Seeking Longer Lives; Slower Aging; Even Immortality

would u take a pill to live forever?

  • yes

    Votes: 7 43.8%
  • maybe

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • no

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • no, and would outlaw it

    Votes: 1 6.3%

  • Total voters

Pete Younger

Venerable and Missed
Jul 31, 2001
Longer life span.

It seems our decendents may be in for a longer life span in the not too distant future,click here for full story.
Link is dead (as is the website that hosted it). Here is the text of the MIA article:
Scientists move closer to finding 'elixir of life'

Scientists working on a discovering an elixir of life say it has already worked on fruit flies.

The drug is said to increase longevity while maintaining youthful health.

US researchers are confident enough to be planning a new set of experiments on mice.

The processes involved could open up important new leads in understanding ageing.

The drug is called 4-phenylbutyrate (PBA) and has already been approved in the US for treating cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia.

Its influence on lifespan was discovered by accident while the scientists were investigating its effect on fruit flies with neurodegenerative disease.

Giving the drug to healthy flies extended their maximum lifespan by more than 50% and their average lifespan by a third.

But the most significant outcome was the fact that there was no price to pay for the extra time, New Scientist magazine reports. Previous research has indicated that normally there is a trade off between long lifespan and health and sexual vigour.

The flies, far from paying for their longevity with a weaker constitution, survived better than those not given PBA. Their weight remained normal and they produced normal numbers of offspring.

Kyung-Tai Min, leading the research team from the National Institutes of Health and California Institute of Technology, said: "We are going to test more, but so far, it seems they are perfect."

Story filed: 19:08 Wednesday 23rd January 2002
Last edited by a moderator:
Well, my great gran lived into her nineties. My grandad's still going strong in his nineties. My other grandparents made it to 79, early 80's and late 80's. Barring pit collapses and wars, my family seems to be doing okay, so I don't worry too much :)
It would be great to discover a gene for a 'interesting' life. Many people seem to reach a great age despite having led very dull lives.

But I suspect that an 'interesting' gene would also lead to a shortened life - as the old saying goes, there are old pilots, and bold pilots, but NO old, bold pilots!
I think there is some evidence that a restricted calorific diet in youth
is the best indicator of longevity. Bad news for today's obese teens.

I do hope it isn't parental lifespan. I had mine murdered for starving me.
I suggest we keep an eye on the price of this compound. It is a very simple one (judging by its generic name) and if the price goes through the roof ....

BTW I made a prediction a couple of years ago that given the current demographic changes in this country (pensioned/non-pensioned) that the retirement age would start to go up. Something like this would accelerate such a trend.

big news for all interested in real methods for stopping aging. A new biotech company has been started by one of Geron's staff, for the purpose of studying ways to activate the telomerase gene...thus repairing the tips of our DNA...and ending aging. hopefully.

SIERRA andrews' new company is at, and i highly recommend that u visit the site.

FROM MORTAL TO IMMORTAL......if u read the geron paper on the immortalization of two of their cell lines by having telomerase spliced in....then u will understand the great promise of this line of research. No cancerous tendencies were seen in these two cell lines.

EDITING TO ADD; Also favoring immortalization, free of cancer, are two related facts. One, some whales live over two hundred years, so mammals can beat the human "limit" without a cancer barrier. I believe it is the bowhead whale, age determined by eyelens deterioration rate. try, news button, for details.

Two, nonmammals give even more hope...we all know of the bristlecone pine and creosote bush, which i vaguely recall as being in the high hundreds at least. DNA can live long, free of cancer.

This (Sierra) is the biggest news for the antiaging field in the last few years.
John Newtol
the sites and on whales, news button
Telomerase is a pretty ingenious enzyme. But from the lectures ive had i thought they had tried to increase telomerase in knock-in mice and this led to increased cancer. The theory being that extending the chromosomal lifetime by increasing telomerase activity interfered with the tumor suppressor genes allowing cancer to go unchecked. What has been done differently to avoid this?

