on the street who’s in good shape and has beet-red skin. They are likely on HGH and frankly don’t look good.

    For now, the only way that I can extend my lifespan is by creating progeny. I believe that it will be this way for quite some time.

  12. Space Ghost says:

    I don’t know how to reconcile this post with your propensity for being correct.

  13. Gabe Ruth says:

    You have to be paranoid to think this? I believe you’d have to be dumb to think otherwise. Not necessarily that there is currently a conspiracy, but that if this engineering feat were achieved, one would appear quite quickly. No plastic surgery necessary, maybe you’d have to move around every half century or so, but you could recycle residences, even claim you’re a descendant of yourself. Maybe that’s part of the reason behind the elite animosity to rooted communities, makes blending in more difficult.

    A more interesting question is how immortality would effect the minds of those granted it, who, due to the difficulty of this task, must be people so rich and powerful we’ve never heard of them or seen their picture. I haven’t a guess what such people are like, but my guess is that they are not particularly moral, by the standards of readers here or modern ones. Does that change once you know you can live forever? I suppose to answer we’d need to know what the ongoing costs of immortality are. I assume it’s won’t be a one time elixir and you’re set for all time. And there will be some number of people who know your secret but can’t afford it themselves, so they’ll have to be dealt with some how. But if these costs can be covered without risking having to work for your bread, how long before you become suicidally bored? Not such a risk for the very intelligent, but for most people I’d say that’s a real concern. For similar reasons you’d probably opt for eternal bachelorhood and a vasectomy, further limiting your potential for happiness.

    But if fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, it seems like being immortal would lessen the odds of becoming wise,

  14. Patrick L. Boyle says:

    You mortals always get this wrong. We typically alternate between being prominent and powerful and being obscure and inconspicuous. I’ve been hidden out of public sight since the early forties but I am due to rule the world next. It’s my turn.

  15. IC says:

    Stem cell is the answer.

    Sexual reproduction is mostly for the purpose of getting rid of mutation load through meiosis.

    Bacteria mitosis without sexual reproduction are basically immortal creatures who follow the simple rule of survival of the fittest. Any one with mutational load just die. There are always one out of million bacteria in one specie have perfect lottery with zero mutational load. This lucky bug serve as stem or ancestor for the future generation of bacteria. This is only possible because bacteria have far fewer genes than human. It is impossible to have any human being with zero mutational load.

    So the question is how to get rid of mutational load without reproduction. For any individual to survive accumulating mutational load (life time exposure to radiaton, chemical ect), recreating stem cells with little mutation loads is the only answer. With fresh supply of healthy stem cells, we basically can replacing any aging body parts (mutation, wearing, damaging) like automobile. This is true answer to longevity and immotality.

  16. Robert King says:

    At last. We have an explanation of why Philip Zimbardo’s hair gets blacker year by year. And I thought he just had an attic with an ageing painting in it

  17. M-K says:

    Partial rejuvenation may already be available. The groundbreaking Harvard Medical School study that demonstrated reversal of cellular aging in mice didn’t get much attention. You can catch up at these two lengthy discussions:

    • candid_observer says:

      I followed some of these developments in significant detail some years back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that any of them have panned out so far, though perhaps a few tweaks will get them there.

      While I would be very surprised if there was an inherent problem in stopping and reversing ageing, it just isn’t obvious whether a fix is going to be easy or really hard to come by.

      What lies in the balance of course is whether I and my immediate family will live indefinitely.

      But there’s not much to do other than wait it out.

      But it’s strange and depressing that more resources aren’t thrown at the problem. Even as it stands, the potential solutions, such as variants of resveratrol, have to be marketed as solutions to problems associated with aging, such as diabetic or cardiovascular conditions, rather than as partial solutions to aging itself. Very few people seem to be able to wrap their heads around that concept and take it with seriousness. It seems to demand too much imagination, or something.

      • M-K says:

        Did you read the discussions? It may not be as difficult or far away as you think.

        • candid_observer says:

          Well I’ll admit these last two years or so I haven’t been following them closely.

          But the way these things seem to proceed was that a new substance would be introduced as some great solution to ageing, and an initial study would show tremendous promise, and then further studies would pour cold water all over the idea.

          Even the strongest candidate method, Calorie Restriction, doesn’t seem to be working as expected on monkeys.

          Maybe something will actually pan out, but I’ll wait for the panning.

