Browsed by
Author: Kimberly Forsythe

Anti-Aging: The Growing Popularity Of Radical Life Extension – Article by Kimberly Forsythe

Anti-Aging: The Growing Popularity Of Radical Life Extension – Article by Kimberly Forsythe

logo_bg

Kimberly Forsythe


There are numerous anti-aging therapies, which are used to slow the aging process in humans. Each of these therapies has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, there are anti-aging processes such as anti-oxidants, anti-aging nutrients, anti-aging exercise programs, anti-aging diets, and anti-aging supplements that are said to extend a person’s lifespan. Aging is said to be a natural process that cannot be slowed or reversed once humans undergo it, and which accelerates greatly after puberty and early adulthood; however, some experts do not agree with this. There are several theories on the subject of aging that have varying outlooks on the actual causes of aging.

What Causes Aging in Humans?

There are various theories that explain the causes of aging, but they do not all agree. While we are making new discoveries all the time, we still do not have definitive answers on what causes aging. Some researchers believe that oxidative damage is what causes aging, and others believe genetics are involved in causing aging.

The evidence for the oxidative damage by sunlight, poor diet, and poor exercising habits is strong. For example, if your parents or grandparents had a shorter lifespan than the average person, it’s possible that part of the reason was that they didn’t have a good diet, they didn’t exercise, or they didn’t avoid the common environmental hazards we encounter today. That certainly makes some sense.

You might think that they all contribute equally, which is certainly plausible. Consider how much impact the food we eat has on our health. If the foods we eat are generally unhealthy, then the oxidative damage done to our cells will be greater, and our lifespan will be shortened. If the foods we eat are rich in antioxidants and are beneficial to health, then we will be healthier, and the oxidative damage we do to our cells will be lessened.

So, one could say that oxidative damage is what causes aging, and the antioxidants are what counteract it. But that’s too simple. Actually, free radicals do more damage to our cells than oxidative damage, so it stands to reason that free radicals add to the damage. In other words, instead of wearing away at the cells in a chemical process, free radicals cause cell death.

However, the evidence for genetics is also strong. When the telomeres within the protective shell of the cell are damaged, they become shorter. As a result, the “RNA” within the telomere becomes too short. The second factor which causes aging is cell senescence, or aging at the cellular level.

There are many different forms of cell senescence, but the main ones are in peripheral tissues such as skin, muscles, and blood vessels. If this continues, then the total number of cells may start to decline. The decline in cell numbers is partly what causes aging in general.

Another factor is called DNA damage, and this is caused by exposure to radiation and to chemicals used during manufacturing. This is a big problem, because DNA is responsible for the repair of cellular damage, and if it gets damaged, it can stop replicating to produce new cells altogether. This would mean that the aging process could not be stopped, and the body will just keep getting older without any real control.

What is Radical Life Extension?

Radical life extension is the process of using anti-aging technology to reverse age-related processes that are already underway. Anti-aging techniques rely on a combination of knowledge and understanding of the aging process, as well as on modern-day scientific breakthroughs. Scientists are only just now beginning to unlock many of the mysteries surrounding the mechanisms of aging.

In theory, we could live forever if we found a way to completely rejuvenate ourselves after we passed the age of sixty. Some people are under the impression that curing or reversing aging is impossible. But at the very least, we might be able to make ourselves better, or at least age gracefully. It is not known how far the search has come, but some of the results so far have been very promising.

When Will Aging be Cured or Reversed?

To cure or reverse aging, it will be necessary to find some way to increase the lifespan of humans. Many questions surround which scientific approach to anti-aging will be the most beneficial to humans. Perhaps we will lengthen lifespans by curing all of the diseases that we are prone to, or perhaps by using genetic engineering to insert new genes into the human genome. For some transhumanists, the ultimate aim would be to live forever. Others, however, wish only to increase the number of healthy years.

There is a great deal of interest in the subject of radical life extension, and there is considerable money involved. Investors are piling in to fund research to unlock more theories about aging and the mysteries that scientists are trying to unravel. There are, unfortunately, many unfounded claims and charlatans out there misleading the public about how we may be able to cure or reverse aging.

Some people have made the mistake of thinking that radical life extension is magic, or of taking a magical pill that will turn you into an immortal. While there is promising research for medications that can reduce biological age, the notion that it will be an immediate and instant cure is likely a distortion of the truth. We need to understand that aging is just one of the processes that occur within us, but there are many ways we can counter these processes. It is possible to extend your life significantly, but this requires an understanding of the aging process as a whole.

Overall, the more resources we put into studying the aging process and search for effective ways of curing or reversing aging, the faster we will find answers to questions that humans have sought after for ages. The “Fountain of Youth” may arrive sooner than we think. It is important that we collectively understand the implications of reversing aging and take steps to address these issues as soon as possible.

Related reading:

Healthier, longer lifespans will be a reality sooner than you think, Juvenescence promises as it closes $100M round

Opinions From Around the World: Obah Isaac Ebuka – 3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

Opinions From Around the World: Obah Isaac Ebuka – 3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

logo_bg

Obah Isaac Ebuka


Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.

