Monday, July 13, 2009

Do you want to live forever?

Stretch that lifespan out. Maybe you can live a billion years and watch the sun run dry. Maybe a shorter lifespan was a mercy to the Godly.
Science Magazine - "In a new study, researchers report that an antibiotic called rapamycin--after the island's Polynesian name, Rapa Nui--enabled middle-aged mice to live up to 16% longer than their rapa-free counterparts. The discovery marks the first time a drug has been shown to lengthen life span in mammals, even when administered late in life.

Scientists first stumbled on rapamycin in soil samples taken from Easter Island in 1965. A bacterium found in the soil, Streptomyces hygroscopicus, secreted the stuff to fend off its bacterial and fungal rivals. Rapamycin has since been used to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients and, most recently, as an antitumor drug. The compound works by inhibiting mTOR, a protein that regulates cell growth and survival. When researchers realized that calorie restriction, which is known to lengthen life spans in mice, also suppresses mTOR activity, they began to wonder if rapamycin might boost longevity as well."
Oops, but there is a flaw in this Eden and it's tree of life.

"Don't expect antiaging drugs to hit the market anytime soon, though. Rapamycin is known to raise cholesterol levels and, as a potent immune system suppressant, the compound could make its consumers more susceptible to infections. (Matthew) Kaeberlein hopes future studies will measure the health of rapa-enhanced mice and the effects of varying rapamycin doses, in hopes of divorcing the drug's benefits from its dangers."
"(M)ice lived 28% to 38% longer than the controls from that point on, the researchers report in Nature, the equivalent of 6 to 9 extra years in humans. Their overall life expectancy rose 5% to 16%."
Hat tip to "Everyday Christian" and Elizabeth Renter who opines:
"People have searched out the 'cure' for aging and death since way before Ponce De Leon combed Florida in 1513. Perhaps it is the unconscious fear of death that many have or just the desire to stick around a little longer that pushes humanity to explore the possibility of immortality or anything resembling it."

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