Lifespan Extension

An article came out in the New York Times yesterday about some current research into a specific gene and its effects on extending lifespan. While the article isn't nearly scientific enough to be useful, I figure that it is a great place to start discussion on the subject. It contains a lot of information that could easily lead to some scientific publications that would be of far greater use for an intrepid researcher.

If the information in this article is accurate and its importance isn't overstated, it seems to me that gene modding to the end of reducing IGF-1 production would produce exceptional results. Additionally, the article mentions a drug that has a similar effect, meaning that there may be other ways to achieve very similar results.

Even aside from this specific article and its subject matter, there must be other ways to possibly extend one's lifespan. I've heard things about resveratrol (a substance found in red wine), but I haven't done any extensive research to know much more about it. I personally can't think of a way to implant physical objects that could extend one's lifespan at our current level of technology, but I'm by no means an expert on the subject.


  • IGF-1?  That is interesting.  If I remember right, this is a gene that the anabolic crowd has been trying to manipulate for gene doping.
  • Pretty interesting...

    This article reminded me of someone I learned about in my human development class (I'm a psych major), her name is Brooke Greenberg, she's 18 years old and she has never progressed (physically, mentally, etc.) past that of an infant. She has an unknown condition that has essentially turned off or drastically slowed the aging process, her body is not growing at anything that even approaches a normal, I think that doctors have said that her teeth would place her age at something like 8 years old (she still has her baby teeth) while her bones say something else entirely. If doctors can find what it is in her make up that has caused her condition then it would in theory be possible to turn off the aging process. There was a similar case in Australia, a 40 year old man who looks to be about 10. It will be interesting to see how long these individuals live to be because at this point, doctors just have no clue. Brooke Greenberg has been in featured in a bunch of specials and news reports and things, you can find videos on youtube if you're interested.
  • Fascinating story about Brooke Greenberg.  I hadn't heard of this before.  I think she is still subject to the Hayflick limit though.
  • edited February 2011
    Hmm... you have a point, yeah I'd imagine that probably applies to her, not sure why it wouldn't.

    Hayflick limit, oh god, my bio class last semester has just come rushing back
    so... much... meiosis....
  • @DirectorX
    the hayflick limit does not apply for cancer cells, so I don't see a reason why it should be inevitable. There is telomerase which allows stem cells (and cancer cells) to divide as often, as they like
  • @Ben:  True, although I don't think that is what we are seeing here.  Her telemeres are shortening at a normal rate, according to wikipedia.  Still, stopping growth progression would be awesome even if it didn't come with a longer lifespan.

  • Anyone here do any CR (caloric restriction) or IF (intermittent fasting)?

    I've been trying to IF for like a week now but can't stick with it, my problem is that I get bored and eat, I have far too much free time so you can see how this is a problem.

    Anyone have any success/failure stories?
  • @Fantomex:  I'm pretty sure that IF is rather dangerous, and I wouldn't really recommend trying it.  I'm not so sure about CR, but I think that's what most Japanese do (and we all know how long-lived they are).
  • edited February 2011
    Not sure how dangerous it is (when it's done correctly), hard to find any real consensus, but I'm about ready to just give up trying, not worth the hassle.
  • @Fantomex
    Caloric restriction! I can't believe I'd forgotten about that. I have unintentionally been on a caloric restriction diet for quite some time - I'm constantly struggling to maintain my weight (and often failing), in part because of what I assume is a very active metabolism and in part because I can't afford to eat as many calories as I need to gain/keep weight. I haven't specifically counted, but I'm pretty sure that it is not at the United States recommended daily caloric intake. It's not terribly difficult anymore; I can feel hungry without feeling compelled to eat, especially if I'm distracting myself with something like a video game. I should probably note that I'm by no means anorexic - I love to eat, and I'm within the healthy weight range for my size (even if it's at the bottom of that range.)

    I guess the problem with this is that I won't know if it's done much to extend my lifespan for a long time - or if I'll manage to avoid death from unnatural causes. I suppose it would be worthwhile to add a page to the wiki about caloric restriction with links to research on the theoretical benefits regarding lifespan extension.
  • @Oak
    The thing I don't like about cr, at least when people go crazy with it, is that it seems like they all end up looking anorexic, so congrats on not!
    But yeah, it's kind of hard to tell whether it works or not, am I old because of I have good genes or because I don't eat? But I read somewhere that if you take the weight that you naturally lean toward and subtract 10% you're going to see some kind of results, so I tend toward 170-5 so I would aim for 150-something. I tried this but I was unable to lose more than like five pounds which I would gain back the next week, ha ha ha.
  • I'm going to rely on genetic heritage, myself; CR is very difficult when your metabolism is as fast as mine. I'd end up having to take on a diabetic's food discipline.
  • I don't think anyone has talked about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and keeping at a healthy weight. I know all the tech is shinier and easier but there is definitely something to be said for exercise and keeping off the fat. What is very bad that isn't focused on enough at the minute is the problems caused by these terrible ultra-low-calorie for four weeks diets.

