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Long Life 8

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  • John de Rivaz
    Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter August 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 8 Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics Institute.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 7, 2003

      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter

      August 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 8

      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.

      CI and general cryonics news
      Recent activities at the Cryonics Institute have included by preparations for CI's Annual Meeting.  Though still in the planning stages, September 28th has been announced as the probable date for the members-only gathering. 
      The meeting itself should begin formally at 2PM, and promises to be a historic occasion, since Robert Ettinger, founder and President of CI from its beginnings in 1976, is expected to step down.  Ettinger will by no means be leaving the Cryonics Institute, however, but will, if elected, stay on as a Director. 
      Formally announcing himself as a candidate for the soon-to-be-open post of CI President is CI Director and long-time cryonics activist Ben Best.  Mr Best, who lives in Toronto, has served with distinction as President of CryoCare, as President and Secretary of the Cryonics Society of Canada, Treasurer of the Toronto branch of Mensa, and as President of the Institute of Neural Cryobiology, where he worked closely on the Hippocampal Slice Cryopreservation Project (HSCP) with Dr. Yuri Pichugin. 
      A professional computer programmer, Mr Best is a specialist in database applications for the financial industry, and as an enthusiastic traveller and 'cryonics ambassador', he has been involved in cryonics-related organizations and organizational activities since the late 1980s, attending virtually every significant cryonics conference since then, and meeting with cryonicists in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe as well as throughout North America. If elected, he's expressed a willingness to move and live near to the Cryonics Institute facilities.
      Regarded by many as one of the most technically knowledgable of cryonics advocates, Ben Best's scientific papers and other cryonics writings are archived online at http://www.benbest.org
      In other CI news, there was further progress in CI's Research Department, headed by Dr. Yuri Pichugin.  More information was gathered about relative toxicity of various vitrification mixtures, and in some cases, rat hearts showed full viability after exposure to the mixtures followed by washout.
      The Venturists are launching a new cryonics magazine, Physical Immortality, and a free copy is being bundled with the next issue of The ImmortalistThe new magazine is aimed for news stand distribution and is hoping to bring into the movement a few of those people who still do not use the Internet and rely on newstands. Although much is said about the huge numbers of people using the Internet, there are equally huge numbers who do not, and many of these could benefit from the concepts of cryonics if they could be educated away from many popularly held mis-conceptions.

      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.

      Many of the stories here came from InfoBeat, an internet based news service. Unfortunately they have reduced their coverage of scientific issues, at least for the moment.
      Undated or earlier items:
      Progeria Gene discovered

      [Boston, MA – April 16, 2003] – The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF), along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the discovery of the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS or Progeria), a rare, fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children.

      “Isolating the Progeria gene is a major achievement for the medical research community,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director, National Human Genome Research Institute and the senior author on the report, which appears today in Nature. “The discovery not only gives hope to children and families affected by Progeria, but also may shed light on the phenomenon of aging and cardiovascular disease.”

      Children with Progeria die from complications of cardiovascular disease or arteriosclerosis at an average age of 13. Researchers now believe finding the gene that causes Progeria may lead to answers surrounding the natural aging process and cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for more than 40 percent of all deaths.

