recovering from a spinal injury using stem cells

Earlier this year, a man, Kristopher Boesen, suffered a traumatic injury to the spine when his car slid off the road into a tree and then a telephone pole. He was paralyzed from the neck down.

Luckily, though, he qualified for a clinical experiment, where he was injected with 10,000,000 AST-OPC1 stem cells into the neck. Three months after the treatment, he now has control over the upper body.

There is no guarantee that this treatment will be a total cure, but even the smallest improvement in a spinal injury is a wonderful step forward in the cure for everything.

Previous work on treatment of spinal injuries include bypassing the injured site using electronics, and a possibly spurious “glue” that one doctor intends to use in a notorious body transplant some time soon.

FOXO4-DRI peptide prices for September 2017

There has been no change in the prices of the two suppliers that advertise FOXO4-DRI peptide on their website; Bucky Labs and NovoPro.

(the FOXO4-DRI peptide blocks the FOXO4 gene from interacting with the p53 gene, allowing senescent cells to reach apoptosis and clear themselves up to let younger cells take their place, letting people get a little closer to living forever)

I got a price by email from the guys at YoungShe Chemical – $900 for 50mg. That translates to a price of $540 for 30mg (the FOXO4-DRI dosage I’m aiming for).

That’s still $308.85 more expensive than what was quoted to interested parties at Longecity, who were quoted about $231.15 per 30mg dose, based on a large 1000mg shipment.

Shop July September
Bucky Labs 2265 2265
NovoPro 1756.8 1756.8
YoungShe Chemical 540

It’s still looking cheaper to synthesise this yourself. Until the peptide cost gets down to below about $10 (for 30mg per day), it is still probably a good idea to work on building your own peptide synthesis lab. You’ll save money in the long term, and will learn some really cool science along the way.

CAR T-cell therapy (cancer cure) certified by FDA

Cancer is a hard collection of diseases to cure, because it is basically the cells of the body that are attacking itself, and the immune system is not supposed to attack cells that it recognises as belonging to the body.

The immune system has a group of cells called “T-cells”, which train themselves throughout your life to try to recognise invaders. However, cancer can look so similar to normal cells that the T-cells cannot differentiate them.

In the early 80s, a scientist had the idea of removing some T-cells, training them specially to attack cancer cells, and re-injecting them back into the body.

Recently, it has been found that this works very well. Some early trials resulted in illness and death, mostly due to inflammation caused by cytokine release from the T-cells as they did their job, but since those trials, scientists have learned to manage the side-effects.

In a recent trial, 83% of patients went into remission, with 64% still in remission a year later. The trial was not properly scientific, because it did not include a control group (people that do not receive the real treatment, in order to have numbers to compare the treatment against), but the results were still so stunning that a group of experts recommended unanimously to the FDA that the treatment should be immediately certified for public use.

After the treatment, the treated T-cells remember their training for at least six months, so if there is any remission in that time, they will spring back into action and destroy the fledgling cancer cells. And because one treated T-cell can kill 10,000 cancer cells, it doesn’t take a lot to cure the disease.

At the moment, the cost for T-cell treatment is almost half a million US dollars, but this is bound to shrink rapidly as the treatment becomes more and more popular. Also, the solution is being rolled out specifically to younger people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia whose other treatments have failed, so it may be some time before it is available to everyone else. Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a cancer which attacks the immune system itself, making it one of the deadliest cancers around.

If this new treatment works as expected, we will have crossed an important threshold in the fight against cancer, taking one step closer to learning to live forever.

3D printer ordered

I’ve finished covering the workshop framework for the winter, in order to keep the wood from rotting until I get the time and money to get onto putting proper walls and roof up, so I’m stuck indoors now for the winter.

Last week, I ordered a new 3D printer to replace the old Makibox printers that I had. They were okay for a few months but gradually degraded to the point that every print I made on one was a replacement part for the other.

The new printer is an Anet A8, which is a Prusa i3 derivative. I expect it to arrive within the next two weeks.

The end goal for all of this is peptide synthesis. Specifically, FOXO4-DRI, which is a peptide designed to stop the FOXO4 gene from interacting with the p53 gene, forcing senescent cells in the body to clear out, helping the body to rejuvenate itself, which is one step in how to live forever.

In order to get there, I need to build a load of tools. The first few are analysis tools – no point synthesising something if you can’t verify what it is!

There are a number of designs available already for 3D-printable analysis tools. For example, a spectrometer will help you determine the chemical makeup of a sample. I’m not sure yet of all the analysis tools I’ll need, but I’ll start with that.

