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Old 2nd September 2019, 11:36 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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Anti-aging medication in 5-12 years?

The science of senolytics: how a new pill could spell the end of ageing

Quote:
A simple treatment to stave off the health problems of old age could be available in five to 12 years. Hereís how it would work


The science of extending life is a subject of morbid fascination, conjuring the image of old billionaires being cryogenically frozen. But imagine if, instead of a pill you could take to live for ever, there was a pill that could push back the ageing process Ė a medicine that could stave off the fragility, osteoarthritis, memory loss, macular degeneration and cancers that plague old age.

It could happen, with the science of senolytics: an emerging Ė and highly anticipated Ė area of anti-ageing medicine. Many of the worldís top gerontologists have already demonstrated the possibilities in animals and are now beginning human clinical trials, with promising results. If the studies continue to be as successful as hoped, those who are currently middle-aged could become the first generation of oldies who are youthful for longer Ė with a little medical help.
A little futher reading of the article makes it clear that the medicine does not stop you aging, but it might reduce the negative effects on the body of aging.

I don't know a lot about the subject but I am currently middle-aged so this may affect me. So what is the verdict of my learned friends? Is there hope or is it all BS?
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Old 2nd September 2019, 11:48 PM   #2
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I'm not sure there is a difference between stopping aging and stopping the effects of aging.
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Old 2nd September 2019, 11:54 PM   #3
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The latter leaves behind a better looking corpse?
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Old 3rd September 2019, 12:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I'm not sure there is a difference between stopping aging and stopping the effects of aging.
As explained in the article, it's about having a better quality of life for longer. As you age, your body is subject to all sorts of effects - cancers, osteoarthritis, memory loss, etc. This treatment is supposed to reduce the effects of those side-effects of aging. It doesn't appear to actually make you live any longer, but it does mean that you don't waste away as much before you die.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 12:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
As explained in the article, it's about having a better quality of life for longer. As you age, your body is subject to all sorts of effects - cancers, osteoarthritis, memory loss, etc. This treatment is supposed to reduce the effects of those side-effects of aging. It doesn't appear to actually make you live any longer, but it does mean that you don't waste away as much before you die.
I'm not sure how preventing cancer, osteoarthritis, and other effects of ageing could not extend lifespans.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 12:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm not sure how preventing cancer, osteoarthritis, and other effects of ageing could not extend lifespans.
Oh, I'm sure there will be some effect. People do die of age-related conditions such as these. But something's still going to get you in the end.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 01:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Oh, I'm sure there will be some effect. People do die of age-related conditions such as these. But something's still going to get you in the end.
Sure, but let's say that this medicine can take a 70 year old man and improve his health overall to something like that of a 50 year old. At 50 he still had some chance of getting something that would kill him, but his chance of death was 0.5% /year. At 70, without the treatment, it's around 1%, twice as high.

If the medicine also continues to work with the same efficacy over time (which I doubt) such that he stays in a state where he's got a 0.5% chance of death/year, then on average he'll have another 200 years of life.

If, as I find more likely, the effects diminish with time, that chance will go up, but probably at a rate lower than the natural rate, in which case he'd have something significantly less than 200 years of addition life, but still something significant.

One reason that the rate would tend to start to rise again is that the medicine isn't perfect at what it does. Another is that it's only addressing one of multiple causes of ageing and as such those other causes will still start to catch up with us.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 01:17 AM   #8
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In the absence of any condition or disease that ends it, what is the expected lifespan of a human? Is it even possible for someone to live 200 years? Is it always some condition or disease that kills people? Could people life indefinitely if all these conditions were eliminated? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 01:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
In the absence of any condition or disease that ends it, what is the expected lifespan of a human? Is it even possible for someone to live 200 years? Is it always some condition or disease that kills people? Could people life indefinitely if all these conditions were eliminated? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know.
Well, when someone dies there's always some cause.

