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Long Life 2

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  • John de Rivaz
    Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter February 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 2 Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics Institute.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2003
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      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter

      February 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 2

      Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics Institute. We're here to update you with brief cutting-edge news, updates, links, and information about the latest scientific, medical, health, anti-ageing, and social developments relevant to CI's goal of saving, preserving, and extending human life. Long Life may also include news about Cryonics Institute events and member activities and opinion. We welcome your feedback, and encourage readers to forward issues to friends and interested parties.

      Cryonics Institute News

      January 2003

      As reported in a Special Report available online at www.cryonics.org/newvit.html, CI's Director of Research, Dr. Yuri Pichugin has demonstrated the vitrifiability of new cryoprotectants that have the potential to allow vitrification of CI's whole-body patients, without cracking and fracturing when cooling to - 196 C, and without the need for special storage units at higher temperatures.  This development may hold considerable potential for improving the viability of organs for organ transplantation.

      To ensure that this significant advance is achieved, the Cryonics Institute has begun a formal CI Research Fund, and has called on all CI members and anyone with an interest in supporting a potentially great step forward in cryonics or organ transplantation, to support CI's research efforts with a tax-deductible financial donation to the Immortalist Society in any amount.

      Information about the fund and how to contribute, as well as newly updated web pages on CI's cryobiologist-in-residence, Dr. Pichugin, the CI lab, and various research reports and news updates are available on the newly updated Reseach section at www.cryonics.org/research.html.

      Some donations have already coming in, and one of the most generous of all has been a donation of $2000 from CI's newly elected Director Jack Nixon.  Mr. Nixon, a pilot, and an Energy Consultant for the U.S. Army, has issued a challenge to all CI members to equal or better his generous gift.  And those who do will be his special guest at a celebration dinner near the Cryonics Institute at its next Annual Meeting.

      Also, in a separate donation, best-selling writer James Halperin, author of The First Immortal, has donated over 100 copies of his book to the Cryonics Institute, which CI is offering as a free thank-you gift to all those who donate $100 or more to the CI Research Fund in the near future.  Email the Immortalist Society at Immsoc@... to find out more and get your free copy.

      In other CI news, CI also received its 46th whole-body patient.   One of CI's most senior members, he was passed into suspension after being in hospice care, with good cooperation from all involved.  Further information is available on the CI web site at www.cryonics.org.

      In additions, CI Director and noted cryonics activist Ben Best will be giving a presentation on cryonics to the Toronto Transhumanist Association( http://toronto.transhumanism.com) on Wednesday, February 26th at 6:30pm at the Parliament Toronto library, 269 Gerrard Street East.   Please contact the Association at george@... if you plan to attend.

      General News Items

      Important Note: A lot of these items are from sources designed for public consumption and contain no references or further information. It is up to readers to do their own web searches or whatever for further information.

      14 January, 2003

      Study: Most Electric Toothbrushes No Better than Manual Ones

      About 55 million Americans use electric toothbrushes, but a new study finds that only one type works better than the old-fashioned, manual ones.

      The Washington Post reports that electric toothbrushes with bristles that spin in both directions are the only ones that offer an advantage over the manual type. An example of that type is the Braun Oral-B device, made by Gillette Co. The company says Oral-B is used by 41 percent of electric toothbrush users.

      The report was conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration of Oxford, England, which periodically issues studies on medical devices whose worth hasn't been proven.

      Other models studied included the Philips Sonicare, the Interplak, the Teledyne Aqua Tech, the Ultrasonex, the Rowenta Dentiphant and the Rowenta Plaque Dentacontrol Plus, the Post reported. They were "not worse, but they were just not any better" than manual brushes, said William Shaw, a professor of orthodontics at the University of Manchester who led the study.

      15 January 2003

      Diarrhoea Vaccine 'Within 10 Years'
      World Entertainment News Network--An effective vaccine for diarrhoea could be available within 10 years, according to scientists at the forefront of research in Bangladesh. An estimated 1.5 million people throughout the world die of diarrhoea each year. Millions more are hospitalised and require urgent medical care to stop them suffering chronic dehydration and dying. Researchers at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR) in Dhaka are currently testing a number of vaccines.

      Arthritis drug also could help the heart
      United Press International

      A popular arthritis drug that reduces inflammation also could provide modest benefit to people with severe heart disease, results from a small study released Monday suggest.

      Researchers, led by Dr. Frank Ruschitzka of the department of cardiology at University Hospital in Zurich, have reported that Celebrex, a Cox 2 inhibitor medication, appears to improve blood vessel flexibility and lower inflammation.

