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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension is the idea of extending the human lifespan, either modestly through improvements in medicine or dramatically by increasing the maximum lifespan beyond its generally settled limit of 125 years.[1] The ability to achieve such dramatic changes, however, does not currently exist.[2]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[3]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[2] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[2][4][5][6]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[7] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[8][9]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[10] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[11]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[12] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[13][14]Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[15][16][17][18]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[19][20] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[21] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[22]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[23] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[24]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[2]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[25]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[26]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[27]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[28]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[29]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[30] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[31] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[32] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[33]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[34]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[35] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[36] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[37] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[38]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[39][40][41][42]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[5]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[43]

Though many scientists state[44] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[45]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[46] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[47]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[48] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[49]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[50]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[51] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[52]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[53] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[54] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[53]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[55] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[56]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[55] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[57] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[58] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[59] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[60] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[61] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[62]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[61][63]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[64][65]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[66] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[66]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[67] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[68]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[69] metformin and other geroprotectors.[70] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[71][72][73]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[74] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[75]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[76] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[77]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[78] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[79] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations.[citation needed] Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[80]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[81]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[82] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[83] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[84]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[85][86]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[87]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[88][89] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[90][91] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[4][6]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[92][93]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[94]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[95] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[96]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[97] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[98] and collectively (into societal systems).[99] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[100]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[101] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[102]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[103][104][105][106][107] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[104][105] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[108][105] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[109] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[108]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[103] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[109][108][103][105]

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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension is the idea of extending the human lifespan, either modestly through improvements in medicine or dramatically by increasing the maximum lifespan beyond its generally settled limit of 125 years.[1] The ability to achieve such dramatic changes, however, does not currently exist.[2]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[3]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[2] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[2][4][5][6]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[7] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[8][9]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[10] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[11]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[12] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[13][14]Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[15][16][17][18]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[19][20] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[21] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[22]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[23] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[24]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[2]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[25]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[26]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[27]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[28]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[29]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[30] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[31] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[32] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[33]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[34]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[35] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[36] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[37] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[38]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[39][40][41][42]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[5]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[43]

Though many scientists state[44] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[45]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[46] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[47]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[48] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[49]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[50]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[51] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[52]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[53] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[54] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[53]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[55] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[56]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[55] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[57] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[58] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[59] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[60] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[61] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[62]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[61][63]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[64][65]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[66] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[66]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[67] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[68]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[69] metformin and other geroprotectors.[70] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[71][72][73]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[74] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[75]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[76] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[77]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[78] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[79] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations.[citation needed] Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[80]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[81]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[82] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[83] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[84]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[85][86]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[87]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[88][89] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[90][91] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[4][6]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[92][93]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[94]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[95] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[96]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[97] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[98] and collectively (into societal systems).[99] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[100]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[101] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[102]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[103][104][105][106][107] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[104][105] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[108][105] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[109] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[108]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[103] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[109][108][103][105]

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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine,[citation needed] indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. The ability to achieve this, however, does not currently exist.[1]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[2]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[1] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[1][3][4][5]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[6] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[7][8]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[9] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[10]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[11] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[12][13] Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[14][15][16][17]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[18][19] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[20] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[21]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[22] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[23]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[1]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[24]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[25]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[26]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[27]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[28]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[29] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[30] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[31] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[32]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[33]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[34] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[35] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[36] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[37]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[38][39][40][41]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[4]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[42]

Though many scientists state[43] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[44]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[45] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[46]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[47] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[48]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[49]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[50] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[51]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[52] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[53] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[52]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[54] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[55]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[54] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[56] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[57] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[58] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[59] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[60] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[61]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[60][62]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[63][64]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[65] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[65]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[66] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[67]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[68] metformin and other geroprotectors.[69] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[70][71][72]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[73] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[74]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[75] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[76]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[77] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[78] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations. Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[79]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[80]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[81] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[82] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[83]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[84][85]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[86]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[87][88] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[89][90] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[3][5]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[91][92]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[93]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[94] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[95]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[96] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[97] and collectively (into societal systems).[98] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[99]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[100] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[101]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[102][103][104][105][106] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[103][104] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[107][104] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[108] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[107]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[102] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[108][107][102][104]

Continued here:

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine,[citation needed] indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. The ability to achieve this, however, does not currently exist.[1]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[2]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[1] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[1][3][4][5]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[6] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[7][8]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[9] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[10]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[11] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[12][13] Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[14][15][16][17]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[18][19] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[20] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[21]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[22] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[23]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[1]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[24]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[25]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[26]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[27]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[28]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[29] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[30] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[31] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[32]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[33]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[34] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[35] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[36] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[37]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[38][39][40][41]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[4]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[42]

Though many scientists state[43] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[44]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[45] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[46]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[47] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[48]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[49]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[50] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[51]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[52] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[53] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[52]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[54] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[55]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[54] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[56] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[57] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[58] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[59] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[60] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[61]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[60][62]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[63][64]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[65] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[65]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[66] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[67]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[68] metformin and other geroprotectors.[69] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[70][71][72]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[73] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[74]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[75] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[76]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[77] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[78] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations. Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[79]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[80]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[81] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[82] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[83]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[84][85]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[86]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[87][88] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[89][90] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[3][5]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[91][92]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[93]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[94] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[95]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[96] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[97] and collectively (into societal systems).[98] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[99]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[100] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[101]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[102][103][104][105][106] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[103][104] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[107][104] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[108] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[107]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[102] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[108][107][102][104]

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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life Extension Foundation – Wikipedia

The Life Extension Foundation (LEF) is a nonprofit organization, whose aim is to extend the healthy human lifespan by discovering scientific methods to control aging and eradicate disease. It is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to its 2009 Form 990 , it had assets of over $25 million and netted more than $3 million on revenue of more than $18 million that year. [1]

It was founded by Saul Kent and William Faloon in 1980.[2][3] It claims that its primary purpose is to fund research[4] and disseminate information on life extension, preventive medicine, anti-aging and optimal health as well as sports performance, with a focus on hormonal and nutritional supplementation, deriving much of its income from the sale of vitamins and supplements.

In May 2013, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the Life Extension Foundations tax-exempt status, retroactive to 2006.[5] Forbes reported that “The IRS problem with the Foundation is […] an entirely worldly one: it asserts the membership organizations operations seem to be too entwined with the for-profit Life Extension Buyers Club.”[6] LEF filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment on August 7, 2013, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the IRS’ allegations.[7] The case is pending.[8]

In 1980 – 1981 they recommended people to consume high doses of antioxidant vitamins to maintain their health, take DHEA to slow aging and B-complex vitamins to lower homocysteine blood levels. In 1983 they were the first to recommend the Japanese cardiac drug coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an anti-aging nutrient. In 1985 they published an article where they assumed that AIDS could be slowed by vitamin supplementation. In 1991 the company sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because the FDA didn’t approve Tacrine (THA) to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In 1996, Life Extension published the first book where they told about preventing and treating 110 diseases.[9]

In 1997 they introduced a compound called s-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) that helped to deal with depression, arthritis, and certain liver disorders.

In 1998 the FDA approved the anti-viral drug ribavirin for use in hepatitis C patients.

In 2000 they conducted original research using carotid ultrasound tests to show that taking high doses of antioxidants over an extended period of time may provide some protection against atherosclerosis.

In 2001 they recommended memantine to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinsons disease, which was approved by the FDA. In 2005 they introduced a form of coenzyme Q10 ubiquinol which has a good blood- absorbing qualities. In 2012 they formulated a product featuring oleuropein. In 2014 they formulated a series of supplements containing the polyphenol gastrodin to support brain function. [10]

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Life Extension Foundation – Wikipedia

Nineteen Eighty-Four – Wikipedia

Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel published in 1949 by English author George Orwell.[2][3] The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation.

In the novel, Great Britain (“Airstrip One”) has become a province of a superstate named Oceania. Oceania is ruled by the “Party”, who employ the “Thought Police” to persecute individualism and independent thinking.[4] The Party’s leader is Big Brother, who enjoys an intense cult of personality but may not even exist. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a rank-and-file Party member. Smith is an outwardly diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. Smith rebels by entering a forbidden relationship with fellow employee Julia.

As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common usage since its publication in 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.[5] In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.[6] It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor’s list, and 6 on the readers’ list.[7] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.[8]

Orwell “encapsulate[d] the thesis at the heart of his unforgiving novel” in 1944, the implications of dividing the world up into zones of influence, which had been conjured by the Tehran Conference. Three years later, he wrote most of it on the Scottish island of Jura from 1947 to 1948 despite being seriously ill with tuberculosis.[9][10] On 4 December 1948, he sent the final manuscript to the publisher Secker and Warburg, and Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on 8 June 1949.[11][12] By 1989, it had been translated into 65 languages, more than any other novel in English until then.[13] The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language and the author’s surname are often invoked against control and intrusion by the state, and the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia that is characterised by government control and subjugation of the people.

Orwell’s invented language, Newspeak, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) oversees torture and brainwashing, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) oversees shortage and rationing, the Ministry of Peace (Minipax) oversees war and atrocity and the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) oversees propaganda and historical revisionism.

The Last Man in Europe was an early title for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between that title and Nineteen Eighty-Four.[14] Warburg suggested choosing the main title to be the latter, a more commercial one.[15]

In the novel 1985 (1978), Anthony Burgess suggests that Orwell, disillusioned by the onset of the Cold War (194591), intended to call the book 1948. The introduction to the Penguin Books Modern Classics edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four reports that Orwell originally set the novel in 1980 but that he later shifted the date to 1982 and then to 1984. The introduction to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Animal Farm and 1984 (2003) reports that the title 1984 was chosen simply as an inversion of the year 1948, the year in which it was being completed, and that the date was meant to give an immediacy and urgency to the menace of totalitarian rule.[16]

Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or legally challenged, as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), We (1924) by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Darkness at Noon (1940) by Arthur Koestler, Kallocain (1940) by Karin Boye and Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury.[17] Some writers consider the Russian dystopian novel We by Zamyatin to have influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four,[18][19] and the novel bears significant similarities in its plot and characters to Darkness at Noon, written years before by Arthur Koestler, who was a personal friend of Orwell.[20]

The novel is in the public domain in Canada,[21] South Africa,[22] Argentina,[23] Australia,[24] and Oman.[25] It will be in the public domain in the United Kingdom, the EU,[26] and Brazil in 2021[27] (70 years after the author’s death), and in the United States in 2044.[28]

Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental superstates that divided the world after a global war.

Smith’s memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom became involved in a war fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America during the early 1950s. Nuclear weapons were used during the war, leading to the destruction of Colchester. London would also suffer widespread aerial raids, leading Winston’s family to take refuge in a London Underground station. Britain fell to civil war, with street fighting in London, before the English Socialist Party, abbreviated as Ingsoc, emerged victorious and formed a totalitarian government in Britain. The British Commonwealth was absorbed by the United States to become Oceania. Eventually Ingsoc emerged to form a totalitarian government in the country.

Simultaneously, the Soviet Union conquered continental Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate of Eastasia would emerge in the Far East after several decades of fighting. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world in “a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hong Kong” through constantly shifting alliances. Although each of the three states are said to have sufficient natural resources, the war continues in order to maintain ideological control over the people.

