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Category Archives: Immortality Medicine

Why Are Some Americans Paying $8000 For A Shot Of Teenage Blood? – IFLScience

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:33 am

Lets get this out of the way first: theres very little convincing evidence that the blood of young people will slow down aging in old people. Nevertheless, theres apparently just enough evidence going around for enigmatic organizations to pay through the nose for the blood of teenagers, just in case the cure for oldness does actually exist after all.

As pointed out by The Sunday Times, teenage blood is in high demand in parts of the US right now, with individual shots of the crimson liquid going for as much as $7,940 a pop. So what the hell is going on here?

Back in 2016, a company named Ambrosia whose name derives from the mythical, immortality-granting substance from Greek legends declared that they were going to run a trial where older Americans would be given young blood, and their biological response to it would be tracked.

Although there is some evidence that this process works in mice, far more work needs to be done through peer-reviewed research to confirm the same applies to humans.

Ambrosia received some serious flak at the time for falling a fair bit short of that: specifically, there was no control group, you didnt even have to be particularly old to take part 35 was the minimum age and the volunteers joining the project had to pay $8,000 apiece just for taking part.

Either way, as you would expect, people with several grand to spare around 100 of them in fact joined the trial, and theyve been receiving injections of the young blood plasma ever since. If the original trial outline was anything to go by, they were given four rounds of weekly servingsfor their donation.

The young blood is coming from registered blood banks, and its almost certain that the money being given by the trial subjects is paying, at least partly, for these unusually valuable vials.

Speaking to reporters, the lead physician on the project Jesse Karmazin has claimed that the trial is currently successful. He said that its like plastic surgery from the inside out, which frankly sounds terrifying.

He also added, rather strangely, that Im not really in the camp of saying this will provide immortality but I think it comes pretty close, essentially.

Its probably worth pointing out that lifespan is a binary thing: you can either be immortal, or youre mortal. You cant be almost immortal, because, well, thatll still result in death.

In any case, whatever this trial reveals, assess it with considerable skepticism. Its unlikely this is proper science, and remember extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not just a nicer way of saying vampirism and a few PR stunts.

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Immortality Medicine Part 8456 |

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:27 pm

On this weekend of hope, I thought I would offer everyone some of the messages of inspiration and hope that I received from the remarkable man whom I have been interviewing for many years.

You see, I have also found hope that anything was possible since I first heard the story of the incredible man who defied death 2,000 years ago. But like most of you, I still needed to see, hear, or better yet experience such death defying feats during our modern age to really take to heart what we were taught by those famous biblical prophets.

So when it occurred to me that there actually were people living past 125 years of age, and way beyond that number, I started to feel my heart stir to the possibility many of our ancient myths may have been much more than stories of hope. Could they conceivably be accounts of actual people who found the answers to achieving the impossible? Did these people achieve such incredible feats, because the has nothing to fear? Or because they simply decided not to allow their lives to be conquered by their fears? Or, perhaps, they discovered the secret of living a life without fears which allowed these people to accomplish all that their hearts desired?

Clearly, fear in our lives, disables us, blocks us from growing, stops us for moving forward, hampers us in attaining our lifes dreams; and in some cases, perhaps in many ways, destroys our lives from the inside out.

So, if fear is what keeps us from what we want, what we need, what we desire; then is it possible that the lack of fear or the absence of fear will allow us to obtain what we work for, what we struggle for, and what we sacrifice for?

From what what I have learned from my 2,800 year friend, and from the man who made history 2,000 years ago, is a big, blatant YES to these questions. Certainly they both had fears, but it is quite obvious from what I have heard from the both of them is simply: conquer your fears and you will achieve results.

So how did these 2 incredible men face their fears and conquer them? The simplest of answers I could ascertain from the both of them, happens to be the same message:

1. Do not believe in the fear. Believe instead in the opposite of fear which is love.

2. Do not believe in death. Believe instead in the opposite of death which is life.

3. Do not live your lives believing in fear and in death, but instead live your lives believing in love and in life.

Have you ever met a person who believes in love and in life? When you do, you automatically be moved by the presence, their words, and all that surrounds them.

Is that not how we, deep down inside, really want to live? A life of contentment without worries, fears, and experiencing life at its fullest?

We can seek out these people for guidance, we can model our lives after these people

or we can start today and simply add this simple knowledge into our lives, in everything we say, everything we do, and when we deal with all that life deals to us.

This is what I have learned from a 2,800 year man, who lives this way every day. And I am embarrassed to say, this is what I should have learned from the man who taught us all this; 2,000 years ago today.

