ISSN 0964-5659


Volume 11 no 63. First published January 1998. ISSN 0964-5659.

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Fighting Aging at Its Source

by Joao Pedro Magalhes <>

Issus, 333 BC: Alexander the Great was ready to face the massive Persian army led by Darius III. Shortly before the battle's bloodlust Alexander addressed his soldiers: "Have one thought in mind, kill Darius! If he is dead, the Persian army will crumble and victory shall be ours. Persia will then be ours for the taking."1 Alexander expected that if he killed Darius, he could claim the Persian throne and replace Darius as Persian sovereign. Also, it is basic military strategy that is preferable to attack an army's commander than to attack the whole army. When fighting aging, the enemy commanders are the genes, located in the nucleus of our cells. The genes are the life-extensionist's enemies, we can fight their effects, but it is them whom in the end we will have to defeat to reach immortality.

There are currently available several claimed anti-aging drugs; anti-oxidants, therapies based on hormones, specific diets, etc. These procedures are surely more straightforward, quicker to test and implement. But they are also only affecting genetic expression by using external impulses, they focus on weakening the effects of the genes. I think it is much more logic and effective to direct life-extension efforts to change the genes themselves, to attack aging at its core, its source. Even that scientists can create products that can stop this effect, actually stopping aging using external impulses is very hard. Our cells form living blocks precisely controlled and in constant interaction with other cells and tissues. Acting on a few cells might be possible, but developing a drug that can radically affect the majority of cells of an entire organism, changing an intrinsic phenomenon with millions of years, is pure fantasy with our current knowledge. That is why I do not see the elixir of the youth as a lotion or a pill. Instead of trying to persuade the commanders to avoid aging, we should replace them by ones that need not be convinced. Besides, if aging was indeed easy to control, shouldn't some persons not age or at least show signs of extended longevity? The oldest person ever -- with reliable records -- had 122 years old when she died, which is not a major difference when compared to the theoretical maximum human life span -- about 115 years old. This shows how our genes have been developing aging for millions of years and controlling it by fighting them is a very difficult process. This also shows that there are many genes involved in aging, if only a few genes are involved in the aging phenomenon, some persons would survive radically longer than others because of mutations.

If we imagine our genome like a hard disk, we see that it accumulates errors and bugs. Programs installed over previous ones spread all over the hard disk making the computer run slower, badly removed programs corrupt the system files and memory, updating software usually generates bugs in the configurations, and all other sorts of problems computer users commonly face. We can try to cope with all this problems -- shutting the computer every 10 minutes, trying to find corrupt files, changing the system's configuration, and a few other tricks --, but in the end, it is much simpler and quicker to format the hard disk and reinstall all the necessary programs. And that is what we must do with our genome in order to avoid aging and many other lethal diseases -- for example, and end of aging might not lead us to an end of Alzheimer's disease --, to redesign it to fit our needs, namely to end aging.

Current research in mapping human genes will probably yield results in the beginning of the next century. Just recently, Dr. Woodring Wright isolated two genes, Mortality-1 and 2.When Mortality-1 was deactivated, human cells would live more 40 to 100% -- this gene is considered responsible for cellular senescence --, when Mortality-2 -- thought to actually cause the cell to die -- was deactivated, cells would become immortal just like cancer cells. This is just an example, making human cells immortal might not be as difficult as researchers once considered -- making cells immortal does not make us immortal but is a good starting point. Near future breakthroughs in the mapping of aging-related genes might allow us to know how to correct our genome in order to prevent aging -- the Human Genome Project is optimistically thought to be completed in less than 15 years!