However, due to the fact that Winston barely remembers these events and due to the Party’s manipulation of history, the continuity and accuracy of these events are unclear. Winston himself notes that the Party has claimed credit for inventing helicopters, airplanes and trains, while Julia theorizes that the perpetual bombing of London is merely a false-flag operation designed to convince the populace that a war is occurring. If the official account was accurate, Smith’s strengthening memories and the story of his family’s dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first, followed by civil war featuring “confused street fighting in London itself” and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively calls “the Revolution”.

Most of the plot takes place in London, the “chief city of Airstrip One”, the Oceanic province that “had once been called England or Britain”.[29][30] Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”, dominate the city (Winston states it can be found on nearly every house), while the ubiquitous telescreen (transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace. Military parades, propaganda films, and public executions are said to be commonplace.

The class hierarchy of Oceania has three levels:

As the government, the Party controls the population with four ministries:

The protagonist Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party, works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth as an editor, revising historical records, to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to unpersons, people who have been “vaporised”, i.e., not only killed by the state but denied existence even in history or memory.

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the regime’s continual rewriting and manipulation of history.[31]

In the year 1984, civilization has been damaged by war, civil conflict, and revolution. Airstrip One (formerly Britain) is a province of Oceania, one of the three totalitarian super-states that rules the world. It is ruled by the “Party” under the ideology of “Ingsoc” and the mysterious leader Big Brother, who has an intense cult of personality. The Party stamps out anyone who does not fully conform to their regime using the Thought Police and constant surveillance, through devices such as Telescreens (two-way televisions).

Winston Smith is a member of the middle class Outer Party. He works at the Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites historical records to conform to the state’s ever-changing version of history. Those who fall out of favour with the Party become “unpersons”, disappearing with all evidence of their existence removed. Winston revises past editions of The Times, while the original documents are destroyed by fire in a “memory hole”. He secretly opposes the Party’s rule and dreams of rebellion. He realizes that he is already a “thoughtcriminal” and likely to be caught one day.

While in a proletarian neighbourhood, he meets an antique shop owner called Mr. Charrington and buys a diary. He uses an alcove to hide it from the Telescreen in his room, and writes thoughts criticising the Party and Big Brother. In the journal, he records his sexual frustration over a young woman maintaining the novel-writing machines at the ministry named Julia, whom Winston is attracted to but suspects is an informant. He also suspects that his superior, an Inner Party official named O’Brien, is a secret agent for an enigmatic underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood, a group formed by Big Brother’s reviled political rival Emmanuel Goldstein.

The next day, Julia secretly hands Winston a note confessing her love for him. Winston and Julia begin an affair, an act of the rebellion as the Party insists that sex may only be used for reproduction. Winston realizes that she shares his loathing of the Party. They first meet in the country, and later in a rented room above Mr. Charrington’s shop. During his affair with Julia, Winston remembers the disappearance of his family during the civil war of the 1950s and his terse relationship with his ex-wife Katharine. Winston also interacts with his colleague Syme, who is writing a dictionary for a revised version of the English language called Newspeak. After Syme admits that the true purpose of Newspeak is to reduce the capacity of human thought, Winston speculates that Syme will disappear. Not long after, Syme disappears and no one acknowledges his absence.

Weeks later, Winston is approached by O’Brien, who offers Winston a chance to join the Brotherhood. They arrange a meeting at O’Brien’s luxurious flat where both Winston and Julia swear allegiance to the Brotherhood. He sends Winston a copy of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston and Julia read parts of the book, which explains more about how the Party maintains power, the true meanings of its slogans and the concept of perpetual war. It argues that the Party can be overthrown if proles (proletarians) rise up against it.

Mr. Charrington is revealed to be an agent of the Thought Police. Winston and Julia are captured in the shop and imprisoned in the Ministry of Love. O’Brien reveals that he is loyal to the party, and part of a special sting operation to catch “thoughtcriminals”. Over many months, Winston is tortured and forced to “cure” himself of his “insanity” by changing his own perception to fit the Party line, even if it requires saying that “2 + 2 = 5”. O’Brien openly admits that the Party “is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.” He says that once Winston is brainwashed into loyalty, he will be released back into society for a period of time, before they execute him. Winston points out that the Party has not managed to make him betray Julia.

O’Brien then takes Winston to Room 101 for the final stage of re-education. The room contains each prisoner’s worst fear, in Winston’s case rats. As a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face, Winston shouts “Do it to Julia!”, thus betraying her. After being released, Winston meets Julia in a park. She says that she was also tortured, and both reveal betraying the other. Later, Winston sits alone in a caf as Oceania celebrates a supposed victory over Eurasian armies in Africa, and realizes that “He loved Big Brother.”

Ingsoc (English Socialism) is the predominant ideology and pseudophilosophy of Oceania, and Newspeak is the official language of official documents.

In London, the capital city of Airstrip One, Oceania’s four government ministries are in pyramids (300 m high), the faades of which display the Party’s three slogans. The ministries’ names are the opposite (doublethink) of their true functions: “The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.” (Part II, Chapter IX The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism)

The Ministry of Peace supports Oceania’s perpetual war against either of the two other superstates:

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work.

The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, it publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production. The Ministry of Truth substantiates Ministry of Plenty’s claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, “increased rations”.

The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), “rectifying” historical records to concord with Big Brother’s current pronouncements so that everything the Party says is true.

The Ministry of Love identifies, monitors, arrests, and converts real and imagined dissidents. In Winston’s experience, the dissident is beaten and tortured, and, when near-broken, he is sent to Room 101 to face “the worst thing in the world”until love for Big Brother and the Party replaces dissension.

The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Three perpetually warring totalitarian super-states control the world:[34]

The perpetual war is fought for control of the “disputed area” lying “between the frontiers of the super-states”, which forms “a rough parallelogram with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong Kong”,[34] and Northern Africa, the Middle East, India and Indonesia are where the superstates capture and use slave labour. Fighting also takes place between Eurasia and Eastasia in Manchuria, Mongolia and Central Asia, and all three powers battle one another over various Atlantic and Pacific islands.

Goldstein’s book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, explains that the superstates’ ideologies are alike and that the public’s ignorance of this fact is imperative so that they might continue believing in the detestability of the opposing ideologies. The only references to the exterior world for the Oceanian citizenry (the Outer Party and the Proles) are Ministry of Truth maps and propaganda to ensure their belief in “the war”.

Winston Smith’s memory and Emmanuel Goldstein’s book communicate some of the history that precipitated the Revolution. Eurasia was formed when the Soviet Union conquered Continental Europe, creating a single state stretching from Portugal to the Bering Strait. Eurasia does not include the British Isles because the United States annexed them along with the rest of the British Empire and Latin America, thus establishing Oceania and gaining control over a quarter of the planet. Eastasia, the last superstate established, emerged only after “a decade of confused fighting”. It includes the Asian lands conquered by China and Japan. Although Eastasia is prevented from matching Eurasia’s size, its larger populace compensates for that handicap.

The annexation of Britain occurred about the same time as the atomic war that provoked civil war, but who fought whom in the war is left unclear. Nuclear weapons fell on Britain; an atomic bombing of Colchester is referenced in the text. Exactly how Ingsoc and its rival systems (Neo-Bolshevism and Death Worship) gained power in their respective countries is also unclear.

While the precise chronology cannot be traced, most of the global societal reorganization occurred between 1945 and the early 1960s. Winston and Julia once meet in the ruins of a church that was destroyed in a nuclear attack “thirty years” earlier, which suggests 1954 as the year of the atomic war that destabilised society and allowed the Party to seize power. It is stated in the novel that the “fourth quarter of 1983” was “also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan”, which implies that the first quarter of the first three-year plan began in July 1958. By then, the Party was apparently in control of Oceania.

In 1984, there is a perpetual war between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, the superstates that emerged from the global atomic war. The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, explains that each state is so strong it cannot be defeated, even with the combined forces of two superstates, despite changing alliances. To hide such contradictions, history is rewritten to explain that the (new) alliance always was so; the populaces are accustomed to doublethink and accept it. The war is not fought in Oceanian, Eurasian or Eastasian territory but in the Arctic wastes and in a disputed zone comprising the sea and land from Tangiers (Northern Africa) to Darwin (Australia). At the start, Oceania and Eastasia are allies fighting Eurasia in northern Africa and the Malabar Coast.

That alliance ends and Oceania, allied with Eurasia, fights Eastasia, a change occurring on Hate Week, dedicated to creating patriotic fervour for the Party’s perpetual war. The public are blind to the change; in mid-sentence, an orator changes the name of the enemy from “Eurasia” to “Eastasia” without pause. When the public are enraged at noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed, they tear them down; the Party later claims to have captured Africa.

Goldstein’s book explains that the purpose of the unwinnable, perpetual war is to consume human labour and commodities so that the economy of a superstate cannot support economic equality, with a high standard of life for every citizen. By using up most of the produced objects like boots and rations, the proles are kept poor and uneducated and will neither realise what the government is doing nor rebel. Goldstein also details an Oceanian strategy of attacking enemy cities with atomic rockets before invasion but dismisses it as unfeasible and contrary to the war’s purpose; despite the atomic bombing of cities in the 1950s, the superstates stopped it for fear that would imbalance the powers. The military technology in the novel differs little from that of World War II, but strategic bomber aeroplanes are replaced with rocket bombs, helicopters were heavily used as weapons of war (they did not figure in World War II in any form but prototypes) and surface combat units have been all but replaced by immense and unsinkable Floating Fortresses, island-like contraptions concentrating the firepower of a whole naval task force in a single, semi-mobile platform (in the novel, one is said to have been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, suggesting a preference for sea lane interdiction and denial).

The society of Airstrip One and, according to “The Book”, almost the whole world, lives in poverty: hunger, disease and filth are the norms. Ruined cities and towns are common: the consequence of the civil war, the atomic wars and the purportedly enemy (but possibly false flag) rockets. Social decay and wrecked buildings surround Winston; aside from the ministerial pyramids, little of London was rebuilt. Members of the Outer Party consume synthetic foodstuffs and poor-quality “luxuries” such as oily gin and loosely-packed cigarettes, distributed under the “Victory” brand. (That is a parody of the low-quality Indian-made “Victory” cigarettes, widely smoked in Britain and by British soldiers during World War II. They were smoked because it was easier to import them from India than it was to import American cigarettes from across the Atlantic because of the War of the Atlantic.)

Winston describes something as simple as the repair of a broken pane of glass as requiring committee approval that can take several years and so most of those living in one of the blocks usually do the repairs themselves (Winston himself is called in by Mrs. Parsons to repair her blocked sink). All Outer Party residences include telescreens that serve both as outlets for propaganda and to monitor the Party members; they can be turned down, but they cannot be turned off.