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

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Immortality Medicine Part 8456 |

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Seeking A Glimpse Of Immortality In The Waters Of India’s …

Posted: at 11:27 pm

A Hindu devotee prays after a holy dip at the Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati during the Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad, India, on Sunday.

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Pilgrims make their way over pontoon bridges.

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A father dips his son into the holy waters.

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The Kumbh Mela is one of the rare times that sadhu nagas make themselves known. Many of these ascetics live in forests and villages, and have little contact with ordinary Indians. Their population is dwindling, as young devotees prefer not to pursue a life of deprivation.

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A man blows a horn in celebration during the daylong procession that drew 30 million devotees Sunday, the most auspicious day of the 55-day-long Hindu festival.

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A naga sadhu smeared in ash serves up the early morning tea for his akhara, or sect, one of 13 that has its own camp on the 20-square-mile grounds.

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Naga sadhus, naked holy men, walk in procession after bathing on the auspicious day of Mauni Amavasya on Sunday.

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An Indian devotee holds an offering at the Sangam.

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Hindu devotees cram as they board their train Monday at Allahabad train station, the site of Sunday's stampede. Thirty-seven people were killed in the stampede.

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Hindu devotees wait Monday to board a train at the site of Sunday's stampede. Survivors blamed the tragedy on baton-charging police and the slow response of medics.

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The Hindu gathering known as Kumbh Mela is on a scale difficult to fathom: The world's largest religious festival is millions of feet shuffling, millions of mantras chanted, countless sales of firewood to ward off the night cold. Millions of incense sticks will be burned and bells rung in devotional rituals called aartis.

An officer guards the purses of pilgrims who came to pay homage to the holy waters at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. Anoo Bhuyan for NPR hide caption

An officer guards the purses of pilgrims who came to pay homage to the holy waters at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.

Jet-setting swamis, naked holy men and foreigners fascinated by Eastern mysticism joined tens of millions of pilgrims for a dip in river waters believed to be holy.

Tragedy struck Sunday on the biggest day of the 55-day-long festival, when a stampede killed 37 people at a train station ferrying pilgrims home from the Kumbh Mela.

In a single day this past Sunday an estimated 30 million people celebrated on the river banks of the city of Allahabad. It's as if the combined populations of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota showed up at the same place, at the same time. These pilgrims have converged on the Sangam the confluence of three rivers, the Ganga or Ganges, the Yamuna and the so-called mythical Saraswati.

American-born Sadvhi Bhagawati Saraswati is a sanyasi, or a nun in the Hindu tradition. She is a disciple of Swami Chidanand Saraswati and the managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, which was released last year.

"Once every 12 years, when the stars, the planets, the moon and everything is in proper alignment, it is considered the most auspicious and divine and sacred time to have a bath in the confluence of these sacred water," she explains, referring to the three holy rivers of India.

In Hindu mythology, Saraswati says, the kumbh of Kumbh Mela is a pot that contained sacred nectar.

"Drops of the sacred nectar of immortality actually fell upon this land and into these rivers, and so people who have come have come to bathe in the nectar of immorality. But nobody thinks that what it means is that cells of their body won't die. Of course they will. Everybody knows that," she says. "So we go home from here with an awareness of our divine and eternal nature. And that's what the nectar of immortality is."

Saints Are Stars Of The Show

The Kumbh attracts all manner of devotees, from the simplest souls looking to wash away their sins to Bollywood film celebrities looking for an angle to promote their movies.

But the real stars of this show are India's holy men: sadhus, or saints, and naga sadhus. These naked ascetics, smeared in nothing but ash, are often the postcard image of religious India.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, a Hindu nun, edited the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Julie McCarthy /NPR hide caption

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, a Hindu nun, edited the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

One holy man confided that the life of deprivation naga sadhus lead is more than today's initiates are willing to endure, and that as a result, the nagas are becoming an endangered species.

But millions of pilgrims lined a route in the cold pre-dawn hours Sunday to catch a glimpse of these normally secluded holy men, who kicked off a procession parading naked on horseback. Surrounded by heavy security, they made a dash for a dip in the chilly waters and millions of pilgrims followed suit.

C.T. Gautam, a retired teacher from the state of Haryana, was among them. What did he pray for?

"For peace of the whole world," he says. "Nothing for myself, only this."

We go home from here with an awareness of our divine and eternal nature. ... That's what the nectar of immortality is.

Sadvhi Bhagawati Saraswati, Hindu nun

He adds wistfully that this occasion, on the same date with the same astrological alignment "will not come around again for another 147 years."