      "We know atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease," Rischikta told United Press International, "so Cox 2 (inhibitors reduce) inflammation in the joints. That's why they're good for arthritis, but also in the arterial wall."

      16 January
      Lung cancer scans offer little benefit
      United Press International--Although medical companies have marketed computed tomography lung scans vigorously to smokers as a way to ensure early detection of lung cancer and lower their risk of dying from the disease, a study released Tuesday suggests the scans lead to unnecessary testing that actually can harm patients. "A CT scan for lung cancer is not advisable at this point because we don't know if it works, and there is the possibility that people could get harmed," said Parthiv Mahadevia, the study's author and a research scientist with MEDTAP International in Bethesda, Md.

      17 January
      Scientists identify 400 fat genes
      United Press International
      In the unabating battle of the bulge, geneticists using a cutting-edge genetic screening technique said Wednesday they have gotten the skinny on hundreds of fat regulators in an animal model for human obesity.
      The genetic weight watchers came to light in the first comprehensive survey to sift through an organism's entire set of genes in search of all those involved in determining the body's fat content.
      The identification of more than 400 suspects in the tiny roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which shares a substantial number of genes with humans and other mammals, has important implications for understanding -- and treating -- obesity, a potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 300 million people worldwide, scientists said.

      18 January
      Inflammation in Parkinson's disease: cause or effect?
      The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is launching a two million dollar research initiative to learn more about the inflammatory process in Parkinson's disease (PD), as part of a plan to eliminate the disease in the next ten years. Inflammation has been identified in Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders, and there is evidence of the process occurring in the substantia nigra in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients. This inflammatory process, known as gliosis, may be a cause of the cell death that occurs in Parkinson's disease, or it could be a secondary response to brain cell death.
      The current program will build on the knowledge gained by researchers in the field of Alzheimer's disease concerning the role that inflammation plays. Areas of projected research include evaluating the association between the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, exploring molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation, imaging of the inflammatory response to explore immune status as a Parkinson's disease biomarker, and finding immunosuppressants that can protect graft transplantation into the nigrostriatal system.
      Chief scientific advisor for the Fox Foundation, J. William Langston, MD, commented, "Understanding the role inflammation plays in Parkinson's disease could be a crucial first step that has the potential to quickly translate into exciting new treatment options for PD patients, given the array of anti-inflammatory drug therapies currently on the market."

      Chronic inflammation
      Aging results in an increase of inflammatory cytokines (destructive cell-signaling chemicals) that contribute to the progression of many degenerative diseases (Van der Meide et al. 1996; Licinio et al. 1999). Rheumatoid arthritis is a classic autoimmune disorder in which excess levels of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin 1b [IL-1(b)], and/or leukotriene B(4) [LTB(4)] are known to cause or contribute to the inflammatory syndrome (Deon et al. 2001).
      Chronic inflammation is also involved in diseases as diverse as atherosclerosis, cancer, heart valve dysfunction, obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure, digestive system diseases, and Alzheimer's disease (Brouqui et al. 1994; Devaux et al. 1997; De Keyser et al. 1998; Leyva et al. 1998; Balin et al. 2001; Cordts et al. 2001; Iacopino 2001; Mackenzie 2001; Invitti 2002; Libby et al. 2002; Maisonneuve et al. 2002; Naito et al. 2002; Sitzer et al. 2002; Stehouwer et al. 2002). In aged people with multiple degenerative diseases, the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, is often sharply elevated, indicating the presence of an underlying inflammatory disorder (Invitti 2002; Lee et al. 2002; Santoro et al. 2002; Sitzer et al. 2002). When a cytokine blood profile is conducted on people in a weakened condition, an excess level of one or more of the inflammatory cytokines, e.g., TNF-a, IL-6, IL-1(b), or LTB(4), is usually found (Santoro et al. 2002).
      An inexpensive C-reactive protein (high-sensitivity) blood test (CRP-hs) can help reveal if you have systemic inflammation. If your C-reactive protein level is over 1.3 (mg/L), this is an indication that you have an inflammatory event occurring in your body. Those with elevated CRP-hs levels (and who have a disease associated with chronic inflammation) should consider using a supplement protocol and/or prescription drugs known to suppress elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines.
      The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fraction of fish oil may be the most effective non-prescription supplement to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is a precurser of PGE1, a potent anti-inflammatory agent.

      23 January
      Breakthrough In Cancer Research
      World Entertainment News Network

      Cancer scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how the disease spreads. Researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered how a particular cancer molecule speeds up the growth of the disease.