In contrast to their subordinates, the Inner Party upper class of Oceanian society reside in clean and comfortable flats in their own quarter of the city, with pantries well-stocked with foodstuffs such as wine, coffee and sugar, all denied to the general populace.[35] Winston is astonished that the lifts in O’Brien’s building work, the telescreens can be switched off and O’Brien has an Asian manservant, Martin. All members of the Inner Party are attended to by slaves captured in the disputed zone, and “The Book” suggests that many have their own motorcars or even helicopters. Nonetheless, “The Book” makes clear that even the conditions enjoyed by the Inner Party are only “relatively” comfortable, and standards would be regarded as austere by those of the prerevolutionary lite.[36]

The proles live in poverty and are kept sedated with alcohol, pornography and a national lottery whose winnings are never actually paid out; that is obscured by propaganda and the lack of communication within Oceania. At the same time, the proles are freer and less intimidated than the middle-class Outer Party: they are subject to certain levels of monitoring but are not expected to be particularly patriotic. They lack telescreens in their own homes and often jeer at the telescreens that they see. “The Book” indicates that is because the middle class, not the lower class, traditionally starts revolutions. The model demands tight control of the middle class, with ambitious Outer-Party members neutralised via promotion to the Inner Party or “reintegration” by the Ministry of Love, and proles can be allowed intellectual freedom because they lack intellect. Winston nonetheless believes that “the future belonged to the proles”.[37]

The standard of living of the populace is low overall. Consumer goods are scarce, and all those available through official channels are of low quality; for instance, despite the Party regularly reporting increased boot production, more than half of the Oceanian populace goes barefoot. The Party claims that poverty is a necessary sacrifice for the war effort, and “The Book” confirms that to be partially correct since the purpose of perpetual war consumes surplus industrial production. Outer Party members and proles occasionally gain access to better items in the market, which deals in goods that were pilfered from the residences of the Inner Party.[citation needed]

Nineteen Eighty-Four expands upon the subjects summarised in Orwell’s essay “Notes on Nationalism”[38] about the lack of vocabulary needed to explain the unrecognised phenomena behind certain political forces. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party’s artificial, minimalist language ‘Newspeak’ addresses the matter.

O’Brien concludes: “The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

In the book, Inner Party member O’Brien describes the Party’s vision of the future:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But alwaysdo not forget this, Winstonalways there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human faceforever.

Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four

A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs are modified and public archives rewritten to rid them of “unpersons” (persons who are erased from history by the Party). On the telescreens, figures for all types of production are grossly exaggerated or simply invented to indicate an ever-growing economy, when the reality is the opposite. One small example of the endless censorship is Winston being charged with the task of eliminating a reference to an unperson in a newspaper article. He proceeds to write an article about Comrade Ogilvy, a made-up party member who displayed great heroism by leaping into the sea from a helicopter so that the dispatches he was carrying would not fall into enemy hands.

The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some denounce their parents. Citizens are controlled, and the smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens, particularly party members, are compelled to obedience.

“The Principles of Newspeak” is an academic essay appended to the novel. It describes the development of Newspeak, the Party’s minimalist artificial language meant to ideologically align thought and action with the principles of Ingsoc by making “all other modes of thought impossible”. (A linguistic theory about how language may direct thought is the SapirWhorf hypothesis.)

Whether or not the Newspeak appendix implies a hopeful end to Nineteen Eighty-Four remains a critical debate, as it is in Standard English and refers to Newspeak, Ingsoc, the Party etc., in the past tense: “Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised” p.422). Some critics (Atwood,[39] Benstead,[40] Milner,[41] Pynchon[42]) claim that for the essay’s author, both Newspeak and the totalitarian government are in the past.

Nineteen Eighty-Four uses themes from life in the Soviet Union and wartime life in Great Britain as sources for many of its motifs. Some time at an unspecified date after the first American publication of the book, producer Sidney Sheldon wrote to Orwell interested in adapting the novel to the Broadway stage. Orwell sold the American stage rights to Sheldon, explaining that his basic goal with Nineteen Eighty-Four was imagining the consequences of Stalinist government ruling British society:

[Nineteen Eighty-Four] was based chiefly on communism, because that is the dominant form of totalitarianism, but I was trying chiefly to imagine what communism would be like if it were firmly rooted in the English speaking countries, and was no longer a mere extension of the Russian Foreign Office.[43]

The statement “2 + 2 = 5”, used to torment Winston Smith during his interrogation, was a communist party slogan from the second five-year plan, which encouraged fulfillment of the five-year plan in four years. The slogan was seen in electric lights on Moscow house-fronts, billboards and elsewhere.[44]

The switch of Oceania’s allegiance from Eastasia to Eurasia and the subsequent rewriting of history (“Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete”; ch 9) is evocative of the Soviet Union’s changing relations with Nazi Germany. The two nations were open and frequently vehement critics of each other until the signing of the 1939 Treaty of Non-Aggression. Thereafter, and continuing until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, no criticism of Germany was allowed in the Soviet press, and all references to prior party lines stoppedincluding in the majority of non-Russian communist parties who tended to follow the Russian line. Orwell had criticised the Communist Party of Great Britain for supporting the Treaty in his essays for Betrayal of the Left (1941). “The Hitler-Stalin pact of August 1939 reversed the Soviet Union’s stated foreign policy. It was too much for many of the fellow-travellers like Gollancz [Orwell’s sometime publisher] who had put their faith in a strategy of construction Popular Front governments and the peace bloc between Russia, Britain and France.”[45]

The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, with a “small, goatee beard”, evokes the image of Leon Trotsky. The film of Goldstein during the Two Minutes Hate is described as showing him being transformed into a bleating sheep. This image was used in a propaganda film during the Kino-eye period of Soviet film, which showed Trotsky transforming into a goat.[46] Goldstein’s book is similar to Trotsky’s highly critical analysis of the USSR, The Revolution Betrayed, published in 1936.

The omnipresent images of Big Brother, a man described as having a moustache, bears resemblance to the cult of personality built up around Joseph Stalin.

The news in Oceania emphasised production figures, just as it did in the Soviet Union, where record-setting in factories (by “Heroes of Socialist Labor”) was especially glorified. The best known of these was Alexey Stakhanov, who purportedly set a record for coal mining in 1935.

The tortures of the Ministry of Love evoke the procedures used by the NKVD in their interrogations,[47] including the use of rubber truncheons, being forbidden to put your hands in your pockets, remaining in brightly lit rooms for days, torture through the use of provoked rodents, and the victim being shown a mirror after their physical collapse.

The random bombing of Airstrip One is based on the Buzz bombs and the V-2 rocket, which struck England at random in 19441945.

The Thought Police is based on the NKVD, which arrested people for random “anti-soviet” remarks.[48] The Thought Crime motif is drawn from Kempeitai, the Japanese wartime secret police, who arrested people for “unpatriotic” thoughts.

The confessions of the “Thought Criminals” Rutherford, Aaronson and Jones are based on the show trials of the 1930s, which included fabricated confessions by prominent Bolsheviks Nikolai Bukharin, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev to the effect that they were being paid by the Nazi government to undermine the Soviet regime under Leon Trotsky’s direction.

The song “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree” (“Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me”) was based on an old English song called “Go no more a-rushing” (“Under the spreading chestnut tree, Where I knelt upon my knee, We were as happy as could be, ‘Neath the spreading chestnut tree.”). The song was published as early as 1891. The song was a popular camp song in the 1920s, sung with corresponding movements (like touching your chest when you sing “chest”, and touching your head when you sing “nut”). Glenn Miller recorded the song in 1939.[49]

The “Hates” (Two Minutes Hate and Hate Week) were inspired by the constant rallies sponsored by party organs throughout the Stalinist period. These were often short pep-talks given to workers before their shifts began (Two Minutes Hate), but could also last for days, as in the annual celebrations of the anniversary of the October revolution (Hate Week).

Orwell fictionalized “newspeak”, “doublethink”, and “Ministry of Truth” as evinced by both the Soviet press and that of Nazi Germany.[50] In particular, he adapted Soviet ideological discourse constructed to ensure that public statements could not be questioned.[51]

Winston Smith’s job, “revising history” (and the “unperson” motif) are based on the Stalinist habit of airbrushing images of ‘fallen’ people from group photographs and removing references to them in books and newspapers.[53] In one well-known example, the Soviet encyclopaedia had an article about Lavrentiy Beria. When he fell in 1953, and was subsequently executed, institutes that had the encyclopaedia were sent an article about the Bering Strait, with instructions to paste it over the article about Beria.[54]

Big Brother’s “Orders of the Day” were inspired by Stalin’s regular wartime orders, called by the same name. A small collection of the more political of these have been published (together with his wartime speeches) in English as “On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union” By Joseph Stalin.[55][56] Like Big Brother’s Orders of the day, Stalin’s frequently lauded heroic individuals,[57] like Comrade Ogilvy, the fictitious hero Winston Smith invented to ‘rectify’ (fabricate) a Big Brother Order of the day.

The Ingsoc slogan “Our new, happy life”, repeated from telescreens, evokes Stalin’s 1935 statement, which became a CPSU slogan, “Life has become better, Comrades; life has become more cheerful.”[48]

In 1940 Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges published Tln, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius which described the invention by a “benevolent secret society” of a world that would seek to remake human language and reality along human-invented lines. The story concludes with an appendix describing the success of the project. Borges’ story addresses similar themes of epistemology, language and history to 1984.[58]

During World War II, Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war. The question being “Would it end via Fascist coup d’tat from above or via Socialist revolution from below”?[citation needed] Later, he admitted that events proved him wrong: “What really matters is that I fell into the trap of assuming that ‘the war and the revolution are inseparable’.”[59]

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945) share themes of the betrayed revolution, the person’s subordination to the collective, rigorously enforced class distinctions (Inner Party, Outer Party, Proles), the cult of personality, concentration camps, Thought Police, compulsory regimented daily exercise, and youth leagues. Oceania resulted from the US annexation of the British Empire to counter the Asian peril to Australia and New Zealand. It is a naval power whose militarism venerates the sailors of the floating fortresses, from which battle is given to recapturing India, the “Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire. Much of Oceanic society is based upon the USSR under Joseph StalinBig Brother. The televised Two Minutes Hate is ritual demonisation of the enemies of the State, especially Emmanuel Goldstein (viz Leon Trotsky). Altered photographs and newspaper articles create unpersons deleted from the national historical record, including even founding members of the regime (Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford) in the 1960s purges (viz the Soviet Purges of the 1930s, in which leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution were similarly treated). A similar thing also happened during the French Revolution in which many of the original leaders of the Revolution were later put to death, for example Danton who was put to death by Robespierre, and then later Robespierre himself met the same fate.

In his 1946 essay “Why I Write”, Orwell explains that the serious works he wrote since the Spanish Civil War (193639) were “written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism”.[3][60] Nineteen Eighty-Four is a cautionary tale about revolution betrayed by totalitarian defenders previously proposed in Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Animal Farm (1945), while Coming Up for Air (1939) celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Biographer Michael Shelden notes Orwell’s Edwardian childhood at Henley-on-Thames as the golden country; being bullied at St Cyprian’s School as his empathy with victims; his life in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma and the techniques of violence and censorship in the BBC as capricious authority.[61]

Other influences include Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Yogi and the Commissar (1945) by Arthur Koestler; The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London; 1920: Dips into the Near Future[62] by John A. Hobson; Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin which he reviewed in 1946;[63] and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James Burnham predicting perpetual war among three totalitarian superstates. Orwell told Jacintha Buddicom that he would write a novel stylistically like A Modern Utopia (1905) by H. G. Wells.[citation needed]

Extrapolating from World War II, the novel’s pastiche parallels the politics and rhetoric at war’s endthe changed alliances at the “Cold War’s” (194591) beginning; the Ministry of Truth derives from the BBC’s overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room 101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House;[64] the Senate House of the University of London, containing the Ministry of Information is the architectural inspiration for the Minitrue; the post-war decrepitude derives from the socio-political life of the UK and the US, i.e., the impoverished Britain of 1948 losing its Empire despite newspaper-reported imperial triumph; and war ally but peace-time foe, Soviet Russia became Eurasia.