CANCER FREE EVIDENCE ADDITION;.. DNA can live long, free of cancer..bowhead whales, ovr two hundred years, and bristlecone pines, creosote bushes, in the high hundreds at least. see, news button for details.

thanks for the to pension, pete, if one is truly youthful, as one study reversing aged fibroblasts suggests, then one continues working and no pension needed.
as to a study on knockin mice, pls supply definition of knock in . familiar with knock out, ....are knock ins those plus restored telo. gene? If so, Sierra reports at site, that such mice in a two thousand one study had premature aging mention of any downsides. Can u pls.reference the study you recall?
In any event, cancer free cells with active telomerase genes, were reported by geron in about 1998. So perhaps the current situation is one of conflicting studies viz cancer. In that case, hope exists, and more experiments will possibly delineate just how to avoid any cancers, whilst gaining the immortality that telomerase has demonstrated in the Geron study. I remain convinced of one thing...this area deserves intense study, and vastly more funding than it is getting. The stakes are high, but sadly most people can't even imagine an end of such research gets paltry funding.
John Newtol
You could still die,though, just not naturally. It doesn't grant invincibility. Maybe someone
should start up an organization that is responsible for gathering donations and raising
public awarness of the research, if it hasn't already been started??
There would be no need for children - in fact reproducing might have to be banned to prevent over population.

That would put schools and teachers out of business, not to mention midwives, toy manufacturers, etc, etc. (On the plus side, greedy undertakers would be out of work too!)

A world without children? Sounds like a bad thing to me.

And what happens to the minds of people who live forever? If they just get more set in their ways then the world would be very dull and boring. We need new people and new ideas.

Dangerous research, methinks. But then of course, the people as a whole will never get this treatment - it will be reserved exclusively for the rich and powerful. As if we don't have enough problems with them already, now they'll live forever!

We must take action now! Burn down all Geron's premises - NOW!
RYNNER, THANKS for thought . thanks, rynner, bane of skep.
..rynner, i have corrected my misspelling of ur name here, but poss not everywhere in this post..sorry. to end of repro and kids., there is the space elevator,coming in five yrs, with carbon nanotubles fm japanese factories...see
this will make settling space very cheap, so excess pop. will never again be a problem.

job loss? no, healthies will need more sports equip and cars, etc, so new expansion there.

as to set in their ways....hmmmm...must think about that one. score one, rhymer.

as to who will get it, i imagine that seeing the few get such a great thing , will excite a huge push by the many to also get it. Like free health care, only much much more so. u get free RX pills over in brit?
Besides, are u really willing to die, on the mere possiblity that in the unformed future, u GUESS immortality will not be widely distributed? At least , get it on the shelf, now, and later worry about getting some yourself. i am not saying ur needs are unimportant, i am saying dont abandon your possibllities by not pushing to at least get immort. on the shelf.

LEAD TIME FOR THE RESEARCH.......getting it on the shelf is something that takes time, and u have no time to waste in such matters. the grim reaper's clock is ticking on us all. You could find out tomorrow that u have pancreatic cancer.
John Newtol

sorry, got his name wrong...fuzzy monitor here.....rhymer is really rynner or rynnr.

RX is prescription pills.

brit is britain...wherebe ye, ol chap?

I be residing in new orleans, six time zones west of the big observatory that anchors the sway of time.


well, i dont have a clear answer, but if it becomes truly a major problem, society will allocate more resources to curing it,.....thus a cure will ensue .
I propose as tentative beginnings, these, from mildest to strongest:

Travel, art

Prescription pills and roots

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
....TMS...which is now being used experimentally in mainstream universities to alter brain function, without surgery.
not otc magnets, mind u, but massive ones.

