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In what ways can biology create indefinite lifespans?

  1. Mar 19, 2009 #1
    The world has been working more and more over the years to research a way to live indefinitely with health. What ways can you think of that biology can make an indefinite life span for a human?

    Of course, Im not looking for a sure fire way, Im just looking for brainstorms and ideas.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2009 #2


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    This sounds like homework. What are your ideas?
  4. Mar 19, 2009 #3


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    To quote the http://www.math.utah.edu/~pa/math/polya.html" [Broken] from Pólya's famous book "How to Solve it"

    * First. You have to understand the problem.

    The mechanisms of aging are not understood well at all. There is little point in even trying to solve a problem when you don't even know what it is.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Mar 19, 2009 #4
    Well, if thats the case then you just defined the problem. If we dont understand the mechanisms of aging, then what can we do to work toward understanding them? Who could we contact? What route might we take? What bio job might best a equip us to dig in?
  6. Mar 19, 2009 #5


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    It's already being researched. There is no one problem. There is no one area of research. I suggest you do some searching around the internet for scientific research on aging.
  7. Mar 19, 2009 #6
    In what ways do you know of that it is being researched? Do you think its enough and or which routes do you think are the most promising?

    Ive read a lot of stuff about this but Im looking for more perspectives and discussions from people who might know of others sources and or have ideas and insights on the concept.
  8. Mar 19, 2009 #7


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    Your post is too vague. You haven't even mentioned what it is you've been reading. You can't expect people to discuss everything under the sun. Of what you read, what did you find interesting? Pick a subject and start from there.

    You started this thread, you need to be more specific, or are you doing a homework assignment?
  9. Mar 19, 2009 #8
    Your right, specific is good in many cases, but general can also be good. Ill respond here more when I get time. I look forward to peoples perspectives. It usually generates new avenues of thought to spin off from.
  10. Mar 20, 2009 #9
    Well, for starters theres the "Longevity Revolution" by something Butler that Ive been reading, and then "Ending Aging" by Aubrey deGrey and Michael Rae that I read before.

    They both talk about different approaches. There are many. Does anybody have a preference, have any ideas of their own, anything like that?
  11. Mar 20, 2009 #10
    Im trying to keep this alive because this concept concerns me to the root of my being. What are some ways that anybody here might be able to think of that we can do to work with our biologies so that we can live on indefinitely?

    For starters, we can say that we all die of aging. Alright, but what is aging? What do you know or think you know about it? Are our cells wound like clocks, waiting to snap at the end and kill us?

    Some people seem to think they are mystical untouchables. Do you take that approach maybe?
  12. Mar 21, 2009 #11
    To the "root of your being"?

    We all die but not of "aging". That's really more a literary term than a pathology - not unlike the root of ones being. There are specific pathologies or malfunctions that are studied and understood but I doubt many autopsy reports conclude aging.
  13. Mar 21, 2009 #12
    Aging is fairly well understood to be telomeres shortening during dna relication.

    However there is a practical aspect to this 'live forever', the human body is a machine. Like all machines you can keep going if well maintained, but like all machines no matter how well maintained the parts always have a service life.

    for example. There was some idea that the cones in your eye have the ability to absorb a certain abount of photons and then are irreversibly damaged. I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this (or even if its acutally true), i'll try to find it again though.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Mar 22, 2009 #13
    you might want to look up 'stem cells'.
  15. Mar 22, 2009 #14
    More of the vague stem cell hype. Come on - be specific.
  16. Apr 1, 2009 #15
    From what I understand life can be viewed from a mechanical perspective. Organisms are simply complex machines subject to various wear and tear. Life evolved repair mechanisms to combat this such as cell division and the storage of data in DNA/RNA but the repair mechanisms and "blueprints" are subject to wear and tear themselves. So biologists simply have to come up with even better repair mechanism that can indefinitely suppress such wear and tear?
  17. Apr 1, 2009 #16


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    Nope. That is your interpretation of it.


    We do not know or understand essential mechanisms involved in the aging process.

    Therefore, because the phenomenon of aging is crucial to understand in even beginning to frame a sensible question about the potential for manipulating life-lendths, it follows that AS YET, it remains a pointless endeavour to inquire into the possibilities of the latter phenomenon.

    Science does not progress by inquiring into each and every problem we can create, but rather by limiting us to asking thoe questions to which we reasonably can expect to find an answer.
  18. Apr 18, 2009 #17
    Right, thats how it is seen by many, it has been played off that way for a long time because there was never thought to be anything we could really do about aging. Imperative death has been a horrifying thing for a great many people for a long long time. Its still imperative, its just that the doors to indefinite health are beginning to open up. A major part of the reason that religion was invented it seems was to help suppress that horrifyingfeeling for many people.

    Now that technology and science and everything is progressing at ever accellerating rates, doors are opening left and right.