But even supposing that we can write a genotype that allows us not to age, how can we change our genes? To genetically engineer an egg to include whatever genes we want in adulthood -- germinal gene therapy -- is presently possible and has already been done in animals, but changing our -- fully developed persons -- genes is much more difficult and complex. This technique -- called somatic gene therapy -- has already been tried a few times in human beings. We still cannot render an entire body trangenic -- meaning with foreign genes --, but we can already correct a few types of tissues. Have in mind that using gene therapy -- and unlike any treatment that works by affecting the expression of the genes -- we do not need to correct all cells. If we correct a small but significant percentage of cells -- probably much less than 20% if these are well distributed --, the immortal cells would proliferate and take the normal, mortal, cells' place. Exemplifying, we can remove some cells from the patient, correct a few of these cells and allow them to proliferate in culture. The corrected cells are then inserted back again and can usually diminish the disease's effects. This has been recently done in a few cases; one patient saw -- metaphorically speaking, I presume he was under anaesthesia -- 15% of his liver removed so that this portion could be later genetically engineered and inserted back into the patient. This person suffered from a lethal gene that causes a huge risk of atherosclerosis and coronary diseases -- called low-density-lipoprotein receptor (LDLR-) -- and appeared to improve his health condition. Other case involved the treatment of an illness commonly called bubble-boy disease by Dr. W. French Anderson, without engaging in much details -- see Longevity Report 23, the article entitled Gene Therapy has some information on this case --, the same procedure was used -- only this time in cells from the bone marrow -- and the results seem inspiring. Despite the fact that other cases exist -- AIDS and arthritis are the most famous ones -- and that this technology might be available soon, this is probably not going to be the procedure used to avoid aging, it still shows how gene therapy has been evolving and unlike other technologies -- e.g., nanotechnology -- it's already producing some encouraging results.

Probably the procedure to be used against aging is going to use some sort of delivery vehicle, a vector. The vectors usually used are retrovirus and adenovirus -- although non-viral vectors are also being tried. Retrovirus can only be used in proliferating cells and therefore only certain types of tissues can be corrected. Using this type of virus has a serious problem, it sometimes happens that the virus causes mutations in the cells that can generate a whole range of problems -- e.g., cancer. Also, this virus is mainly used against cultures of cells removed from the patient and not in the patient himself -- both cases mentioned in the previous paragraph used this type of virus --, we then need to use another vector for many organs that can't be replaced this way -- e.g., brain, heart, etc. The adenovirus does not change the genome, it inserts a gene that remains in the cell extra chromosomally. There is a spray containing this virus that is used against a disease of the respiratory epithelium called cystic fibrosis. However, so far the results are not very cheerful. But it shows how this virus can be used to correct cells in vivo. There are some problems, being the obvious one the immune system that attacks the vectors. Also, like I mentioned earlier, there are certainly more than one or two genes related to the aging process, we need a vector capable of delivering great quantities of DNA, the problem is that current vectors can't deal with the amounts of DNA probably needed to be changed in the cell to avoid aging, and perhaps we need to disable genes and not add them! On the other hand, it's already possible in bacteria to introduce a gene in a precise gene locus. But this is pure speculation, what is important to stress is that this technology is here and progressing fast .In a near future new vectors will be used; more effective vectors, capable of carrying larger amounts of DNA and more capable of escaping the immune system.

As a conclusion, I think that gene therapy will be our ultimate weapon against aging. There are several technical obstacles but also many breakthroughs, perhaps the first products to radically extend our life span will be controlling the expression of the genes. But in the end, the process that will ultimately give us victory, is gene therapy. Perhaps we will be able to make immortal clones of ourselves to control aging in the body and will have to rely on gene therapy to avoid aging of the brain cells -- adenovirus can be used with neurons. The possibilities are endless and they are part of our present, it is our mission to take advantage of the opportunities.

1 -- No-one knows for sure what were Alexander's exact words. It is known, however, that indeed he urged his soldiers to kill the enemy commander. Just for curiosity, the battle of Issus was a tremendous victory for Alexander but Darius survived it.