Use of PET scans to pinpoint the nerve bundles involved in loss of creativity of youth. Then, careful surgical intervention, withpossible removal of the problem neurons, and replacement with youthful, autocloned neurons. in time, this may become as routine as heart transplant is today.

Overall, it is better to choose immortality and be alive to work on this problem, than to choose to be dead, working on nothing.
John Newtol
One effect is that it makes sublight interstellar travel practicable. The real problem has never been the technology, it has always been the time it takes - the crew has to breed to ensure sufficient active crew arriving.
intaglio said:
One effect is that it makes sublight interstellar travel practicable. The real problem has never been the technology, it has always been the time it takes - the crew has to breed to ensure sufficient active crew arriving.

Not quite true, the amount of energy required to get a reasonable sized vehicle to solar escape velocity, and slow it down again at the other end, makes it impractical at this point. However, people are more likely to work on these problems if they can see the results personally.

On the wider issue, I think that a number of issues would want us to keep producing new people. One is, of course, the threat of stagnating as a species, both biologically and socially.

Another is that people would still die. People will still do dangerous things, possibly more often as a result of perceived immortality. People will still grow tired of life, and choose to end it (not me personally, you understand, but others would). People will still fight for causes they believe in (imagine what the threat of immortality would do for disputes such as in Palestine, Ireland, the Balkans...). People will still kill other people for whatever motives they have now (passion, jealousy, perversion,...). Finally, people will still get sick, probably still get cancer (whatever the results of the tests, after all cancer cells are just cells that forget to die).
anome said:
....after all cancer cells are just cells that forget to die.
I think that summarises my unease at this 'live forever' idea!

There is also the point that assorted religions and mystics have been telling us for millenia that there is a spiritual side to life, and a spiritual purpose. Living forever might seriously disrupt this system, with who knows what consequences.

And on a personal level, I suffer from depression - the thought of living forever would be infinitely depressing - it's only the thought that I'll shuffle off this mortal coil in the next decade or two that keeps me going!
if i remember back- knock in are those mice that have had a gene upregulated or hyperactivated. By adding in extra copies or putting it under the control of an alternative promoter. Knockout are mice that have had a gene removed by homologous recombination, the cre/loxp system or similar.
cant find any reference for my telomerase/cancer fears at the moment. but the way i understood it; You increase the cells ability to survive and this overrides the apoptotic pathways that normally shut it down when things go pete tong. end up with lots of nasty tumors

NATURE 389 (6651): 551-552 OCT 9 1997
HUM MOL GENET 10 (7): 677-685

dont know if they are any good
Whilst I recognise that extended lifespans would create many problems I would like to postulate that extended lifespans may solve a lot of the worlds problems.

This is a simplified viewpoint (tm) and as such may contain many flaws and I am willing to concede any objections raised.

Many of the ecological and social problems in the world are caused by short term solutions or exploitation of resources without consideration of long term consequences. Generations can act like this because they will not have to suffer the results of their actions. Problems are postponed for future generations to deal with. Because people often do not have to reap what they have sown they are liberated from having to face the consequences of their actions.

Many times we see political thought process acting to perform a microcosmic version of this social impetus. Think of the arguments of a term based government..."We didn't cause this problem, it was the Government before us, we're having to deal with the problems they caused"...or the boom and bust policies of the Eighties.

Cancelling Pensions for the OAP's of 2050 now, because it saves money, when the Government will certainly not have to face the results.

My rambling point is, that if people live longer, they will have to think longer. Smoking and Alcohol abuse may diminish because people will want to maintain their bodies in pristine condition if they will not deteriorate with age. Funding may be diverted towards treating disease if they are the only threat of mortality.

This may emerge onto a social level. We would not use aerosols or we may shift to "green energy" if we have to face the consequences of pollution.