          • albatross says:

            That’s basically the pattern of biomedical research generally–promising preliminary findings, mostof which don’t pan out as any kind of treatment for whatever was being investigated.

  18. Starets says:

    Eric Hamber was the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia from 1936-1941. There is a painting of him in his Wikipedia entry; to my eye he looks like a double of Donald Rumsfeld.

    • ursiform says:

      Rumsfeld was 28 when Hamber died. Clearly not the same person.

      • Joel says:

        No, that’s actually how it works. You can’t go back to being an infant again, but you can drop out of the public eye, wash the gray dye out of your hair, ditch the cane, and begin a career in government once again as a young man. A few years later the old man impersonating you in the nursing home dies of natural causes with no one the wiser.

  19. Rudolf Winestock says:

    You’re being facetious in order to “shake up the groundlings,” but I’ll bite. C.J. Cherryh alluded to your points in her Alliance/Union stories concerning rejuv.

    In order for your conspiracy ideas to work, a lot of people would have to be quiet about it. Not gonna happen. Furthermore, Axel Oxenstierna pointed out to his son, “An nescis, fili mi, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?” “Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is ruled?” Our elites are even less wise than those of the seventeenth century. They couldn’t pull off the con needed to hide this.

    Finally, there’s the “hiding behind status” ploy. Even if acknowledging the existence of this evidence became a marker for low status, people like you or Steve Sailer would have pointed it out by now.

    Therefore, there must be another reason why geriatrics doesn’t have the funding that you would expect.

  20. DdR says:

    Thinking about it further, in his aging article from last year Mr. Cochran suggested a good place to start looking would be the organisms who don’t have separate germ and somatic lines, e.g., prokaryotes. I believe he was referring to the fact that adult germ cells use telomerase to remain immortal, whereas adult soma cells hardly have any telomerase and thus age. Unfortunately cancer cells also use telomerase to remain immortal, thus the key is turn on telomerase in soma cells without triggering cancer. Likely a tricky problem.

    Mr. Cochran also mentions that organisms that face low exogenous hazards tend to have longer lifespans. Tortoises vs. rats. But don’t humans face low exogenous hazards now? Obviously we’re living longer, but our lifespans haven’t increased.

    I don’t believe that there’s a conspiracy theory out there why people don’t demand longevity. I think that 99.9% of the population believe it to be hopeless, thus they convince themselves over the years that they are mortal in order to sooth their egos. The 0.1% who believe that there’s a cure for aging die a bitter end.

  21. Alex says:

    I think the more likely scenario is two-fold: 1) most people think the idea ridiculous, so a politician would immediately be a disgraced, quack politician (there are some quack, like Dennis Kucinich, but they remain very fringe; most have to maintain “average” opinions to remain electable) and 2) longevity breaks the back of the bribery system politicians use to maintain power; social security and medicare and most of the rest of the so-called welfare state, by which politicians buy votes with taxpayer money, would need to be completely gotten rid of, not merely reformed. I think many politicians would prefer a short-“ish” life of being one of the most powerful people to have ever walked the face of the earth, rather than an indefinitely long one as a gray man.

    And no, real power isn’t invisible. It’s quite visible. Merely accepted in the background, which many suspicious minds concoct into ridiculous conspiracy of “invisible” power.

  22. Craken says:

    A few ideas on the anti-aging inertia:

    Preoccupation with individual diseases, instead of the main underlying disease.
    Research organizations are bureaucratic–therefore stupid, irresponsible, risk-averse, paradigm-trapped.
    A major government anti-aging program would magnetize the media, but offers little prospect of near-term success–ergo, bad PR for the politicos involved.
    A largely unconscious, instinctive atavistic religiosity in the ruling class.
    No particular impetus has arisen (like WWII prompting A-bomb development); death is routine.
    No significant special interest group is pushing this issue.
    The problem is too big for the rulers coherently to think about (massive socio-economic implications).
    A pessimist’s justification for neglecting this: humanity is doomed soon enough by bio-nano-AI threats, so why bother?

  23. dearieme says:

    “The War on Age” is open to misinterpretation.

  24. dearieme says:

    Two years before his death, Larkin reviewed an anthology edited by D.J. Enright: The Oxford Book of the Dead. In this review he writes:
    “Man’s most remarkable talent is for ignoring death.”

    Click to access an_arundel_tomb_jorwin.pdf

    Any relation?