Fruit Fly Experiments

by Douglas Skrecky

This is the seventeenth update of my fly experiments. As an ancillary experiment I tried substituting killed yeast flakes for 4-24 medium in one bottle. At day 10 this bottle was host to several types of mold, despite heating the bottle in the oven before use, boiling the water used and sterilizing the tools I used with rubbing alcohol. It appears that the mold inhibitor 4-24 medium contains is essential. The source of the flies used in this sixth run was from 3 breeding bottles. I ran two control bottles from each breeding bottle, one with, and the other without yeast. It appears that the yeast has a detrimental effect on survival. None of the supplement bottles contains yeast. I am testing chitosan, since this fiber binds fat quite effectively. One problem with using flies for longevity experiments, is their inability to tolerate dietary fat. If a spice for example contains too much fat, it is going to decrease fly longevity irrespective of its merits in a mammalian context. By including chitosan, I hope in future to be able to remove this confounding factor. I will test whether adding chitosan to various spices increases life span in a future run. A number of supplements appear to offer some benefit, including my old favorities paprika & sage. However since the flies used are not age synchronized, it is still too early to come to any conclusions concerning the efficacy about other supplements. A good survival may mean merely that the bottle had fewer old flies in it. Also not enough of the supplements may have been absorbed earlier in the experiment to make much of a difference. For these reasons the tail end of the survival curve is the most interesting. The zero survival on day 26, in the high dose St John's Wort bottle I attribute to the phototoxicity of this herb.

BB# Supplement # FLIES 10 14 18 26
1 cntl 1 15 93% 87% 80% 47%
1 cntl 1 +yeast 20 90 85 70 45
1 B complex 17 94 82 71 47
1 B complex 4X 18 83 78 67 44
1 chitosan 14 86 79 64 36
1 chitosan 4X 12 83 83 83 75
1 chondroitin sulfate 18 89 83 83 78
1 chondroitin sulfate 4X 17 88 82 65 65
1 chromium picolinate 20 75 65 60 50
1 chromium picolinate 4X 24 92 88 83 79
1 cinnamon 20 90 85 85 75
1 cinnamon 4X 15 93 87 80 40
1 DMAE bitartrate 13 85 62 62 46
1 DMAE bitartrate 4X 18 78 78 78 56
2 cntl 2 27 89 82 67 37
2 cntl 2 +yeast 22 82 82 64 18
2 french mushroom 25 80 72 56 40
2 french mushroom 4X 23 74 43 43 26
2 kava kava 24 79 67 54 38
2 kava kava 4X 36 83 75 64 56
2 onion 22 77 73 68 32
2 onion 4X 16 81 75 75 63
2 paprika, spanish 25 84 76 60 48
2 paprika, spanish 4X 17 94 82 76 59
2 l-proline 15 73 60 53 33
2 l-proline 4X 32 94 81 75 59
2 sage 19 95 68 63 32
2 sage 4X 20 95 90 90 85
2 sodium citrate 13 62 46 46 38
2 sodium citrate 4X 18 89 83 61 33
3 cntl 3 22 77 68 64 59
3 cntl 3 +yeast 13 92 85 62 15
3 St John's Wort 20 85 75 70 40
3 St John's Wort 4X 18 72 50 39 0
3 sumac 14 43 43 43 36
3 sumac 4X 14 79 71 57 36
3 wild yam 12 50 42 25 25
3 wild yam 4X 22 82 55 50 32

This is the eighteenth update of my fly experiments. The onion 4X bottle is turning out unexpectedly to be a big winner, with a day 45 survival of 50%. By comparison by day 26, survivals in 5 out of 6 control bottles were lower than this. Although high dose onion powder looks very promising, I will need to replicate these good results before believing them.

Cinnamon with a day 45 survival of 35% also looks promising. I will be testing chitosan in the next run in combination with various fat containing supplements, including onion and cinnamon. We'll see then if chitosan's fat absorbing ability improves survivals yet further. Adding yeast to the control bottles looks to be reducing survival. Under sterile laboratory conditions adding yeast can increase survival slightly. Since my own somewhat unsanitary experiments find yeast to be deleterious, I take this to be an indication that pathogens are a longevity limiting factor with my experiments. Nontoxic doses of onion, sage and cinnamon may be offering life span extension primarily by inhibiting pathogen growth. This renders my results questionable to say the least and before any supplement can be conclusively stated to be beneficial to fly longevity, experiments conducted under truly sterile conditions would be needed. I will attempt to improve my own quality control procedures in the next run.

Those with sharp eyes may notice that one of the paprika doped flies sprang back to life on day 41, after being declared a goner on day 36.