Movies have been made about getting lost at the Kumbh Mela, where India's richest and its poorest inhabit the same noisy, unsanitary conditions, living under the stars along the river banks in this megatent city. To accommodate them, 35,000 toilets were built and 500 miles of electric wires were installed.

Gyanesh Kamal, a saint from Allahabad, calls the Kumbh "the great leveler."

"There is no discrimination at all," he says. "We are getting everyone here full of simplicity. This is the purpose, to make equality."

It is expected that by the final dipping day on March 10, more than 100 million people will have experienced the Kumbh Mela.

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How to live forever – TechRadar

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Humans have wanted to live forever for as long as we've lived at all. It's an obsession that stretches back so far that it feels like it's somehow hard-coded into our DNA. Over the years, immortality (to a greater or lesser extent) has been promised by everyone from religions and cults to the cosmetics industry, big tech companies and questionable food blogs.

It's also a staple of fiction, all the way back to the earliest surviving great work of literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh, carved onto stone tablets in 2100 BC, depicts its titular king hunting for the secret of eternal life, which he finds in a plant that lives at at the bottom of the sea. He collects the plant by roping stones to his feet, but then a snake steals it while he's having a pre-immortality bath. Gilgamesh has a little cry, then gives up.

A cuneiform tablet containing part of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

The reason why we age is still the subject of major scientific debate, but it basically boils down to damage accumulating in our cells throughout our lives, which eventually kills us. By slowing that damage - first by making tools, then controlling fire, inventing writing, trade, agriculture, logic, the scientific method, the industrial revolution, democracy and so on, we've managed to massively increase human life expectancy.

There's a common misconception that to live forever we need to somehow pause the ageing process. We don't. We just need to increase the rate at which our lifespans are lengthening. Human lifespan has been lengthening at a constant rate of about two years per decade for the last 200 years. If we can speed that up past the rate at which we age then we hit what futurist Aubrey de Grey calls "longevity escape velocity" - the point we become immortal.

There's a common misconception that to live forever we need to somehow pause the ageing process. We don't. We just need to increase the rate at which our lifespans are lengthening.

That all sounds rather easy, and of course it's not quite that simple. It's all we can do at the moment to keep up with the Moore's Law of increasing lifespans. But with a major research effort, coordinated around the world, who knows? Scientific history is filled with fields that ticked along slowly and then suddenly, massively, accelerated. Computer science is one. Genetics is another recent example.

To understand what we need to do to hit longevity escape velocity, it's worth looking at how life expectancy has increased in recent history. The late statistician Hans Rosling made a powerful case that average lifespans rise alongside per capita income. Take a couple of minutes to watch this video and you'll be convinced:

Reducing the gap between the global rich and poor, therefore, is probably the fastest way to boost the world average life expectancy figure, but it's limited. And it won't do much for people in rich countries.

To boost the lifespans of the people living in countries that are already pretty wealthy, we need to look closer at the countries that are forecast to have the highest life expectancies in the coming years. A study published earlier this year in the Lancet shows what life expectancy might look like in 2030 in 35 industrialised countries, using an amalgamation of 21 different forecasting models.

South Korea tops the chart with women living on average beyond 90, while France, Japan, Switzerland and Australia are not far behind. Most of the countries at the top of the chart have high-quality healthcare provision, low infant deaths, and low smoking and road traffic injury rates. Fewer people are overweight or obese. The US, meanwhile, is projected to see only a modest rise - due to a lack of healthcare access, and high rates of obesity, child mortality and homicides.

The study results are interesting, not only because they're the best possible guess at our future but because they clearly show how social policies make a massive difference to how long people live. There are unknowns, of course - no-one could have predicted the 80s AIDS epidemic, for example, and no doubt further pandemics lurk in humanity's future. But ban smoking, fight obesity, and introduce autonomous cars and personalised medicine, and you'll see lifespans rise.

The US is projected to see only a modest rise in lifespan - due to a lack of healthcare access, and high rates of obesity, child mortality and homicides.

The other interesting thing is that the study's results are a shot across the bows of scientists who claim that there are hard limits to human lifespan.

"As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years, lead author Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London told the Guardian back in February.

That prediction mirrors another, published in Nature in October 2016, that concluded that the upper limit of human age is stuck at about 115 years.

"By analysing global demographic data, we show that improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100, and that the age at death of the worlds oldest person has not increased since the 1990s," wrote the authors - Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland & Jan Vijg.

"Our results strongly suggest that the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints."

