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Long Life 10

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  • John de Rivaz
    Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter November 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 9 Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics Institute.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2003

      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter

      November 2003 -- Volume 2, Number 9

      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
       
      CI Opens Discussion Group
       
      An email  discussion group exclusive to CI members has opened. People who have paid for option one and option two membership have been invited to join, using the email addresses they have registered with CI. Anyone who has not been invited and who wants to join, is asked in the first instance to email john@... and when their email address is cleared with CI that they are a member they can be added to the list. Also if you didn't answer the original invitation it will now have expired, so again please email.
       
      The group is moderated and it has already provided some useful discussion for members about finding local funeral directors, and it may result in changes in CI procedures in due course that will make it easier for people to make their arrangements. Do not feel that by joining it you will be bombarded with ceaseless cryonet type email you may prefer not to read.
       
      Request For Help From Suspended Animation

      October 31, 2003

      A Letter from Ben Best, President of the Cryonics Institute:

      Suspended Animation Incorporated is under serious attack in Florida from both the state Mortuary Board and from the city Zoning & Planning Commission. There will be a hearing next Thursday, November 6th, at 6pm which could be critical in determining the fate of SA.

      Any cryonicists in the Florida area are urged to attend this meeting. Everyone attending who wants to speak will be allotted 5 minutes to give their views. Animal rights activists will probably be descending on the proceedings, despite the fact that SA will only be experimenting on rats and dead dogs (dogs already killed by the SPCA or similar organization).

      Those not in the Florida area can help by sending messages to the city council members through their Internet links (below). Animal rights activists from all over have already been doing this. Below is the letter from the President of Suspended Animation requesting assist in his legal struggle. Please help if you can. This will affect the future of cryonics in a major way, I believe.

      -- Ben Best



      Dear Cryonics Enthusiast,

      As the President of Suspended Animation, Inc. I am asking you to help us win a very important battle, a battle critical to cryonics in Florida as well as the entire cryonics community.

      As you may know, we are a new cryonics company located in Boca Raton, FL. We began operations last year with funding support from the Life Extension Foundation. We have been instrumental in the cryosuspension of three Floridians and a similar number of cryonicists elsewhere in the country.

      Our primary goal is to perform research that will enhance cryonics through whole body vitrification and vastly reduced previtrification ischemic damage. But, we also provide you the first response capability that may make the difference between a good resuscitation prognosis and oblivion.

      SA is the only cryonics organization who plans to perform substantive research to improve both control of ischemia and reduction of cryosuspension damage. 95% of our efforts are directed to research to improve cryonics technology.

      SA is the only company now providing professional Standby Based Transport to ensure you get immediate professional care from the moment of pronouncement.

      Lastly, we are the only organization proposing to provide whole body vitrification. We welcome you to look over our website www.suspended.org and view how we are making a substantial impact on the industry and how we can be of service to Florida cryonicists.

      We are in a crisis at this moment brought on by the pending refusal of Boca Raton to grant us occupancy and building permits and by the State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers who demand that we become a licensed mortuary. Unless we can reverse the Boca Raton licensing problem, an entire two year's worth of effort will be wasted as we are forced out of our facility and must seek another place from which to operate, if we can.

      As I am sure you know, no cryonics organization has a lot of money to waste and this will come close to killing the entire operation. If we do not win in our battle with the State over becoming a licensed mortuary, cryonics will for all practical purposes be prohibited in Florida - yes I mean it - forbidden. Mortuaries are forbidden to treat patients except in the mortuary, thus all of the bedside anti-ischemia treatment vital to ensuring brain tissue viability is prohibited. This is only one roadblock created by the State's licensing requirement; there are many others.

      We desperately need your help in two areas. First, there is a Boca Raton Planning and Zoning meeting on Thursday Nov 6 at 6:00 PM, in the Boca Raton City Hall that will debate our occupancy and building permits. The auditorium has 300 seats and to the extent they are filled with cryonicists, those in power can hear a voice for approving our permits. Furthermore, individuals can sign up to be heard for five minutes. If the seats are filled with animal rights activists and those who hate anything new or unknown, then only their voices will be heard as they have been so far.

      We really need you. Unless there is a groundswell of support, they are going to recommend to City Council that our permits be denied purely because we are a cryonics organization.