BB# Supplement #10 #14 #18 #26 #36 #41 #45
1 cntl 1 93% 87% 80% 47% 20% 20% 7%
1 cntl 1 +yeast 90 85 70 45 20 5 5
1 B complex 94 82 71 47 12 12 6
1 B complex 4X 83 78 67 44 6 0 -
1 chitosan 86 79 64 36 7 0 -
1 chitosan 4X 83 83 83 75 42 33 25
1 chondroitin sulfate 89 83 83 78 56 33 11
1 chondroitin sulfate 4X 88 82 65 65 24 12 6
1 chromium picolinate 75 65 60 50 25 10 5
1 chromium picolinate 4X 92 88 83 79 58 33 21
1 cinnamon 90 85 85 75 55 50 35
1 cinnamon 4X 93 87 80 40 33 20 13
1 DMAE bitartrate 85 62 62 46 31 15 15
1 DMAE bitartrate 4X 78 78 78 56 44 22 6
2 cntl 2 89 82 67 37 15 7 4
2 cntl 2 +yeast 82 82 64 18 5 5 5
2 french mushroom 80 72 56 40 8 0 -
2 french mushroom 4X 74 43 43 26 4 4 4
2 kava kava 79 67 54 38 25 0 -
2 kava kava 4X 83 75 64 56 22 11 6
2 onion 77 73 68 32 18 9 9
2 onion 4X 81 75 75 63 56 56 50
2 paprika, spanish 84 76 60 48 20 24 12
2 paprika, spanish 4X 94 82 76 59 24 12 12
2 l-proline 73 60 53 33 20 20 13
2 l-proline 4X 94 81 75 59 34 19 9
2 sage 95 68 63 32 16 16 5
2 sage 4X 95 90 90 85 60 35 30
2 sodium citrate 62 46 46 38 15 8 8
2 sodium citrate 4X 89 83 61 33 28 11 11
3 cntl 3 77 68 64 59 18 14 5
3 cntl 3 +yeast 92 85 62 15 0 - -
3 St John's Wort 85 75 70 40 15 10 0
3 St John's Wort 4X 72 50 39 0 - - -
3 sumac 43 43 43 36 14 7 7
3 sumac 4X 79 71 57 36 29 21 21
3 wild yam 50 42 25 25 8 8 0
3 wild yam 4X 82 55 50 32 14 5 5

A Novel Method of Rejuvenationby Douglas Skrecky

Could injections of lymphocytes rejuvenate aged humans? It works for Snell-Bagg dwarf mice at least. These have an average life expectancy of just 4.5 months. At 4 months of age these animals suffer from greying, hair loss, and cutaneous and subcutaneous atrophy. In short they look terrible. Dwarf mice given a single injection of lymphocytes from normal 40 day old Snell-Bagg mice at 30 days of age, show no signs of ageing at 7 months of age. Their average life expectancy was not determined since some lymphocyte treated dwarf mice were killed, and in any case the experiment was terminated after 12 months. However it was observed that lymphocyte treated dwarf mice lived for more than 12 months. Normal Snell-Bagg mice live for 20 months. Unfortunately lymphocyte injections were not tried in normal mice. Injections of growth hormone and thyroxine was also tried in dwarf mice. Average life expectancy was here increased to 12-14 months.1 Interestingly injections of growth hormone also dramatically extended the life span of normal Balb/c mice. About 50% of 17 month old control mice died after 1 month. Several injected mice were killed so an average remaining life expectancy can not be tabulated. However only 4 out of 26 mice (15%) had died naturally when the experiment was terminated after 5.5 months.2 This leads up to a question. Could injections of young lymphocytes in normal mice dramatically extend their life span?

(1) Lymphocytes, Hormones and Ageing Pierpaoli W, and Sorkin E. Nature 240: 557-559 December 29, 1972

(2) Effects of Long-Term, Low-Dose Growth Hormone Therapy on Immune Function and Life Expectancy of Mice hansari DN, Gustad T. Mechanism of Ageing and Development 57: 87-100 1991

Power to Cloud Men's Minds

by Dr Steven B. Harris, M.D.