But ageing is in a sense the gradual degradation of the body (at all size scales, really), so at some point there's just been so much accumulated damage that even if one thing doesn't kill you, another very likely will. So the disease that kills you is likely a side effect of that damage, and as long as the damage remains even curing a particular disease won't extend lifespan that much because the chance/rate time of some other condition killing you remains high.

The article you linked in the OP is talking about dealing with one type of such accumulated damage (the accumulation of senescent, or "zombie" cells). The accumulation of those cells leads to disease. To simplify matters, imagine that was the only meaningful form of damage we accumulate as we age. In that case, while there would still be some chance of disease and death, it would remain low as long as we could remove that damage.

The story's not so simple because there are other forms of damage. There is also work being done on those other forms as well, though this is all very new science.

ETA There is also a complementary avenue being researched as well, which is instead of trying to remove or repair damage directly, to take old cells and basically turn them into young cells. Those young cells will both improve health in general and repair much of the accumulated damage themselves.
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Last edited by Roboramma; 3rd September 2019 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 01:53 AM   #10
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That's the telomeres, yeah? Somehow extend those and you make cells effectively younger. This sounds easier. Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 02:06 AM   #11
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Oh I don’t know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

I’m 68 and expect possibly another 20 years. I’m pleased that my grandchildren have a life span to around 100. But beyond that, meh.

We are all mortal. The thought of a 150 year old me has no appeal at all.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 02:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Oh I donít know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

Iím 68 and expect possibly another 20 years. Iím pleased that my grandchildren have a life span to around 100. But beyond that, meh.

We are all mortal. The thought of a 150 year old me has no appeal at all.
For me it depends what sort of condition I'm in. If I have to be like all the almost and over hundred year olds I've known I don't want to live that long, they aren't the people they were, more a collection of habits and reflexes, no reason for them to be classed as living humans in my opinion. Now if at age 100 my brain, my mental state was as good as it is now then it may be worthwhile living to a hundred, even being physically weak and frail.

As ever it should be about the quality not the quantity, so if this type of research improves the quality but not the quantity I'd say it is a good use of our resources.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 04:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
In the absence of any condition or disease that ends it, what is the expected lifespan of a human? Is it even possible for someone to live 200 years? Is it always some condition or disease that kills people? Could people life indefinitely if all these conditions were eliminated? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know.
Most of the aging process happens here:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0227142114.htm

Quote:
Typical human cells are mortal and cannot forever renew themselves. As demonstrated by Leonard Hayflick a half-century ago, human cells have a limited replicative lifespan, with older cells reaching this limit sooner than younger cells. This "Hayflick limit" of cellular lifespan is directly related to the number of unique DNA repeats found at the ends of the genetic material-bearing chromosomes. These DNA repeats are part of the protective capping structures, termed "telomeres," which safeguard the ends of chromosomes from unwanted and unwarranted DNA rearrangements that destabilize the genome.

Each time the cell divides, the telomeric DNA shrinks and will eventually fail to secure the chromosome ends. This continuous reduction of telomere length functions as a "molecular clock" that counts down to the end of cell growth. The diminished ability for cells to grow is strongly associated with the aging process, with the reduced cell population directly contributing to weakness, illness, and organ failure
I sort of think of it like the DNA in a cell replicating itself is like scanning a xerox copy, of a xerox copy, over and over again, with the picture quality degrading massively each round. So over the years, your entire genetic structures on the DNA level start to break down and lose "fidelity". That's why you're prone to death from everything in old age - cancers, all of your organs are weak, your bones, your immune system, etc.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 04:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Oh I donít know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

Iím 68 and expect possibly another 20 years. Iím pleased that my grandchildren have a life span to around 100. But beyond that, meh.

We are all mortal. The thought of a 150 year old me has no appeal at all.

We are about the same age, and I understand exactly what you mean.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 04:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We are about the same age, and I understand exactly what you mean.
If you knew you were only about a quarter of your way through your natural lifespan right now, tho, and your body was like that of a 20 year old, wouldn't that be kind of cool, too?
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Old 3rd September 2019, 06:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Oh I donít know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

Iím 68 and expect possibly another 20 years. Iím pleased that my grandchildren have a life span to around 100. But beyond that, meh.

