Longevity Research Needs your Help

Scott over at WRevenue posted something interesting about longevity research, along with an interesting challenge.

I decided to accept the challenge and write a bit about that topic here because I want to donate his $20 to the Methuselah Foundation, an organization that does cutting-edge anti-aging research (the real deal, not anti-wrinkle cosmetics).

A lot has been said about the subject and I don’t think I can do a better job of introducing it to you than Aubrey de Grey, so a good starting point would be the talk he gave at TED about his Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS). For a longer, but slightly less polished talk, see his Google Talk. But the best way to really get familiar with SENS is to buy Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. The biology might be a bit challenging for most people, but everything is explained clearly and it is the best way to make up your own mind.

You can also read more about the objections to longevity research (both technical and philosophical) at SENS.org and FightAging.org (see the “Required Reading”, “On the Causes of Aging” and “Objections Answered” boxes on the top left).

But what I want to talk about here is not SENS and why defeating aging (defined as pathologies caused by accumulated damage resulting from normal metabolic activity) is desirable.

The point I want to emphasize is that unlike religious belief in some kind of better future, research into healthy long-life doesn’t depend on supernatural or “out of our control” elements. Just like the discovery of antibiotics or heavier than air flight, it will require us to do something and solve problems. It is not unavoidable (unfortunately), and each day that it is delayed, at least 150,000 people die of age-related diseases, millions suffer and humanity loses greatly. There are no higher goals for those who want to reduce human misery.

If we don’t encourage and fund research and do our best to inform the general public about it, it might not happen (or at least, not in our currently limited lifetimes). This is too important for it to become a spectator sport.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to get informed, make up your own mind, and if you become convinced as many of us are, spread the word and donate generously to the Methuselah Foundation (anything you donate will be matched to 50% by a $3 million donation by Peter Thiel). Few investments have the potential for such high returns, for you and for those you love.

Update: I’d like to thank Scott for keeping his word and sending the money. I kept mine and donated the $20 the Methuselah Foundation.

Even if you can’t give much, it all adds up and increasing the total number of donors helps with further fundraising efforts.

7 Responses to “Longevity Research Needs your Help”

  1. Obagi Blue Peel Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you….

  2. Ashton Bishop Says:

    Hi I’m a 9 time marathoner at age 35 who is very interested on learning about his longevity to make decisions in life. Having sustained a severe traumatic brain injury at the age of 9 put a colossal of things against me. However, I have made this spectacular recuperation by graduating high school in 4 years, but feel a little skeptical about going to college based upon my condition, intellectual wise. Since my memory is not the best I’m not so sure about getting a degree in Psychology or health care due to the weak system we currently have. Personally I earnestly want to seek a profession that will be very beneficial to the American system in a long term sense. So could you give me your feedback on how worthy you think it would be for me to complete the London Marathon in April of 2009? At the moment I have a set of braces on my teeth although they aren’t affecting me at all, and will not prevent me from completing this race in London, and learning about the longevity research in the UK.

  3. Ashton Bishop Says:

    Dear Longevity Researcher,

    Here writing you is Ashton Bishop to inform you that he will not be running in the NYC half half marathon in April 2008 as planned. However, I earnestly want to find a way to visit the UK and visit its runners. Therefore I will give you a detailed analysis of why I failed to make it in this upcoming NYC race and an overview of how I trained for the previous races, in addition to a autobiography I just completed which was stolen from me here in Houston TX. I’m a very creative man so just listen to all that I’m about to say.

    Ashton Bishop was born at the pompous, large weight of 10 pds. 5oun. Both of his parents adored him greatly all throughout his developmental years. They sent him to montesorri school, let him serve as the brides groom in a friend of my mother’s wedding, serve as the bat boy while playing T ball and participate in a pageant to flare his handsomeness. Personally I think my grandfather Dr Bishop played a large part in telling my mother Nancy Bishop to eat the most salubrious meals during her pregnancy.

    From the day I enrolled in kindergarten with a studious attitude towards learning my ambition my to be a success later on in life with the best health a man can have. He was very vigilant about what he did as a young and very critical about who he associated with in the rural town of De Quincy LA he grew up in. Nonetheless this is why he was so cautious about the material he learned.

    During the end of the summer in 1981 is when the tables began to turn in his life following TBI at the age of 9 year’s old. This injury was so devestating it put Ashton in a coma for 28 days which nearly cost him his life. It was so crippling that he suffered Retro Grade Amnesia, the loss of the first 9 years of his life and ironically he was bucking up and down in the coma so the RN had to feed him through a tube. Ironically, when he left the coma he pushed the wheelchair out of the way and walked to the car on his own 2 feet. This left everyone murmuring if he can do that this young man has a lot going ahead of him.