The maximum length of a human lifespan remains up for debate.

Other researchers, however, disagree. Bryan G. Hughes & Siegfried Hekimi wrote in the same journal a few months later that their analysis showed that there are many possible maximum lifespan trajectories.

We just dont know what the age limit might be. In fact, by extending trend lines, we can show that maximum and average lifespans, could continue to increase far into the foreseeable future, Hekimi said.

Three hundred years ago, many people lived only short lives. If we would have told them that one day most humans might live up to 100, they would have said we were crazy.

That's all big-picture stuff, so let's dive down to a more personal level. Assuming that you can't change your genetics or your life up until the point that you're currently at, what can you personally do to live longer?

Here's the list: Don't smoke. Exercise your body and mind on a daily basis. Eat foods rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and unsaturated fat. Don't drink too much alcohol. Get your blood pressure checked. Chop out sources of stress and anxiety in your life. Travel by train. Stay in school. Think positive. Cultivate a strong social group. Don't sit for long periods of time. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D. Keep your weight at a healthy level. And don't go to hospital if you can help it - hospitals are dangerous places.

All of those things have been correlated with increased lifespan in scientific studies. And they're all pretty easy and cheap to do. If you want to maximise your longevity, then that's your to-do list. But there are also strategies that have a little less scientific merit. The ones that people with too much money pursue when they realise they haven't been following any of the above for most of their life.

Inside the Cryonics Institute.

Cryonics is probably the most popular. First proposed in the 1960s by US academic Robert Ettinger in his book "The Prospect of Immortality", it involves freezing the body as soon as possible after death in a tube kept at -196C, along with detailed notes of what they died of. The idea is that when medicine has invented a cure for that ailment, the corpse can be thawed and reanimated.

Calling someone dead is merely medicines way of excusing itself from resuscitation problems it cannot fix today, reads the website of top cryogenics firm Alcor.

The problem is the brain. First, it's so dense and well-protected that it's extremely difficult for the cryonics chemicals to penetrate it. It's almost impossible that it doesn't get damaged in the freezing process.

The 21,000,000,000 neurons and ~1,000,000,000,000,000 synapses in the human brain means that it'll be a while until we have the computational resources to map it.

Secondly, your neurons die quickly - even if you're immersed within minutes of death, you're still likely to suffer substantial brain damage. To which cryonics proponents argue: "What do I have to lose?" If the choice is between probably never waking up again and never waking up again, and it's your money to spend, then why not give it a shot?

An alternative to deep freeze is storing your brain in a computer. Not literally a lump of grey matter, but a database detailing in full all of the connections between the neurons in your brain that make you you (known as your connectome). Future doctors could then either rewire a real or artificial brain to match that data, resurrecting you in a new body (or perhaps even as an artificial intelligence).

A close look at a slice of mouse brain. Credit: Robert Cudmore

So far, we've only managed to map the full connectome of one animal - the roundworm C. elegans. Despite the worm's mere 302 neurons and 7,500 or so synapses, the resulting data is about 12GB in size - you can download it in full at the Open Connectome Project, and even install it in a robot, which will then act like a worm.

Unfortunately the human brain is a somewhat larger undertaking. The Human Connectome Project is making a start, and AI is helping, but the 21,000,000,000 neurons and ~1,000,000,000,000,000 synapses in the human brain means that it'll be a while until we have the computational resources to get it done. It's worth noting that this isn't an unassailable goal, especially if we can somehow figure out which bits are actually important to our personality and who we are as individuals and which bits are just used to remember the lyrics of Spice Girls songs.

For now, though, my recommendation would be to stick to the list of simple life extension strategies above. It's probable that in time we'll have new ways of augmenting our bodies that will extend our lifespans (we've already started with cyborg technology - just look at pacemakers and artificial hips).

But if you want to be at the front of the waiting list then you'll need to arrive at that point with as youthful a body as possible.

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How to live forever - TechRadar

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When thoughts often turn to death – The Economist

Posted: at 5:46 pm

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When thoughts often turn to death - The Economist

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Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer – Medical Xpress

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:43 am

August 17, 2017 Human chromosomes (grey) capped by telomeres (white). Credit: PD-NASA; PD-USGOV-NASA

A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally thought.

The key to immortalization is an enzyme called telomerase, which keeps chromosomes healthy in cells that divide frequently. The enzyme lengthens the caps, or telomeres, on the ends of chromosomes, which wear off during each cell division.

