Word of the Day:
Word of the Day:
of the Day: lacustrine
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
"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
||:Left: Dr. Campisi
Below: Dr. Kenyon
The principals involved in "Strategies for reversing, not merely
retarding, the degenerative effects of aging" (Banner News, Topical,
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
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.
is no need to go back.
road has grown over
beggarweed laced in black
patches of clover,
the willows have crept up to meet
road's very edge,
their tentative feet
the golden sedge.
is too late to return,
late to remember
Flag lilies tangled in fern,
the firefly's ember
from bog to bog,
the daisies winking,
even the wise old frog
the wayside blinking.
strayed from the golden track--
were ever a rover--
it is too late to go back
the road has grown over
the willows have crept from the marshes,
after a while
will be nothing but willows
--"Window to the South."