The term “English Socialism” has precedents in his wartime writings; in the essay “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” (1941), he said that “the war and the revolution are inseparable…the fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy” because Britain’s superannuated social class system hindered the war effort and only a socialist economy would defeat Adolf Hitler. Given the middle class’s grasping this, they too would abide socialist revolution and that only reactionary Britons would oppose it, thus limiting the force revolutionaries would need to take power. An English Socialism would come about which “will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word.”[65]

In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, “English Socialism”(or “Ingsoc” in Newspeak) is a totalitarian ideology unlike the English revolution he foresaw. Comparison of the wartime essay “The Lion and the Unicorn” with Nineteen Eighty-Four shows that he perceived a Big Brother regime as a perversion of his cherished socialist ideals and English Socialism. Thus Oceania is a corruption of the British Empire he believed would evolve “into a federation of Socialist states, like a looser and freer version of the Union of Soviet Republics”.[66][verification needed]

When first published, Nineteen Eighty-Four was generally well received by reviewers. V. S. Pritchett, reviewing the novel for the New Statesman stated: “I do not think I have ever read a novel more frightening and depressing; and yet, such are the originality, the suspense, the speed of writing and withering indignation that it is impossible to put the book down.”[67] P. H. Newby, reviewing Nineteen Eighty-Four for The Listener magazine, described it as “the most arresting political novel written by an Englishman since Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome.”[68] Nineteen Eighty-Four was also praised by Bertrand Russell, E. M. Forster and Harold Nicolson.[68] On the other hand, Edward Shanks, reviewing Nineteen Eighty-Four for The Sunday Times, was dismissive; Shanks claimed Nineteen Eighty-Four “breaks all records for gloomy vaticination”.[68] C. S. Lewis was also critical of the novel, claiming that the relationship of Julia and Winston, and especially the Party’s view on sex, lacked credibility, and that the setting was “odious rather than tragic”.[69]

Nineteen Eighty-Four has been adapted for the cinema, radio, television and theatre at least twice each, as well as for other art media, such as ballet and opera.

The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the English language is extensive; the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, the Thought Police, thoughtcrime, unperson, memory hole (oblivion), doublethink (simultaneously holding and believing contradictory beliefs) and Newspeak (ideological language) have become common phrases for denoting totalitarian authority. Doublespeak and groupthink are both deliberate elaborations of doublethink, and the adjective “Orwellian” means similar to Orwell’s writings, especially Nineteen Eighty-Four. The practice of ending words with “-speak” (such as mediaspeak) is drawn from the novel.[70] Orwell is perpetually associated with 1984; in July 1984, an asteroid was discovered by Antonn Mrkos and named after Orwell.

References to the themes, concepts and plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four have appeared frequently in other works, especially in popular music and video entertainment. An example is the worldwide hit reality television show Big Brother, in which a group of people live together in a large house, isolated from the outside world but continuously watched by television cameras.

The book touches on the invasion of privacy and ubiquitous surveillance. From mid-2013 it was publicized that the NSA has been secretly monitoring and storing global internet traffic, including the bulk data collection of email and phone call data. Sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four increased by up to seven times within the first week of the 2013 mass surveillance leaks.[79][80][81] The book again topped the Amazon.com sales charts in 2017 after a controversy involving Kellyanne Conway using the phrase “alternative facts” to explain discrepancies with the media.[82][83][84][85]

The book also shows mass media as a catalyst for the intensification of destructive emotions and violence. Since the 20th century, news and other forms of media have been publicizing violence more often.[86][87] In 2013, the Almeida Theatre and Headlong staged a successful new adaptation (by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan), which twice toured the UK and played an extended run in London’s West End. The play opened on Broadway in 2017.

In the decades since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, there have been numerous comparisons to Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, which had been published 17 years earlier, in 1932.[88][89][90][91] They are both predictions of societies dominated by a central government and are both based on extensions of the trends of their times. However, members of the ruling class of Nineteen Eighty-Four use brutal force, torture and mind control to keep individuals in line, but rulers in Brave New World keep the citizens in line by addictive drugs and pleasurable distractions.

In October 1949, after reading Nineteen Eighty-Four, Huxley sent a letter to Orwell and wrote that it would be more efficient for rulers to stay in power by the softer touch by allowing citizens to self-seek pleasure to control them rather than brute force and to allow a false sense of freedom:

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.[92]

Elements of both novels can be seen in modern-day societies, with Huxley’s vision being more dominant in the West and Orwell’s vision more prevalent with dictators in ex-communist countries, as is pointed out in essays that compare the two novels, including Huxley’s own Brave New World Revisited.[93][94][95][85]

Comparisons with other dystopian novels like The Handmaid’s Tale, Virtual Light, The Private Eye and Children of Men have also been drawn.[96][97]

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Nineteen Eighty-Four – Wikipedia

War on drugs – Wikipedia

War on Drugs is an American term[6][7] usually applied to the U.S. federal government’s campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.[8][9] The initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by President Richard Nixonthe day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Controlduring which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”.[10][11][12] However, two years prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.[13] Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.[14]

On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowskethe Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term “War on Drugs”, because Kerlikowske considers the term to be “counter-productive”.[15] ONDCP’s view is that “drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated… making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe”.[16] One of the alternatives that Kerlikowske has showcased is the drug policy of Sweden, which seeks to balance public health concerns with opposition to drug legalization. The prevalence rates for cocaine use in Sweden are barely one-fifth of those in Spain, the biggest consumer of the drug.[17]

In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”[18] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[16]

The first U.S. law that restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The first local laws came as early as 1860.[19] In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, with exceptions for religious and medical use. In 1920, the United States passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), enacted to carry out the provisions in law of the 18th Amendment.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in the United States Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585).[20] In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly supported the adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The New York Times used the headline “Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid”.[21][22]

In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed. Several scholars have claimed that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,[23][24][25] largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[23][25] These scholars argue that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.[23][26] These scholars believe that Hearst felt[dubious discuss] that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, United States Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, nylon, and considered[dubious discuss] its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.[23][27][28][29][30][31][32][33] However, there were circumstances that contradict these claims. One reason for doubts about those claims is that the new decorticators did not perform fully satisfactorily in commercial production.[34] To produce fiber from hemp was a labor-intensive process if you include harvest, transport and processing. Technological developments decreased the labor with hemp but not sufficient to eliminate this disadvantage.[35][36]

On October 27, 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which, among other things, categorizes controlled substances based on their medicinal use and potential for addiction.[37] In 1971, two congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, and President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”.[37][38]

Although Nixon declared “drug abuse” to be public enemy number one in 1971,[39] the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.[37][40]

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” John Ehrlichman, to Dan Baum[41][42][43] for Harper’s Magazine[44] in 1994, about President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, declared in 1971.[45][46]

In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[37]

The Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 210-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. Robert DuPont, the “Drug czar” in the Nixon Administration, stated it would be more accurate to say that Nixon ended, rather than launched, the “war on drugs”. DuPont also argued that it was the proponents of drug legalization that popularized the term “war on drugs”.[16][unreliable source?]

In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[47]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[48][49] which mandated a national anti-drug media campaign for youth, which would later become the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.[50] The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug czar,[37] and it was first implemented in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush,[51] and raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.[52] These activities were subsequently funded by the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998.[53][54] The Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 codified the campaign at 21 U.S.C.1708.[55]

The Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report on June 2, 2011, alleging that “The War On Drugs Has Failed.” The commissioned was made up of 22 self-appointed members including a number of prominent international politicians and writers. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin also released the first ever National Prevention Strategy.[56]

On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy.[57] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different from the “War on Drugs”:

At the same meeting was a declaration signed by the representatives of Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in line with this: “Our approach must be a balanced one, combining effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs, with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery; supporting people to live a life free of addiction.”[59]

In March 2016 the International Narcotics Control Board stated that the International Drug Control treaties do not mandate a “war on drugs.”[60]

According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates that disproportionately targeted African Americans due to various factors.[62] John Ehrlichman, an aide to Nixon, said that Nixon used the war on drugs to criminalize and disrupt black and hippie communities and their leaders.[63]

The present state of incarceration in the U.S. as a result of the war on drugs arrived in several stages. By 1971, different stops on drugs had been implemented for more than 50 years (for e.g. since 1914, 1937 etc.) with only a very small increase of inmates per 100,000 citizens. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression “War on Drugs”, statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned.

After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[64] The result of increased demand was the development of privatization and the for-profit prison industry.[65] The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates.” In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses.[66]

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the “War on Drugs” resulted in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[67] In 2008, the Washington Post reported that of 1.5 million Americans arrested each year for drug offenses, half a million would be incarcerated.[68] In addition, one in five black Americans would spend time behind bars due to drug laws.[68]

Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime.[69] In particular, the passage of the 1990 SolomonLautenberg amendment led many states to impose mandatory driver’s license suspensions (of at least 6 months) for persons committing a drug offense, regardless of whether any motor vehicle was involved.[70][71] Approximately 191,000 licenses were suspended in this manner in 2016, according to a Prison Policy Initiative report.[72]

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the trafficking or possession of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[73][74][75][76] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[77] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[78] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[74][75] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[77]

According to Human Rights Watch, crime statistics show thatin the United States in 1999compared to non-minorities, African Americans were far more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences.[79]

Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[74] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[80] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.[74]

Anti-drug legislation over time has also displayed an apparent racial bias. University of Minnesota Professor and social justice author Michael Tonry writes, “The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young disadvantaged black Americans and undermined decades of effort to improve the life chances of members of the urban black underclass.”[81]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that the government needed to make an effort to curtail the social unrest that blanketed the country at the time. He decided to focus his efforts on illegal drug use, an approach which was in line with expert opinion on the subject at the time. In the 1960s, it was believed that at least half of the crime in the U.S. was drug related, and this number grew as high as 90 percent in the next decade.[82] He created the Reorganization Plan of 1968 which merged the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs within the Department of Justice.[83] The belief during this time about drug use was summarized by journalist Max Lerner in his celebrated[citation needed] work America as a Civilization (1957):

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply.[84]

Richard Nixon became president in 1969, and did not back away from the anti-drug precedent set by Johnson. Nixon began orchestrating drug raids nationwide to improve his “watchdog” reputation. Lois B. Defleur, a social historian who studied drug arrests during this period in Chicago, stated that, “police administrators indicated they were making the kind of arrests the public wanted”. Additionally, some of Nixon’s newly created drug enforcement agencies would resort to illegal practices to make arrests as they tried to meet public demand for arrest numbers. From 1972 to 1973, the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement performed 6,000 drug arrests in 18 months, the majority of the arrested black.[85]

The next two Presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, responded with programs that were essentially a continuation of their predecessors. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 he delivered a speech on the topic. Reagan announced, “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.”[86] For his first five years in office, Reagan slowly strengthened drug enforcement by creating mandatory minimum sentencing and forfeiture of cash and real estate for drug offenses, policies far more detrimental to poor blacks than any other sector affected by the new laws.[citation needed]

Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias,[dubious discuss] Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[87] A major stipulation of the new sentencing rules included different mandatory minimums for powder and crack cocaine. At the time of the bill, there was public debate as to the difference in potency and effect of powder cocaine, generally used by whites, and crack cocaine, generally used by blacks, with many believing that “crack” was substantially more powerful and addictive. Crack and powder cocaine are closely related chemicals, crack being a smokeable, freebase form of powdered cocaine hydrochloride which produces a shorter, more intense high while using less of the drug. This method is more cost effective, and therefore more prevalent on the inner-city streets, while powder cocaine remains more popular in white suburbia. The Reagan administration began shoring public opinion against “crack”, encouraging DEA official Robert Putnam to play up the harmful effects of the drug. Stories of “crack whores” and “crack babies” became commonplace; by 1986, Time had declared “crack” the issue of the year.[88] Riding the wave of public fervor, Reagan established much harsher sentencing for crack cocaine, handing down stiffer felony penalties for much smaller amounts of the drug.[89]

Reagan protg and former Vice-President George H. W. Bush was next to occupy the oval office, and the drug policy under his watch held true to his political background. Bush maintained the hard line drawn by his predecessor and former boss, increasing narcotics regulation when the First National Drug Control Strategy was issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.[90]

The next three presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama continued this trend, maintaining the War on Drugs as they inherited it upon taking office.[91] During this time of passivity by the federal government, it was the states that initiated controversial legislation in the War on Drugs. Racial bias manifested itself in the states through such controversial policies as the “stop and frisk” police practices in New York city and the “three strikes” felony laws began in California in 1994.[92]

In August 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law that dramatically reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities.[93]

Commonly used illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and, marijuana.