When the telomeres get too short, the ends stick to one another, wreaking havoc when the cell divides and in most cases killing the cell. The discovery of telomerase and its role in replenishing the caps on the ends of the chromosomes, made by Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider at UC Berkeley and John Szostak at Harvard University in the 1980s, earned them a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

Because telomeres get shorter as cells age, scientists theorized that cancer cells - which never age - become immortalized by turning on production of telomerase in cells that normally don't produce it, allowing these cells to keep their long telomeres indefinitely. An estimated 90 percent of all malignant tumors use telomerase to achieve immortality, and various proposed cancer therapies focus on turning down the production of telomerase in tumors.

The new research, which studied the immortalization process using genome-engineered cells in culture and also tracked skin cells as they progressed from a mole into a malignant melanoma, suggests that telomerase plays a more complex role in cancer.

"Our findings have implications for how to think about the earliest processes that drive cancer and telomerase as a therapeutic target. It also means that the role of telomere biology at a very early step of cancer development is vastly underappreciated," said senior author Dirk Hockemeyer, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology. "It is very likely that what we find in melanoma is true for other cancer types as well, which would warrant that people look more carefully at the role of early telomere shortening as a tumor suppressing mechanism for cancer."

The results will be reported online August 17 as a "first release" publication from the journal Science.

From nevus to cancer

Hockemeyer and his UC Berkeley colleagues, in collaboration with dermatopathologistBoris Bastian and his colleagues at UCSF, found that immortalization is a two-step process, driven initially by a mutation that turns telomerase on, but at a very low level. That mutation is in a promoter, a region upstream of the telomerase gene - referred to as TERT - that regulates how much telomerase is produced. Four years ago, researchers reported that some 70 percent of malignant melanomas have this identical mutation in the TERT promoter.

The TERT promoter mutation does not generate enough telomerase to immortalize the pre-cancerous cells, but does delay normal cellular aging, Hockemeyer said, allowing more time for additional changes that turns telomerase up. He suspects that the telomerase levels are sufficient to lengthen the shortest telomeres, but not keep them all long and healthy.

If cells fail to turn up telomerase, they also fail to immortalize, and eventually die from short telomeres because chromosomes stick together and then shatter when the cell divides. Cells with the TERT promoter mutation are more likely to up-regulate telomerase, which allows them to continue to grow despite very short telomeres.

Yet, Hockemeyer says, telomerase levels are marginal, resulting is some unprotected chromosome ends in the surviving mutant cells, which could cause mutations and further fuel tumor formation.

"Before our paper, people could have assumed that the acquisition of just this one mutation in the TERT promoter was sufficient to immortalize a cell; that any time when that happens, the telomere shortening is taken out of the equation," Hockemeyer said. "We are showing that the TERT promoter mutation is not immediately sufficient to stop telomeres from shortening."

It is still unclear, however, what causes the eventual up-regulation of telomerase that immortalizes the cell. Hockemeyer says that it's unlikely to be another mutation, but rather an epigenetic change that affects expression of the telomerase gene, or a change in the expression of a transcription factor or other regulatory proteins that binds to the promoter upstream of the telomerase gene.

"Nevertheless, we have evidence that the second step has to happen, and that the second step is initiated by or is occurring at a time where telomeres are critically short and when telomeres can be dysfunctional and drive genomic instability," he said.

In retrospect, not a surprise

Though most cancers seem to require telomerase to become immortal, only some 10 to 20 percent of cancers are known to have a single-nucleotide change in the promoter upstream of the telomerase gene. However, these include about 70 percent of all melanomas and 50 percent of all liver and bladder cancers.

Hockemeyer said that the evidence supporting the theory that the TERT promoter mutation up-regulated telomerase has always been conflicting: cancer cells tend to have chromosomes with short telomeres, yet have higher levels of telomerase, which should produce longer telomeres.

According to the new theory, the telomeres are short in precancerous cells because telomerase is turned on just enough to maintain but not lengthen the telomeres.

"Our paper reconciles contradictory information about the cancers that carry these mutations," Hockemeyer said.

The finding also resolves another recent counterintuitive finding: that people with shorter telomeres are more resistant to melanoma. The reason, he said, is that if a TERT promoter mutation arises to push a precancerous lesion - the mole or nevus - toward a melanoma, the chances are greater in someone with short telomeres that the cell will die before it up-regulates telomerase and immortalizes the cells.

The study also involved engineering TERT promoter mutations in cells differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells and following their progression toward cellular immortality. The results were identical to the progression seen in human skin lesions obtained from patients in UCSF's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and examined in the Clinical Cancer Genomics Laboratory, which Bastian directs.