Although in theory it's a good idea to ask people who don't sign up for cryonics why they didn't do it, in practice the information is about as likely to generate real psychological reasons as asking people "why" they didn't take their blood pressure pills, wear their seat-belts, or keep their dental or doctor appointments. What are they going to tell you? The real "reasons" why people deal (or fail to deal) rationally with pain and risk, and with life-and-death decisions, are generally too deep to get at, though a questionnaire. Good luck.

After more than a decade with the cryonics movement (and more than a decade of being signed up myself) I've come to some of my own subjective conclusions about why people do or don't sign up. You can take them for what they are worth. Some of this I've said before on the net long ago, but I'll charitably repeat it for those who've missed it. You're all entitled to my opinions, after all <g>.

F is that most people DON'T fail to sign up for cryonic suspension because they think it won't work, or can't work. On the contrary, the reason most people don't sign up is because they are afraid it WILL work, and leave them after resurrection stranded as loners or social outcasts (the Frankenstein penalty). In order to get past that fear, people need to be anesthetized to the social consequences of radical time travel, in some way.

Ways in which this happens differ from person to person. It seems to me that people who sign up for cryonic suspension broadly fall into two categories, according to how they deal with the idea of irreversible radical future time travel:

Type I: The technogeeks. I don't mean to disparage this group too much, since I probably fit here most closely myself. Technogeek people are lone wolves, almost always men, who for one reason or another don't feel a great affinity or connection with their society anyway. Their opinions are generally radical, and their IQ usually high (although their EQ or emotional intelli- gence is often low). Often they work in technical fields. If they work in social fields they have some other reason for already being disconnected or alienated from society (ie, gay men or women). The idea of radical time travel to the far future simply does not terrify them. They generally report being avid SF readers, and report deciding to sign up instantly as soon as they heard that cryonics was financially feasible.

Not being very sensitive, technogeek people usually have no idea why everyone does not sign up for cryonics, and they usually end up thinking the reasons have to do with some theoretical argument in physics or nanotechnology, or some failure of marketing. "Gee," one hears these people say, "we should be able to get thousands of new members if only we do the following simple thing: ...." These people are suckers for others who claim to have the simple answer, like Michael Cloud. Trying to convince them that the problem is far more complicated usually goes nowhere, because they simply lack the emotional equipment to understand why most people don't WANT to travel into the future without their postcranial corpori, or their social milieus.

Type I cryonicists and their families (who are Type II) include most of the early cryonicists in the movement, up to the beginning of the "log phase" or exponential growth in the cryonics movement, from 1986-1993, or so.

Type II: We've looked at Type I cryonicists. Type II cryonicists are simply everybody else who signs up. For the average non-technogeek person, the idea of traveling into the future where society and human relationships are radically different, is terrifying. As is the physical idea of having the cryonics operation done on one's body (for neurosuspension, add more apprehension). In order to get past these basic fears, most people (the type II people) require two assurances before they sign up: 1) That a large fraction of their social relationships survive with them. This requires close contact and a number of personal relationships with other cryonicists, over a long period of time. 2) That the cryonics operation be done on them by people they know, and who they have established a kind of doctor- patient relationship with. Radical medical technology is scary, and you don't want it done on you by strangers or screw-ups. Preferably, you'd like to know the medical high priests involved, and have confidence in their technical skills.

Since one or both of these factors must be present (in some measure or another), growth of cryonics by Type II membership requires regular cryonics meetings and social activities, as well as a highly competent suspension team which has some charisma, and is highly visible in cryonics activities. If both of these factors are present, the idea of cryonics spreads through local and close social contact exponentially like a disease (technically: meme), though not a very infectious disease (ie, more like HIV than the flu virus). Interrupt this process, however, and exponential growth disappears, to be replaced by the linear background noise of continuing Type I/technogeek signups, which are always with us. This happened in 1993, when the ejection of Mike Darwin and other key personnel from Alcor, and the movement of Alcor physically to Arizona, caused a split in the cryonics membership which caused both factions to fall below the critical mass of technical skills and social relationships necessary to sustain log growth.

What do I see in the future of cryonics? It seems inevitable that eventually, in some place, after a slow accumulation of Type I signups and their families, the critical mass of relationships and skills will allow for log growth of cryonics to continue locally once again. I do not know when this will happen. Much depends on negotiations now taking place between factions of cryonicists. It may happen in 2 years or 20, but it will happen.