    @Fantomex do you have any studies on IF or CR? I've never heard of them before and they seem like something I could manage very easily. It's all about the rapid metabolism, right @Oak and @Unqualified :)? Its only recently that I've begun to have any control over slowly increasing my weight.
  • @Firedust
    I found studies but I didn't save the links, I was reading some random discussion about IF on imminst, I closed the tab and haven't been able to find it since (though I haven't tried that hard) if you have the time to dig through the forum you might find them, sorry. As far as using it for weight control, probably not the best idea (at least by itself, maybe combine with diet and exercise?), there was a link to an article that explained why IF for weight control was not as effective compared to other methods, but I was only skimming by the article by the time it got to this point, so...

    If you're looking for studies you could try searching pubmed.
  • @Fantomex: from general knowledge, IF would probably be bad for weight control for the same reason "crash" dieting is; deep restriction of food supply puts the digestive system on famine notice, and it packs away every spare joule it can find as fat.
  • @unqualified:  using a hormone like hcg can bypass the fat storage thing.
  • For those interested in caloric restriction, here are a couple of good articles on the subject by the New York Times. I'm too lazy to find any scientific publications.

  • may i suggest something else?
    extending life does not only mean repairing cells, it also means that we have to find a way to clean out bodies more efficiently. our kidneys, for example, will not be enough, if we don't find a way to remove heavy metals and other enviromental toxics that settle in our bodies, which will eventually reach a level where they kill filtering organs. Transplants may be a solution. but not the best. ah damn i am tired .
    i want to get this down before i go to sleep an maybe forget it, so sorry for my gibberish etc bla bla.
    oh btw we can extend our lifespan in some way more easily ok you don't get so much mileage out of it, but think about it:
    a more healthy lifestyle! the less you are ill the less your body uses up cells for regeneration of lost body tissue = more cell splitting cycles for aging
    how ?
    giving him what he needs nutrition and  training.
    a trained body is more likely to survive for a longer time.
    of course better immune system is always in the way for gene therapy......
    ah damn this is all loose ends
    please fogive me i go to bed .
  • IanIan
    edited March 2011
    @Arillis:  We all know that healthy people live longer, but I think the point of transhumanism in general, and grinding in particular, is to overcome the natural limits; taking steps to increase health will help you realize your limits, but probably not to transcend them.  The reason that the rate of increase in average life expectancy has slowed down significantly in recent years is because we have a natural limit on our life expectancy, which is related to things such as telomere length and excessive copying errors in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (the seven-step program of the SENS project comes to mind).

    Of course, you hit it right on the mark when you suggested that we could improve our immune system genetically.  I expect that the easiest way to increase lifespan using genetics would be to do things like that, or that would otherwise improve our health.

    As for cleaning out our bodies, we can always increase the efficiency of our kidneys, or add more "filters," but it's almost inevitable, at least as far as I can tell, that we'd need to replace them over some period of time, in the same way as we need to replace other filters as junk accumulates on them.  Now, maybe we could invent filters that, in principle, last forever, but I'm somewhat pessimistic on that possibility ;-)


    EDIT:  fucking grammar
  • I don't have time to make a full post on the subject right now, but I just remembered that there was an experiment conducted where fruit flies were made to reproduce later and later in life, with the end result being fruit flies that had significantly increased lifespans (300% increase, I think). While this specific method is quite obviously useless to us, perhaps there are genes at play that could control for some of this effect. If so, then it becomes a matter of determining which genes, how compatible they are with human biology, and how to get them into us.
  • @Oak:  Yes, I remember that experiment as well.  As it turns out, they've already figured out which genes are responsible for the increased lifespan, and that almost all, if not all, of them do exactly the same thing in humans.  It's a subtle and ingenious method; instead of making humans give birth in their 60s, which would be both disturbing and inefficient, do the same in a species with a much shorter generation time.  The people doing this experiment are Genescient.

    For those not already familiar, the reason why this works is because natural selection does not work after the individual has already given birth, because there's no longer any reproduction going on, so there's no longer any selection pressure.  So, the genes that break us down after our 40s get passed on to the next generation, with no outcry from natural selection at all.  So, the idea is to force a species to give birth at progressively later ages, so that natural selection is forced to start selecting for genes conducive to longer lifespans.  Then, since that species shares quite a significant fraction of their genome with humans (75%, in the case of fruit flies), we can use the genes in the longer-lived population to genetically engineer longer healthspans into humans.

    Thanks for catching that; I never would have remembered that :-)
  • I'm new here, but this is something that I've been pretty interested in for a while.

    I've never managed to stick with a reduced calorie diet because it has to be significantly reduced before you start seeing much benefit. Most of the successful animal tests have been with a 10% to 25% reduction in calories, and I find it difficult to live on 2000 calories a day. My fast metabolism wouldn't let me live on 1500.

    Intermittent fasting is also pretty tough, because you have to do it regularly before the benefits start showing up. The studies I've seen have rats that miss food every other day.