Explore further: Unraveling the mystery of why cancer cells survive and thrive

More information: K. Chiba el al., "Mutations in the promoter of the telomerase gene TERT contribute to tumorigenesis by a two-step mechanism," Science (2017). 1126/science.aao0535

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg have gained important insights for stem cell research which are also applicable to human tumours and could lead to the development of new ...

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Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer - Medical Xpress

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Time Travel for Beginners – National Catholic Register (blog)

Posted: at 4:43 am

Blogs | Aug. 17, 2017

There are time-shattering realities that take place every time a priest offers Mass.

Who has not dreamt of time travel?

My version of this came one day in an out of the way bookstore some years back.

Browsing the shelves of used books is always interesting. Often, the more shabby the emporium, the rarer the gems to be found there. Such was the case that day. I spied a book on the French Revolution - a set text at school, and taking it from the shelf, looked at the cover. It was the first time Id set eyes upon the volume in decades. A host of memories flooded back. On opening it, I noticed a name written on the inside leaf: mine.

To look at the writing of ones younger self provokes a curious cavalcade of emotions. I ran my finger over the signature.

Needless to say, I bought the book and took it home and placed it on a shelf. Unsurprisingly, I have never read it, or even glanced at the text since. I have opened it, though, just to look at the signature once more. And, every time I do, I am transported back in time to a day and year when all seemed possible. Its time travel of a sort emotionally at least.

In 1895, two events related to time travel occurred one in the realm of literary fiction, the other in the field of scientific theory. In London, the scientist-turned-novelist H.G. Wells was putting the finishing touches to what, in speculative fiction, was to become a seminal novel: The Time Machine.

At the same time, in Switzerland, oblivious of Wells soon-to-be-published work, there was a daydreaming student who was struggling to complete his education. Later, while working as a clerk, he continued to daydream. His were no ordinary daydreams, however. They were what the young man termed thought experiments and one of the subjects upon which he sat thinking was the nature of space and its relationship to time. Ten years later, to the consternation of the scientific establishment, his thought experiments crystallized into a strange new theory that seemed to turn accepted Newtonian physics on its head. The clerks name was Albert Einstein; and his theory, published in 1905, was on special relativity. It appeared to make viable - theoretically at least - the concept of time travel. Soon, his ideas came to the notice of others, with the first practical experiments in relativity taking place as early as 1919. So too began, for some at least, the challenge to build the worlds first time machine.

Of course, no such machine has yet appeared. What is deemed theoretically possible has, to date, proved elusive outside the world of fiction and the studios of Hollywood. In any event, in the 1960 film adaptation of Wells The Time Machine, we see all too clearly that the initial thrill of time travel is soon replaced by a morbid sense of where mankinds future may lie. More 1960s than 1890s, the future as depicted in that film consisted of a post-apocalyptic netherworld inhabited by a divided and joyless bunch of humans and sub-humans. To be fair, when the film was made the world did appear to be only minutes away from atomic annihilation. Perhaps the thinking then was that knowing what the future held was not such a good idea after all.

Wells was famously an atheist. It may have come as a surprise to him, therefore, to learn that Catholics take to the concept of time travel not only easily but readily. Wells hero time traveled endlessly, backward and forward, in a materialistic universe. We, however, have another set of gears; and they can take us upwards, inwards, as well as beyond. A form of this time travel, and one central to our faith, the source and summit of all we hold dear, is the Holy Mass.

By way of explanation, let me point to some interesting passages in the best place to begin any exploration of doctrinal matters: The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

The CCC states that the Holy Mass is part of a future event:

1326 by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

The CCC goes on to say that it also brings forth a past event:

1330 The Holy Sacrifice makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior.

1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body.

Returning to the beginnings of salvation history, the CCC then recalls the scriptural understanding of remembering the Passover:

1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

The CCC adds that this recalling of the Passover assumes its full meaning in relation to Christs sacrifice on Calvary:

1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.

In summing up this section, the CCCs conclusion is more mind-expanding than any science fiction. The Holy Mass is nothing less than a summation of time, a completion of it in Christ. Quoting St. Ignatius of Antioch, the section concludes as follows:

1405 There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth "in which righteousness dwells,"than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated, "the work of our redemption is carried on" and we "break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.

Time travel has been a popular trope in storytelling in different genres except perhaps in the documentary. Nevertheless, it is precisely that genre which records the truth of the world around us. So it is one that Catholics are particularly interested in, and never more so than in regard to the truth of the time-shattering realities taking place at each Eucharist.

