Taglife extension

Six Radical Life-Extension Technologies for Transhumanist Consideration

This week Paul Graham-Raven published his take on Transhumanism and challenged the notion that Transhumanist life extension technologies will become cheap and ubiquitous, pointing out that there are already many life extension technologies that are not widely available outside the “developed” world.

Tim Maly picks up on that thread:

We’ve developed tech guaranteed to extend the human lifespan, but market failures and regulatory bodies stand in the way of universal access.

CLEAN WATER This is a basic innovation. However, the marketing upside is huge. There is massive, seemingly endless demand for this tech. While on the low end it is highly at risk of being commodified, there is much profit to be made from premium versions of the product for all market segments.

URBAN SANITATION As a greater proportion of humans live in urban environments, upgrades can greatly impact many people. Good ROI.

SMOKELESS COOKING FACILITIES A niche tech, but stunningly effective in some markets. Positively impacts both quality and quantity of life. This last point is an important consideration in life-extension. It’s not enough to blindly build tech that keeps people technically alive for longer. We want tech that enables a good life.

FREE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE Critics say this isn’t one technology but an ideological mess of blurry promises. I say, look at the graphs.

GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME Despite longstanding research in the arena, this remains a highly controversial procedure. Many concerns have been raised about its social side-effects and regulatory bodies continue to stand in its way. Still, we mustn’t impede progress.

GOOD FREE EDUCATION Sure to be popular with DIY arm of transhumanist crowd. Likely to encourage a faster run up the exponential curve as more minds become more capable of reaching their full creative potential.

See also: Left Behind: the Singularity and the Developing World

The Curious Case of Human Hibernation

A couple years ago Inhuman Experiment did a run down of cases of humans hibernation, from Russian peasants to trapped skiers:

During the same TED Talk, he mentions experiments showing that if you reduce the oxygen content in the air slightly, roundworms die, and if you reduce it a lot – down to 10 ppm – they stop moving and appear dead but are in fact alive in a state of suspended animation. Unlike their animated and lively friends, these suspended roundworms can be put into cold temperatures without harm.

Exposing an organism to hydrogen sulfide is another way to achieve the same effect as reducing the oxygen content of a container or a room. By binding at the same cell site as oxygen, hydrogen sulfide reduces the need for oxygen, depressing metabolism. Roth theorizes that perhaps hydrogen sulfide production was increased in Bågenholm’s own body when she fell under the ice, thus preventing her from dying from the cold.

The first practical application of this technique is surgery, which requires mild hypothermia to prevent harming patients. Even with a small amount of injectable hydrogen sulfide, which Roth’s company has developed, the results are apparently better than with a traditional approach. Safety studies are already done, and human trials are underway.

While this is undoubtedly a great medical breakthrough, I can’t help but think of other possible applications. What Roth has done is deanimate a mouse by reducing its metabolism and then bring it back to life unharmed. If the human trials are succesful, could this mean hydrogen sulfide might be used even outside surgery? Are we talking about a potential lightweight version of cryonics?

Full Story: Inhuman Experiment: The Curious Case of Human Hibernation

(Thanks OVO)

See also:

Pentagon: Zombie Pigs First, Then Hibernating Soldiers

Darpa: Freeze Soldiers to Save Injured Brains

Doctors claim suspended animation success

Study: Moderate Jogging Increases Longevity

From a press release regarding an as of yet unpublished study conducted over the past 36 years:

Undertaking regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reveals the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart study presented at the EuroPRevent2012 meeting.

Reviewing the evidence of whether jogging is healthy or hazardous, Peter Schnohr told delegates that the study’s most recent analysis (unpublished) shows that between one and two-and-a-half hours of jogging per week at a “slow or average” pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity. […]

The debate over jogging first kicked off in the 1970s when middle aged men took an interest in the past-time. “After a few men died while out on a run, various newspapers suggested that jogging might be too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people,” recalled Schnohr.

European Society of Cardiology: Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy

The press release doesn’t talk about how the study controlled for other health factors. Do joggers live longer than swimmers or cyclists? Did the joggers and non-joggers have otherwise similar health habits (diet, tobacco, etc.)?

See also: How and Why Exercise Boosts Your Brain. Plus: How Little Exercise Can You Get By With?

Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests May Wildly Overestimate Your Risk of Disease

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests give inaccurate predictions of disease risks and many European geneticists believe that some of them should be banned, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics heard May 31.

Although the predictive ability of the DTC tests in the study was moderate for all diseases, both companies assigned an increased risk to a substantial part of the group. Yet the risk of disease in this group was often not substantially higher than the risk in the rest of the population studied. For AMD, the disease with the highest predictive ability, both companies assumed that the risk in the population was around 8%. Of all subjects designated as having an increased risk, 16% using the 23andMe risk estimations and 19% using deCODEme’s estimations would develop AMD, compared to the 4% found in the rest of the population studied. […]

“deCODEme predicted risks higher than 100% for five out of the eight diseases,” Ms Kalf will say. “This in itself should be enough to raise considerable concern about the accuracy of these predictions — a risk can never be higher than 100%. In the case of AMD one in every 200 individuals in the group would have received a predicted risk of higher than 100%, suggesting that they would definitely develop the disease.”

Science Daily: Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests Neither Accurate in Their Predictions nor Beneficial to Individuals, Study Suggests

(via Edward Borasky)

Oh well, at least we’ll always have palm reading.

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