Re: AGING: Life extension

Anders Sandberg (
04 Jan 1998 21:35:38 +0100

Twink <> writes:

> >Unfortunately replacing aged organs doesn't seem to help much,
> >especially since the organs we really would like to rejuvenate (immune
> >system, endocrine system and possibly the brain) are not easy to
> >transplant or replace.
> In some/many cases, there might be psychological benefits. Naturally,
> it'd be great to rejuvenate/replace the immune or endocrine systems.
> However, some people tend to get very depressed over, say, their
> looks. Ergo, skin replacement might alleviate that problem AND allow
> research on that organ (the skin) to carry over to others (the endocrine?).
> The fit here is loose, but not so loose as to make it unlikely.

Well, you are right, but the psychological benefits will not help
extend life significantly as far as I know, and the dangers of
transplants should not be underestimated (the more medicine I learn,
the less eager I am for invasive surgery :-).

> totipotent cells is another area to investigate. It is my understanding,
> this is not hard, given some experiments with transplanting embryo
> brain cells to Parkinson's sufferers (human or otherwise, I can't recall).

Human and animals. There have been a lot of work done in this field,
and the results are starting to appear. So far it looks like the
transplants help, but not much. But animal studies show that nerve
grafts can do some amazing things (turning and growing in the right
direction, finding the right targets etc), so I think there is reason
to be hopeful. I don't know if anybody has yet looked at what happens
if you implant totiopotent cells as regarding to aging.

> I was under the impression that gene therapy was already being done
> with genetically engineered cells which provided products directly
> inside/to the body. I see no principled reason why this can't be done
> for hormones or Vitamin C or what have you.

That should work. The problem might be where to put them, but for
substances that are very bioactive not many cells are needed. One fun
possibility is otherwise to use engineered gut bacteria - they produce
vitamin K, so why not C?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y