How important is continuing research in this scheme? Fairly important, but only in the context above. If suspended animation is achieved, don't look for a huge signup to follow; for reasons explained above, we probably won't see much extra growth at all. But that doesn't mean we don't need to do the research.

Suspended Animation and Recruitment.

Brian Manning Delaney <>

Please pardon the intrusion of someone who is not currently signed up for cryonics. I thought the perspective of someone not yet signed-up, yet extremely interested in life-extension, might be useful here.

It might be worthwhile first to generalize the question: why aren't people interested in life-extension? and then consider the similarities and differences between this question and the question of willingness to sign-up for cryonics.

Steve Harris pointed out that the main reason people don't sign up for cryonics is a fear of social or historical displacement of some kind. I think this is true of the populace in general, but suggest that this should also be understood as the main reason the average person isn't interested in life-extension, broadly construed. The nature of the social or historical displacement is different in the case of a continuously animated life-extension, to be sure, but the fear of this displacement, I believe, is at the root of the general antipathy towards life-extension, whatever the means of extension. There are other factors at play in the general unwillingness to extend life, but these, too, are probably operating in both the unwillingness to sign-up for cryonics, and the unwillingness to practice other kinds of life-extension: belief in the importance of the motivating force of imminent death (what I call the "_Being and Time_ argument"), fears of consequent population problems, etc., etc.

The goal of recruitment is then twofold:

1) Alter views about life-extension in general; and

2) get people already interested in life-extension to sign up for cryonics.

I will speak to the second of these goals.

The number of people signed up for cryonics is a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of people interested in life-extension. This is true even if we take an "interest in life-extension" to mean an interest in extreme life-extension, i.e., an interest in doing more than merely preventing heart disease or adult-onset diabetes, and so on. A conservative figure for the number of people in the world who want to live for significantly more than the species maximum of ~115 years is probably a hundred thousand or so. The number could well be much, much higher. (I'm making my estimate based on numerous conversations with people over the years, examination of the readership of the Internet news group <>, etc. -- a "soft" number, to be sure, but probably way too low, if it's off.)

How many people are signed up to be suspended? A few hundred? A thousand? It's a fairly small number, yes?

Why, then, are so few people who are interested in extreme life-extension signed up for cryonics?

For some, the difference between a gradual historical displacement and a discontinuous displacement may be paramount. For me, however, and for the many other non-cryonicist extreme life-extensionists with whom I've been in close contact for many years, this difference is not critical. Rather, the main reason we don't sign up for cryonics is, by far, that we believe it to be extremely unlikely that we will ever be reanimated, if frozen with today's technology.

If it's true, then, that the many life-extensionists not signed up for cryonics would be moved to sign up after the achievement of suspended animation -- and I believe it is -- then the post-Prometheus surge in membership would be enormous. I would certainly sign up, as would many life-extensionists I know.

One more point: Of the many people who aren't signed up for cryonics because of the fears of social or historical displacement, there are probably many who don't need to be convinced that the probability of eventual restoration to health is not low. It is, rather, their view of the _degree_ of expected historical displacement that is the problem. "Sure, science can achieve anything, given enough time, but thawing and repairing my frozen carcass won't be possible for at least 150 years! Everything I care about will gone." With perfected suspended animation, the barrier to restoration of life/health will be merely the curing of a disease (or, more difficult, aging), and not "bringing a frozen, fractured carcass back from the dead." People will expect (rightly, in my view) a much shorter gap between deanimation and reanimation. Sure, as Thomas Donaldson points out, there will be some diseases that won't be cured quickly, but many will be cured within ten to thirty years. People will believe that when they are restored, most of their world will still be present.

In sum, I agree strongly with Saul Kent and others that the effect of perfected suspended animation on recruitment will be positive. I'd go further and say the effect is likely to be immense. I strongly suspect that huge numbers of (extreme) life-extensionists -- 10-20 thousand -- would sign up shortly after the advent of suspended animation. Then the rate of increase in membership would go way down, and would come to depend more on recruitment among those who aren't life-extensionists.