On a future date, when someone informs you that Holy Mass is dull, especially if it is a young person, you may wish to tell them that you have something significant to impart. Then, taking them aside, begin to speak of the reality of time travel.

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Time Travel for Beginners - National Catholic Register (blog)

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Surprising benefits of aloe vera –

Posted: at 4:43 am

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Im sure everyoneknows about the benefits of Aloe Vera for your skin. It is a wonderful help to minor burns, rashes, poison ivy and even benefits wound healing.But there is even more to this medicinal plant than that.

Aloe vera, taken internally is good for pretty much everyone and has been one of the most important plants used in folk medicine. The Egyptians referred to aloe as the plant of immortality.

So just like our external skin is lining of the gut, the bronchial tubes and the digestive tract can also benefit from the healing effect of aloe vera.

Taken internally, aloe vera juice aids the digestion and absorption of nutrients, helps control blood sugar, increases energy production, promotes cardiovascular health, improves liver function, and boosts the immune system.

The gel has a bitter taste that is both cooling and soothing to the body.

Try taking 1 2 tablespoons ofaloe vera gel in the morning on an empty stomach. Aloe helps clear the toxins out of the digestive system and will help you maintain young and healthy skin.

*Not for pregnant women or children under 5 years.

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Surprising benefits of aloe vera -

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Researchers discover potential cancer treatment breakthrough – Medical Xpress

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 1:42 am

August 8, 2017 Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Credit: NIH

Patients undergoing conventional chemotherapy for certain cancers could potentially receive more effective and less toxic drug treatment. In a July issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Dong Zhang Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Sciences at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) and a team of researchers detail findings that suggest new synthetic lethal interactions could inhibit the growth of tumors in mesenchymal cells, cells that develop into connective tissue such as those found in bones, soft tissues, and the central nervous system.

Chemotherapy, known to injure healthy cells and cause unpleasant side effects such as hair loss and vomiting, is currently the only available treatment for persistent cancers known as alternative lengthening telomere (ALT) cancers. In healthy stem cell reproduction, the enzyme telomerase prevents the shortening of linear DNA ends (known as telomeres) with each replication. The enzyme can also be re-activated to promote genetic stability and immortality in many cancer cells. While many cancers that reproduce via telomerase re-activation may be treated with therapies other than chemotherapy, ALT cancer cells lack telomerase and few treatment options have been developed to inhibit their proliferation. Although ALT cancer cells account for only an estimated ten to fifteen percent of cancer cases, these incidences include some of the most deadly cancers, for example glioblastoma.

The researchers sought to better understand what conditions could inhibit the growth of ALT cancers, in the pursuit of uncovering potential new treatments. To do this they investigated three human genes associated with cancer development: FANCM (mutations of which are associated with blood cancers), BRCA1 (mutations of which are commonly found in patients with breast and ovarian cancers), and BLM (mutations of which cause a variety of cancers).

FANCM, known to repair DNA damage where two DNA strands have been incorrectly linked, was removed from cells also deficient of BRCA1 or BLM. As a result, the team found that simultaneous inactivation of BLM and FANCM or of BRCA1 and FANCM resulted in dramatic increases of unrepaired DNA damages, preventing the cancerous cells from further reproducing. These findings suggest that if drugs are developed to simultaneously inhibit BLM and FANCM, or BRCA1 and FANCM, they should kill the ALT cancers without posing the same toxic effects as the conventional chemotherapy drugs.

"In creating a more stressful replication environment at the site of ALT telomeres, cellular reproduction was halted, leading us to believe that there could be great potential for these novel synthetic lethal therapeutic strategies. Therefore, we recommend further exploring this possibility to target ALT cancers," said Zhang.

Explore further: Researchers discover BRCA1 gene is key for blood forming stem cells

More information: Xiaolei Pan et al, FANCM, BRCA1, and BLM cooperatively resolve the replication stress at the ALT telomeres, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1708065114

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Researchers discover potential cancer treatment breakthrough - Medical Xpress

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Digital Immortality, The Future of Memory, and Sci-Fi Utopias: An Interview With Dr. Phil Frana – Outer Places

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 4:42 am

When you sit down with Phil Frana, you better buckle up for a conversation that ranges from the history of artificial intelligence (he's literally writing the book on it) to visions of the future, including uploading our minds to the singularity and 3-D printing our way to a utopian society. Phil is one of the speakersat the upcoming Escape Velocity 2017, the Museum of Science Fiction's annual sci-fi and science event, where he'll be leading a talk on matter duplicators. Ahead of Escape Velocity, we sat down with Phil to talk about sci-fi, tech, and the future.