We are all mortal. The thought of a 150 year old me has no appeal at all.
If I could remain healthy and active the whole time, hell yes I'd live for another 200 years. I really want to see how society changes in that time.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 06:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Oh I donít know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

Iím 68 and expect possibly another 20 years. Iím pleased that my grandchildren have a life span to around 100. But beyond that, meh.

We are all mortal. The thought of a 150 year old me has no appeal at all.
I don't really see the issue in those terms. It's not about how long we can live an interesting life. It's really just about health. If there's some way to improve my health in general that counters the degradation of ageing, that seems like an all around win to me. Feeling the vigour of youth, healing faster, having to worry less about injury or illness, all those things seem like wins, with or without an extended lifespan.

If after that you think life is going to be too long and you don't like the idea of deciding for yourself when you've had enough (so you like the sort of random ending we get from ageing), you can take up wingsuit flying. Looks fun and is a great way to shorten your lifespan. You won't have to go through any prolonged degradation either.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 06:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The science of senolytics: how a new pill could spell the end of ageing



A little futher reading of the article makes it clear that the medicine does not stop you aging, but it might reduce the negative effects on the body of aging.

I don't know a lot about the subject but I am currently middle-aged so this may affect me. So what is the verdict of my learned friends? Is there hope or is it all BS?
At the moment the leading candidate for a general life extension drug is Metformin. As a diabetic who takes this drug anyway, this is pretty cool.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 11:05 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
That's the telomeres, yeah? Somehow extend those and you make cells effectively younger. This sounds easier. Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it.

Henrietta Lacks's cells are still young due to telomerase, but most people don't envy her ...
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Old 3rd September 2019, 11:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Henrietta Lacks's cells are still young due to telomerase, but most people don't envy her ...
I dunno - I can think of worse ways that science could use my dead body. Henrietta's legacy has been making solid contributions to science for many decades.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:47 AM   #21
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Was reading the responses in this thread and I suddenly thought about something at odds as to what I posted about this being a good use of research resources.

Say in 10 years we discover how to keep ourselves healthier longer, fantastic news, who could disagree with that?

Except in 10 years time we are also in a time when a 3 year old that gets a small splinter dies because we have no way to treat her infection.

I think to merely maintain the increased lifespan that we on average enjoy over our very recent ancestors we perhaps need to be looking at a different problem.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Was reading the responses in this thread and I suddenly thought about something at odds as to what I posted about this being a good use of research resources.

Say in 10 years we discover how to keep ourselves healthier longer, fantastic news, who could disagree with that?

Except in 10 years time we are also in a time when a 3 year old that gets a small splinter dies because we have no way to treat her infection.

I think to merely maintain the increased lifespan that we on average enjoy over our very recent ancestors we perhaps need to be looking at a different problem.
We certainly need to be put more resources into developing new antibiotics.

On the other hand I don't think that suggests that we shouldn't be putting resources into dealing with the detrimental effects of ageing.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:35 AM   #23
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Having noted a few very significant developments in the last few years, I am pretty confident that we will not be subject to a global pandemic of unkillable pathogens.
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:04 AM   #24
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I hope it's true, but I doubt it's true.

There was a lot of hype around antioxidants a few years ago. It didn't really live up to the hype.
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I hope it's true, but I doubt it's true.

There was a lot of hype around antioxidants a few years ago. It didn't really live up to the hype.
I doubt it will be as effective as they make it sound, but that some treatments that effect at least one of the dimensions of ageing will be developed in the next decade seems quite possible to me. I'll put it at 50/50 within 10 years.

There is a lot more work being done in the last few years.

Some of that is related to manipulating the genome.

Here's an interesting interview:

https://www.leafscience.org/an-inter...george-church/
Quote:
Why do you think rejuvenation biotechnology would involve gene therapies rather than pharmacological/periodic repair?

Finding specific targeting via small molecules is unpredictable and expensive. Developing small molecules that selectively affect a particular protein family member or isoform is challenging.