Plans for a home-made peptide synthesis machine are also available online. It should be an easy matter to convert them into a 3D print design that can be shared. The costs on the bill of material are ridiculous – you can get most of those for a tiny fraction of the cost these days. A 200MHz CPU for $900? A $5 Raspberry Pi will beat that easily. All of the rest can be designed and printed, cutting a $3000 build down to probably about $30. I’ll update this as I actually build the thing, obviously, but I don’t think it will be anywhere near even $100.

Workshop progress

Construction takes longer than I thought. No wonder it costs so much!

When I started building my workshop/lab months ago (July – two months ago), I thought I might be done in a few weeks. It’s now September, and I’m just getting around to the roof now, and even then, it’s a temporary roof just to keep the structure from rotting through the winter!

The first thing I’ll be adding to the workshop is a 3D printer, with which I can start building the equipment I’ll need for working on my food replacement plan (a 100% nutrition food that’s designed on a person to person basis).

On a related note, based on an observation I made, Jimmy Joy is planning a low-calorie version of its Plenny-shake, which should allow better nutritional control for people that don’t consume exactly 2100 calories a day (that would be, oh, everyone!)

The second thing I’ll be adding is a weight and pulley system, to help me exercise. One thing I hate is going from no exercise to full-on exercise. For example, you can either do no press-ups, or you can do press-ups with your full weight. In order to do press-ups with lower weights (do build yourself up to full-on weight), I believe it would be better to start by having your body weight balanced so you’re essentially weightless, and start gradually adding more of your weight as you get stronger.

This is all part of my own attempt to extend my life. The ideal weight for my height is about 62kg, based on a BMI of about 23. That’s just the start, though – BMI does not discriminate between people that are overweight, and people that are just muscular.

To get a more accurate mortality calculation, you need to use something like ABSI or SBSI. The Surface Based Body Shape Index takes into account the weight, height, waist-size and vertical trunk-size, and uses that to generate a very accurate body-fat to mortality index. The people that live the longest are those that manage to reduce their SBSI score to .108 (male) or .105 (female).

To measure your own SBSI, please use my SBSI calculator.

Losing weight is straightforward – you just eat less calories than you use during a day. I’ve lost more than 12kg since the beginning of the year with little effort.

Reducing waist size, though, involves exercise. That’s a big change for a person (like me) that generally only does what is necessary. I generally don’t do anything that has no immediate purpose. Lying down and doing 100 pushups, or running a mile, doesn’t make any sense to me, because all I seem to get out of it is pain.

But, if there is an end-goal in the form of a number, suddenly it’s a game, which I intend to win 🙂

So – the plan – build the workshop, create custom exercise stuff, reach an SBSI of .108, and finish creating my food generator thing.

An eventual plan for the workshop is to build a protein synthesis machine capable of synthesising senolytics such as the FOXO4-DRI peptide, but that’s probably a year away.

longevity vs immortality

The difference between longevity and immortality is that “immortal” implies that a person cannot die, while “longevity” implies that a person has a good chance of living a long time.

A person with centuries-long longevity can still die by accident or by an undiscovered disease, etc.

Immortals, though – An immortal being can regenerate from nothing, if need be, or is impossible to kill because every attempt to kill the person fails at some point.

The only way a human can become immortal is if quantum immortality is true. The normal methods of increasing longevity merely make lives longer, but immortality is different – a person with longevity still has a finite life-span. An immortal, though, has infinite lifespan.

With quantum immortality, a person literally cannot die, even if they want to. With quantum immortality, old age is just a temporary thing, for example – a person might live for tens of years as an old person, and suddenly a breakthrough announces a cure for aging (there are many senolytics currently under human trial, by the way – drugs designed to counter aging).

The idea is that in an infinite multiverse, immortality is certain – there is always a universe where you survive, no matter how unlikely. So your life will continue onwards forever.

Is quantum immortality real? There is no way to be sure either way. But it’s one way of explaining a load of coincidences – for example, why are we alive at this exact time when there are so many amazing cures happening?

Read “how to live forever” – book available in paperback and Kindle

50 habits that make you live longer or shorter lives

I started two days ago to make a list of habits that can affect your longevity for better or worse, ordered by how much they affect your life. I now have 50. The list is continuing to grow!

The criteria I’m using are that:

  • the proofs must be scientific in nature (there must be an actual study – no anecdotes)
  • the people studied must be from the general population. there’s no point talking about the benefits of stents in arteries if most people don’t need them
  • the studies must be long-term; studied over ten years or longer

The table will have a permanent standalone address here:

There’s a few chapters of information in this table. I’m going to be busy on the weekend writing about each point and fitting them into my book, “how to live forever“.