      A report describes how the molecule, called Myc, accelerates the growth of dividing cancer cells. Cells have to grow to a certain size before they can split in two and they achieve this by producing protein.

      The researchers found that Myc boosted the work rate of RNA polymerase III, one of the cell's protein-producing molecules that fuels rapid cell division, also know as factory molecules.

      Gene therapy germ holds off amputations
      United Press International

      Researchers said Tuesday they have created an artificial bacterium that allows gene therapy to speed healing in patients facing leg amputation due to festering wounds.

      The synthetic germ can penetrate normal cells, which then are infected with a gene that encourages the growth of blood vessels in patients whose circulation largely has been cut off due to various diseases.

      "When more blood gets to the wound, healing can occur more quickly," Dr. Anthony Comerota, director of the Jobst Vascular Center in Toledo, Ohio, told United Press International.

      24 January

      Larger Portions Bring Larger Appetites

      Americans are eating significantly bigger portions of fries, chips and burgers and drinking more soda than they did 20 years ago -- sometimes consuming 50, 100 or even more calories of the food, according to new research.

      For years, nutritionists and consumers have noticed that restaurants are serving bigger portions, but now two large studies estimate how much more Americans are actually chowing down when they're dining out or at home eating meals or snacks.

      The findings may help explain why more than 120 million Americans are either overweight or obese. The number has been rising dramatically since the late '70s.

      Ink-jet printing creates tubes of living tissue 


      (using the above web link gives an extended version with illustration and further links)

      22 January 03
      Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
      Three-dimensional tubes of living tissue have been printed using modified desktop printers filled with suspensions of cells instead of ink. The work is a first step towards printing complex tissues or even entire organs.

      "This could have the same kind of impact that Gutenberg's press did," claims tissue engineer Vladimir Mironov of the Medical University of South Carolina.

      Many labs can now print arrays of DNA, proteins or even cells. But for tissue engineers, the big challenge is creating three-dimensional structures. Mironov became interested when Thomas Boland of Clemson University, also in South Carolina, told Mironov how he could print biomaterials using modified ink-jet printers.

      The printers are adapted by washing out the ink cartridges and refilling them with suspensions of, say, cells. The software that controls the viscosity, electrical resistances and temperature of the printing fluids is reprogrammed and the feed systems altered.

      Thermo-reversible gel

      To create 3D structures, Boland and Mironov used a "thermo-reversible" gel recently developed by Anna Gutowska at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. The non-toxic, biodegradable gel is liquid below 20 °C and solidifies above 32 °C.

       Printing organs
      The team has done several experiments using easily available tissues such as hamster ovary cells. By printing alternate layers of the gel and clumps of cells onto glass slides, they have shown 3D structures such as tubes can be built up.

      Biologists have long known that bits of tissue placed next to each other can fuse. The researchers found that as long as the layers were thin enough for the clumps to come into contact with each other, the bits of tissue fused. Once a structure is complete, the gel is easily removed. Details of the team's initial work will soon be published.

      Like printing with different colours, placing different types of cells in the ink cartridges should make it possible to recreate complex structures consisting of multiple cell types. "I think this is extremely exciting technology that has the potential to overcome some of the major obstacles [to tissue engineering] we have seen in the past," says leading tissue engineer Anthony Atala of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

      Degradable scaffold

      Other groups have developed ways of building up tissues layer by layer (New Scientist print edition, 4 January), but none is as simple and quick as printing. Most tissue engineers first create a degradable scaffold and then seed it with cells. This technique can be used to create complex shapes, such as the infamous "ear on a mouse", but placing different cell types precisely is very difficult.

      Printing should make it easier to position cells, but many other problems will have to be overcome before entire organs can be created. A huge challenge in tissue-engineering solid organs, for example, is supplying enough oxygen and nutrients to sustain cells deep within the structure.

      "It's been the holy grail of tissue engineering, to be able to create adequate circulatory networks for complex organs," Atala says.

      Mironov and Boland hope it will be possible to print the entire network of arteries, capillaries and veins that nourish organs. But to keep cells alive, the organs would have to be completed within a couple of hours and a growth medium circulated through the fragile new vessels.

      Speed fusion

      Large structures might not be strong enough to hold together if the gel is removed after such a short period. However, the team is already experimenting with adding substances such as the skin protein collagen to speed fusion and reinforce structures.

      Printing is not the only promising new technique for creating entire organs. It might one day be possible to grow them in situ. In December, scientists in Israel reported that they had managed to grow miniature but fully functional kidneys by implanting fetal pig or human cells into immunodeficient mice.