You have dozens of gene therapies to reverse aging in mice and also for Rejuvenate Bio in dogs; could you elaborate on what targets they work on and how they would work synergistically?

Pedro de Magalhaes first published the GenAge database in our lab in 2001. Today, it lists 305 human genes involved in aging. Since systemic delivery of DNA to all cells is not currently efficient, we look at the subset that is non-cell-autonomous. We are also aiming to hit all of the 9 major pathways of aging.
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Old 4th September 2019, 06:54 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Oh I donít know. I once read a Julian Barnes book (a History of the World in 9 and a Half Chapters?) where he speculated about humans having infinite lifespans and concluded, rather convincingly, that this would be the worst of all fates. So what do people want? 100 years? 200?

There's a science fiction series by Elizabeth Moon in which a process is available that restores people to perfect health, rejuvenates them to about 20 years old, and greatly extends their lifespan. Unfortunately, the process is extremely expensive, so it's generally only available to rich people, or those who possess knowledge and experience that a powerful group doesn't want to lose, like the government, the military, and various corporations.
This has had the effect of causing significant stagnation in certain portions of society. Rich people don't grow old, die, and leave their wealth to other people, causing money to become more concentrated in the hands of the rejuvenated, while their heirs become increasingly resentful. The people in the top levels of various hierarchical organizations don't grow old and either retire or die, so promotion from the lower levels has slowed to a crawl. People in the lower levels wait for decades, hoping that a position might open up into which they could be promoted.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:04 AM   #27
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Can you imagine the depth of boredom it would be possible to experience if you lived a really long time? Once you've seen everything, done everything, and run out of conversation then you'd be bored with existence and everything in it.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:41 AM   #28
Roboramma
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Can you imagine the depth of boredom it would be possible to experience if you lived a really long time? Once you've seen everything, done everything, and run out of conversation then you'd be bored with existence and everything in it.
Sometimes I watch a movie that I haven't seen in many years and enjoy it as much as I did the first time. I think if I we lived long enough there might be a way to remove old memories so that we could experience things we'd experienced before as though for the first time.

I find myself a little uncomfortable with that, though, as it makes one start to wonder what would be the point. But then, I'm not sure there really is a point to experiencing things for the first time either.

At the moment I'm not seeing myself running out of interesting experiences any time soon, though.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:46 AM   #29
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sometimes I watch a movie that I haven't seen in many years and enjoy it as much as I did the first time. I think if I we lived long enough there might be a way to remove old memories so that we could experience things we'd experienced before as though for the first time.

I find myself a little uncomfortable with that, though, as it makes one start to wonder what would be the point. But then, I'm not sure there really is a point to experiencing things for the first time either.

At the moment I'm not seeing myself running out of interesting experiences any time soon, though.
It's difficult to remember boredom when you're not currently bored. But it definitely counts among the most dreadful tortures. Immortality would lead to madness.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:51 AM   #30
Armitage72
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
At the moment I'm not seeing myself running out of interesting experiences any time soon, though.

Somewhat related, works of fiction involving immortals often talk about the "curse of immortality", watching friends and loved ones grow old and die. Realistically, they're going to grow old and die whether you're immortal or not. Being immortal means you have lots of time to make new friends and fall in love again. The idea of a love so intense that you will never love anyone else until the end of time is for poets and melodramatic teenagers.

EDIT: After a while, I suppose that attitude could lead to an increasingly detached and inhuman mindset. As I was typing the above, I was thinking about my cat dying three years ago. I still miss her, but I got another cat two years ago and I love her too. Eventually thinking of humans like pets who die and get replaced would probably be a bad thing.

Last edited by Armitage72; 4th September 2019 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:57 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If I could remain healthy and active the whole time, hell yes I'd live for another 200 years. I really want to see how society changes in that time.
Same here, but add a few zeroes.
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Old 4th September 2019, 08:14 AM   #32
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The pill will be approved and sold and celebrated as a miracle of modern medicine. Twenty years later it will be found to be the cause of a variety of terminal cancers.
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Old 4th September 2019, 08:16 AM   #33
Armitage72
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Can you imagine the depth of boredom it would be possible to experience if you lived a really long time? Once you've seen everything, done everything, and run out of conversation then you'd be bored with existence and everything in it.