  25. j mct says:

    I do not know about politicians, though I would think that to get them interested as in Manhattan project interested, you’d have to have a plausible path to success which right now there isn’t.

    Per aging, I’ve given this some thought (intelligent thought? hopefully not). Humans, are multicellular animals and the basic unit of life is the cell. Multicellular life is a society of cells exhibiting altruistic behavior, just like bees, lions and hyena’s do on a more macro scale. Since all the cells in the body have the same genomes the Hamiltonian inclusive fitness stuff is at an extreme, all the fitness is inclusive, and each cell will unhesitatingly give his all for the team, the altruism is perfect. But each cell, even if it cannot live without his fellows at all, has a non inclusive fitness of zero, is a distinct living thing. In fact a man say, is a large number of cells that have a common ancestor, and is not an undifferentiated blob. One should expect that the cells as they divide as an infant grows to a man and afterwards to keep the organism going, evolve just like amoebas do. The cells evolving is why identical twins can be told apart by a genomic test.

    It seems to me that cells evolving through mutations that remove altruism, creating a ‘cheater’ cell, is specifically and exactly what cancer is. Things that give you cancer are things that increase cell division because of tissue damage needing repair and maybe raising the mutation rate because of stress.

    The stem cell scheme also seems as an adaptation against cancer. A stem cell divides, you get a stem cell and a quasi stem cell that can only divide a limited number of times. You’d want most of the cell division to occur in the quasi stem cell, because if one of the cells from that go rogue, it cannot get too bad, since any tumor from that can only get so big because the number of it’s descendants is limited. If the regular stem cell, which can divide ad infinitum and breed an unlimited number of cheater cells, goes rogue, the organism is toast. Since the stem cell dividing is so dangerous, most of the cell division doesn’t involve the stem cell. Ergo, the way that works.

    I am leaving stuff out for space, like free radicals and methylization which matter but I do not think change the story, but evolution, which is inevitable, for solitary cells like amoeba’s which are immortal, presents no problem and fosters immortality of at least some of the descendants of said amoeba, will inevitably kill the members of a colony of altruistic behaving cells, whose fitness is all inclusive, living in a group and cannot survive outside the group, ergo mortality.

    Eternal youth or living longer, ceter paribus, would always add to fitness, but it never is ceter paribas, and obviously differs for different organisms. Per aging, I get the female rabbits are prey animals and will probably get eaten in any given year, so resources, or calories from eating, are better invested in creating little rabbits than in bodily maintenance, maintaining youth and increasing lifespan. Female porcupines which are much closer to ceter paribas than female rabbits, so devoting more calories to maintenance, aging slower, adds to fitness and female porcupines live longer than female rabbits. How about males though? It would seem that male porcupines, or bull elephants, or men devote very few of the calories they eat to reproduction, so one would think that there might be some dimorphism in the aging process. I don’t know all that much about elephants and porcupines, but men do age differently than women, they peak later and age slower in that a 50 year old man loses fewer steps from his peak than a 50 year old woman does. One sport that both sexes play is tennis, and female tennis players peak earlier and wash out faster due to aging than men do. They both seem to live about the same amount of time, and I’d bet menopause has something to do with that. So there does seem to be some dimorphism in aging, which is exactly what one would expect, but not as much as one might expect if eternal youth were a solvable engineering problem.

    Since aging is ubiquitous, and it would seem that for some organisms it would seem that eternal youth would add greatly to fitness, why do they age? That sure looks like aging is actually an adaptation, though for what? It would seem that aging lowers metabolism, which differs in animals and it seems the higher the metabolism the shorter the life span. I once read something by Gould, which in this case might actually be right, that at least mammalian life spans seem to have an equal number of heartbeats per species, a proxy for metabolism. Lowering metabolism thus the production of new cells for the body, and thus slows the evolution of the members of the group of cells. Lowering the rate of evolution of the members of the group of cells staves off the inevitable production of rogue cells that evolve into internal predators to the group of cells, cancer, that will eventually and inevitably cause the death of the group of cells. Ergo, the aging process is an adaptation that adds to lifespan.

    So it’s from dust ye come and to dust ye shall return.

    I guess all this is depressing and I’d like to find out why all that is bad, stupid and wrong, and this is the place one would go to find out why one is an idiot ! So why is all that wrong?