Heroin is an opiate that is highly addictive. If caught selling or possessing heroin, a perpetrator can be charged with a felony and face twofour years in prison and could be fined to a maximum of $20,000.[94]

Crystal meth is composed of methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is marketed as either a white powder or in a solid (rock) form. The possession of crystal meth can result in a punishment varying from a fine to a jail sentence. As with other drug crimes, sentencing length may increase depending on the amount of the drug found in the possession of the defendant.[95]

Cocaine possession is illegal across the U.S., with the cheaper crack cocaine incurring even greater penalties. Having possession is when the accused knowingly has it on their person, or in a backpack or purse. The possession of cocaine with no prior conviction, for the first offense, the person will be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or fined $1,000, or both. If the person has a prior conviction, whether it is a narcotic or cocaine, they will be sentenced to two years in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both. With two or more convictions of possession prior to this present offense, they can be sentenced to 90 days in prison along with a $5,000 fine.[96]

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. The punishment for possession of it is less than for the possession of cocaine or heroin. In some U.S. states, the drug is legal. Over 80 million Americans have tried marijuana. The Criminal Defense Lawyer article claims that, depending on the age of person and how much the person has been caught for possession, they will be fined and could plea bargain into going to a treatment program versus going to prison. In each state the convictions differ along with how much marijuana they have on their person.[97]

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase “War on Drugs” is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[9] Others have argued that large amounts of “drug war” foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[8]

From 1963 to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, marijuana usage became common among U.S. soldiers in non-combat situations. Some servicemen also used heroin. Many of the servicemen ended the heroin use after returning to the United States but came home addicted. In 1971, the U.S. military conducted a study of drug use among American servicemen and women. It found that daily usage rates for drugs on a worldwide basis were as low as two percent.[98] However, in the spring of 1971, two congressmen released an alarming report alleging that 15% of the servicemen in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. Marijuana use was also common in Vietnam. Soldiers who used drugs had more disciplinary problems. The frequent drug use had become an issue for the commanders in Vietnam; in 1971 it was estimated that 30,000 servicemen were addicted to drugs, most of them to heroin.[11]

From 1971 on, therefore, returning servicemen were required to take a mandatory heroin test. Servicemen who tested positive upon returning from Vietnam were not allowed to return home until they had passed the test with a negative result. The program also offered a treatment for heroin addicts.[99]

Elliot Borin’s article “The U.S. Military Needs its Speed”published in Wired on February 10, 2003reports:

But the Defense Department, which distributed millions of amphetamine tablets to troops during World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War, soldiers on, insisting that they are not only harmless but beneficial.

In a news conference held in connection with Schmidt and Umbach’s Article 32 hearing, Dr. Pete Demitry, an Air Force physician and a pilot, claimed that the “Air Force has used (Dexedrine) safely for 60 years” with “no known speed-related mishaps.”

The need for speed, Demitry added “is a life-and-death issue for our military.”[100]

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon’s Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. The effort began with an intense inspection crackdown that resulted in an almost shutdown of cross-border traffic.[101] Because the burden on border crossings was controversial in border states, the effort only lasted twenty days.[102]

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[103][104] When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[103] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[103] When CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of tolerating his drug operations.[103] Operation Just Cause, whose purpose was to capture Noriega and overthrow his government; Noriega found temporary asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and surrendered to U.S. soldiers on January 3, 1990.[105] He was sentenced by a court in Miami to 45 years in prison.[103]

As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia,[106] to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[107]

Private U.S. corporations have signed contracts to carry out anti-drug activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp, the largest private company involved, was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department.[108]

Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA). Author Grace Livingstone has stated that more Colombian SOA graduates have been implicated in human rights abuses than currently known SOA graduates from any other country. All of the commanders of the brigades highlighted in a 2001 Human Rights Watch report on Colombia were graduates of the SOA, including the III brigade in Valle del Cauca, where the 2001 Alto Naya Massacre occurred. US-trained officers have been accused of being directly or indirectly involved in many atrocities during the 1990s, including the Massacre of Trujillo and the 1997 Mapiripn Massacre.

In 2000, the Clinton administration initially waived all but one of the human rights conditions attached to Plan Colombia, considering such aid as crucial to national security at the time.[109]

The efforts of U.S. and Colombian governments have been criticized for focusing on fighting leftist guerrillas in southern regions without applying enough pressure on right-wing paramilitaries and continuing drug smuggling operations in the north of the country.[110][111] Human Rights Watch, congressional committees and other entities have documented the existence of connections between members of the Colombian military and the AUC, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group, and that Colombian military personnel have committed human rights abuses which would make them ineligible for U.S. aid under current laws.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Washington Office on Latin America concluded that both Plan Colombia and the Colombian government’s security strategy “came at a high cost in lives and resources, only did part of the job, are yielding diminishing returns and have left important institutions weaker.”[112]

A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation, which was issued to analyze viable strategies for the Mexican drug war considering successes experienced in Columbia, noted:

Between 1999 and 2002, the United States gave Colombia $2.04 billion in aid, 81 percent of which was for military purposes, placing Colombia just below Israel and Egypt among the largest recipients of U.S. military assistance. Colombia increased its defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 4.19 percent in 2005. Overall, the results were extremely positive. Greater spending on infrastructure and social programs helped the Colombian government increase its political legitimacy, while improved security forces were better able to consolidate control over large swaths of the country previously overrun by insurgents and drug cartels.

It also notes that, “Plan Colombia has been widely hailed as a success, and some analysts believe that, by 2010, Colombian security forces had finally gained the upper hand once and for all.”[113]

The Mrida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America. It was approved on June 30, 2008, and its stated aim is combating the threats of drug trafficking and transnational crime. The Mrida Initiative appropriated $1.4 billion in a three-year commitment (20082010) to the Mexican government for military and law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mrida Initiative targeted many very important government officials, but it failed to address the thousands of Central Americans who had to flee their countries due to the danger they faced everyday because of the war on drugs. There is still not any type of plan that addresses these people. No weapons are included in the plan.[114][115]

The United States regularly sponsors the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as glyphosate over the jungles of Central and South America as part of its drug eradication programs. Environmental consequences resulting from aerial fumigation have been criticized as detrimental to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems;[116] the same aerial fumigation practices are further credited with causing health problems in local populations.[117]

In 2012, the U.S. sent DEA agents to Honduras to assist security forces in counternarcotics operations. Honduras has been a major stop for drug traffickers, who use small planes and landing strips hidden throughout the country to transport drugs. The U.S. government made agreements with several Latin American countries to share intelligence and resources to counter the drug trade. DEA agents, working with other U.S. agencies such as the State Department, the CBP, and Joint Task Force-Bravo, assisted Honduras troops in conducting raids on traffickers’ sites of operation.[118]

The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. A poll on October 2, 2008, found that three in four Americans believed that the War On Drugs was failing.[119]

At a meeting in Guatemala in 2012, three former presidents from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia said that the war on drugs had failed and that they would propose a discussion on alternatives, including decriminalization, at the Summit of the Americas in April of that year.[120] Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to “end the taboo on discussing decriminalization”.[121] At the summit, the government of Colombia pushed for the most far-reaching change to drugs policy since the war on narcotics was declared by Nixon four decades prior, citing the catastrophic effects it had had in Colombia.[122]

Several critics have compared the wholesale incarceration of the dissenting minority of drug users to the wholesale incarceration of other minorities in history. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, writes in 1997 “Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persecution of illegal sex users (‘perverts’ and ‘psychopaths’) with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users.”[123]

Penalties for drug crimes among American youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment more difficult.[124] Thus, some authors maintain that the War on Drugs has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities.[124]

According to a 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron, the annual savings on enforcement and incarceration costs from the legalization of drugs would amount to roughly $41.3 billion, with $25.7 billion being saved among the states and over $15.6 billion accrued for the federal government. Miron further estimated at least $46.7 billion in tax revenue based on rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol ($8.7 billion from marijuana, $32.6 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[125]

Low taxation in Central American countries has been credited with weakening the region’s response in dealing with drug traffickers. Many cartels, especially Los Zetas have taken advantage of the limited resources of these nations. 2010 tax revenue in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, composed just 13.53% of GDP. As a comparison, in Chile and the U.S., taxes were 18.6% and 26.9% of GDP respectively. However, direct taxes on income are very hard to enforce and in some cases tax evasion is seen as a national pastime.[126]

The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.[127] Indeed, legalization efforts have yielded some successes under the Morales administration when combined with aggressive and targeted eradication efforts. The country saw a 1213% decline in coca cultivation[127] in 2011 under Morales, who has used coca growers’ federations to ensure compliance with the law rather than providing a primary role for security forces.[127]

The coca eradication policy has been criticised for its negative impact on the livelihood of coca growers in South America. In many areas of South America the coca leaf has traditionally been chewed and used in tea and for religious, medicinal and nutritional purposes by locals.[128] For this reason many insist that the illegality of traditional coca cultivation is unjust. In many areas the U.S. government and military has forced the eradication of coca without providing for any meaningful alternative crop for farmers, and has additionally destroyed many of their food or market crops, leaving them starving and destitute.[128]

The CIA, DEA, State Department, and several other U.S. government agencies have been alleged to have relations with various groups which are involved in drug trafficking.

Senator John Kerry’s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concludes that members of the U.S. State Department “who provided support for the Contras are involved in drug trafficking… and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly receive financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.”[129] The report further states that “the Contra drug links include… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb published reports in the San Jose Mercury News, and later in his book Dark Alliance, detailing how Contras, had been involved in distributing crack cocaine into Los Angeles whilst receiving money from the CIA.[citation needed] Contras used money from drug trafficking to buy weapons.[citation needed]

Webb’s premise regarding the U.S. Government connection was initially attacked at the time by the media. It is now widely accepted that Webb’s main assertion of government “knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers” was correct.[130][not in citation given] In 1998, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a two-volume report[131] that while seemingly refuting Webb’s claims of knowledge and collaboration in its conclusions did not deny them in its body.[citation needed] Hitz went on to admit CIA improprieties in the affair in testimony to a House congressional committee. There has been a reversal amongst mainstream media of its position on Webb’s work, with acknowledgement made of his contribution to exposing a scandal it had ignored.