As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This essay regarding the promises of 3D-printing of organs and the remaining challenges of implementing this technology was written by Obah Isaac Ebuka. 

~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member, United States Transhumanist Party, December 13, 2020


3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

What if it was possible to mass-produce organs – to grow hearts and lungs in a lab, readily accessible by the hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for organs? The affirmative answer to that question has been the goal of many researchers over the years, and their results are very promising.

The Promise of 3D-Printing

In 1988, a researcher modified a basic HP inkjet printer into using cells instead of regular ink and used the printer to write on a surface using cytoscribing technology. Now in 2019, scientists in Israel have been able to print a miniature human heart complete with contracting blood vessels using human cells. A lot of work and technology through the years led up to this incredible feat of human bio-engineering.

3D-printing organs is still not completely perfected, but the technology at present shows that it is possible. Current biotechnology makes it possible to print incredibly complex organ scaffold structures that mimic the structures of human organs and tissues with high anatomical precision using synthetic but biocompatible materials. These scaffolds can then be used as the spatial matrix on which cells can be built upon to create life-sized vascularized organs that possess the vital microstructures of real organs.

Current Challenges for Bioprinting

Biological Complexity

There are still many challenges to bioprinting that are yet to be addressed. One of these is that human organs are more incredibly complex than current technology can create. It might have been possible to create a miniature heart with the major aortae and coronary arteries, but scientists have yet to replicate vessel structures like the millions of capillary networks which are micrometers in diameter and essential to the life of organs.

Also, organs are much more than their structures and shapes. There a lot of details about organs that we are yet to understand such as how certain genes, hormones, and other factors in the body interact with organs and vice versa. An example of this is how the heart is an endocrine organ and not simply a blood pumper. So a true heart replacement also has to be able to create Atrial Natriuretic Peptides (ANP), which lower blood pressure.

Practicability

Hindrances from a bioengineering perspective aren’t the only things to worry about. It is also very challenging to design clinical trials that will test the longevity and compatibility of these experimental organs in humans. There is also the challenge of securing sustainable sources of cells, biocompatible material, as well as large-scale manufacturing capabilities needed for 3D-printing to be a viable and affordable replacement for real organ transplants.

Ethnic and Religious beliefs

Ethnicity and religious belief inhibit technological changes. In Nigeria, a country in western Africa, some groups of religious fanatics believe that each organ is sacred and would not have their organs changed. This view is not only shared in Nigeria particularly, but it is commonplace and widespread for natives to abhor mending or replacing what they come to see as natural.

Proposed solutions to these barriers

Natives should be enlightened. They should be taught the need for bioprinting organs, seeing that the ultimate aim is to save lives.

Author: Obah Isaac Ebuka

Abuja, Nigeria.

Twitter handle: @AiTweet01

Opinions From Around The World: Mert Basoglu – The Cautionary Tale of Neuralink

Opinions From Around The World: Mert Basoglu – The Cautionary Tale of Neuralink

logo_bg

Mert Basoglu


Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.

As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This commentary on Elon Musk’s Neuralink was written by Mert Basoglu from Istanbul, Turkey.

~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member and Assistant Editor, United States Transhumanist Party, December 11, 2020


The Cautionary Tale of Neuralink

Elon Musk has been in the public eye with his innovations and ambitious projects in various fields such as aerospace, electric car manufacturing, and lately, neurotechnology. Even though I find most of his ideas and innovations worthy of admiration, I believe Neuralink and brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), in general, are somewhat problematic at this stage of human evolution.

First and foremost, I am all for Musk’s idea of treating neurological diseases that used to be untreatable. In consideration, Neuralink’s benefit to society in terms of both physical and mental health would be undeniable if it’s used correctly and responsibly. But, given our history of violence, abuse, and exploitation, I believe we are not ready for this kind of invention as of yet. It is an irrefutable fact that (BMIs) such as Neuralink are highly prone to being misused and weaponized for self-interests or political reasons. This may be a pessimistic view; however, I think of it as a realistic one, as there are oceans of such examples in our history. As a result of this, I think Neuralink or other (BMIs) are revolutionary and great inventions that should have emerged in the future, when our collective consciousness and empathy as a society hopefully progressed further.

Apart from these topics, there are many other concerns regarding Neuralink that beg to be discussed and solved. One example could be the topic of individualism; the paradox of creating a ‘database’ or ‘network’ that is filled with our ‘individual’ thoughts. It begs the question; what happens to the sense of self? Are our thoughts impersonal now? If we transcend humanity, become a collectively transhuman entity, where does our inevitable evil and hunger for destruction go?

To end on a positive note, I would love Neuralink or other BMIs to be useful inventions that we regularly use in our daily lives, but I think we, as humanity, have to cut our afflictions at the roots first.

– Mert Basoglu

Istanbul, Turkey

Opinions From Around The World: Abdeldayem Hassanein – Bionics and Other Emerging Technologies

Opinions From Around The World: Abdeldayem Hassanein – Bionics and Other Emerging Technologies

logo_bg

Abdeldayem Hassanein


Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.

As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This first essay was written by Abdeldayem Hassanein, an MD and medical writer from Egypt.

