An End to Aging: Can Science Allow Humans to To Become Immortal?


The inevitability of aging may be no more than yet another biological theory that scientific advances will retire in the near future. Some scientists today say that longevity is a societal concept that we may no longer need to uphold as a static law of nature, but instead, as one that can be rewritten to our benefit.

Researchers from fields spanning genetics to artificial intelligence (AI) are working towards a future where we will have to stop using a “midlife crisis” to justify our ill-advised decisions (but is it really ever the wrong time to buy a Porsche?).

While there have been innumerable theoretical ideas and initiatives for dodging the Grim Reaper, many actual strategies that are being developed today fall into one of two camps: biomedical or technological.

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Precision medicine is much more than genetics

Drug Development

Ricki Lewis, PhD: When President Obama uttered the words “Precision Medicine” in the state-of-the-union address, I scoffed at a politician’s finally noticing a field that’s been around for decades: medical genetics. Was it another case of rebranding, as chemistry has morphed into nanotech? But the definition of Precision Medicine that has emerged is, well, precise: “An approach to disease treatment and prevention that seeks to maximize effectiveness by taking into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle.”

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An open source future for synthetic biology


Synthetic biology is an emerging area that threatens to become as controversial as GMOs.

It’s indisputable that genetically modified organism (GMO) food products from corporations like Monsanto are suspected to endanger health. But on the other hand, an individual’s right to genetically modify and even synthesize entire organisms as part of his dietary or medical regimen could someday be a human right.



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Older moms more likely to live longer

older mom

There is a genetic link between giving birth at an older age and longevity.

Being able to have children naturally later in life may be a sign that women will live an unusually long time, according to new research. The link between the ability to give birth at older ages and longevity may be explained by genetic traits that facilitate both.



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Researchers discover new treatment for diabetes


Researchers discovered a small molecule that inhibits an enzyme that degrades insulin.

Harvard researchers may have finally identified a chemical compound that could be used to study and treat diabetes after decades of searching. They have discovered a whole different method for maintaining insulin in the blood: by blocking the enzyme that breaks it down.



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Altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could begin in 2014


In vitro fertilization (IVF)—involving DNA from three parents—could become legal in the UK by July.

The prospect of altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could move from science fiction to science reality by the middle of 2014.  The UK parliament is likely to vote on whether a new form of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—involving DNA from three parents—becomes legally available to couples by July. If it passes, the law would be the first to allow pre-birth human-DNA modification, and another door to the future will open.



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FDA orders 23andMe to stop selling genetic tests

23andMe has been advertising that its tests offer diagnostic information for a variety of human conditions.

23andMe, the pioneering genetic screening service, has been told by the FDA that it “must immediately discontinue” marketing of its Personal Genome Service (PGS) until it receives FDA authorization.



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Average American male body compared to other countries

Todd, the average American man.

Todd is a typical American man. His proportions are based on averages from CDC anthropometric data. As a U.S. male age 30 to 39, his body mass index (BMI) is 29; just one shy of the medical definition of obese. At five-feet-nine-inches tall, his waist is 39 inches.



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India seeks to regulate booming surrogacy industry

India’s booming surrogacy industry sees thousands of infertile couples hire the wombs of local women to carry their embryos through to birth.

British restaurateur Rekha Patel, dressed in a green surgical gown and cap, cradled her newborn daughter at the Akanksha clinic in northwestern India as her husband Daniel smiled warmly, peering in through a glass door.



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