    So I can see why people might think that aging is more of a literary thing. It hasnt been much talked about or researched yet, that is, until the last 10 years or so and much more so in the last 2. Aging is a set of 7 terminal diseases that all act together to kill us.

    Chris, Ebon, -mechanical service life, exactly. In theory, if we replace the parts that go bad, at the cellular level, we can keep the body running indefinitely.

    We know the 7 causes of aging now. Even if we didnt, then the problem that we didnt know the problem would be the problem for us to pursue. Aging is a deadly horrible disease that needs to be and is being stopped.
  19. Apr 18, 2009 #18
    One of the worlds leading researchers on ending aging science, Dr. Aubrey deGrey is being interviewed tomorrow. Ill see if I can embed the video and chat here. If it works then you can view and interact live from here. Thats tomorrow, sunday April 19th at 5pm cst 6pm est.

    If this doesnt work then use imminst.org/tv

    <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="400" height="320" id="utv255006"><param name="flashvars" value="viewcount=true&amp;autoplay=false&amp;brand=embed"/><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="movie" value="http://www.ustream.tv/flash/live/1/107692"/><embed [Broken] flashvars="viewcount=true&amp;autoplay=false&amp;brand=embed" width="400" height="320" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" id="utv255006" name="utv_n_586709" src="http://www.ustream.tv/flash/live/1/107692" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" /></object><a href="http://www.ustream.tv/" [Broken] style="padding:2px 0px 4px;width:400px;background:#FFFFFF;display:block;color:#000000;font-weight:normal;font-size:10px;text-decoration:underline;text-align:center;" target="_blank">Live TV by Ustream</a><embed width="563" height="266" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="channelId=107692&brandId=1&channel=#an-immortalist-life&server=chat1.ustream.tv" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer" src="http://www.ustream.tv/IrcClient.swf" [Broken] allowfullscreen="true" />
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  20. Apr 22, 2009 #19
    in my mind, the first place to start is individual biochemical needs. since we can now move ourselves and our food thousands of miles in a day, this has become much more complicated. we need to know the perfect amount of nutrients (not to much, not to little) to consume in a day. that unfortunately is far from easy. since cells are constantly being replaced, with the right material and energy for this process to flawlessly ensue, who knows how long we could live. however, even if you could accomplish that from day one, there are still many factors working against us currently. the artificial production of chemicals is by far the most detrimental to the health of our biological bodies. we simply have not had the time to adapt to them, if even possible.

    beyond the natural, im not sure where we would start, once we begin genetic manipulation; since i do not know all of the short comings of a human cell. perhaps to start with the problem already stated above, we could somehow create enhanced lysosomes with enzymes to convert these artificially created chemicals; or perhaps more simply enhance the cell membrane to repel such things. the first option seems more appealing since then we could utilize what is now mostly toxic to us.

    this is a topic which ill be researching for years, as a personal interest. fortunately, there are plenty of people that have already done much more research and i have a feeling human immortality is not far off :) lets just hope we can first solve more pressing issues like over population, because i really dont want to be an immortal living shoulder to shoulder with people in a "soylent green" type world.
  21. Dec 16, 2009 #20
    Dr. Aubrey deGray is a scientist who created the idea of SENS, Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. The main thrust of his idea is that scientists have been focusing on metabolism and pathology, which are extremely complex. What is less complex are the cellular damages that accumulate due to metabolism and lead to pathology. If we focus on these "seven deadly things," we could make drastically more productive use of scientific facilities, research money, and brain capital.

    A good page explaining the research behind Dr. Aubrey deGrey's ideas is http://www.sens.org/index.php?pagename=mj_sens_repairing". It explains the seven different types of aging damage that have been discovered so far, and why probably all of the "primary changes in the structure of the body itself" (in aging) have been discovered. Briefly, the seven types of aging damage are:

    1) cell loss, tissue atrophy
    2) nuclear mutations
    3) mutant mitochondria
    4) death-resistant cells
    5) tissue stiffening
    6) extracellular aggregates
    7) intracellular aggregates

    I think we could look at the above seven things as the "mechanisms of aging." However, it is true that we do not understand, in detail, the mechanisms of metabolism and pathology. It is probably not a very productive approach to focus on them, either. But that's exactly what most biological scientists and research organizations do, exclusively.

    I think it makes more sense to direct research towards work that directly addresses the above seven mechanisms. To do so, young scientists need to work towards that goal. Likewise, the public needs to educate themselves on this issue (SENS or Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), and support research about it.

    There are a few organizations actually doing this right now, and the number will surely grow in the future. Currently the ones I know of are:
    http://www.methuselahfoundation.org/" [Broken]
    http://imminst.org/" [Broken]

    So, to answer the question of this thread: "In what ways can biology create indefinite lifespans?"
    Answer: By developing technologies for repairing, limiting or reversing the seven types of aging damage. That can only really happen if the public becomes aware of this approach.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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