      In addition to your help at the meeting we would greatly appreciate it if you would send the attached letter (or one similar to it) to the Boca Raton City Council at the address below to encourage them to vote for us when the measure comes up. These guys all respond to the voters, and those who voice their preference are the only ones heard.

      Boca Raton City Council
      201 West Palmetto Park Road
      Boca Raton, Florida 33432

      Will you help? Please visit the following links below and send emails regarding the importance of the research that SA is conducting and how it is needed by the growing cryonics community in southern Florida.

      Send an email to the Mayor of Boca Raton Steven Abrams from his web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/Mayor.cfm

      Send an email to the Deputy Mayor of Boca Raton Susan Whelchel from her web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/Council1.cfm

      Send an email to Council Member Susan Haynie from her web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/Council4.cfm

      Send an email to Council Member David Freudenberg from his web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/Council3.cfm

      Send an email to Council Member Bill Hager from his web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/Council2.cfm

      Send an email to City Manager Leif Ahnell from his web page

      http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/city/message.cfm

      At the following link http://www.suspended.org/counselletter.html you will find the letter attached to this document. Please send all your friends to our website and ask them to copy, paste and send the letter also. Have them send emails, make phone calls, anything that ensures SA is not stopped in furthering the very important research being done in cryonics. This is vitally important for all cryonics members independent of your membership organization.

      We are fighting for our company and the right for cryonics to exist in Florida. This is a matter of life and death for us and you.

      Sincerely,

      David Shumaker


      It is also quite a good idea to have individually worded letters from various people. This one written by me, John de Rivaz, is slanted for use by people outside the USA:
       
      I am writing from England, having heard of the debate about the facility for Suspended Animation (SA) in your state. What you decide affects not just your own area but the whole world. Progress in medical technology affects many people in the present and the future. At one time solutions for things like plague, polio, heart disease and so on were considered impossible. It was only the actions of far sighted people that enabled what we now consider commonplace to be achieved.

      I understand a pressure group is against the SA proposal. Such pressure groups often contain many people who have not thought the problem through, and a vociferous small number of people who enjoy imposing or supporting suffering and destruction from within the safety of a group. This is particularly irrational, and indeed offensive to many people, when the group claims to be against suffering.

      It is also inappropriate in this instance, because SA are only proposing research on creatures which are dead anyway. They will be dead regardless of whether you permit SA’s facility or not.

      When pressure groups are allowed to dictate public policy often enough, we end up with administrations such as were seen recently in Afghanistan and Iraq where authority was totally dysfunctional because it was driven by irrational beliefs, such as "If you die in battle defending your faith you go to heaven regardless of how bad you have been otherwise".

      Denying the citizens of your state, and indeed the whole world, research that may extend their lives is little different to **permitting** life shortening medical experiments on **people**. Historians in the future may judge any political decision that denies life extending research just as harshly as other excesses of authority in the past. The research will be done somewhere but maybe much later in time, and if successful then it will be noticed that it could have been done before. Suppose, by way of example, some politicians had stopped research on polio in the past, and some maverick state had permitted someone to conduct it and found the solution in 1995. Think of the numbers of people that would have died or been crippled in the meantime. Then consider how historians would have looked back on the personalities and motives of the politicians who denied it previously. How would their descendants be treated by their contemporaries? They could not take comfort in the fact that at the time most people thought success for the research to be impossible. This is often the case for any research - that is the nature of research.

      Do you want to take this risk?


       
      The Life Extension Foundation are sending this to their members:
       
      Science under Siege
       
      Dear Life Extension Member,

      Never before have so many bureaucrats stood in the way of medical progress.

      Embryonic stem cell research, for instance, is fundamental to the most promising advances in regenerative medicine. The problem is that government bureaucrats are blocking stem cell research that could lead to advanced treatments for Parkinson's disease, heart disease, bone damage, nerve damage, burns, liver damage and Crohn's disease. The U.S. government has clearly shown that they do not care how much suffering they are causing through their repressive policies. Without citizen activism and opposition, we can all expect to live shorter, more painful lives, as arrogant government legislators and regulators suppress promising research.

      According to Reason magazine, if embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning are banned, you, personally, will one day likely die from a disease that could have been curable. Today, 150,000 people will die worldwide, mostly from diseases and conditions that would be curable without these attacks on medical research. Are you going to let that go, or are you going to stand up and fight the politicians who are trying to stop progress?