  26. Philip Neal says:

    Members of the real inner circle think much bigger than this. George Dyson stumbled on the truth while writing Turing’s Cathedral (p. 292-3) and confronted a 91 year old Edward Teller.

    “If there is life in the universe, the form of life that will prove to be most successful at propagating itself will be digital life; it will adopt a form that is independent of the local chemistry and migrate from one place to another as an electromagnetic signal, as long as there’s a digital world – a civilisation that has discovered the Universal Turing Machine – for it to colonise when it gets there. And that’s why von Neumann and you other Martians got us to build all these computers, to create a home for this kind of life.”

    There was a long, drawn-out pause. “Look,” Teller finally said, lowering his voice to a raspy whisper, “may I suggest that instead of explaining this, which would be hard… you write a science fiction book about it.”

    “Probably someone has,” I said.

    “Probably,” Teller answered, “someone has not.”

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Thanks Phillip Neal for the comment, it’s a gem.
      I take Cochran’s speculations as one of his playfully facetious posts. There is nothing wrong with that, some of his best musings have multiple layers and can be taken many ways, some serious, some just funny.
      Your comment reminds me of Kurzweil’s take on the singularity. Digital life not only wouldn’t age, it could travel around the universe without getting fried by harmful rays from the sun. I have read that unless we travel to Mars in a 6 inch thick lead zeppellin type craft we would have a life expectancy of an additional three years when we got back.

      • Jim says:

        If the sun is entering a Maunder Minimum as some as speculated maybe human travel to mars would be feasible in the near future for a while.

  27. a very knowing American says:

    Wow! So probably a lot of high-profile early “deaths” — Buddy Holly, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Tupac Shakur, and of course Paul Walker — are really people who were offered a chance to fake their exits and join the Immortals in mid-career. Makes the MacArthur Fellowships look cheesy by comparison.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Jim Morrison, Andy Kaufman – you can see Andy’s touch in a lot of the headlines of the last decade. And these guys have so much more to offer than the typical MacArthur winner – even if they are dead.

  28. Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    On the gripping hand, it seems that someone said:

    A cross-disciplinary comparison of linguistic and genetic variation in Europe, the latter inferred from genome-wide SNP data in 15 populations, shows significant correlations between linguistic and genomic diversity and, contrary to previous observations, language proved a better predictor of genomic differences than geography.

  29. Gordo says:

    Anyone remember the bit in Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” where she describes the longeivity of members of Lord Salisbury’s cabinet in 1895. Quite interesting. Perhaps they are breeding for this and have been for centuries.

  30. observer says:

    Dr. Cochran I respect your writing and ideas but this entry, and the one where you accused CIA (?) of snooping around your house, knowing about some obscure detail there, these entries might make you look like a complete loon in front of the wider audience if some reporter ever wants to take that route.

    Unless you are humorously (perhaps in a sci-fi sense) playing with these thoughts, don’t you think these writings may hurt the views you advocate, or those of the so called HBD, ever being part of mainstream political discussion?

  31. ttt says:

    If I have $5 billion to play with over the next 20 years, and I’m pretty fantastic, and I should exist forever (I’m thinking Ellison, Murdoch, Paul Allen, Gates), I’d manage a portfolio of 4 ways to carry on. First, maximizing my natural children’s resources and future reproductive success. Second, ‘farming’ new children through sperm donations to a mix of mothers with lots of support. Third, clones, raised by paid adoptive parents with lots of support. Fourth, body preservation after death. Fifth, life extension.

    1 and 2 are easy. 3 is probably technically do-able in the next five years, if not already. 4 seems very uncertain. 5–life extension–is the best result but is not likely to pay off in the next 20 years. So, as a constant maximizer in all aspects of my life, I would not put all my eggs in one basket.

    I absolutely expect that billionaires are secretly working on life extension. But I also expect that they are raising secret clones and conducting breeding programs with a variety of genetic mothers. I hope that’s crazy.

  32. east hunter says:

    here’s a patchwork solution:

    We can take this one step further – cure youth unemployment and extend life: pay youngsters to live healthy and give a pint of blood every 6 weeks. Old people pay for the blood as rejuvenation therapy.

    This would be a stopgap until we figure out something smarter.

    But the science behind this makes old vampire stories seem pretty interesting in retrospect.

    • Steven C. says:

      Parabiosis isn’t just about exchanging blood; it’s also about liver functions, kidney functions and the lymphatic system. So an old person would have to be permanently “hooked-up” to a young person to gain the full benefit.