Of course, we could shift into this mental gear without immortality. However, realist as I am, I recognise that the Human Animal is motivated by self-interest alone, not philanthropy for future generations (look at certain Governments noted withdrawl from global ecological treaties to appease present voters and lobbying groups). If it is in our self interests to preserve the planet, we will. If it isn't...well...we won't have to deal with it.

thanks for the thoughtful reply......., we read of new cures for various ill being found every week....surely, one of these weeks, a great and total cure will be found for depression.

that is a cheery thing to look forward to, more cheery than relief brought by death.
now, as to spiritual science progresses, it will find evidence for or against each of the spiritual Gallileo found evidence concerning part of the local religious system.
Why not live long , long enough to find out what science will someday discover about each spiritual system? Then ur actions in following spiritual teachings, will be based on more than emotion or intuition. Cordially,
co-seeker John....
.......QUOTE]Originally posted by rynner

I think that summarises my unease at this 'live forever' idea!

There is also the point that assorted religions and mystics have been telling us for millenia that there is a spiritual side to life, and a spiritual purpose. Living forever might seriously disrupt this system, with who knows what consequences.

And on a personal level, I suffer from depression - the thought of living forever would be infinitely depressing - it's only the thought that I'll shuffle off this mortal coil in the next decade or two that keeps me going!

Originally posted by Carnacki
Whilst I recognise that extended lifespans would create many problems I would like to postulate that extended lifespans may solve a lot of the worlds problems.

barndad, thanks for a most literate answer!
well, i put up the old scorecard of scientific studies...some say cancer , some say none (the two geron cell lines, both human, both free of cancers). we seem to need more lab results. I wd add, even if cancers do result, we can still seek ways to block those pathways that are involved in the carcinogenisis.

For such a great prize as immortality, we should make the effort to find such blocks (and i am not conceding that cancers will be there, only saying "if they ensue").

CARMAKI.....many thanks ....interesting points. I wd only demurr, viz the human nature being only self interest. Anthropologists have found only two universals, and self interest was not one of them. the self interest idea is a pillar of barbarism, so one must be alert to its presence, and the pressure it places to sway the conversation toward a more brutal form of society.
related note....cooperation is more widespread in nature than tooth and claw competition.

but i concede ur point this far....selfishness is still present , and a player in events. a big player.

Last edited by a moderator:

More on cancer free longevity...mammals can live over two hundred yrs without a cancer "barrier"...some whales, i think the bowhead variety, go over two hundred as determined by eyelens deterioration...and non mammals offer even more hope..the bristlecone pine, and creosote bush, hit the high hundreds,at least.

DNA HAS FOUND WAYS TO LIVE BEYOND THE CURRENT 'LIMIT' ON HUMAN LIFESPAN............. So DNA has found ways to live long, without being stopped by cancer. For the details on the whale, see, their news button at left.
John Newtol
I don't buy the idea that a vastly increased life-span would change people's attitude on ecological issues. The fact is that millions of years of evolution has programmed behaviours into us which maximise current benefits.

This can be seen in the way many people behave nowadays with respect to issues that extend over decades. Intellectually we may know it is sensible to save some of our income (for a rainy day, a home, special events, etc), yet many still happily fritter away all their income.

Similarly smokers know they have increased chances of various nasty diseases, but many never even try to give up. Non-savers and smokers (and various other groups) all tend to let the future look out for itself - they'll deal with it when it happens.

John 186 tells us they'll find cures for this and that, and solutions to all sorts of other problems. Will we? Only when they become really serious problems will we get concerned, and then the solutions found will be just as half-assed as many of the botch-ups we have now. It's human nature to live today - the present is the only thing we really understand, because tomorrow never comes.

Changing human longevity is messing with the results of evolution, and may be relatively easy. Changing human nature to cope may be much harder, if not impossible, and if it succeeded we would no longer be the same species we are now.

To think that increased life-span would bring more happiness, more pleasure, more progress, better and better, for ever and ever, world without end... just cock-eyed optimism! Get real!
RYNNER answer

.rynner, i like the energy u put into ur views. i used to be pretty similar.
Hope these answers persuade you to optimism.

ok, here are my thoughts...
Much of ur post hinges on the content of "human nature". to discern this accurately, we must go to anthropologists. viewing eng. will not do. we need a full view of all humanity.