      Life Extension Breakthrough Crippled

      By Government Interference

      As most Life Extension members know, the FDA is censoring validated scientific data about nutrients, hormone and drugs that can prevent disease and possibly slow ageing. The consequences of the FDA’s unconstitutional actions are that Americans are dying from medical ignorance, as published studies clearly show that most of today’s lethal diseases can be better prevented and treated.

      One of the most effective methods of extending lifespan is reducing the excess secretion of insulin. Humans and animals undergoing caloric restriction experience a 42% decline in blood insulin levels. Many scientists attribute the longevity benefits of caloric restriction at least in part to this dramatic drop in excess insulin levels.

      Life Extension has developed a patent-pending supplement that lowers fasting insulin levels. Fire Marshals in the City of Sunrise, however, have closed down the lab extracting this supplement out of avocados. We don’t know if this lab will ever open again, since the Sunrise bureaucrats have stonewalled attempts to show that the lab is compliant with their regulations.

      Boca Raton Zoning Officials

      Seek To Evict Cryonics Company

      Suspended Animation, Inc. is a company seeking permission from the City of Boca Raton to conduct research aimed at protecting neurons from ischemia (reduced blood flow) and further develop a process known as vitrification (low temperature preservation without cellular damage).

      After a large amount of research dollars had been expended in setting up this facility, the city of Boca Raton decided to deny an occupation license to this company. The good news is that Suspended Animation’s attorneys have clearly demonstrated that these research activities are permissible. There is a risk, however, that the City Council could arbitrarily deny the issuance of a license to operate based on political considerations.

      Suspended Animation’s fate will be determined Thursday, November 6, at the Boca Raton City Council Meeting. This meeting begins at 6:00 PM.

      I am asking South Florida Life Extension members to show public support for establishing this world-class research facility by attending the Boca Raton Planning and Zoning meeting that will be will be held in the city hall located at 210 West Palmetto Park Road (a few miles East of I-95 on the North side of Palmetto Park Road). The auditorium has 300 seats and to the extent they are filled with supporters of science, those city council members can hear a voice for approving Suspended Animation’s permits.

      The scientists at Suspending Animation, Inc. have diligently worked on this project for the past 18 months, only to be threatened with eviction because of arbitrary and capricious actions taken by bureaucrats who have no idea of the potential significance of this research (i.e. more organs available for transplant, less brain damage occurring from trauma-surgery, and possibly the perfection of whole body vitrification).

      It would be a travesty to see this opportunity lost because we failed to let our voices be heard. I urge each and every one of you to attend this meeting at Boca Raton City Hall (210 West Palmetto Park Road) this Thursday (November 6) at 6:00 PM.

      I suggest that everyone planning on attending this meeting call Dayna Dye (954-202-7716) on Thursday to make sure that Suspended Animation’s case will be heard that night. There have been bureaucratic delays, but we are fairly certain that Suspended Animation will be the prominent issue on the November 6 Boca meeting agenda.

      How Bureaucrats Have Become Unaccountable

      Every day, various government agencies hold public hearings where citizens have open access to important decision-making processes. Regrettably, the citizenry has become apathetic and has given virtual free reign to government to make arbitrary edicts that adversely affect our finances and our health.

      Our remarkable government of "We The People" has been replaced by "They the Unaccountable." We have grown accustomed to bureaucratic intimidation rather than taking the initiative to reign in inappropriate government actions.

      In this instance, a few employees of the zoning department of Boca Raton could sabotage a private scientific endeavor that could lead to marvelous medical advances.

      This country was founded by concerned citizens who took the time to attend assemblies that enabled common sense courses of political action to be taken. In today’ world, citizens sit at home in front of television sets and watch the adverse affects of incompetent governmental actions unfold before their very eyes.

      I can tell you personally that there is nothing more exhilarating than taking on an arrogant bureaucracy and winning. For the past 20 years, we have challenged the authorities on constitutional, scientific and ethical grounds and have consistently prevailed. Our victories have occurred only because our supporters have risen to the occasion and let officials know that inappropriate governmental actions will not be tolerated.

      Please join us at the Boca Raton City Hall (210 West Palmetto Park Road) on Thursday, November 6 at 6:00 PM. We cannot let a local zoning department deny medical progress that could benefit all of mankind.

