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On Friday June 27th, leading scientists and thinkers in stem cell research and regenerative medicine will gather in Los Angeles at UCLA for Aging 2008 to explain how their work can combat human aging, and the sociological implications of developing rejuvenation therapies. Aging 2008 is free, with advance registration required. Dr. Aubrey de Grey, chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation, said "Our organization has raised over $10 million to crack open the logjams in longevity science. With the two-armed strategy of direct investments into key research projects, and a competitive prize to spur on scientists racing to break rejuvenation and longevity records in lab mice, the Foundation is actively accelerating the drive toward a future free of age-related degeneration." The speakers at Aging 2008 will argue that the near-term consequences of intense research into regenerative medicine could be the development of therapies that extend healthy human life by decades, even if the therapies are applied in middle age. Peter Thiel, president of Clarium Capital, initial investor in Facebook, and lead sponsor of Aging 2008, said, "The time has come to challenge the inevitability of aging. This forum will provide an excellent opportunity to look at the scientific barriers that must be overcome to substantially extend healthy human life, as well as the ethical implications of doing so." Aging 2008 also serves as the free opening session for the technically focused Understanding Aging Conference, which will run at UCLA on June 28th and 29th. What: Aging: The Disease, The Cure, The Implications, hosted by Methuselah Foundation When: Friday, June 27, 2008, Drinks 4pm, Presentations 5pm, Dinner 8pm Where: Royce Hall, 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 Who: * Dr. Bruce Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley * G. Steven Burrill, Chairman of Pharmasset and Chairman of Campaign for Medical Research * Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chairman and CSO of Methuselah Foundation and author of Ending Aging * Dr. William Haseltine, Chairman of Haseltine Global Health * Daniel Perry, Executive Director of Alliance for Aging Research * Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of Genetics Policy Institute * Dr. Gregory Stock, Director of Program on Medicine, Technology & Society at UCLA School of Medicine * Dr. Michael West, CEO of BioTime and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley About Methuselah Foundation The Methuselah Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthy human lifespan. Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur David Gobel and gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the Methuselah Foundation funds two major projects: The Mprize, a multimillion dollar research prize, and SENS, a detailed engineering plan to repair aging-related damage. Learn more at (Source: )
The Methuselah Manifesto: Witnessing the Launch of Immortality, Inc.?
If you’re under age 30, it is likely that you will be able to live as long as you want. That is, barring accidents and wars, you have centuries of healthy life ahead of you. So the participants in the Longevity Summit convened in Manhattan Beach, California, contend. Over the weekend Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich gathered a group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to meet for three days with the goal of developing a scientific and business strategy to make extreme human life extension a real possibility within a couple of decades. Kekich dubbed the effort the Manhattan Beach Project.

Tech entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil opened the conference with a virtual presentation on exponential technology trends that are bringing the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity ever closer. “We are very close to the tipping point in human longevity,” asserted Kurzweil to the conferees. “We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.” This has been labeled by summiteer and life-extension guru Aubrey de Grey as longevity escape velocity. Achieving escape velocity, according to Kekich, would mean that “your projected day of reckoning moves further away from you rather than closing in on you.”

“Health and medicine will be a million times more powerful in 20 years,” Kurzweil declared. He predicted that the complexity of biology will yield to the exponential powers of applied information technology and take off. He cited Moore’s Law which predicts doubling of microchip functionality and halving their costs every two years. The decrease in cost and increase in speed of sequencing whole human genomes is outpacing even Moore’s Law. In 2000, the first genome was sequenced after 14 years and at a cost of $3 billion. Now various startups offer the potential to sequence an individual’s DNA for less than $100 in under an hour.

The goal of the summit was to devise scientific and business strategies with the goal of demonstrating the capability to reverse aging in an older human being by 2029. By then, Kurzweil argued, people will be beginning their intimate merger with information technologies, biotechnologies, and nanotechnologies. Kurzweil, age 61, emphasized, “Something I am personally interested in is not just designer babies, but designer baby boomers.”