      But growing organs from scratch will take much longer than printing them, Mironov says. "Patients don't always have the luxury to wait."
      Charles Choi

      MS damage repaired by stem cells
      Damage caused by multiple sclerosis could be repaired using stem cells extracted from a patient's bone marrow, new research suggests.
      A team led by Bruce Brew at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia, injected stem cells from mice and people into the brains of mice designed to act as models of human MS. Brew's team found that the stem cells were able to home in on areas of recent damage, and convert into oligodendrocytes - cells that manufacture myelin.
      more on

      Cell re-education reverses autoimmune attack

      Scientists may have found a way to reverse the process by which the body's immune system attacks it own tissues. The discovery could eventually lead to vaccines to treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes, as well as allergies like asthma.

      more on


      28 January
      Gates Pledges $200 Million for Overlooked Medical Research
      Newsbytes News Network
      Software billionaire Bill Gates announced yesterday that his charitable foundation will spend $200 million to pay for promising but overlooked medical research targeted at diseases most prevalent in poor and underdeveloped countries.
      The grants are meant to draw attention and brainpower to diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, bacterial meningitis and childhood diarrheal illness. Those conditions are responsible for much of the global burden of disease but are relatively rare in industrialized countries, whose health problems set the agenda for the most biomedical research.
      "There has got to be, given market signals, systematic underinvestment in research on diseases of people who cannot afford medical treatment. . . . It's just a basic fact that 90 percent of the world's health research spending goes on 10 percent of the problems," Gates said. "So the mismatch, over time, has been a problem."

      Toxic gas could help treat heart disease
      United Press International
      A new study finds carbon monoxide, a toxic gas found in auto exhaust, appears to prevent clogging of arteries that can lead to heart disease and rejection of heart transplants.
      Carbon monoxide "seems to prime (blood vessels) for protection and prevents disease," Miguel Soares, the principal investigator and a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told United Press International.
      Balloon angioplasty -- the insertion of a catheter with an inflatable balloon tip -- is used to expand narrowed and clogged arteries in patients with heart disease.

      30 January
      U.K. Researchers Plan Thalidomide Trials to Treat Lung Cancer
      British researchers are going ahead with a large-scale clinical trial of the controversial drug thalidomide to treat lung cancer patients. The drug, given to pregnant mothers to prevent morning sickness, led to severe birth defects in thousands of children born during the 1950s and 1960s. As a result, it was taken off the market.But some British doctors believe thalidomide can help fight lung cancer, which kills nearly 35,000 people in the United Kingdom each year, reports BBC News Online. Researchers want to recruit about 400 patients to participate in the trial, to be led by Dr. Slow Ming Lee, of University College, London. Lee believes thalidomide stops new tumor blood vessel growth and has immune-stimulating properties against cancer.
      5 February
      New discovery to help switch off diseases
      United Press International
      In a landmark discovery, a team of Australian scientists said Monday they have created a three-dimensional map of a protein that seems to be involved in the development of several serious diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
      The discovery, the scientists said, could lead to new drugs to help "switch off" these and other diseases, bringing relief to millions of sufferers worldwide.
      The research was led by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne.
      "This is the first step in developing new ways to stop a disease in its tracks," the CSIRO's senior researcher, Kim Branson, told United Press International.

      High blood sugar tied to memory problems
      United Press International
      Blood sugar levels that rise abnormally high with age can damage and shrink the brain's memory centers, a new report released Monday concludes.
      The novel finding suggests simple diet and exercise regimens, as well as new but as-yet-undeveloped drugs, could help prevent or even reverse the gradual memory declines that often accompany old age.
      "It's hard to get people motivated to lose weight and exercise. Now we have these signs that your brain is likely to work a little better if you do, (so) they might be more likely to (take the advice)," researcher Antonio Convit, a psychiatrist at New York University, told United Press International.
      The sugar known as glucose is virtually the only fuel source for the brain. Previous studies found that diabetes, which leads to excessively high blood sugar, is linked with memory problems.


      Small Print:

      For more information about cryonics or Cryonics Institute and how to become a member, visit our web site at http://www.cryonics.org.

      We encourage readers to forward issues to friends and interested parties. Please send any suggestions or comments to Long Life by emailing John@...

      Long Life would like to thank Longevity Report, Wired News, Infobeat, The New York Times, The New Scientist, Nanodot, Slashdot, contributors to the Extropian and CryoNet mailing lists, members of the Cryonics Institute, and others, for helping provide some of the free public information used in Long Life.

      (Disclaimer: CI does not necessarily encourage or advocate the use of any products or practices mentioned in its newsletter.)

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