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Monday, October 10, 2016


Keep in mind that a citizen of the Roman Empire had a life expectancy of 25, and the U.S. in 1900 only increased this longevity to 47.  However, few are aware that founders of our country--Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison--lived to be at least 80, and John Adams died at 90.  Today, our national life expectancy is around 79.  But we are only #31, with Japan #1 at 83.7.  Females live six years longer in Japan.  Here is a gender comparison:

Notice that dot on top called Monaco?  Life expectancy at 89.52 is higher than Japan, where the latest data indicated was up to 84.74.  Why Monaco?  The Mediterranean diet, lack of stress and, perhaps, genes.  Only 38,000 people living on less than a square mile  means that it is the most densely populated country in the world.  Oh, 30% are millionaires, and it is true that the rich live longer.  Remember Grace Kelly and Prince Raineer III?  She died of a stroke/car accident at the age of 52, while her husband, born Rainier Louis Henri Maxine Bertrand Grimaldi, passed away 11 years ago.  He was 71.

There was a study reported yesterday with the headline:

The article goes on to say that, while Jeanne Calment of France lived until she was 122 years old, our human life span likely maxes out at 115 years.  Also, even though lifestyle choices of centenarians play a bigger role than genetics, genes are the key for those who survive to 110 or older.

The oldest ten humans today are female, with Emma Morano (left) of Italy getting close to her 117th birthday.  Four of the top ten are from Japan, with one from the USA, Adele Dunlap, approaching 114.

The oldest male is Israel Kristal of Israel, who became 113 last month.  In the top ten are three from Japan and two from the USA.

I'm consuming more chocolate and now drinking coffee.  I haven't yet been convinced that churchgoing will help me.  In any case, that limit of 115 will still be a huge hurdle.  

There is the Palo Alto Longevity Prize, founded by Joon Yun, offering $1 million in prize money to hack the aging code.  The competition ended in 2014, and half a million dollars will be awarded in two different categories, but not until 2019.  Thirty teams applied, with ideas ranging from stem cell therapy to gene modification to hormonal treatment.

Now, if scientists can find and check the aging gene, that changes the equation.  What do we currently know?
  • We all have chromosomes, with protective caps at either end called telomeres.  
  • With each cell replication, the telomeres shorten.
  • If we can find a way to reverse this process, you should be able to check aging.
How close is science to curing aging?  Aubrey de Grey (below) claims that the first person to live to 1,000 is probably already alive.

de Grey has had a few credibility problems, but more authorities are beginning to lean in his direction.  As long ago as 1988 Thomas Jefferson (this one from the University of California at Irvine) showed that turning off a particular gene (age-1) more than doubled the life span of a worm. In 2013 researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine found a molecule in the hypothalamus (in the brain) of mice that suppressed aging.  There is hope that humans are reasonably close to worms and mice, and it is only a matter of time before this problem will be solved.

Ray Kurzweil of Google says technology will be the key.  Bionic man should be able to achieve immortality.  I participated in his singularity conference six years ago.

So how long will you live?  Good luck reaching a hundred.  If you're 20, you are three times more likely than if you are 80, and twice as likely compared to a 50 year old.  It is not impossible, though, that your grandchild could reach the age of 1000.  Progress sometimes comes in quantum leaps.  Aging could well be one these fields.

There are two ocean storms of some note, but both are headed out into the open ocean and will not be a threat to any major population area.  First, in the West Pacific is Typhoon Songda, already at 120 MPH:

Then in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Nicole at 55 MPH, but to strengthen into a hurricane:


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