Activity Hazard Ratio
male: 1 drink daily 0.410
commuting by bike 0.590
male: 7000 MET-min-month exercise 0.590
female: 7000 MET-min-month exercise 0.600
4-7 sauna sessions per week 0.600
sunbathe year-round, and use sun-beds 0.620
running 51-80 minutes per week 0.650
be satisfied with your life 0.671
male: avoid living in high-unemployment areas 0.685
female: 1-2 drinks weekly 0.714
eat 4 servings of fruit&veg /day 0.760
eating 3 whole-grain meals /day 0.770
be happy 0.780
control prehypertension through exercise and weight loss 0.787
male: 4-5 cups of coffee per day 0.800
high vegetable low carbohydrate diet 0.800
high potassium intake 0.800
female: 4-5 cups of coffee per day 0.840
female: avoid living in high-unemployment areas 0.840
15 minutes of exercise a day 0.860
develop your conscientiousness 0.880
be open to new experiences 0.990
sit for more than 3 hrs a day 1.020
neurotic personality 1.030
BMI of 26.2 1.040
eating 2 refined-grain meals /day 1.080
male: 4 hours TV per day 1.126
sitting more than 8 hrs a day 1.180
high sodium intake 1.200
lack of professional efficacy, aged less than 45 1.220
eat an egg a day 1.230
animal-sourced food with low carbohydrate content 1.230
cynicism in work life, aged less than 45 1.240
social isolation 1.260
female: 4 hours TV per day 1.262
exhausting yourself at work and aged less than 45 1.280
donate a kidney 1.300
burning out at work and aged less than 45 1.310
heavy drinking 1.310
eat trans fats in your food 1.340
female: never drink 1.400
have a pessimistic outlook 1.420
be unsatisfied with your life 1.490
binge drinking 1.540
female: chronic temporary employment 1.700
sleep less than 5 hours 1.780
smoking 1.800
sleep more than 9 hours 1.950
male: chronic temporary employment 2.000
male: never drink 2.220

quantifying ways to live forever

One thing I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere is a quantified list of longevity tips. I mean a table of techniques for living that is ordered by the increase in life that each item can effect.

As an example, smoking subtracts 6.8 years from the average life, while 150 minutes of moderate exercise adds 3.4 years to your life.

I think a table spelling out clearly and quantitatively what is good and what is bad would be a very valuable tool in the effort to lengthen life, so I’m going to start working on it.

When I have enough gathered together, this will make a great chapter in my book, How to Live Forever – I mean, a list of does and don’ts really doesn’t get more instructional!

Converting hazard ratio (HR) to years is difficult, and not really all that useful, so I’m recording the list using the HRs as originally calculated. HR is the ratio of risk of certain behaviours, vs a baseline behavior.

The list is here: If copying, please retain the link back to this website. I will be updating the table as I learn more.

I’ve only got six items on the list so far. Here you go – ordered by healthy behaviour at the top to unhealthy behaviour at the bottom:

Activity Hazard Ratio Source Notes
running 51-80 minutes per week vs not running 0.65 ref
drink a cup of coffee a day 0.91 ref HR is 0.88 for men, 0.93 for women. averaged to 0.905
BMI of 26.2 (vs BMI of 23) 1.04 ref
heavy drinking 1.31 ref 4 drinks a day
binge drinking 1.54 ref
smoking 1.80 ref

Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine, like alternative facts, is the exact opposite of its noun. Medicine is something which has been tested and shown to be beneficial to health. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, has not been tested or has been shown to not be beneficial to health.

When something that is in the list of “alternative” medicines is found to actually be good for you, it becomes medicine and is no longer “alternative”. Therefore, by using “alternative medicine”, you are intentionally gambling with your life.

Even if an alternative medicine appears to be harmless, it may still cause death when the patient decides to use the alternative medicine instead of real medicine. Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed in a study of 840 people that people were nearly 6 times more likely to die of their cancer if they chose to use alternative medicine instead of real medicine.

Homeopathy is a common form of alternative medicine. It was invented in the late 18th century by a doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, who was distressed at the state of medicine at the time, which included leeches, blood-letting, and purges, and wanted to provide something that was less invasive. The philosophy behind his belief was a “law of similars”, which suggested that you can cure a disease by treating with something “similar”. There was no science in this. He just liked the idea. Remember that this was the 18th century – medicine really hadn’t got much science behind it at all. Bacteria had not been discovered, even diseases were thought to be just an “imbalance of humours”, so homeopathy was just as sensible at that time as any other “medicine”.