Sociological Experiment Proposal

to Test Cryonics Thinking

by Peter Merel <>

It seems to me that there is a way to test whether people don't sign up for Cryonics because of no certain knowledge that it will work, though it is not quite the way we'd prefer. I'm thinking in the context of social psychology experiments, something like Stanley Milgram's work. This would require a small parcel of funds and/or some interested researchers, and it would go something like this:

College students, as part of their psych course, are required to do a certain number of hours as a social psych experimental subject. We tell these students that we're conducting a test of their ability to extract numerical data from a verbal presentation. We take two groups of such students and spend an hour presenting them with the present facts about cryonics. The control group are told nothing more than the truth, presented as palatably as possible. The second are told just the same thing, but with a lie embedded in it, that the Prometheus Project began fifteen years ago and we can *already* revive cryonics patients. A "revived patient" could even be trotted out to explain how it felt - "yes, I really didn't think it would work, but here I am. No, I don't remember anything of the last week before I was frozen. I just kind of lost two years. My family, though, are so overjoyed to have me back. They thought I was dead, you see. Lose my soul? If I did, I don't feel any different - I still love my children, my wife [... blah blah blah]"

Then the students complete a test on the various numbers described, that test designed to also test their belief in the presented material and their level of interest in signing up for cryonics themselves. That's it - the controls are excused, the test subjects are told gently about the factual error, and the results are collated according to ages, religions, the style of the presentation and so on.

This strikes me as a not impossibly expensive way to gauge the issue, and maybe even one that a social psychologist or two would find an interesting direction for some research.

Preventing and Treating Colds

with Life Extension Foundation Technology

by Tom Matthews <>

Colds are caused by viruses not bacteria. I have always been successful in completely alleviating all symptoms by taking 20 grams of vitamin C (as mineral ascorbates) plus bioflavinoids together with zinc lozenges. However, because of my 6 plus gram per day of vitamin C plus many other immune system enhancers, I have not even started to have a cold in years.

There are over 300 viruses that have been identified as causing the common cold. Most cold viruses replicate in the throat.

By dissolving two zinc lozenges in the mouth every few hours, the zinc will help inactivate cold viruses multiplying in the throat. Vitamin C in doses of 5,000-to-20,000 mg have been used by many people as a natural antihistamine and antiviral therapy to treat common colds. Studies document the ability of vitamin C to shorten the duration of cold symptoms.

Echinacea standardized liquid herbal extract is effective at a dose of 6 full droppers followed by two full droppers every two waking hours until the 2-oz bottle is empty. Astragalus herbal extract at 300 mg a day can boost immune function and produce direct antiviral effects.

The amino acid n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) helps to break excessive mucous and can have a direct antiviral effect. It is suggested that 600 mg of n-acetyl-cysteine also known as NAC be taken with 2,000 mg of vitamin C three times a day by those who get colds.

Ribavirin is a broad-spectrum antiviral approved in almost every country in the world except the United States. There is strong evidence that some cold virus strains can be stopped from replicating with ribavirin at a dose of 800 mg a day.

A well documented, but little used therapy to treat the common cold involves an injection of 500,000-to-three million IU of interferon (Interferon alpha-2a) combined with 40 mg of melatonin every night. Studies document the ability of interferon to kill many common cold viruses. Interferon is a component of your immune system that kills viruses (and cancer cells). Since it is a prescription drug, you will have to convince your doctor to prescribe and inject the one-time dose of interferon to combat your cold. For additional suggestions, access the Foundation's IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT protocol.

Product Availability: Zinc lozenges, NAC, echinacea, astragalus, vitamin C, and melatonin are available singly and in a Protocol Pak by calling (in the USA) 1-800-544-4440. Ask them for a listing of offshore companies that sell ribavirin to Americans by mail. If you live close to the Mexican border, you can buy ribavirin in a Mexican pharmacy and bring it back into the United States under the FDA's personal use importation policy.

For further details, contact The Life Extension Foundation (in the USA) 800-841-5433 A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research, innovative ideas and practical methods.