      more on http://www.progeriaresearch.org/Press%20release.htm

      [This was proposed for inclusion here by reader George C Smith -- readers are encouraged to email links for inclusion in this newsletter: John@... is where to send them. ] 
      Networking Links
      I am not sure as to the veracity of this story, but it is going around the Internet and can be given some slight relevance to cryonics:
      His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.
      One day,while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been  a  slow and terrifying death.
      The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings.  An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as  the father of  the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."
      "No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer.
      At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.    "Yes," the farmer replied proudly.     "I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education  my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll    no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of."
      And that he did.
      Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went onto  become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming the discoverer of Penicillin.
      Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time?
      The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.
      His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.
      The relevance to cryonics? If you tell all and sundry about it, there may be tenuous links to some valuable people who join the movement.
      How to mummify yourself
      Unlike other mummies around the world that were created by nature or by those who outlived them, this mummy is the body of a monk who underwent a process of self-mummification while still alive. more on http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/B/bodies/bits/gallery.html#top
      In Longevity Report 95 (and elsewhere) Steve Bridge writes: And yet, no one can do cryonics effectively by himself or herself. It requires specialized knowledge and skills, a team that works together, a building, and people willing to commit themselves to caring for frozen patients for decades at minimum. And you really cannot make individual decisions about your own cryonics care while the physician is filling out your death certificate. The mummification story does not negate this, but  before reading the mummification story I would not have thought that self treatment of mummification could be implemented either. Unfortunately I missed the first half of the tv programme that its web link represents, but I do recall from what I did see that the monks were perfecting this process for 1,000 years before they got it right! I do not know their motivation for such a project - it may have been in the part of the programme I missed.
      4 July
      Software can investigate suspicious deaths
      Software engineers have programmed a computer to investigate suspicious deaths. It can help detectives distinguish between deaths caused by murder, suicide, accident or natural causes.
      Stem cells enable paralysed rats to walk
      Nerve cells derived from human embryonic stem cells and transplanted into paralysed rats have enabled the animals to walk again. The findings add to a growing number of studies that suggest embryonic stem cells could have a valuable role to play in treating spinal injuries.
      The researchers, whose work was funded by stem cell giant Geron of Menlo Park, California, say trials on people could start in just two years.
      7 July
      Designer Materials
      In times past, finding a material with just the right strength, elasticity, or other desirable traits involved a process of trial and error. People would "discover" a new material like steel or rubber, not "invent" it. Only after the fact would scientists figure out why that certain mixture of chemicals behaved a certain way.
      But the burgeoning field of materials science is turning all of that on its head. Scientists can now start with a list of desired traits and design a custom material to suit--specifying the atomic structure, grain structure, and even heat treatments needed--without needing to resort to the old cycle of make, test, refine. Computers can simulate the physics of solid materials before they're made.
      The secret behind this radical new ability is a combination of two modern trends: the availability of powerful, affordable computers; and advances over the last 50 years in the fundamental physics of solids. By plugging the equations of physics into a fast enough computer, you can see how a certain material will behave before it's ever made.
      23 July
      Another report on Ceremedix's new drug
      (7-3-03) BOSTON, Mass. – A new pill, developed by CereMedix, a biotech startup at Northeastern University, could restore the body’s natural defenses so drastically that people might routinely live to be a healthy 120 years old, researchers say.  more on http://www.nupr.neu.edu/7-03/ceremedix.html
      24 July
      Wheelchair moves at the speed of thought 
      Severely disabled people who cannot operate a motorised wheelchair may one day get their independence, thanks to a system that lets them steer a wheelchair using only their thoughts. more on http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993967 (their non-subscription service)
      6 August
      Biotime Report
      Biotime Inc., the spin-off company from Trans Time, reported military interest in its products, for dealing with battlefield casualties. More on http://ww3.ics.adp.com/streetlink_data/dirBTX/sa189.pdf

      Longevity Report 95

      Volume 15 no 95. First published July 2003. ISSN 0964-5659

      Libertarians and CryonicsStephen W Bridge2
      Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Board of AdvisorsMike Treder 8
      Fly Longevity ExperimentsDouglas Skrecky10
      Death DenialDr Steve Harris16
      The Consequences of Physical ImmortalityBruce Klein17
      Publication Schedule ChangesJohn de Rivaz24


      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.)

      Sincerely, John de Rivaz: 
      http://John.deRivaz.com for websites including Cryonics Europe, Longevity Report, The Venturists, Porthtowan, Alec Harley Reeves - inventor, Arthur Bowker - potter, de Rivaz genealogy,  Nomad .. and more
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