1/27/2001: 

SAT-Practice Word of the Day:
laconic
Intermediate Word of the Day: farrier
Difficult Word of the Day: lacustrine

 

 

Today's Banner News
Desktop Black Hole Possibly on the Horizon
Toshiba develops 30-gigabyte 2.5-inch hard drive
Cell Aging Reversed
SkyHome Brings Life Among The Tree Tops
The Dalai Lama
Climate Changes Played Role In Early Human Evolution
A new flat-screen technology
Report of Earth-Sized Planet Around Another Star Premature
Highest density of matter created
 Revival of Old Drug in Alzheimer's Disease Battle

1/26/2000: This March, 1999, New York Times article, "Pushing LImits of the Human Lifespan", summarizes the gerontological state of affairs two years ago. At that time, gerontological researchers said,
   "We know we can extend the life span of mammals," said Dr. Judith Campisi, who heads the department of cellular and molecular biology at the Berkeley National Laboratory. "There is no reason to believe that we couldn't do the same today in humans."     
   "It is probably possible," said Dr. Cynthia Kenyon, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco. "The lights are green everywhere you go," she added.
    She cites, for example, the life spans of three small mammals: the mouse, the canary and the bat. Mice live 2 years, canaries live 13, and bats live for 50 years.
    "I don't know why evolution selected for different life spans, but it did," Dr. Kenyon said
    In the workshop sessions and in private discussions scientists explained why they were so impassioned and why they came to believe that genes controlled life spans.
    Even as the scientists spoke of what might lie ahead, some drew back, nervous about public reactions and stung by their experiences when they voiced their opinions.
Dr. Campisi of Berkeley said she recently gave a public lecture on aging on her campus. Afterward, she said, "a number of people came up to me and said, 'How dare you do this research? The earth is already being raped by too many people, there is so much garbage, so much pollution."'
    "I was really quite taken aback," Dr. Campisi said. "It was a small group but they just about nailed me to the wall."
:Left: Dr. Campisi
    Below: Dr. Kenyon



  The principals involved in "Strategies for reversing, not merely retarding, the degenerative effects of aging" (Banner News, Topical, Health, Prolongevity"Banner_News_Topical.html) include Bruce Ames, one of the most highly regarded biologists of the 20th century Dr. Gregory Stock convened the first 'roundtable' on aging at UCLA in 1999, and this article describes plans for the second annual convocation, held at the Oakland Research Institute on Oct. 1, 1999. The title of the topic, "SENS: Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence: Reversing, not merely retarding the degerative effects of aging" sets forth the purpose of this initiative. To me, this sounds like a team to watch.
    I would imagine that it will be years before anything could be sufficiently tested for safety that it could be made available for some medical condition (by prescription). There's going to be every flavor of objection imaginable, because there always is whenever something new or different appears.
    For a follow-up, you might want to try: UCLA Program on Medicine Technology and Society. The group is trying to establish a "Prometheus Prize" of about $250,000 a milestone for each of ten or more milestones that must be surpassed to effect the conquest of aging. It's anticipated that these milestones should be attainable within the next 12 years.
   


THE SWAMP ROAD

There is no need to go back.
The road has grown over
With beggarweed laced in black
And patches of clover,
And the willows have crept up to meet
The road's very edge,
Thrusting their tentative feet
Through the golden sedge.

It is too late to return,
Too late to remember
Flag lilies tangled in fern,

And the firefly's ember
Moving from bog to bog,
And the daisies winking,
And even the wise old frog
By the wayside blinking.

You strayed from the golden track--
You were ever a rover--
But it is too late to go back
For the road has grown over
And the willows have crept from the marshes,
And after a while
There will be nothing but willows
Mile after mile.

        --"Window to the South."
                  Vivian Smallwood