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I work in medical technological research. I agree that there are rapid advances at the genomic, and proteomic levels that potend well to diseases linked to cancer and heart disease.

Unfortunately, from the hosipitals viewpoint: As you know, with rising standards of living, the wealthy have decided to spend that cash not on improving their life expectactancy, but on making themselves fat as hell. Obesity is erasing the increases in life expectancy that the medical advances would allow.

For example: stents, billions of dollars goes into proping open arteries because people like high cholesterol diets.

Diabetes is a massive cost shock to our health care system. You cannot simply invent a pill to remove type 2 diabetes. People have to lose weight, and a lot. People have to lose >50% body mass to regain normal surgar metabolism. Surgical methods are the cure, but have high mortality,complications, and are expensive. (There is some good research here btw)

The thing to learn is that medical magic bullets do not change peoples behavior. Peoples behavior has a large effect on their life span.

The absolute best investment for health care dollars? Detailed education plans and harsh financial incentives to push people to learn to live longer.

Now, if you happen to be one of these rare health nuts, yeah, medical technology will definitely help your body live to 100. Unfortunately, until we cure Alzeihmer's, you're brain probably isn't going to make it.



There are substantial advancements in the pipeline, and increasingly more funding behind them. On the otherhand, it is harder and harder to make increasingly smaller improvements. An 'S' curve, at this point in history.

But I haven't decided yet if getting the average to 100 will be possible for people who take moderately good care of themselves. That is for part II tomorrow.

BTW, I replied to you on the previous 'auto-safety' thread. It is motorcycles, not SUVs hitting compacts, that is the problem.


Quality of life is a big issue. If I have to not enjoy most of my adult life just to have 15 more years of lousy old age, I choose happiness over decreptude. I eat chicken instead of red meat, but I never will give up Dove or See's chocolates.


The hard part about aging, is that your cells are programmed to die to mainly prevent cancer.

Areas of your body that rapidly divide: skin, colon, prostate, cervix, etc are prone to cancer.

There is a huge amount of radiation from the cosmic background, that people accumulate signicifant genomic damange over their lifetimes.

Ageing is a process that slows cell division to prevent cancer.
Stop ageing, and you will see an explotion in cancer. Even with great cancer drugs, it will be a losing battle. Inside each cell is a destructive power of its priodial roots. Once let free of their cooperative programming, these guys are little monsters! If you were to take the new telemerace extending drugs, you would quickly find cancer. They may be able to extend several years 5-10, so it may be worth it.

Therefore, any significant cure for ageing has to solve this problem:
How to repair the accumulated genomic damage done by the background cosmic ray radiation. This is an EXTREMELY hard problem. You would have to retro-infect every cell in your body, somehow find the damange and repair it. Very unlikely.

Much more likely? We engineer new humans to have newly invented DNA repair mechanisms in the first place! For us, this sucks, because we have so much accumulated genomic damange, it is too late for us.

Our children are too, but, our children's children could easily be engineered to live >200 years. (This is from mice data where human DNA repair genes were added to mice). Now, we'd have to find new DNA repair mechanisms (not too hard, it is much like error correction in the computer world), and we would be halting genetic mutation, but we could drastically reduce cancer and increase lifespan.

Now the ethical constraints of engineering new super humans with 2x the lifespan? I let that for society to decide. It is going to happen though. Talk about the have and the have nots!

"...super humans with 2x the lifespan..." I hope the magic stuff tastes like See's chocolates.


"magic stuff tastes like See's chocolates".

Sorry, there is no magic stuff. You're screwed. It's too late for your genetically damaged body. It is better to enjoy the candy and die happy rather than dreaming of living to a 100.

"An 'S' curve, at this point in history."

I disagree. We haven't even barely scratched the surface in human genetic engineering. We haven't even gotten to the 'R' part of the 'S' curve.


Fewlesh --

Thanks for the highly informative messages. Are they any websites or studies that you reccomend to learn more?


Most of this knowledge was gleamed from working with molecular biologists on cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I would suggest you get some basic textbooks on cellular biology with a focus of understanding how genes -> proteins -> function

Next, learn what a virus is, what a bacteria/yeast is, what a eukariotic cell is, etc. These biological factories can each be "programmed" to perform basic functions.

Realize that there are pathways where proteins interact with genes, so it is not a simple system. It is like a huge city, with thousands of indivial persons interacting in a probablistic way.

I would also try and understand universal computation. The book: "A new kind of science", by steven wolfram. While is seriously disagree with a huge sections of this book, it provides a laymans understanding of how computation is a fundamental aspect of nature.

After computation, you need to understand the low level evolutionary genetic processes at work. It is very instructive to learn how simple bacterial and virii evolve under selective pressure. These selective pressures exist inside tumor cells, and it is what drives almost all of the basic tumor biology.

Now armed with knowledge of how genetic machinery work, with an eye towards computation, with a fundamental knowledge of evolutionary processes you can try and understand the some of the complex pathways of disease.

Maybe wikipedia has enough info on it to be a good resource. I've always just checked out big bio textbooks from the libary, and skimed them, looking for the info I wanted to learn. Realize that much of biology is fact based, but you have to look for underlying patterns to get a good hold on what is going on.

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I am 100% with you..you need to understand the low level evolutionary genetic processes at work. It is very instructive to learn how simple bacterial and virile evolve under selective pressure.

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