He was already familiar with some aspects of transhumanism, especially the areas of bionics and nanotechnology. I asked him to write a piece from his point of view. Here is Abdeldayem’s essay in its entirety.

~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member, United States Transhumanist Party, December 4, 2020


“A person can never be broken. Our built environment, our technologies, are broken and disabled.”

~ Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr, a victim of leg amputation, said the above sentence during a presentation where he expressed his opinion about bionics. Bionics are prostheses that combine the qualities of both technology and biology. The bionic leg has three attachment layers to the human body: mechanical, biological, and electrical. Joints are supplemented with a special metallic blade sensitive to body voltage. With voltage zero, the blade relaxes while with 1-degree voltage, the blade stiffens, enabling the handicapped to walk without support. The equipment is attached to the nerve ending at the site of amputation. Hugh was injured by frostbite after falling while he was climbing a mountain. [3]

Bionics are categorized under the “Human+” outlook, a philosophy encouraging innovation and updating. Yet, some nations hate some aspects of this philosophy like its seeking for immortality on Earth, age conversion, as well as its experimentation with genetic materials.

In 2017, eye bionics appeared. An elder patient with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, with decades of blindness, all of a sudden shouted in happiness after a surgical operation where sensors were implanted in his eye retinae and were combined with eyeglasses supplemented with a camera. He found himself capable of differentiating between orange trees and apple trees. He could watch TV but without color discrimination. [4]

Scientists in the Biotechnology department in one bionic center spent 200 days evaluating the mode of manufacture of a leg for a female dancer  who lost her leg after a blast injury in Afghanistan. She could successfully return to her beloved dancing. [2]

Hand prostheses previously were only cosmetic. With bionics, however, the amputated person can play with cards, open a door with a key, shake the hand, count the currency precisely, and drive a car. It was a dramatic moment when a pretty girl of 20 years old, who was born mute due to congenital anomalies in her ears, started to hear after implantation of metallic sensors near the eight cranial nerves – devices which provided her with sound magnifiers. [1] [5]

It appears that science is a double-edged weapon. Aspirin, the first drug lowering fever, was abused during the Spanish Influenza pandemic and caused a lot of toxicities from an overdose. Thalidomide, a drug supposed to calm pregnant ladies, was an investigational drug under the supervision of German and American researchers. The German regulatory body was in hurry to pass Stage 3 of evaluation and allowed German citizens to use thalidomide while pregnant, while the American regulators preferred to postpone its usage for further evaluation. The result was the birth in Germany of a couple of babies with serious congenital anomalies called Phaecomalia, where the baby lacks both arms and legs.

Transhumanists are not always welcomed. The so-called Haredi Jews in Jerusalem are conservative to the degree that they disallow TV inside the home, allow Internet only at work, and disallow couples meeting except in the dark. Such a style makes them resistant to many activities of the Transhumanists. [7]

Some historians think that science alone is not sufficient to lead humans to utopia. Also, the classic way of research, including meta-analysis, systematic review, and even experimental studies would not be sufficient to alleviate all human sufferings. Scientists made a lot of efforts in search for COVID-19 vaccine, while a only little effort was devoted to investigating the disappearance of half a trillion bees inside the USA during only the past 14 years, a phenomenon is known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees are required for forest pollination and hence may help reduce ground-level ozone pollution by supporting forests that absorb ground-level ozone. Without this effect, the phenomenon of global warming may be accelerated.

However, there is some hope in regard to adoption of emerging technologies throughout the world. For example, nanotechnology supplies gold nanoparticles to treat cancer of the female genital tract, and the materials are considered cheap. Some hospitals use nano-painting due to its bactericidal effects. [8]

…………………………………………………………………………………

[1] Connolly, Christine. “Prosthetic hands from touch bionics.” Industrial Robot: An International Journal 35, no. 4 (2008): 290-293.

[2] Rouse, Elliott J., Nathan C. Villagaray-Carski, Robert W. Emerson, and Hugh M. Herr. “Design and testing of a bionic dancing prosthesis.” PloS one 10, no. 8 (2015): e0135148.

[3] Herr, Hugh M., and Alena M. Grabowski. “Bionic ankle-foot prosthesis normalizes walking gait for persons with leg amputation.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279, no. 1728 (2012): 457-464.

[4] Coffey, Valerie C. “Vision accomplished: the bionic eye.” Optics and Photonics News 28, no. 4 (2017): 24-3.

[5] Kral, Andrej, and Thomas Lenarz. “How the brain learns to listen: deafness and the bionic ear.” Neuroforum 21, no. 1 (2015): 21-28.

[6] Kribs-Zaleta, Christopher M., and Christopher Mitchell. “Modeling colony collapse disorder in honeybees as a contagion.” Mathematical Biosciences & Engineering 11, no. 6 (2014): 1275.

[7] Friedman, Menachem. “The Haredi (ultra-orthodox) society: Sources, trends and processes.” Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (1991).

[8] Naddafi, K., H. Jabbari, and M. Chehrehei. “Effect of nanosilver painting on control of hospital air-transmitted microorganisms.” Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering 7, no. 3 (2010): 223-228.