      I will personally look forward to meeting you this Thursday night at the Boca Raton City Hall, which is less than a 15- minute drive from most of your homes.

      Furthermore, individuals can sign up to be heard for five minutes. If the seats are filled with animal rights activists and those who hate anything new or unknown, then only their voices will be heard as they have been so far. We really need you. Unless there is a groundswell of support, they are going to recommend to City Council that our permits be denied purely because we are a cryonics organization.

      Suspended Animation, Inc. has made vast technical improvements to the cryo-preservation process and has greatly enhanced the quality of standby technical service delivered to the cryonics' patient. Suspended Animation will be the only organization in the world offering whole body vitrification. If Suspended Animation, Inc. is prohibited from operating in South Florida, then all of this means little to us living here.

      If you have any questions about the most important issue to ever face Florida cryonics members, please call me at 954-494-3212.

      For longer life,

      William Faloon

      [ David Shumaker letter as above appears here ]

      P.S.- The FDA recently blocked a new stem cell therapy for heart damage that has proven very successful in trials. The therapy uses stem cells from the patient's own blood, directly analogous to using your own blood for transfusions in surgery. This sort of overzealous reaching on the part of the FDA carries a staggering cost; 50,000 lives every year are lost waiting for heart transplants or a working therapy for heart disease. We must protest this sort of FDA interference if we are to benefit from advanced medical technologies currently in development!

      Message #22752
      From: "Reason" <reason@...>
      Subject: attacks on therapeutic cloning damaging medical progress, shortening lives
      Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:08:50 -0800

      The attacks on therapeutic cloning are causing great damage to medical
      progress in this field:

      http://www.azdailysun.com/non_sec/nav_includes/story.cfm?storyID=75791
      "President Bush's current limitations on stem cell research and a bill that
      would place criminal penalties on scientists who use a particular cloning
      process are causing biotechnology corporations to fall apart or flee to
      other countries, according to a stem cell scientist."

      http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=534&e=3&u=/ap/20031027/ap_on
      _sc/stem_cell_research
      "if embryonic stem cell research had not been involved in politics we would
      be far ahead of where we are today."


      Please use the following links to see how you can help to make your voice
      heard. I urge you to contact your elected representatives and tell them that
      what they are doing (or allowing to happen) is immoral and wrong. Hundreds
      of millions of people are suffering and dying today, now, from conditions
      that could soon be cured, or might already be curable, if not for these
      attacks on therapeutic cloning and stem cell research.

      A total ban on therapeutic cloning in the US is still pending:

      http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/oppose_the_theraputic_cloning_ban.cfm

      The European Parliament is still looking at banning all stem cell research:

      http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/oppose_the_european_stem_cell_ban.cfm

      More information on the UN global ban on therapeutic cloning is here:

      http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/oppose_global_theraputic_cloning_ban.c
      fm

      The FDA has blocked a working therapy for heart disease that could save an
      estimated 50,000 lives worldwide every day:

      http://www.longevitymeme.org/projects/protest_fda_interference.cfm


      Reason
      Founder, Longevity Meme
      reason@...
      http://www.longevitymeme.org

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: href="mailto:wta-politics-admin@...">wta-politics-admin@...
      > [mailto:wta-politics-admin@...]On Behalf Of Hughes, James
      >
      Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 12:40 PM
      > To:
      href="mailto:wta-politics@...">wta-politics@...
      > Subject: [wta-politics] Move to ban human cloning likely to divide UN
      >
      >
      >
      >
      http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c
      =StoryFT&cid=1066565433416
      >
      > Move
      to ban human cloning likely to divide UN
      >
      > By Mark Turner at the
      United Nations and Clive Cookson in London
      >
      > Published: October 28
      2003 17:30 | Last Updated: October 28 2003 17:30
      >
      >
      > The US
      and the UK, normally stalwart allies on the international stage,
      > may be
      heading for a face-off at the United Nations over moves towards
      > an
      international convention banning all forms of human cloning.
      >
      >
      Diplomats said a decision was expected this week or early next week on
      >
      whether to press for a vote in the UN General Assembly. Costa Rica, the
      >
      US and almost 60 other countries have sponsored a resolution calling for
      >
      a convention against human cloning to be prepared by next year. In the
      >
      meantime, it says states should prohibit the research, development or
      >
      application of "any technique aimed at human cloning".