According to Rodney Campbell, an editorial assistant to Nelson Rockefeller, during World War II, the United States Navy, concerned that strikes and labor disputes in U.S. eastern shipping ports would disrupt wartime logistics, released the mobster Lucky Luciano from prison, and collaborated with him to help the mafia take control of those ports. Labor union members were terrorized and murdered by mafia members as a means of preventing labor unrest and ensuring smooth shipping of supplies to Europe.[132]

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in order to prevent Communist party members from being elected in Italy following World War II, the CIA worked closely with the Sicilian Mafia, protecting them and assisting in their worldwide heroin smuggling operations. The mafia was in conflict with leftist groups and was involved in assassinating, torturing, and beating leftist political organizers.[133]

In 1986, the US Defense Department funded a two-year study by the RAND Corporation, which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, “Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction”, was prepared by seven researchers, mathematicians and economists at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND, and was released in 1988. The study noted that seven prior studies in the past nine years, including one by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.[135]

During the early-to-mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered and funded a major cocaine policy study, again by RAND. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center study concluded that $3 billion should be switched from federal and local law enforcement to treatment. The report said that treatment is the cheapest way to cut drug use, stating that drug treatment is twenty-three times more effective than the supply-side “war on drugs”.[136]

The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001 on the efficacy of the drug war. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, have all been inconclusive, if the programs have been evaluated at all: “The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make…. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.”[137] The study, though not ignored by the press, was ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that “the drug war has no interest in its own results”.[138]

In mid-1995, the US government tried to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors to disrupt the market of this drug. According to a 2009 study, this effort was successful, but its effects were largely temporary.[139]

During alcohol prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933, alcohol use initially fell but began to increase as early as 1922. It has been extrapolated that even if prohibition had not been repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would have quickly surpassed pre-prohibition levels.[140] One argument against the War on Drugs is that it uses similar measures as Prohibition and is no more effective.

In the six years from 2000 to 2006, the U.S. spent $4.7 billion on Plan Colombia, an effort to eradicate coca production in Colombia. The main result of this effort was to shift coca production into more remote areas and force other forms of adaptation. The overall acreage cultivated for coca in Colombia at the end of the six years was found to be the same, after the U.S. Drug Czar’s office announced a change in measuring methodology in 2005 and included new areas in its surveys.[141] Cultivation in the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia increased, some would describe this effect like squeezing a balloon.[142]

Richard Davenport-Hines, in his book The Pursuit of Oblivion,[143] criticized the efficacy of the War on Drugs by pointing out that

1015% of illicit heroin and 30% of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300%. At least 75% of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the traffickers’ profits were hurt.

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, described U.S. foreign drug policy as “failed” on grounds that “for 10 years, there has been a considerable sum invested by the Peruvian government and another sum on the part of the American government, and this has not led to a reduction in the supply of coca leaf offered for sale. Rather, in the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, it grew 10-fold.”[144]

At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman,[145] George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.[146] The increased profits encourage the producers to produce more drugs despite the risks, providing a theoretical explanation for why attacks on drug supply have failed to have any lasting effect. The aforementioned economists published an open letter to President George W. Bush stating “We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition… At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The declaration from the World Forum Against Drugs, 2008 state that a balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms and call on governments to consider demand reduction as one of their first priorities in the fight against drug abuse.[147]

Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting[148] and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005[citation needed] (FBI Uniform Crime Reports), the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain”. That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[149] The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the number of users of marijuana in the U.S. declined between 2000 and 2005 even with many states passing new medical marijuana laws making access easier,[150] though usage rates remain higher than they were in the 1990s according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.[151]

ONDCP stated in April 2011 that there has been a 46 percent drop in cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 65 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.[152] At the same time, a 2007 study found that up to 35% of college undergraduates used stimulants not prescribed to them.[153]

A 2013 study found that prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis had decreased from 1990 to 2007, but the purity of these drugs had increased during the same time.[154]

The War on Drugs is often called a policy failure.[155][156][157][158][159]

The legality of the War on Drugs has been challenged on four main grounds in the U.S.

Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen wrong methods for combatting the distribution of illicit substances. Aggressive, heavy-handed enforcement funnels individuals through courts and prisons; instead of treating the cause of the addiction, the focus of government efforts has been on punishment. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs creates a highly profitable black market. Jefferson Fish has edited scholarly collections of articles offering a wide variety of public health based and rights based alternative drug policies.[160][161][162]

In the year 2000, the United States drug-control budget reached 18.4 billion dollars,[163] nearly half of which was spent financing law enforcement while only one sixth was spent on treatment. In the year 2003, 53 percent of the requested drug control budget was for enforcement, 29 percent for treatment, and 18 percent for prevention.[164] The state of New York, in particular, designated 17 percent of its budget towards substance-abuse-related spending. Of that, a mere one percent was put towards prevention, treatment, and research.

In a survey taken by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was found that substance abusers that remain in treatment longer are less likely to resume their former drug habits. Of the people that were studied, 66 percent were cocaine users. After experiencing long-term in-patient treatment, only 22 percent returned to the use of cocaine. Treatment had reduced the number of cocaine abusers by two-thirds.[163] By spending the majority of its money on law enforcement, the federal government had underestimated the true value of drug-treatment facilities and their benefit towards reducing the number of addicts in the U.S.

In 2004 the federal government issued the National Drug Control Strategy. It supported programs designed to expand treatment options, enhance treatment delivery, and improve treatment outcomes. For example, the Strategy provided SAMHSA with a $100.6 million grant to put towards their Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. ATR is a program that provides vouchers to addicts to provide them with the means to acquire clinical treatment or recovery support. The project’s goals are to expand capacity, support client choice, and increase the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.[165] The ATR program will also provide a more flexible array of services based on the individual’s treatment needs.

The 2004 Strategy additionally declared a significant 32 million dollar raise in the Drug Courts Program, which provides drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. As a substitute for imprisonment, drug courts identify substance-abusing offenders and place them under strict court monitoring and community supervision, as well as provide them with long-term treatment services.[166] According to a report issued by the National Drug Court Institute, drug courts have a wide array of benefits, with only 16.4 percent of the nation’s drug court graduates rearrested and charged with a felony within one year of completing the program (versus the 44.1% of released prisoners who end up back in prison within 1-year). Additionally, enrolling an addict in a drug court program costs much less than incarcerating one in prison.[167] According to the Bureau of Prisons, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in 2006 was $24,440.[168] The annual cost of receiving treatment in a drug court program ranges from $900 to $3,500. Drug courts in New York State alone saved $2.54 million in incarceration costs.[167]

Describing the failure of the War on Drugs, New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter noted:

Jeffrey Miron, an economist at Harvard who studies drug policy closely, has suggested that legalizing all illicit drugs would produce net benefits to the United States of some $65 billion a year, mostly by cutting public spending on enforcement as well as through reduced crime and corruption. A study by analysts at the RAND Corporation, a California research organization, suggested that if marijuana were legalized in California and the drug spilled from there to other states, Mexican drug cartels would lose about a fifth of their annual income of some $6.5 billion from illegal exports to the United States.[169]

Many believe that the War on Drugs has been costly and ineffective largely because inadequate emphasis is placed on treatment of addiction. The United States leads the world in both recreational drug usage and incarceration rates. 70% of men arrested in metropolitan areas test positive for an illicit substance,[170] and 54% of all men incarcerated will be repeat offenders.[171]

There are also programs in the United States to combat public health risks of injecting drug users such as the Needle exchange programme. The “needle exchange programme” is intended to provide injecting drug users with new needles in exchange for used needles to prevent needle sharing.

Covert activities and foreign policy

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War on drugs – Wikipedia

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine,[citation needed] indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. The ability to achieve this, however, does not currently exist.[1]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[2]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[1] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[1][3][4][5]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[6] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[7][8]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[9] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[10]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[11] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[12][13] Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[14][15][16][17]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[18][19] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[20] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[21]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[22] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[23]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[1]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[24]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[25]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[26]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[27]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[28]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[29] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[30] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[31] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[32]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed as a non-profit organization to create what it considered an anti-aging medical specialty distinct from geriatrics, and to hold trade shows for physicians interested in anti-aging medicine. The A4M trains doctors in anti-aging medicine and publicly promotes the field of anti-aging research. It has about 26,000 members, of whom about 97% are doctors and scientists.[33] The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[34]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[35] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[36] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[37] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[38]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[39][40][41][42]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[4]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[43]

Though many scientists state[44] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[45]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[46] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[47]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[48] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[49]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[50]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[51] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[52]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[53] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[54] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[53]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[55] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[56]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[55] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[57] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[58] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[59] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[60] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[61] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[62]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[61][63]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[64][65]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[66] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[66]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[67] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[68]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[69] metformin and other geroprotectors.[70] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[71][72][73]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[74] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[75]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[76] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[77]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[78] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[79] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations. Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[80]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[81]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[82] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[83] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[84]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[85][86]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[87]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[88][89] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[90][91] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[3][5]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[92][93]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[94]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[95] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[96]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[97] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[98] and collectively (into societal systems).[99] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[100]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[101] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[102]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[103][104][105][106][107] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[104][105] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[108][105] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[109] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[108]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[103] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[109][108][103][105]

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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine,[citation needed] indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. The ability to achieve this, however, does not currently exist.[1]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[2]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[1] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[1][3][4][5]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[6] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[7][8]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[9] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[10]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[11] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[12][13] Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[14][15][16][17]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[18][19] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[20] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[21]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[22] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[23]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[1]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[24]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[25]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[26]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[27]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[28]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[29] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[30] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[31] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[32]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed as a non-profit organization to create what it considered an anti-aging medical specialty distinct from geriatrics, and to hold trade shows for physicians interested in anti-aging medicine. The A4M trains doctors in anti-aging medicine and publicly promotes the field of anti-aging research. It has about 26,000 members, of whom about 97% are doctors and scientists.[33] The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[34]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[35] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[36] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[37] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[38]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[39][40][41][42]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[4]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[43]

Though many scientists state[44] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[45]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[46] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[47]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[48] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[49]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[50]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[51] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[52]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[53] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[54] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[53]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[55] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[56]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[55] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[57] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[58] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[59] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[60] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[61] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[62]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[61][63]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[64][65]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[66] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[66]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[67] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[68]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[69] metformin and other geroprotectors.[70] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[71][72][73]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[74] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[75]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[76] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[77]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[78] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[79] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations. Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[80]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[81]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[82] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[83] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[84]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[85][86]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[87]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[88][89] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[90][91] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[3][5]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[92][93]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[94]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[95] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[96]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[97] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[98] and collectively (into societal systems).[99] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[100]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[101] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[102]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[103][104][105][106][107] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[104][105] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing people’s trust”[108][105] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[109] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[108]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[103] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[109][108][103][105]

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Life extension – Wikipedia

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Life Extension Foundation – Wikipedia

The Life Extension Foundation (LEF) is a nonprofit organization, whose aim is to extend the healthy human lifespan by discovering scientific methods to control aging and eradicate disease. It is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to its 2009 Form 990 , it had assets of over $25 million and netted more than $3 million on revenue of more than $18 million that year. [1]

It was founded by Saul Kent and William Faloon in 1980.[2][3] It claims that its primary purpose is to fund research[4] and disseminate information on life extension, preventive medicine, anti-aging and optimal health as well as sports performance, with a focus on hormonal and nutritional supplementation, deriving much of its income from the sale of vitamins and supplements.