I might add, first , that u used two or three fragments of the population...smokers, one...spendthrifts, two,....and media owners plus thosse swayed by media owners to be spendthrifts. this last is one single fragment, composed of two parts, one leadng, one following blindly.

these three fragments are not scientifically accurate ways to gage the content of human nature.

Anthropologists have found only two universals in "human nature"...the mother son incest taboo, and expectation of reciprocity. All else is variable, teachable before age three.
Dont skip over that lasst is the key.

A good contrary example , showing long term concern for the environment, is the behavior of many american indian tribes.

As to half baked solutions....long lived citizens and scientists will gather more knowledge than anyone we have ever seen.....imagine Newton at age five hundred, and what solutions he might be competent to discover. Wisdom also generally increases as one gets beyond the teenage yrs.

If such changes make us another species, i see no harm done. So long as it is an improvement.

All this does not mean there will be no problems. Some other poster was the one seeing ecological attitudes improving....i conceede problems.

I simply feel it is better to live and solve problems, than give up now and die. John
"Better" or "worse" are terms that are irrelevant in a discussion of evolution. Even "fitter" or "less fit" seem to be doubtful. all we can say is that humankind seems to have been driving its own evolution.

My earlier point about a starship can be taken further. Given sufficient credit a large shell could be built in orbit, fitted with a fusion reactor (no need to wait for fission). A second shell is fitted with an arcology (a small stable ecosystem) to generate food and regenerate oxygen. A small living module is joined on. Perhaps you pick up ice from off world sources. You use low acceleration - you don't need to go anywhere fast your crew will live long enough to get there. All of these are technologies available now.

If you think far enough ahead you let the crew be large enough and have sufficient raw materials to build new ships.Suddenly you have humans filling a new ecological niche and one that is as far as we know empty.

Some brilliant ideas....thanks.
Those ideas are inspiring...they excite the old SOW..sense of wonder. are u an inventor or engineer?

question....where are the extra ships , later on, to be built? u spoke of ...if think far eno ahead...

are they at destination r en route?

How u stop population expansion?
I have ideas , but want your ideas too.

heres and idea of mine on another facet...have such a ship roam around the Kuieper SPELLING? and oort belts, building more arcologies fm the abundant raw materials therein. this wd assure human survival, come something like nuclear war at earth.
PS how does an arcology diff fm an ecology? is arc from ark? i ignorant here.

Anyone know if my "Oort Roamer " was earlier sketched as part of Hawkings call for off world colonies to assure survival of the species?
ps what is def of aqua fortis?
John Newtol in usa
Originally posted by intaglio
"Better" or "worse" are terms that are
No I not an engineer just a free thinker. The idea came to me when I realised that the first person who will live until their 200th birthday is almost certainly alive today How old they are now is a moot point.

This sort of cross fertilized with something that has been floating round my brain for ages that living round a single sun is actually a rather dangerous thing for a species to do. Really big habitats that can *breed* is the obvious way to go. It could be that non-human civilsations have abandoned planets all together. There are certainly more debris clouds available to build more habitats than there are planets

Perhaps life deep in a gravity well is considered by such aliens as similar to life living round "black smokers" deep in earths oceans

sorry folks most of that is off thread
an immortal citizen would be abe to accumulate more knowledge than has ever been seen by psychological testers.
QUESTION; would this increase in knowledge ...quantity...lead to EMERGENCE of .....quality...a new level of quality? which would be called an increase in intelligence?
that is , does enough knowledge raise intelligence?
If so, pure immortality, by itself, will help to solve any problems that result from immortality...such as expansion of population total.
John Newtol
Still "Free Beer Tomorrow", eh, John?! :)