  33. DrBill says:

    Also, you would want to distract those groundlings who were starting to wake up while simultaneously making anti-aging research look ridiculous. For example, you could find a really oily, painfully obvious, carnival-barker-style con man, hopefully one with a ridiculous name and an even more ridiculous beard. Ideally, he’d be an academic in a non-existent field. You’d pay him to go around the developed world giving lectures, each of which began (with a big sad-sack face) “I have a universally fatal and incurable disease . . . [wait, wait, wait] . . . it’s called aging.”

    But what would you do if it backfired, and a bunch of people gave him money?

    • dearieme says:

      Mr Obama would look good with a beard.

      • DrBill says:

        I thought Michelle was his beard.

        • dave chamberlin says:

          Speaking of high powered men with beards one of my best friends worked as a waiter in a fancy hotel back in the 1970’s. Wednesday night the bar was closed to the public and it was filled with Washington’s power elite all dressed up to the nines in ladies clothing. The top dog at this event was none other than Edgar Hoover, the man too powerful, with too much dirty laundry on everyone else to be dismissed as head of the FBI. The rumors of his transvestite side are 100% true. Secrets in the past stayed secrets far more effectively than they do today. If Edgar was alive today and all dolled up, a cell phone video would be released to the public in no time.

  34. melendwyr says:

    The people in power are usually old. And in this era of increased life expectancy, really old. I suspect there are elements of spite and resignation in our collective decision not to research anti-aging techniques. And, of course, denial.

  35. Dale says:

    If longevity was really that valuable (in the ultimate genetic sense), we’d already live longer. We’re not the longest-lived vertebrates; the way humans age now isn’t an unavoidable feature of biochemistries like ours. Though modern humans do seem to live longer than we should, comparing our physiology with other mammals (three billion heartbeats vs. the more typical one billion heartbeats). And though modern technology is helpful, it’s not so tremendously helpful; even in godawful places like India, life expectancy is above 65 years.

    For there to be a secret immortality formula, it would have to do something to human biochemistry that human biochemistry could not evolve to do on its own and/or the cost of doing so artificially is significantly less than the cost of it happening naturally. There would have to have been a research project that broke tremendous new ground in medicine/biochemistry, and yet all the researchers would have to have been kept quiet to the point that no bright young researcher would have heard any rumors that would have made him try to duplicate the results to obtain a Nobel, eternal fame, and enormous amounts of money.

    The only deep magic technology that I’ve heard of that has this sort of value and secrecy is the hydrogen bomb. Apparently making a hydrogen bomb that works is quite tricky. But it’s been invented five times (if I read the Wikipedia article correctly). The longest-secret technology I’ve heard of is obstetrical forceps, the technology of which (but not the existence) was kept secret for something like 150 years, but that was all within one family, and they seem to have been willing to sell the use of it to anyone who was rich enough.

    OTOH, if we were to take the Heinlein approach and give lots of extra money to people with long-lived ancestors, we’d be improving the evolutionary payoff for longevity. In that case, I’d expect evolution to deliver rapidly increasing lifetimes. (It’s already known that there’s significant heritability to longevity.) But that would probably cost hundreds of millions of dollars over many generations to produce useful results.

  36. Hipster says:

    Hit ctrl f. The word exercise appears not once in these comments…

  37. Thagomizer says:

    If you look at US Senators and Congressmen it’s pretty clear that the technology to significantly increase quality of life into your 70s and 80s, if you can afford it.

    The reality is that the feds don’t want to pay for human growth hormone through Medicare, or for any other longevity drugs. So studies to prove their effectiveness don’t get funded.

  38. Bob says:

    What happened with that study where the hooked up the baby mouse blood supply up to the old mice and they got young again. That seemed promising and what with all those new predicted billions of Africans it seems we have a good supply. How much blood type matching do you have to do to get a good parabiotic system? Did they check what the outcome was on the baby mice? Oh well, we can worry about that later. Is an 8 hour per day parabiotic hook-up while sleeping enough? Perhaps it is time to look at hosting some exchange students.

  39. Matthew M. Robare says:

    It seems to have been several days since Dr Cochran’s last post. Did the Illuminati get him?

  40. natal says:

    Study finds that older men who marry younger women live longer. The women unfortunately live shorter lives.

    Young blood, just like the mice studies.