    People with more will power than me might be able to get a lot of benefit from CR. At the moment, my best bet is to live a healthy life and try to help out with genetic engineering research as much as possible. Robotic or clone kidneys will hopefully exist by the time I need mine replaced.
  • @fractamethod a reduced calorie diet should be slowly done so that your body doesn't notice, a week or so before I have a fast I'll eat a bit less each day working down to a smaller intake and for some people a rc diet would be very dangerous because of smaller calorie intakes, for example I usually eat somewhere around 1500 calories, the 10-25% calorie reduction would allow between 1125-1350 calories that would put me in the hospital, you may just cut back a bit less to fit your metabolism's needs (note: I'm not anorexic, I just don't have the patience to eat for very long and am rather small)
  • Looks like a new website has popped up that intends to address this very issue: One of the stated goals from an article posted to H+...
    "Establish a repository of how-to documentation for longevity-enhancing biotechnologies demonstrated on mice in the lab, with sufficient detail and explanation to make it comprehensible and useful for garage biotech groups, DIYbio practictioners, and overseas developers."
    Sounds like we might have another group to work with!
  • Dear all,
    with this post I would like to RE-open the discussion about lifespan extension that seams to be sleeping since 2011...
    There are many news in the field so it wort to have a look.

    I will try to make this text as clear as possible even if some biological knowledge is needed to fully understand it and since wikipedia offer a simple and comprehensive overview I suggest everyone to read the linked pages to make clarity.
    I also apologies for all the english mistakes you will find, I am not a mother language speaker.

    What is aging?
    It is a process influenced by genetic and environmental factors that leads to the malfunctioning of a body and eventually to the death.
    The effects of aging influence a living organism at any level, it start with the alteration of "normal" cellular pathways that over time affect the functionality of tissues and organs.
    More basic informations are available here:

    Several processes have been found to cause aging at cellular level, the British biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey ( highlighted seven main categories of 'damage', seven alterations whose reversal would constitute negligible senescence:

    cell loss or atrophy (without replacement),
    oncogenic nuclear mutations and epimutations
    cell senescence (Death-resistant cells)
    mitochondrial mutations
    Intracellular junk or junk inside cells (lysosomal aggregates)
    extracellular junk or junk outside cells (extracellular aggregates)
    random extracellular cross-linking

    For each of these areas de Gray offers at least one strategy, with a research and a clinical component. (
    Lately it comes out that the whole aging process can be under control of few key genes. Leonard Guarente (, David Sinclair ( ) and Cynthia Kenyon (, among others, studied few genes that show to regulate aging controlling several other genes (

    Several experiments have shown that single mutation one one of the "aging genes" can increase the lifespan of different organisms and the worm C.elegans is one of the most studied until now.

    "Kenyon showed that the daf-2 mutants, which would form dauers above 25 °C (298 K; 77 °F) would bypass the dauer state below 20 °C (293 K; 68 °F) with a doubling of lifespan."
    "Subsequent genetic modification (PI3K-null mutation) to C. elegans was shown to extend maximum life span tenfold."

    It appear also that hormone receptors are key regulators. It is important to underline also that even if the major part of the data is referred to C.elegans (a worm) the genes and the proteins involved are very well conserved in other species, Homo sapiens included!

    So to me seams evident that a mix between hormone therapy and few gene-mods can do the trick and increase the lifespan several times!
  • edited August 2013
    Have any of you looked into the study that came out about a year ago on the effects of carbon-60 on the lifespan of rats?


    This is from the study, and I think is fairly self explanatory.  They acquired the rats as fully matured specimens and stopped dosing the rats when the first member of the control group died.  

    I found it rather interesting, and have started a controlled testing of it on myself. 

    I dosed myself with it for 3 months with no obvious negative effects.  The only change I noticed was an increased feeling of physical energy, and a slightly lowered tolerance to alcohol.  However I didn't drink often enough to really judge that, as alcohol creates free radicals in the body, and they theorize that carbon 60 acts as a strong free radical scavenger. 

    I've been keeping notes in a blog here:
  • @countseven:  Yeah, I've looked into that, and even come up with ways of producing C60-fullerene on a DIY scale (of course, there are also places that sell it).  Unfortunately, the annoying thing is the rather sloppy methodology of the study; for example, they also starved the group of mice being fed the C60, and calorie restriction is already known to extend lifespan.  That doesn't mean that the study is complete bunk, but it does call into question whether the study actually provides reasonable support for its conclusion.
  • Ian, where did you get/ how did you make the C-60? I read the mixing with olive oil section on your blog.

  • I bought mine from a website. 99.99% purity. It was a little expensive. I'll post the website in a couple days once I'm back where I can get on my computer.
  • @Cassox: Here is a youtube video:
    I don't know if this is legit or not, but it looks cool:

    @random: Welcome to the forum. The C elegan study was really cool. Does anyone know if this has been used on mammals? 
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