Medical Critiques of this potential immortality method

  1. Focused ultrasound is a non-invasive surgical method

    It's non-invasive imaging method can be MRI or even ultrasound itself.

    So we have a method for precisely destroying and precisely releasing chemical in any part of the body.

    (Another method is precision x-rays/gamma rays like in the cyberknife system, but let's ignore that for now)

    If those chemicals can grow any part of the body too, like the "pixie dust" of Stephen Bodylak described below (extracellular matrix powder) then we also have mechanism for growing any part of the body precisely.

    These robotic machines would be used everyday to selectively destroy/grow all parts of the body, and so, over time, all parts of the body become new again. Thus defeating aging and the diseases associated with it, hence immortality.

    To do carry this all out, set up 100,000 robotic ultrasound machines in a warehouse, and automatically robotically (using machine learning/computer vision) run experiments en masse on mice/pigs etc. to determine the correct intensity/dosage for destroy/growing any particular parts of the body. (Use machine learning to transfer knowledge of how mice/pig dosages translate to human size/levels).

    Thus, a potential immortality device in a few months.

    Another thought, whole body vibrations are used to grow all parts of the body (with circulating growth factors) and the focused ultrasound is used to selectively destroy the older parts (over time, safely).

    Also, ultrasound is has been demonstrated to encourage growth/repair of tissues in the body and in the lab (it's the basis of therapeutic ultrasound So it might to destroy/grow without even the extra growth chemicals.

    What are critiques of the above. I'm looking at this from the point of view of what is possible given unlimited funds (1-100 billion dollars).
  2. jcsd
  3. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry but we are nowhere near being able to regenerate the body to the extent you are discussing. Ultrasound does have a lot of therapeutic uses and can be used to damage tissue, trigger the release of drugs from drug delivery systems and alter cell behaviour in desirable ways. But it simply cannot be used in the way you describe to wave a magic want over any area and selectively destroy any damaged tissue (without side effects) before coordinating regeneration.

    Similarly "pixie dust" does nothing, you've been scammed on that one. Fingertips have the capacity to regrow anyway and jamming a powder of pig ECM does nothing but get you news coverage and investment. Even if it did help in some way that's no where near "regrowing any tissue we like". Recently there have been successes with simple tissues and organs such as tracheas, bladders, skin, bone and a lot of research into other tissues but it is very early days. We are certainly not months away from whole body regeneration, we're probably decades away from anything as complex as a heart or lung even though current research in those areas is promising.
  4. Thank you for the reply.

    However, I think you misinterpreted what I was asking for.

    I am asking for a future hypothetical where unlimited funds are available.

    Of course that selective destructive/regeneration capability is not available today. I'm speaking about whether it is theoretically possible. On that front, I'd like to see proper critiques along the lines of what biological problems might be posed.

    Also, the pixie dust is not a scam, as was often portrayed. The fingertip stuff was 4 years ago. It's since been used in regrowing muscles and skin in soldiers. However, I don't want to focus on that, other growth factors probably exist too.

    The above in one sense has to exist somehow, because regeneration has been observed in animals like salamanders, but even more importantly, humans grow from a single cell. So biological mechanisms exist for growth. Pushing them to do so again, while destroying aging parts, is what I'm looking to explore.

    So again, I reiterate, I'm looking for more than simple statements of "it isn't possible etc.", but more detailed discussion of the issues. And also, there is no limit on funds. So questions of decades vs months are essentially irrelevant. What you could do in decades can usually be done in months if the work is parallelized and done on a large scale.

    Thank you for the reply, but I'm looking for something more substantial. (This is an initial brainstorming, from which proposals will be discussed with open-minded funders. Everyone stands to benefit if this goes anywhere ).
  5. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry but that's not what this site is for. We're not going to waste time overspeculating on what future technology might bring.
    It is not theoretically possible to use ultra sound in the way you mean. A primary concern in regenerative medicine is how to produce the cell and tissue behaviour that is desirable. Whilst ultrasound is useful it simply cannot be used on everything, this is true of all techniques as the same environmental conditions can have drastically different effects on different cells.
    There have been a variety of skin regeneration techniques released onto the market, some of which involve specific extra cellular matrix formulations but the idea that this "pixie dust" is some panacea is simply nonsense. Every cell in your body is surrounded by ECM, throwing more pig ECM at it is of very limited use. If you have peer-reviewed papers on this topic you would like to discuss please post them.
    Regeneration in other animals is unlikely to be transferable although we may learn something interesting along the way. At the moment you are asking about a huge field that is relatively young. I suggest rather than asking broad questions on this you should look into regenerative medicine, specifically tissue engineering and come back with more specific topics of discussion.
    Sorry but if the thread goes in that direction it will be locked. Whole body regeneration is too speculative for this site which, as the rules state, exists for the discussion and teaching of established science.
  6. Look, I think you're completely missing the nature of my post. I'm looking for hypotheticals, I thought this was a physics site. I'm well aware the current state of the art is there yet, otherwise it would be big news that death has been eradicated. The pixie dust thing I had seen in a BBC documentary from this year in which they actually visited the lab (Frontline Medicine - visited lab of Stephen Bodylak). Maybe they got scammed by Dr Bodylak, but that wasn't the main point of what I was asking for. I was looking for what are the possible roadblocks. I'm in touch with distinguished scientists on this matter, I was just looking to crowdsource something they might have missed. If no one here has the background to make a specific point, that's fine. I just think you're misunderstanding what I'm posting and getting offended when I attempt to clarify this. I'm sincerely thankful for your attempt though.
  7. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    I have a background in this field but you aren't raising a specific point. You are asking for something to give us immortality and offered a few methods that I have explained are not viable. As for hypothetical this subject is overly speculative which is against PF rules. If you find something specific you would like to discuss then feel free but this is not the place to overspeculate or attempt to acquire research funding.
  8. Like many of us (well, me anyway) you probably neglected to read the rules when you first joined the site.