Outer Places: Tell me a bit about yourself: your background, your interests, and what got you interested in sci-fi.

OP: You've taught courses on transhumanism, virtual worlds, and futuristics. What major changes do you see affecting humanity in the next thirty years?

Phil: I really think we're going to make tremendous progress on what I call the "totalization of memory" (You might call it "total recall"). We are so fearful of forgetting the most minute detail of our personal lives. We fear forgetting. But we also fear corporations, the government, and other nefarious types using our memories and data against us. We may see a form of digital immortality through mind-uploading (whole brain emulation) in our lifetimes. Reverse engineering the brain to achieve substrate independencethat is, transcribing the substance of the mind and emulating it on a variety of forms of physical or virtual mediais a recognized Grand Challenge of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering...

OP:Perfect segue into the next questionwhat are some of yourfavorite sci-fi books, movies, or shows?

Phil: What's the saying? "The golden age of science fiction is 12." I think that's the phrase. Meaning, you never care more about science fiction than when you were that age...I love the sense of wonder and attention to conceptual breakthroughs in 1920s-1960s science fiction. I love our grandparent's science fiction because the authors actually wanted to solve problems and, in the process, make the world a place of bliss. A.E. van Vogt's Weapon Shops time operas and R.A. Lafferty's short story All Pieces of a River Shore are some of my favorites. Somewhere in the late 1960s we began to lose our wayscience and technology became as much the problem as the solution. And today, despite all our encouragement of STEM disciplines, we are so very sure the tech is going to kill us all. SF, particularly in film, hectors us into believing that high technologies are the problem. Not the solution.

OP: What are your thoughts on recent sci-fi movies, like Arrival and Ghost in the Shell? Anything you wanted to direct attention to as a scholar or sci-fi fan?

Phil:Harrison Ford needs to stop with the science fiction-fantasy film series comeback routine...I've reached peak Harrison Ford.

I saw Valerian last week...The dialogue is pretty wooden (like the hardest wood possible, quebracho maybe?) but the visuals are stunning. The scene where the commando jacks into the guard at the augmented reality bazaar is fantastic. Remote control animals is real science. They've done it with cockroaches, beetles, sharks, turtles, mice and rats. That sort of thing. They slip a subcortical electrode implant under the skin and drive the things by push button.

OP: You've got an event at Escape Velocity this year where you talk about matter replication. Can you give me a teaser about what that'll be like?

Phil:Sure. I'll mostly be talking about the past and present of an idea we now call "post-scarcity." We are so hungry for a world where automation and radical abundance replace traditional human labor for wages. Even people who think they are against this are probably really in favor of it. We don't need to be defined by the drudgery of our lives anymore; we've actually never wanted to be. A number of commentators have suggested that a Minecraft mindset combined with additive manufacturing tools are harbingers of the post-scarcity economy. I would say that science fiction has been prepping us for a very long time before Minecraft and 3D-printing.

I'll be talking about visions of worlds where machines churn out most material goods, at negligible cost, starting with a 1935 short story by Murray Leinster called "The Fourth Dimensional Demonstrator." In the story, Leinster conjures up a duplicator-unduplicator that exploits the notion that the four-dimensional universe (which includes time) has a bit of thickness. The device grabs chunks from the past and propels them into the present. The protagonist (Pete Davidson) uses the devicewhich he inherits from his inventor uncleto copy a banknote placed on the machine's platform. When the button is pushed the note remains, but it is joined by a copy of the note that existed seconds before, exactly when the button was pushed...The machine is used to hilarious effect as Davidson duplicates gold, and then (accidentally) pet kangaroos, girlfriends, and police officers plucked from the fourth dimension.

OP: Anything you're looking forward to seeing at Escape Velocity, apart from your panel?

Phil:My favorite part of EV is the cosplay. As I said on the phone, last year I was moderating a couple of sessions on the social lives of robots and had a cosplay Daft Punk robot sit down next to me and strike up conversations before and after sessions. The girl under the helmet was college-aged and super smart. She asked all sorts of interesting and important questions about why she liked to dress up like a robot. I was flummoxed by her brilliance.

Want tocheck out Phil Frana's talk at Escape Velocity this year (September 1st-3rd)? You can win a pair of weekend tickets to the event, courtesy of the Museum of Science Fiction and Outer Places! Click here to access the giveaway, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.letting us know!

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Digital Immortality, The Future of Memory, and Sci-Fi Utopias: An Interview With Dr. Phil Frana - Outer Places

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