Going Back to Move Forward

Anti-aging research is a rich and varied territory right now. Researchers are finally beginning to get a handle on the actual causes of aging. With this increased scientific understanding, some researchers now believe they are on the way to figuring out how to stop it, and—eventually—how to reverse it.

University of California, Riverside biochemist Stephen Spindler reported on his research seeking caloric restriction mimetics. It is well established that restricting many mammal species to about two-thirds of what they would ordinarily eat extends their healthy lifespans. For example, calorie restricted mice live up to 50 percent longer, and experience less heart disease and cancer than those who eat as much as they want. Spindler is now screening a variety of compounds including pharmaceuticals to see if they mimic the effects of calorie restriction in mice. He presented early results that show that some compounds, like cholesterol lowering statin drugs and the immune suppressant rapamycin, do seem to increase mouse lifespans. However, Spindler added that more is not necessarily better. Mice receiving combinations of compounds are not living any longer. “I personally would caution people taking large amounts of supplements in combination to be careful,” said Spindler. The good news is that several major pharmaceutical companies are working on calorie restriction mimetics known as sirtuins. Michael Rose, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, has been breeding long-lived fruit flies to one another for decades. Rose’s work is built on the premise that natural selection is the cause of aging.

Specifically, natural selection works to keep organisms healthy and alive until after they have reproduced. Once they’ve reproduced, natural selection no longer works to prevent the accumulation of damage that leads to aging and death. Your body is no longer needed by your germ cells once their genes have moved on to the bodies of your children.

Using artificial selection for longevity, Rose has produced fruit flies that live four times longer than normal, the human equivalent of being healthy at age 300. The Methuselah flies are more fecund and better at handling environmental stresses than are normal flies. Since fruit flies and humans share many similar genes, insights garnered from the genomics of long-lived flies are being used by Genescient LLC to develop anti-aging supplements for people. The company plans to release its first product in 2010. “In my world biological immortality is possible,” said Rose........

Top futurist, Ray Kurzweil, predicts how technology will change humanity by 2020
By Ray Kurzweil

Sunday, December 13th 2009, 1:40 AM
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Ray Kurzweil's Crystal BallAs we approach the end of the first decade of the new millennium, let’s consider what life will be like a decade hence. Changes in our lives from technology are moving faster and faster. The telephone took 50 years to reach a quarter of the U.S. population. Search engines, social networks and blogs have done that in just a few years time. Consider that Facebook started as a way for Harvard students to meet each other just six years ago; it now has 350 million users and counting.

Between now and 2020, the trend will continue, spreading cutting-edge technologies to every corner of the country and beginning to make innovations once consigned to the realm of science fiction real for millions of Americans. Specifically what can we expect? Solar power on steroids, longer lives, the chance to get rid of obesity once and for all, and portable computing devices that start becoming part of your body rather than being held in your hand.

What will drive all this accelerating change is precisely what has driven it this past half-century: the exponential growth in the power of information technology, which approximately doubles for the same cost every year. When I was an MIT undergraduate in 1965, we all shared a computer that took up half a building and cost tens of millions of dollars. The computer in my pocket today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion-fold increase in the amount of computation per dollar since I was a student.

That incredible force — information technology that moves faster, then faster, then faster still — will power changes in every imaginable realm over the next decade.

Start with the basics. You’ve no doubt noticed that electronic gadgets are getting smaller and smaller; the iPod Shuffle holds 1,000 songs and weighs 0.38 ounces. Your phone is smaller than it was a few years ago and can do much more. By 2020, memory devices will be integrated into our clothing. And the very idea of a “smart phone” will begin to change. Rather than looking at a tiny screen, our glasses will beam images directly to our retinas, creating a high resolution virtual display that hovers in air.

That virtual display will be able to take over our entire visual field of view, putting us in a three-dimensional full immersion virtual reality environment. We’ll watch movies virtually and read virtual books. A lot of our personal and business meetings will take place in these 3D virtual worlds. The design of new virtual environments will be an art form. We’ll even have ways to touch one another virtually.

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