Marvel Comics has the Elders of the Universe (two of whom have appeared in the movies), ancient immortal aliens who can die of boredom. Maintaining their immortality requires each of them to pursue a "hobby" with monomaniacal intensity, making it the near sum total of their existence.
Learning and mastering every game in the universe.
Learning and mastering every form of unarmed combat in the universe while challenging every sapient species to defeat him in combat.
Hunting and killing at least one of every species in the universe.
Finding and collecting unique or unusual items and creatures from throughout the universe.
Creating lush gardens on barren worlds throughout the universe.
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Old 4th September 2019, 08:24 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
The pill will be approved and sold and celebrated as a miracle of modern medicine. Twenty years later it will be found to be the cause of a variety of terminal cancers.
That is exactly what my first thought was.
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Old 4th September 2019, 08:52 AM   #35
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I want more life, Father.
The facts of life: To make an alteration in the evolvement of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it's been established.
Why not?
Because by the second day of incubation, any cells that have undergone reversion mutations give rise to revertant colonies like rats leaving a sinking ship; then the ship sinks.
What about EMS recombination?
We've already tried it. Ethyl methane sulfonate is an alkylating agent and a potent mutagen. It created a virus so lethal the subject was dead before he left the table.
Then a repressor protein that blocks the operating cells.
Wouldn't obstruct replication, but it does give rise to an error in replication so that the newly formed DNA strand carries a mutation and you've got a virus again. But this - all of this is academic. You were made as well as we could make you.
But not to last.
The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You're the prodigal son. You're quite a prize!
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Old 4th September 2019, 10:23 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Can you imagine the depth of boredom it would be possible to experience if you lived a really long time? Once you've seen everything, done everything, and run out of conversation then you'd be bored with existence and everything in it.
I can be entertained learning new things. The pool of new things to potentially learn borders on infinite.

Just the other night I spent a stupid amount of time learning about the operation of the Spanish empire in the land that's currently the USA.
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:18 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Most of the aging process happens here:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0227142114.htm



I sort of think of it like the DNA in a cell replicating itself is like scanning a xerox copy, of a xerox copy, over and over again, with the picture quality degrading massively each round. So over the years, your entire genetic structures on the DNA level start to break down and lose "fidelity". That's why you're prone to death from everything in old age - cancers, all of your organs are weak, your bones, your immune system, etc.
Alcohol does the same thing; lengthens telomeres.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
That is exactly what my first thought was.
I prefer the "I am Legend" perspective.
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:28 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by ServiceSoon View Post
Alcohol does the same thing; lengthens telomeres.
Funny headlines about that:
https://www.healthline.com/health-ne...ength-120613#1
Quote:
Beer May Keep Your DNA Young, Study Says
Quote:
While most of the stressors had no impact on telomere length, just the amount of caffeine found in a shot of espresso shortened telomeres, while the amount of alcohol found in your average domestic beer lengthened them.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0626105322.htm

Quote:
Drinking makes you older at the cellular level
Quote:
The more alcohol that people drink, the more their cells appear to age. Researchers found that alcoholic patients had shortened telomere lengths
Overall inconclusive, I'd say.
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:38 AM   #39
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So alcohol both shortens and lengthens telomeres, then. Figures. Even alcohol doesn't know what it's doing.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:13 PM   #40
Armitage72
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sometimes I watch a movie that I haven't seen in many years and enjoy it as much as I did the first time. I think if I we lived long enough there might be a way to remove old memories so that we could experience things we'd experienced before as though for the first time.

Last month I reread a book that I read 17 years ago. I know that I read it because I remember the title, and reading it is what lead me to eventually buy the whole series. (It was laying around at a place where I was stuck for several hours, and I didn't have a book of my own.)

I had absolutely no recollection of the events in the book. It was as if I had never read it in the first place.
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