is it mathematically possible to live forever?

A story was released a few days ago saying that some scientists had proven with maths that it is impossible for halt aging.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are taking that at face value and think that it means that it is not possible to live forever. This is, fortunately, untrue.

It was “proven” in 2008 that humans couldn’t live past 125, and yet that was based purely on existing data and did not take into account our ability to solve issues.

The 125 limit is caused mostly by the Hayflick limit, which is a limit to how many times a somatic (normal – not stem) cell in the body can divide before its telomeres get too short, telomeres being the bits at the end of the DNA that stop the DNA from being corrupted.

Of course, once humans identify a cause to a problem, we get out there and solve it. So, Elizabeth Parrish, an entrepreneur that runs the biotech company BioViva, became the first human to undertake telomere extension therapy, adding up to 18 years to her life.

The mathematical proof that was released a few days ago relies on the natural chaotic warring that happens between the various cells in the body from running itself ragged. But again – if we can spot a problem, we can solve it.

The research assumes that a living being, once born, will continue to live as-is until it simply dies of old age.

But we are hackers. We tinker. We see problems and fix them.

One of the issues is senescent cells (SnCs). We have already come up with a number of solutions to that which will be publically available within the next few years, including senolytics such as FOXO4-DRI and UBX0101.

I don’t accept that it is mathematically impossible to live forever. I believe these scientists have simply not considered all the variables.

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 atย 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.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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 ฮฒ-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.

Progress on the workshop/lab

I mentioned last month that I’m starting work building a lab for (eventually!) protein synthesis of FOXO4-DRI to reduce senescent cell build-up and NMN to promote NAD+ production in cells, etc. There’s no point writing a book on how to live forever if you’re not going to get working on the answers yourself!

Because I’m working completely on my own, and have no experience in construction, this is taking longer than I thought!

I have the foundation 95% completed now. The structural parts (the load-bearing bits) are completed. I just need to fill in some gaps in the foundation wall, then add some plastic damp proof coursing between the wall and the wood of the workshop floor, then I can start on the frame of the thing.

The plan with this is to start off with some simple things – a 3D printer and some electronics, and use those as a base from which to build up a proper lab, one tool at a time, building as many as possible from scratch.

Critics might say (and they do…) that the only way to do good work is with good tools, but they appear to forget that everything we see today was built from the ground up using nothing much more than a rock hitting another rock. You use bad tools to make better tools. I am doing the same.

I was asked why I didn’t just get some people in to do the building for me. Partly, it’s cost, but it’s mostly because I want the satisfaction of knowing exactly where every nail and knothole is, and I want to design every aspect of the building to my own specifications.

I have had to learn a lot along the way so far – how to do mortaring, how to drain an accidental pool (siphoning through a hose. muddy water doesn’t taste nice ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), how water travels through concrete.

I’m still learning some things, like how to connect two pieces of wood together. Nails and nail plates appear to be the solution.

This weekend, I start on the frame of the build. I think that will go up very quickly.

Telomere lengthening as a treatment for Progeria

Telomeres are end-caps that keep your DNA from fraying. Over the years, they get smaller and smaller, until they’re so small the cells go into senescence mode and stop splitting.

When a cell is in senescence mode, it refuses to die, and instead just hangs around giving out inflammation-inducing proteins. Senescent cells are useful for helping healing wounds, but other than that, they’re a nuisance.

A study by John P. Cooke and associates found that telomeres in progeria sufferers tend to shorten much quicker than usual. This leads to very quick aging of the body, and usually death by age 15 or so.

In normal cells, telomeres cause death by aging by about age 120 (the Hayflick limit). The observation that telomere shortening is highly linked to aging in progeria makes that all the more obvious.

There has been speculation that telomere lengthening would help improve life-span, but very little evidence in humans, because we live so long compared to lab animals.

In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, head of the company Bioviva, became the first person to undergo a telomere-lengthening treatment, and follow-up tests showed that she had indeed lengthened them by 9%, but there was nothing noticeable to show that the treatment had any positive effect.

The study done by Cooke showed that extending telomeres in progeria sufferers has an almost immediate effect, with a decrease in senescence-related beta-galactosidase staining, and reduced secretion of inflammatory cytokines. In Elizabeth’s case, it is possible she just had not reached the age where those would be measurable.

Telomere extension is one of the most important treatments that we will need to get into local clinics. It’s great to see it making some proper traction!