    This IS a physics forum, and an amazingly good one, but as Ryan pointed out it is not a forum for personal speculation, it is for discussion of established science. This annoys new folks sometimes, but it just the nature of the site. There are forums where your kind of speculation is discussed, this just isn't one of them.
  9. Ok, I get it. The physics of things is acceptable except when it's on the medical forum, when it's branded speculative. Some distinguished researchers I've spoken with don't think it's too speculative, but anyway, let's abide by the confused rules on here. Anyway, thank you for the unbridled skepticism.
  10. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    You seem confused, the forum rules are an artefact of the purpose of the forum which is to teach and discuss mainstream science. Overly speculative topics no matter what scientific discipline they fall into are not allowed. Yes some distinguished researchers have talked about the concept of biological immortality but that doesn't mean they aren't overly speculative and therefore not a suitable topic for this forum. There is often confusion that our purpose and rules are a comment on the nature of speculation in science but they are not.

    As I said before if you come across a specific paper you would like to discuss with regards to this topic (i.e. any treatment that will result in longer life expectancy) then feel free to post.
  11. What is physically possible and what is currently medically possible are two different things. I had assumed this forum would allow the discussion of what is physically possible. I'm not a professional biomedical scientist and I haven't had the time to look through the literature on this, that's why I'm on this forum in the first place. I'm at the beginning stages of this.

    I am also interested in asking what are the views of this forum on ECMO as discussed in this lecture.
    It was mentioned that it currently can go to a few months. I'd like to know what are the things missing to take this to years or even decades. I know there is literature on it, but as a non-professional just starting out to get an education in this, I'd like to see an outline for the layman.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  12. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Ryan is asking for you to post a link to an acceptable peer-reviewed mainstream journal article. A YouTube video is not acceptable as a source. The list of acceptable journals is given in the Rules link at the top of the page. You agreed to abide by those rules when you joined the PF.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  13. You guys are really piling on there. So now I'm expected to be a semi-expert with papers in hand. Even a lecture by a pioneer in a field is too low brow.

    OK then, let's just it leave at that. I think it's a political game now and I've accidentally offended the big wigs on here.
  14. Ryan, what do you think of this piece:

    I've been led to understand that DNA replication errors are a big part of ageing, and that eventually the telomeres simply run out of length to continue replicating the chromosome. Might telomerase treatments give some viable life extension?

    If this is piggybacking I'll start a new thread.
  15. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    You could have read the rules and done a search for peer reveiwed papers in acceptable journals. Anyone can do a simple web search and find such papers. If you aren't a college student or in academics or research, etc..., you may only get an abstract without paying for the paper, but at least you'd be able to present the abstract of what specifically you wish to discuss. Doing such searches would likely help show you what is and is not considered possible.
  16. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm sorry but you really are mistaken. Firstly with regards to us being snobbish and piling on you and secondly with the expectation that we are a port of call for research. Your original question has been answered with regards to whether or not the technology to do this exists, you've then gone on to ask us to speculate on the nature of technologies that do not exist which is against the rules. No one has been impolite or judgemental, you are over reacting here. More than once I have offered you the option to find something specific you would like to discuss so that it can be. You don't have to be a "semi-expert" to use a search engine and do some learning for yourself. You've even done some initial readings so it isn't much to ask that you focus on the specifics of what you have read rather than a huge field.
  17. I did give links, for Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Discover magazine, lecture by a pioneer in ECMO at a prestigious medical school. I understand the purpose of rules like that, it's to keep out snake oil websites, but the links I gave are not that quite obviously.

    But OK. I will search for papers on this and then come back (though it would be more sensible if the rules are changed on this, you'll needlessly discourage beginners).
  18. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    It's interesting but there are some concerns to note. Telomeres are a cancer defence mechanism by imposing a replication limit. In cells that regularly replicate as part of their role telomerase is produced to elongate the telomeres, in all other cells it is expressed minimally at best. In this study the researchers were using mice already deficient in telomerase expression and showed that reactivation lead to a slow down in tissue degradation. The implication is that it might be possible to slow down some of the effects of ageing however if a treatment was applied to restore telomere length in a variety of cells it could lead to significant increase in cancer risks.
  19. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Are requirements are for peer-reviewed, published literature. This is a sensible standard when discussing scientific issues as it is the standard used in the scientific community. Second hand sources run the risk of being wrong, overly-simplified, biased etc.
    In my opinion the biggest problem with the rules is that people don't read them and then backtrack when they realise this site is not a place where anything goes for discussion. It has a specific aim which is not served by lower standards.
  20. About the telomeres. This ties in with what I was looking for about focused ultrasound or cyberknife. If there is a risk of cancer with the regrowing of telomeres, that risk can be mitigated by regular targeting of cancer with the beams. So a steady state of continual safe regeneration occurs.
  21. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Whilst focused ultrasound and this cyberknife systems could have good applications in specific cancer treatments they are not panaceas. Furthermore the risk of cancer would be for the individual's lifetime after such a treatment, not during.
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