In May 2013, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the Life Extension Foundations tax-exempt status, retroactive to 2006.[5] Forbes reported that “The IRS problem with the Foundation is […] an entirely worldly one: it asserts the membership organizations operations seem to be too entwined with the for-profit Life Extension Buyers Club.”[6] LEF filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment on August 7, 2013, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the IRS’ allegations.[7] The case is pending.[8]

In 1980 – 1981 they recommended people to consume high doses of antioxidant vitamins to maintain their health, take DHEA to slow aging and B-complex vitamins to lower homocysteine blood levels. In 1983 they were the first to recommend the Japanese cardiac drug coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an anti-aging nutrient. In 1985 they published an article where they assumed that AIDS could be slowed by vitamin supplementation. In 1991 the company sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because the FDA didn’t approve Tacrine (THA) to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In 1996, Life Extension published the first book where they told about preventing and treating 110 diseases.[9]

In 1997 they introduced a compound called s-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) that helped to deal with depression, arthritis, and certain liver disorders.

In 1998 the FDA approved the anti-viral drug ribavirin for use in hepatitis C patients.

In 2000 they conducted original research using carotid ultrasound tests to show that taking high doses of antioxidants over an extended period of time may provide some protection against atherosclerosis.

In 2001 they recommended memantine to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinsons disease, which was approved by the FDA. In 2005 they introduced a form of coenzyme Q10 ubiquinol which has a good blood- absorbing qualities. In 2012 they formulated a product featuring oleuropein. In 2014 they formulated a series of supplements containing the polyphenol gastrodin to support brain function. [10]

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Life Extension Foundation – Wikipedia

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Life extension – Wikipedia

Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, indefinite life extension, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan. The ability to achieve this, however, does not currently exist.[1]

Some researchers in this area, and “life extensionists”, “immortalists” or “longevists” (those who wish to achieve longer lives themselves), believe that future breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation, stem cells, regenerative medicine, molecular repair, gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and organ replacement (such as with artificial organs or xenotransplantations) will eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans (agerasia[2]) through complete rejuvenation to a healthy youthful condition. The ethical ramifications, if life extension becomes a possibility, are debated by bioethicists.

The sale of purported anti-aging products such as supplements and hormone replacement is a lucrative global industry. For example, the industry that promotes the use of hormones as a treatment for consumers to slow or reverse the aging process in the US market generated about $50billion of revenue a year in 2009.[1] The use of such products has not been proven to be effective or safe.[1][3][4][5]

During the process of aging, an organism accumulates damage to its macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs. Specifically, aging is characterized as and thought to be caused by “genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication.”[6] Oxidation damage to cellular contents caused by free radicals is believed to contribute to aging as well.[7][8]

The longest a human has ever been proven to live is 122 years, the case of Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, whereas the maximum lifespan of a wildtype mouse, commonly used as a model in research on aging, is about three years.[9] Genetic differences between humans and mice that may account for these different aging rates include differences in efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant defenses, energy metabolism, proteostasis maintenance, and recycling mechanisms such as autophagy.[10]

Average lifespan in a population is lowered by infant and child mortality, which are frequently linked to infectious diseases or nutrition problems. Later in life, vulnerability to accidents and age-related chronic disease such as cancer or cardiovascular disease play an increasing role in mortality. Extension of expected lifespan can often be achieved by access to improved medical care, vaccinations, good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking.

Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes and by environmental factors. Widely recognized methods of extending maximum lifespan in model organisms such as nematodes, fruit flies, and mice include caloric restriction, gene manipulation, and administration of pharmaceuticals.[11] Another technique uses evolutionary pressures such as breeding from only older members or altering levels of extrinsic mortality.[12][13] Some animals such as hydra, planarian flatworms, and certain sponges, corals, and jellyfish do not die of old age and exhibit potential immortality.[14][15][16][17]

Much life extension research focuses on nutritiondiets or supplements although there is little evidence that they have an effect. The many diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory.[original research?]

In some studies calorie restriction has been shown to extend the life of mice, yeast, and rhesus monkeys.[18][19] However, a more recent study did not find calorie restriction to improve survival in rhesus monkeys.[20] In humans the long-term health effects of moderate caloric restriction with sufficient nutrients are unknown.[21]

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant supplements might extend human life. However, evidence suggest that -carotene supplements and high doses of vitaminE increase mortality rates.[22] Resveratrol is a sirtuin stimulant that has been shown to extend life in animal models, but the effect of resveratrol on lifespan in humans is unclear as of 2011.[23]

The anti-aging industry offers several hormone therapies. Some of these have been criticized for possible dangers and a lack of proven effect. For example, the American Medical Association has been critical of some anti-aging hormone therapies.[1]

While growth hormone (GH) decreases with age, the evidence for use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy is mixed and based mostly on animal studies. There are mixed reports that GH or IGF-1 modulates the aging process in humans and about whether the direction of its effect is positive or negative.[24]

The extension of life has been a desire of humanity and a mainstay motif in the history of scientific pursuits and ideas throughout history, from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Smith medical papyrus, all the way through the Taoists, Ayurveda practitioners, alchemists, hygienists such as Luigi Cornaro, Johann Cohausen and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, and philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Benjamin Franklin and Nicolas Condorcet. However, the beginning of the modern period in this endeavor can be traced to the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, to the so-called “fin-de-sicle” (end of the century) period, denoted as an “end of an epoch” and characterized by the rise of scientific optimism and therapeutic activism, entailing the pursuit of life extension (or life-extensionism). Among the foremost researchers of life extension at this period were the Nobel Prize winning biologist Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) — the author of the cell theory of immunity and vice director of Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Charles-douard Brown-Squard (1817-1894) — the president of the French Biological Society and one of the founders of modern endocrinology.[25]

Sociologist James Hughes claims that science has been tied to a cultural narrative of conquering death since the Age of Enlightenment. He cites Francis Bacon (15611626) as an advocate of using science and reason to extend human life, noting Bacon’s novel New Atlantis, wherein scientists worked toward delaying aging and prolonging life. Robert Boyle (16271691), founding member of the Royal Society, also hoped that science would make substantial progress with life extension, according to Hughes, and proposed such experiments as “to replace the blood of the old with the blood of the young”. Biologist Alexis Carrel (18731944) was inspired by a belief in indefinite human lifespan that he developed after experimenting with cells, says Hughes.[26]

In 1970, the American Aging Association was formed under the impetus of Denham Harman, originator of the free radical theory of aging. Harman wanted an organization of biogerontologists that was devoted to research and to the sharing of information among scientists interested in extending human lifespan.

In 1976, futurists Joel Kurtzman and Philip Gordon wrote No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life, (ISBN0-440-36247-4) the first popular book on research to extend human lifespan. Subsequently, Kurtzman was invited to testify before the House Select Committee on Aging, chaired by Claude Pepper of Florida, to discuss the impact of life extension on the Social Security system.

Saul Kent published The Life Extension Revolution (ISBN0-688-03580-9) in 1980 and created a nutraceutical firm called the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes dietary supplements. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a periodical called Life Extension Magazine. The 1982 bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach (ISBN0-446-51229-X) by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw further popularized the phrase “life extension”.

Regulatory and legal struggles between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Life Extension Foundation included seizure of merchandise and court action. In 1991, Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, the principals of the Foundation, were jailed. The LEF accused the FDA of perpetrating a “Holocaust” and “seeking gestapo-like power” through its regulation of drugs and marketing claims.[27]

In 2003, Doubleday published “The Immortal Cell: One Scientist’s Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging,” by Michael D. West. West emphasised the potential role of embryonic stem cells in life extension.[28]

Other modern life extensionists include writer Gennady Stolyarov, who insists that death is “the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology”;[29] transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan, who proposes that the “transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else”;[30] futurist George Dvorsky, who considers aging to be a problem that desperately needs to be solved;[31] and recording artist Steve Aoki, who has been called “one of the most prolific campaigners for life extension”.[32]

In 1991, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) was formed as a non-profit organization to create what it considered an anti-aging medical specialty distinct from geriatrics, and to hold trade shows for physicians interested in anti-aging medicine. The A4M trains doctors in anti-aging medicine and publicly promotes the field of anti-aging research. It has about 26,000 members, of whom about 97% are doctors and scientists.[33] The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes neither anti-aging medicine nor the A4M’s professional standing.[34]

In 2003, Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel formed the Methuselah Foundation, which gives financial grants to anti-aging research projects. In 2009, de Grey and several others founded the SENS Research Foundation, a California-based scientific research organization which conducts research into aging and funds other anti-aging research projects at various universities.[35] In 2013, Google announced Calico, a new company based in San Francisco that will harness new technologies to increase scientific understanding of the biology of aging.[36] It is led by Arthur D. Levinson,[37] and its research team includes scientists such as Hal V. Barron, David Botstein, and Cynthia Kenyon. In 2014, biologist Craig Venter founded Human Longevity Inc., a company dedicated to scientific research to end aging through genomics and cell therapy. They received funding with the goal of compiling a comprehensive human genotype, microbiome, and phenotype database.[38]

Aside from private initiatives, aging research is being conducted in university laboratories, and includes universities such as Harvard and UCLA. University researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in extending the lives of mice and insects by reversing certain aspects of aging.[39][40][41][42]

Politics relevant to the substances of life extension pertain mostly to communications and availability.[citation needed]

In the United States, product claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. The First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects third-party publishers’ rights to distribute fact, opinion and speculation on life extension practices. Manufacturers and suppliers also provide informational publications, but because they market the substances, they are subject to monitoring and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices claims by marketers. What constitutes the difference between truthful and false claims is hotly debated and is a central controversy in this arena.[citation needed]

Some critics dispute the portrayal of aging as a disease. For example, Leonard Hayflick, who determined that fibroblasts are limited to around 50cell divisions, reasons that aging is an unavoidable consequence of entropy. Hayflick and fellow biogerontologists Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes have strongly criticized the anti-aging industry in response to what they see as unscrupulous profiteering from the sale of unproven anti-aging supplements.[4]

Research by Sobh and Martin (2011) suggests that people buy anti-aging products to obtain a hoped-for self (e.g., keeping a youthful skin) or to avoid a feared-self (e.g., looking old). The research shows that when consumers pursue a hoped-for self, it is expectations of success that most strongly drive their motivation to use the product. The research also shows why doing badly when trying to avoid a feared self is more motivating than doing well. Interestingly, when product use is seen to fail it is more motivating than success when consumers seek to avoid a feared-self.[43]

Though many scientists state[44] that life extension and radical life extension are possible, there are still no international or national programs focused on radical life extension. There are political forces staying for and against life extension. By 2012, in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, the Longevity political parties started. They aimed to provide political support to radical life extension research and technologies, and ensure the fastest possible and at the same time soft transition of society to the next step life without aging and with radical life extension, and to provide access to such technologies to most currently living people.[45]

Some tech innovators and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have invested heavily into anti-aging research. This includes Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Peter Thiel (former Paypal CEO),[46] Larry Page (co-founder of Google), and Peter Diamandis.[47]

Leon Kass (chairman of the US President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005) has questioned whether potential exacerbation of overpopulation problems would make life extension unethical.[48] He states his opposition to life extension with the words:

“simply to covet a prolonged life span for ourselves is both a sign and a cause of our failure to open ourselves to procreation and to any higher purpose … [The] desire to prolong youthfulness is not only a childish desire to eat one’s life and keep it; it is also an expression of a childish and narcissistic wish incompatible with devotion to posterity.”[49]

John Harris, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, argues that as long as life is worth living, according to the person himself, we have a powerful moral imperative to save the life and thus to develop and offer life extension therapies to those who want them.[50]

Transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.[51] In an extended metaphor entitled “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant”, Bostrom envisions death as a monstrous dragon who demands human sacrifices. In the fable, after a lengthy debate between those who believe the dragon is a fact of life and those who believe the dragon can and should be destroyed, the dragon is finally killed. Bostrom argues that political inaction allowed many preventable human deaths to occur.[52]

Controversy about life extension is due to fear of overpopulation and possible effects on society.[53] Biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey counters the overpopulation critique by pointing out that the therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years and thus decreasing the yearly population growth rate.[54] Moreover, the philosopher and futurist Max More argues that, given the fact the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling, superlongevity would be unlikely to contribute to overpopulation.[53]

A Spring 2013 Pew Research poll in the United States found that 38% of Americans would want life extension treatments, and 56% would reject it. However, it also found that 68% believed most people would want it and that only 4% consider an “ideal lifespan” to be more than 120 years. The median “ideal lifespan” was 91 years of age and the majority of the public (63%) viewed medical advances aimed at prolonging life as generally good. 41% of Americans believed that radical life extension (RLE) would be good for society, while 51% said they believed it would be bad for society.[55] One possibility for why 56% of Americans claim they would reject life extension treatments may be due to the cultural perception that living longer would result in a longer period of decrepitude, and that the elderly in our current society are unhealthy.[56]

Religious people are no more likely to oppose life extension than the unaffiliated,[55] though some variation exists between religious denominations.

Most mainstream medical organizations and practitioners do not consider aging to be a disease.[citation needed] David Sinclair says: “Idon’t see aging as a disease, but as a collection of quite predictable diseases caused by the deterioration of the body”.[57] The two main arguments used are that aging is both inevitable and universal while diseases are not.[58] However, not everyone agrees. Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, notes that what is normal and what is disease strongly depend on a historical context.[59] David Gems, assistant director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, strongly argues that aging should be viewed as a disease.[60] In response to the universality of aging, David Gems notes that it is as misleading as arguing that Basenji are not dogs because they do not bark.[61] Because of the universality of aging he calls it a “special sort of disease”. Robert M. Perlman, coined the terms “aging syndrome” and “disease complex” in 1954 to describe aging.[62]

The discussion whether aging should be viewed as a disease or not has important implications. It would stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop life extension therapies and in the United States of America, it would also increase the regulation of the anti-aging market by the FDA. Anti-aging now falls under the regulations for cosmetic medicine which are less tight than those for drugs.[61][63]

Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan in humans could be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues, reversal of harmful epigenetic changes, or the enhancement of telomerase enzyme activity.[64][65]

Research geared towards life extension strategies in various organisms is currently under way at a number of academic and private institutions. Since 2009, investigators have found ways to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and yeast by 10-fold; the record in nematodes was achieved through genetic engineering and the extension in yeast by a combination of genetic engineering and caloric restriction.[66] A 2009 review of longevity research noted: “Extrapolation from worms to mammals is risky at best, and it cannot be assumed that interventions will result in comparable life extension factors. Longevity gains from dietary restriction, or from mutations studied previously, yield smaller benefits to Drosophila than to nematodes, and smaller still to mammals. This is not unexpected, since mammals have evolved to live many times the worm’s lifespan, and humans live nearly twice as long as the next longest-lived primate. From an evolutionary perspective, mammals and their ancestors have already undergone several hundred million years of natural selection favoring traits that could directly or indirectly favor increased longevity, and may thus have already settled on gene sequences that promote lifespan. Moreover, the very notion of a “life-extension factor” that could apply across taxa presumes a linear response rarely seen in biology.”[66]

There are a number of chemicals intended to slow the aging process currently being studied in animal models.[67] One type of research is related to the observed effects of a calorie restriction (CR) diet, which has been shown to extend lifespan in some animals[68]. Based on that research, there have been attempts to develop drugs that will have the same effect on the aging process as a caloric restriction diet, which are known as Caloric restriction mimetic drugs. Some drugs that are already approved for other uses have been studied for possible longevity effects on laboratory animals because of a possible CR-mimic effect; they include rapamycin,[69] metformin and other geroprotectors.[70] MitoQ, resveratrol and pterostilbene are dietary supplements that have also been studied in this context.[71][72][73]

Other attempts to create anti-aging drugs have taken different research paths. One notable direction of research has been research into the possibility of using the enzyme telomerase in order to counter the process of telomere shortening.[74] However, there are potential dangers in this, since some research has also linked telomerase to cancer and to tumor growth and formation.[75]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular computers, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[76] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical nanomachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[77]

Some life extensionists suggest that therapeutic cloning and stem cell research could one day provide a way to generate cells, body parts, or even entire bodies (generally referred to as reproductive cloning) that would be genetically identical to a prospective patient. Recently, the US Department of Defense initiated a program to research the possibility of growing human body parts on mice.[78] Complex biological structures, such as mammalian joints and limbs, have not yet been replicated. Dog and primate brain transplantation experiments were conducted in the mid-20th century but failed due to rejection and the inability to restore nerve connections. As of 2006, the implantation of bio-engineered bladders grown from patients’ own cells has proven to be a viable treatment for bladder disease.[79] Proponents of body part replacement and cloning contend that the required biotechnologies are likely to appear earlier than other life-extension technologies.

The use of human stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, is controversial. Opponents’ objections generally are based on interpretations of religious teachings or ethical considerations. Proponents of stem cell research point out that cells are routinely formed and destroyed in a variety of contexts. Use of stem cells taken from the umbilical cord or parts of the adult body may not provoke controversy.[80]

The controversies over cloning are similar, except general public opinion in most countries stands in opposition to reproductive cloning. Some proponents of therapeutic cloning predict the production of whole bodies, lacking consciousness, for eventual brain transplantation.

Replacement of biological (susceptible to diseases) organs with mechanical ones could extend life. This is the goal of the 2045 Initiative.[81]

For cryonicists (advocates of cryopreservation), storing the body at low temperatures after death may provide an “ambulance” into a future in which advanced medical technologies may allow resuscitation and repair. They speculate cryogenic temperatures will minimize changes in biological tissue for many years, giving the medical community ample time to cure all disease, rejuvenate the aged and repair any damage that is caused by the cryopreservation process.

Many cryonicists do not believe that legal death is “real death” because stoppage of heartbeat and breathingthe usual medical criteria for legal deathoccur before biological death of cells and tissues of the body. Even at room temperature, cells may take hours to die and days to decompose. Although neurological damage occurs within 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, the irreversible neurodegenerative processes do not manifest for hours.[82] Cryonicists[who?]state that rapid cooling and cardio-pulmonary support applied immediately after certification of death can preserve cells and tissues for long-term preservation at cryogenic temperatures. People, particularly children, have survived up to an hour without heartbeat after submersion in ice water. In one case, full recovery was reported after 45 minutes underwater.[83] To facilitate rapid preservation of cells and tissue, cryonics “standby teams” are available to wait by the bedside of patients who are to be cryopreserved to apply cooling and cardio-pulmonary support as soon as possible after declaration of death.[84]

No mammal has been successfully cryopreserved and brought back to life, with the exception of frozen human embryos. Resuscitation of a postembryonic human from cryonics is not possible with current science. Some scientists still support the idea based on their expectations of the capabilities of future science.[85][86]

Another proposed life extension technology would combine existing and predicted future biochemical and genetic techniques. SENS proposes that rejuvenation may be obtained by removing aging damage via the use of stem cells and tissue engineering, telomere-lengthening machinery, allotopic expression of mitochondrial proteins, targeted ablation of cells, immunotherapeutic clearance, and novel lysosomal hydrolases.[87]

While many biogerontologists find these ideas “worthy of discussion”[88][89] and SENS conferences feature important research in the field,[90][91] some contend that the alleged benefits are too speculative given the current state of technology, referring to it as “fantasy rather than science”.[3][5]

Genome editing, in which nucleic acid polymers are delivered as a drug and are either expressed as proteins, interfere with the expression of proteins, or correct genetic mutations, has been proposed as a future strategy to prevent aging.[92][93]

A large array of genetic modifications have been found to increase lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice. As of 2013, the longest extension of life caused by a single gene manipulation was roughly 150% in mice and 10-fold in nematode worms.[94]

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins describes an approach to life-extension that involves “fooling genes” into thinking the body is young.[95] Dawkins attributes inspiration for this idea to Peter Medawar. The basic idea is that our bodies are composed of genes that activate throughout our lifetimes, some when we are young and others when we are older. Presumably, these genes are activated by environmental factors, and the changes caused by these genes activating can be lethal. It is a statistical certainty that we possess more lethal genes that activate in later life than in early life. Therefore, to extend life, we should be able to prevent these genes from switching on, and we should be able to do so by “identifying changes in the internal chemical environment of a body that take place during aging… and by simulating the superficial chemical properties of a young body”.[96]

According to some lines of thinking, the ageing process is routed into a basic reduction of biological complexity,[97] and thus loss of information. In order to reverse this loss, gerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that it is necessary to increase input of actionable and meaningful information both individually (into individual brains),[98] and collectively (into societal systems).[99] This technique enhances overall biological function through up-regulation of immune, hormonal, antioxidant and other parameters, resulting in improved age-repair mechanisms. Working in parallel with natural evolutionary mechanisms that can facilitate survival through increased fitness, Kyriazis claims that the technique may lead to a reduction of the rate of death as a function of age, i.e. indefinite lifespan.[100]

One hypothetical future strategy that, as some suggest,[who?] “eliminates” the complications related to a physical body, involves the copying or transferring (e.g. by progressively replacing neurons with transistors) of a conscious mind from a biological brain to a non-biological computer system or computational device. The basic idea is to scan the structure of a particular brain in detail, and then construct a software model of it that is so faithful to the original that, when run on appropriate hardware, it will behave in essentially the same way as the original brain.[101] Whether or not an exact copy of one’s mind constitutes actual life extension is matter of debate.

Some scientists believe that the dead may one day be “resurrected” through simulation technology.[102]

Some clinics currently offer injection of blood products from young donors. The alleged benefits of the treatment, none of which have been demonstrated in a proper study, include a longer life, darker hair, better memory, better sleep, curing heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer.[103][104][105][106][107] The approach is based on parabiosis studies such as Irina Conboy do on mice, but Conboy says young blood does not reverse aging (even in mice) and that those who offer those treatments have misunderstood her research.[104][105] Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who also studied blood exchanges on mice as recently as 2014, said people offering those treatments are “basically abusing peoples trust”[108][105] and that young blood treatments are “the scientific equivalent of fake news”.[109] The treatment appeared in HBO’s Silicon Valley fiction series.[108]

Two clinics in California, run by Jesse Karmazin and David C. Wright,[103] offer $8,000 injections of plasma extracted from the blood of young people. Karmazin has not published in any peer-reviewed journal and his current study does not use a control group.[109][108][103][105]

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