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      [ end of Life Extension Foundation document ]

       
      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.

      New alternative to "slash, burn or poison" cancer treatment
       
      CANCER patients will be injected with their own blood cells, newly armed with a cancer-fighting gene, in a world-first treatment created in Melbourne. more on
       

      Medical system is leading cause of death and injury in US

      Shocking statistical evidence is cited by Gary Null PhD, Caroly Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD and Dorothy Smith PhD in their recent paper Death by Medicine - October 2003, released by the Nutrition Institute of America.

      "A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.

      more on:
       
       

      High-Tech Daydreamers Investing in Immortality

      By JAMES GORMAN

      Published: November 1, 2003

      CAMDEN, Me. — Aubrey de Grey took the stage of the Camden Opera House, tugging at a beard worthy of Methuselah, to tell his listeners that they could triumph over death.

      Mr. de Grey was not selling an afterlife or a metaphor. He is a geneticist at the University of Cambridge, in England, and his prophecy was straightforward if hard to believe: Getting old and dying are engineering problems. Ageing can be reversed and death defeated. People already alive will live a thousand years or longer.

      Advertisement

      He was at pains to argue that what he calls "negligible senescence," and what the average person would call living forever, is inevitable. His proposed war on ageing, he said, is intended to make it happen sooner and make it happen right. He subscribes, it seems, to the philosophy articulated by Woody Allen: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

      This notion of getting in on the ground floor of immortality was apparently appealing to the roughly 500 people who came in mid-October to this coastal town of big yachts and small gift shops about 70 miles northeast of Portland to attend Pop!Tech, an annual technology conference. They were ready for the Next Big Thing. After all, many of them were present at the creation of the last one, the spread of the personal computer and the explosive growth of the Internet.

      Stephen M. Case, the founder of AOL, was here, as were John Scully and Robert Metcalfe, who started the conference seven years ago. Mr. Scully was the chief executive of Apple, after he had left PepsiCo. Mr. Metcalfe invented the Ethernet and founded 3Com, among a few other achievements, before he became a venture capitalist. Other, lesser known entrepreneurs and investors, along with dot-com veterans, a gaggle of journalists and the merely curious, also attended to look for new ideas or promote them, and to use the gathering of thinkers and talkers as a guide to what's next.

      The answer was clear. Now that the giddiness and glamour of the killer app and ultimate hand-held gizmo have passed into memory, it is biology that beckons. The possibility of making money out of biotech is of obvious interest. But the more exciting question in the air was not so much where to put your money as what to think about. Differentiating between vision and fantasy would come next.

      Many in the audience seemed unafraid of amending the presumed laws of nature. When Juan Enriquez, from the Harvard Business School, displayed an X-ray of a chicken with three wings and asked who believed that this sort of research ought to continue, about two-thirds of those in the audience raised their hands. This was before they knew its purpose, which is to understand how to regenerate damaged tissues for human beings.

      Mr. Enriquez said he was surprised, as well he might be. It is not often you find 300 people ready to vote for extra limbs, no matter the reason.

      Other speakers addressed the importance of stem cell research, ocean exploration, a crisis in the patent system, the soul-deadening effect of suburbs, and the mode by which the Earth will die.

      For audacity of imagination, though, Mr. de Grey was matched only by Joe Davis, a molecular artist from M.I.T. with a peg leg and a devilish glint in his eye, who, with the help of scientists at Harvard and M.I.T. has made art of DNA by inserting coded messages into the genes of bacteria. He does not work only with DNA. He also pointed out that drawings sent into space, presumably for curious extraterrestrials, lacked anatomically correct female genitalia. He has not been able to remedy that, but he did record vaginal contractions and translate them into a radio broadcast.

      He also provided instruction in basic biology using a DNA model made of garden hose to great effect. All in all it was a perfect atmosphere for Mr. de Grey, whose campaign against death has something of the feeling of an Internet start-up. On one hand he is promising the world. On the other, the underlying science and technology are real, Mr. de Grey argued. And the business plan is, if nothing else, bold.

      Yet without true expertise in some very sophisticated biology, it was hard to know how far away from the mainstream he was.