However, time has moved on, and we know a lot more about how people’s bodies actually work, and one thing we are certain of, as proven over and over by people that actually test these things, is that homeopathy does not work.

People die from homeopathy when they start believing that it is more powerful than medicine. They stop taking the medicine which is designed to cure their illness, and they start drinking water, which is just water. They then die. For example, a man campaigning for a political party died because he stopped using his prescribed heart medication and used homeopathy instead. A nine-month-old child died of malnutrition because her homeopath father decided to treat her with his homeopathic remedies instead of bringing her to the doctor. In an ironic twist of karma, a high-profile homeopath from the Netherlands proclaimed on Twitter that his homeopathy can cure cancer – he then died of cancer.

Because homeopathy is not medicine, the manufacturers of homeopathic remedies do not bother proving that their products are safe. Instead, they just assume they are, and sell them. This results in deaths. In 2016, a homeopathic producer was investigated for the deaths of 10 children, and adverse effects in 400 other children. These are products that were on sale in pharmacies. Pharmacies should know better than to sell non-medically-tested products that claim to do medical things.

Chiropractic practitioners claim that by manipulating the spine and limbs, they can cure various illnesses, including asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. There is absolutely no evidence for this. Chiropractic has been tested in clinical trials, and the only benefit ever shown to actually exist is that it can relieve some back pain. That is all. People who practice chiropractic and claim that it is medical in nature run the risk of practicing medicine without a licence. In fact, the inventor, D D Palmer, was himself jailed for exactly that. The only benefit ever proven from chiropractic is that it can relieve some back pain, but it has been known to kill people, including babies.

A number of strokes have been caused directly by chiropractic manipulation of the spine. An article reporting on the mechanism pointed out that the vertebral artery can be “dissected” by manipulation of the neck, leading to stroke and damage to the brain-stem.

Acupuncture involves people sticking needles into other people, thinking that they are “tuning” the body by doing this. Clinical trials of acupuncture show that there is no difference at all in the patient between a trained acupuncturist placing needles into precise locations designed to cure ailments, and a researcher placing needles into a random location.

Deaths directly caused by acupuncture tend to be because of organ perforation, infection from unsterile needles, or in some cases needles breaking off inside the body. Professor Edzard Ernst wrote a paper documenting 86 deaths caused by acupuncture.

I think the main thing you should understand from all of the above is that alternative medicine does not heal people. At the best, it works as a placebo. At its worst, though, alternative medicine will either kill you directly, or kill you indirectly by encouraging you to avoid real medical help.

When will we be able to live forever

Based on the rate at which medicine is evolving, the answer to this question is a resounding “Now!”

Almost every disease has a cure or a cure-in-testing, and aging is just one of those diseases.

In the book How To Live Forever, I wrote four sections on ways that we already know to slow or even reverse aging, including telomere extension, senolytics such as FOXO4-DRI or UBX0101, calorie restriction, and increasing NAD+.

Of the four, three of them are in human trial at the moment, and the fourth has already been shown to reduce the incidence of tumours in humans.

Telomere extension has already been shown by Elizabeth Parrish to increase telomere length by 9%. This equates to about 10-15 years of life extension. This year, it was shown that telomere extension treatment in progeria sufferers results in decreased inflammation and decreased β-galactosidase almost immediately after treatment. Because humans live so long, it is hard to know for sure if live extension works. Progeria is basically a disease that increases the speed of aging in humans – if you can slow or cure progeria, there’s a good chance you’ve also made huge steps towards curing aging itself.

Senolytics are drugs that kill senescent cells – cells that have stopped replicating and producing new young cells, but which also refuse to die. Instead, they stick around spewing out inflammation proteins and causing other nearby cells to also go senescent, resulting in more and more of your cell population becoming old and useless. Senolytics such as FOXO4-DRI or UBX0101 work by covering the part of the FOXO4 gene which is stopping the cell from dying, thus forcing the cell into apoptosis (cell death), making room for new young cells.

Calorie restriction is shown in lab animals to reduce the incidence of tumours (cancers), and leading to longer (up to 50% longer!) lives as a consequence.

And finally, NAD+ is a catalyst which helps the mitochondria of your cells to work with oxygen to produce energy. In older people, the amount of NAD+ in your cells reduces, making it harder for the cell to produce energy, and sometimes resulting in DNA-replication errors. To increase NAD+ in your cells, you can either inject NAD+ directly, or ingest NMN (a precursor molecule that turns into NAD+ in the body).

There are a lot of other methods of living forever, but these are the big four at the moment.