    THere is a lot more I could include about myself towards becoming a marathoner at age 17 in Houston TX. But I’ll write it piece by piece until a finish ,y autobiography to the UK. If you want me to continue please write back.

    Thank you Ashton Bishop

  4. Ashton Bishop Says:

    I’m straightening out my sending of my autobiography.

  5. Ashton Bishop Says:

    Well during our ride home is when matters began to get the worst for me that caused my bp to shoot up like never before. Failing to reason with any of my family members were either in pictures of or by confrontation caused a lot of tension, stress, anxiety and painful moments in my life. On the contrary though none of them realized any of the aggression they were taunting me with, which eventually led to that first seizure when I got home.

    Eventually upon our arrival my brother’s gave me an insight to all the rooms that I grew up in as a toddler. However since I didn’t acknowledge either any of the rooms or pieces of paintings in pictures which I grew up learning from it all seemed to cause a form of humiliation. In any case I had to deal with it since I had to regroup all my shapes, sizes and directions all over again.

    Moreover, when my brothers took me outside to shoot basketball is when the nerve cells in my brain outrageously began to boil up that led to all of what hurt me the most thereafter. Well when we walked out to the goal to play I began to get tremendously up tight that I couldn’t use my skills to play ball as efficiently as them. On the other hand, I did get overly abounded that I was less coordinated. Suddenly I felt these chill bumps run up and down my spine which forced me to dash inside individually to lay down in the bed. After about a minute I felt these feelings on my tongue which caused me to jump out of bed and head towards the kitchen. However, before I could get any where I fell down on my side and began rolling in circles. Luckily my mother saw me heading towards my room and ran in there behind me to check out what was going on. Sporadically enough when she saw me give this twirl she pushed me on my side and yelled to my sister, “Call 911 Ashton is having a Tonic Clonic Seizure.” After about 3 minutes the seizure began to settle down.

    When the technicians arrived my mother gave them a run down of what took place so they straighten everything out before tossing me into the ambulance. Well en route to the hospital I came around to my senses and was curiously asking myself what in the heck are they doing with me. Once we arrived at the hospital I was alarmed as ever to what in the world are they going to do with me here. Obviously they began stabbing me with all these needles in the arm to test my bp to determine whether I had epilepsy or seizures. By all means I had come around to my senses but had to let the new doctor continue on giving me this needles to draw blood. Furthermore I was in a state of upheaval that all this was going on but took all that pressure into consideration so there wouldn’t be anything worse ahead of me.

    The doctor spoke with my mother after this whole scene and mentioned to her that I was going to have to start taking Dilantin to control these outburst. Frantic as she seemed after that TBI now seizures she just told the doctor give him whatever is needed to control these symptoms. Let’s just be thankful that he is alive. Therefore he proceeded as necessary and gave me what was requested by my medical doctor. In summary that was all that the MD could recommend to me without sharing with my mother the pressure Dilantin has on young kids.

  6. Ashton Bishop Says:

    Having to start off back learning with a home bound teacher because of the poor comprehension from his TBI he suffered, and the medicine he was taking for seizures caused a lot of stress in his life. So what Ashton did was build this bridge of strength inside of him that never let anything offend his decision to get ahead. In spite of the fact that he was never at any moment being realistic with anyone, since he was taking Dilantin for seizures, he pushed himself over the edge after unraveling some information that he could be taking a better medicine for his seizures. Above all, Ashton influenced his counselor’s that he would have better memory skills if he started taking Tegratol for seizures.

    Therefore, this drive and knowledge inspired his home bound teacher to promote him to special education in school and let him start building up from there. Gradually he began showing better skills in courses similar to Social Studies and the like. Consequently as teachers promoted him in class after class they began to feel like he could rise up later on in life into the real world. This self esteem he carried was simply just beyond their means of intellectuality, so they let him just learn swiftly at the best pace that he felt comfortable at. Nonetheless, that new medicine he was taking for seizures, Tegrato, or something had him moving around faster as well as remembering better.l

    Thus when he started middle school everyone respected him with dignity for his deep attitude towards trying to improve his memory and his hobby of weight lifting to stay in shape. Nothing embraced him more on his time off than reading magazine’s like “Reader’s Digest” or “Psychology Today” to try and stimulate his memory skills. Besides learning he had hopes of one day getting into body building and weight training. Nothing brought more enthusiasm to his mind than participating in either one of these activities just mentioned.

  7. Longevity Malc Says:

    I agree – Aubrey de Grey is impressive to hear. I heard him talk at a conference in November. I just hope that with his high profile he can attract enough funding to move his research forward rapidly.



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