      Mr. de Grey is probably several steps ahead of the avant garde in his conviction that the 4,000- or 5,000-year life is right around the corner. But extending the average human life to 150 years is commonly discussed. And some gerontologists say there is no theoretical limit to the human life span.

      Mr. de Grey's ideas were not completely new to people who have been pondering cyborgs and artificial intelligence for years. "I think, and I've thought this for a long time, that we live, roughly speaking, in the last generation of human beings," said Whitfield Diffie, chief of security for Sun Microsystems, a pioneer in encryption, and a freewheeling thinker often sought after for such conferences as a speaker. He was just visiting this year and said he was fascinated by the grand claims for the biological century, which he views as probably too conservative.

      He is convinced, he said, that there are probably people alive already today who will have unlimited life spans. And he was unimpressed by the scepticism of more conservative experts in the field of ageing. After all, he said, he had witnessed change coming rapidly from unexpected directions in the digital world.

      Mark Hurst, who runs a consulting company in New York and founded a Web site for consumer complaints, thisisbroken.com, said after the meeting that he was "sceptical and entertained." But, he said, "as far as actually believing it," he thinks most of those he talked to at Pop!Tech had the same question about the scientific details as he did, "What the heck was he talking about?"

      Mr. de Grey compared the cellular and molecular damage that ageing causes to what happens to a house. Houses keep going, he said, not because they are built to be immortal, but because people keep repairing them. Science should take the same approach to the human body, he argued; many, if not all, of the techniques for making such repairs are already available.

      He also had an answer for how to pay for the necessary research. First prove that the life of laboratory mice can be extended. Once people realize that ageing can be reversed in a mammal, he said, research will take off, and the demand for extending life far beyond the current limits will be universal. Then people can just keep repairing themselves and researching new ways to take care of future damage.

      To get this whole process going, Mr. de Grey established the Methuselah Mouse Prize in September. The prize is drawn from a fund, at methuselahmouse.org, now open for donations. A portion of it is to be offered each time the record is broken for prolonging mouse life. A portion will also be offered for reversing ageing, which is a more complicated calculation. The prize fund stands at $28,448.

      With enough money, Mr. de Grey said, it would take about 10 years to find a proven method for taking any 2-year-old mouse, already two-thirds of the way through a normal life, and extending it to five years, the equivalent of 150 years for humans. At that point the war on human ageing could begin in earnest.

      Mr. de Grey described himself as a theoretician, and as such he holds a position that is rejected by most researchers into the science of ageing. For instance, Leonard P. Guarente, a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, "The idea of people living to a thousand is preposterous." There are mechanisms that may well allow extending life, he said, but so much goes wrong as organisms deteriorate with age that "trying to fix everything that's going wrong is impossible."

      Mr. de Grey is undeterred by criticism and relatively unconcerned about suggestions that near-immortality, if achievable, might not be entirely a good thing. Asked what would happen to reproduction when the living started to accumulate the way the dead do now, taking up all the space, he said they would no doubt resent new arrivals. He said matter-of-factly that it would be, by and large, a world without children.

      He recognized that there would be difficult issues to face but brushed aside any suggestion that defeating death was not a fundamentally good thing to do.

      "Ageing really is barbaric," he said. "It shouldn't be allowed. I don't need an ethical argument. I don't need any argument. It's visceral. To let people die is bad."

      Although Mr. de Grey got his listeners talking and thinking, there was no indication that their interest meant they had signed on to the program. Mr. Diffie, for one, was unconvinced by the notion of death as something that arrived by accident in evolution. It was, after all, universal. "My nose for when I don't understand something tells me there's something here I don't understand," he said. " I don't think they understand it either."

      The audience was not lacking in millionaires, but there was no great surge of donations to the Methuselah Mouse Prize after Mr. de Grey's talk. According to his online record of donations, $1,849 was received during or after Pop!Tech, which ran from Oct. 16 to 18.

      Mr. de Grey has no illusions about the challenge he faces. He wants to establish an institute to direct research, he said, adding that he probably needs $500 million to achieve the goal of using mouse research to kick-start a global research explosion on human ageing. That includes the prize fund.

      Just before a dinner the night after his talk, one of the participants in the conference approached him and asked, "Can we talk about funding?"

      "Yeah," Mr. de Grey said, "how much money do you have?"


      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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