  41. ChrisA says:

    My proposal is that we set up a fund with our retirement savings that pays a prize to whoever discovers immortality (or some way of rejuvenating us). In the meantime we are allowed to draw down the fund as normal to pay for our retirements. If someone wins the prize we lose our retirement money, but who cares, we will be immortal and able to earn it back. If enough people commit to this scheme, the size of the prize would surely encourage investment in longevity research.

  42. Sean says:

    EVEN well-matched nuclear and mitochondrial genomes don’t stay that way forever. As individuals age, leaking radicals will damage and mutate the mitochondrial genome, ruining its match with the nuclear one, and causing even heavier leaks. This happens, even if the initial stream of radicals is small. As time wears on, the dancers inevitably fall out of step with each other. You can see this if you compare young and old tissues: the young cells will all have genetically identical mitochondria, while those in the old cells will be a mix of different mutants.

    As more cells pass the tolerance threshold, more of them die. Tissues that use the most energy, like the muscles and brain, have the heaviest leaks and wear away faster. Meanwhile, the surviving cells experience even greater energy demands. They enter a downward spiral with sweeping consequences: they leak free radicals like sieves; their DNA becomes more fragile; their genes become switched on in different ways; they release chemicals that trigger inflammation. In short, they create the perfect set-up for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many of the other diseases of old age.

    Almost all of the major traits of ageing can be predicted by a growing rift between two genomes, and a widening leak of free radicals. The leak worsens with time, so tissues die, especially gas-guzzling ones. Those that survive are more likely to become diseased. And the fast the leak, the faster all of this happens. This explains why species that tolerate less free radical leaks tend to enjoy longer lives. Consider pigeons and rats: both species are similar in both size and metabolic rates, but pigeons have far lower rates of leaking electrons in their mitochondria. They also live ten times longer”

    Nick Lane shows up in the comments WHY do mitochondrial genes evolve faster? It has nothing to do with maternal inheritance. Nobody knows the answer and it is true of animals and fungi but not of plants. The reason might relate to the proximity of mitochondrial genes to the respiratory chains, where the free radicals leak from in the first place; or it could relate to poor repair systems. But more likely, it reflects some form of adaptation, as the mutation rate appears to be genetically determined and varies between species. Doug Wallace [he of Mitochondrial DNA variant associated with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy and high-altitude Tibetans] thinks that the fast mutation rate of mitochondrial genes helps animals adapt to different foods and climates. The elimination of damaging mutants in the bottleneck then means that the cost is low. There’s little evidence for that but it’s a neat idea.”

    Want to overhaul your mitochondria? 45 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 time a week has been found to work, and you could try fasting for a day or two. It’s called mitochondrial hormesis, Calment smoked and drank quite a lot of port wine, and ate a cople of pounds of chocolate a week It’s good for the memory.

    • IC says:

      Only solution is replacement with brand new cells without those aging related damage. Stem cells seems the only answer for this if we do not want replace the whole individual person like nature does (young generation repacing old one to keep species fresh).

    • Sean says:

      The antibiotics cause a flood of free radicals in the mitochondria. That actuallly might be a good thing (mitochondrial hormesis).

  43. j mct says:

    Per above, that Nick Lane theory is interesting, especially the part of evolution, at least in the mitochondrial genome, without any reproduction. It cannot be the whole story if it might be right in some cases.

    His story is about eukaryotes and as far as multicellular life is concerned might be right since all multicellular life consists of eukaryotic cells. It cannot be right for single celled eukaryotes, which are immortal just like prokaryotes, so at least there has to more to the story if it’s right for multicelled organisms.

  44. Portlander says:

    I haven’t kept close tabs, but I can’t think of the last time a billionaire octogenarian died. Is Jobs the exception that proves the rule? Is Jobs dead?

    If you look to the most hyper-competitive octogenarians, those that made their money, and keep making it, in the most hyper-competitive field (ie. Wall Street) Munger, Buffett, Pickens, Soros, Icahn (technically, only 78), seem pretty long over-due for the nursing home.

    I think they are all on HGH, T, and who knows what unholy concoction of human breast milk and whole blood transfusions from Chinese orphans. If you’re even a little paranoid, you’ll remember Buffett’s oldest son does a lot of charity work in China. Hey, what else you going to spend $20 large-large on? Malaria vaccines and special ed classes for the left-half of the Bell Curve?

    Buwhahaha… malaria vaccines — Pickens owes Buffett $5 for that one.

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