Also read Life Extension Magazine - Living Healthier - Reaching for Immortality The ultimate source for new health and medical breakthoughs worldwide.

Water Quality and Purification

Roger L. Bagula

(also printed in The Fractal Translight Newsletter Jan-Feb 1997)

When I was in the fourth grade we moved to live on my grand father's ranch near Redding in northern California. My near cousin was also farmed out by my uncle and aunt. For a long time we had been raised as almost brothers, but here at the two room school house with the country kids we were the new guys.

One day as a kind of acceptance preliminary we were asked to lunch in the well house with the in-kids. During lunch one of the Indian kids got up and peed into the well! Then he dared us to do it too! This was a very formative day in my life: I could not bring myself to believe that being accepted by these boys was more important than clean drinking water! I told then what I thought and worse, I turned them in as well poisoners.

I had made my life choice between popularity and the way of truth. It has been said that there are two types of people: well poisoners and well diggers/ finders. I try to be of the second type.

We have for years heard that beer was made better with better and more pure mountain or spring water. The stories of the Spanish explorer who went to the ends of the earth seeking the fountain of youth are port of history. We have been as a people 'well poisoners' in our practices with wastes. In a news story that got me thinking on these lines the birth defects in frogs in the Midwest had been narrowed dawn to being caused by the water! Since all animal life came by evolutionary theory from the oceans, it is in a way impure water in the organic chemicals and minerals that make up our bodies. Doctors are always telling people to drink more water and fluids for their health. The question this brings to my mind is: Is it really the water? Is there some 'perfect' composition of water that will promote life by it's primal and pure composition?

While at the ranch in northern California a bloom of a type of red algae came out of the spring that we were using as drinking water. None of the adults new what it was or knew anyone to ask! It was to me very frightening that what we had thought was a pure mountain spring should hove an unknown life in it and we were drinking it every day! If you hove ever seen on algae bloom, you will now why I was in all ignorance scared! To me it was like the hill from which the spring came was bleeding.

It wasn't until my post graduate time when I took a loss in bacteriology that I had any idea what had caused this to occur. I also earned that such contamination of primary drinking sources in rural America was fairly common and no one in local, state or federal government was doing much or anything to help or educate the population and people were dying as a result from all kinds of wastes in their in their water. In high school I had been invited to a science and English summer program and had formulated the idea of project in which I generated chlorine and put it through solutions of common household detergents and then, analyzed to see if any new chemicals resulted. I couldn't get a sponsor in the early 60's for such an environmental hazard investigation! I was if nothing else stubborn then and dropped out of the summer school class and went to work as labourer for the construction work where my Dad as working as a carpenter. I got a book of Scientific American articles and read it cover to cover: it was that reading that had given me on abiding distrust of Scientific American, because there was all surface and very little depth in hose articles and very little that you could follow up to learn more.

I call his the deception of writing science for on ignorant public that tends to leave them only vaguely informed and not really informed! For me I love to be able to interact with the real material. In the current years Scientific American has improved on this with so many more people in my generation with some sort of college education. It should tell you something about the state of science in the 60's that I didn't learn much in the way of facts that would help on my understanding of this problem of waters by reading the best of the science of that day! The only monitor of fluids consumed by Americans was of milk by the FDA at that time and some work in the mines area on ore processing in the Rockies and coal states. Ordinary people were drinking well, spring and stream waters in America and dying as a result.

The military had a water purification effort for war time and trained people to test and chlorinate water for the troops to drink. You will note that chlorine, which has since caused a DDT contamination problem in wild life, and the hole in the ozone layer, was the purification technique. DDT is a chlorinated version of toluene which is related to benzene. It is not as bad as the stuff they put in transformers, but it will do as a poison! Chlorine and bromine are mostly not natural in water supplies and most of natures purification is by aeration , sand filtering and interaction with natural limestone formations in underground water sources like that found in caves. On land in California most of the actual water is ground water and is below ground in sand formations above the bed rock and caves inside the bed rock carved out by time and long term flow from high ground to the sea or lower ground. In California one of the major early mining operations was of dry lake bed formations and their borax: Ronald Reagan's TV show was sponsored by 20 Mule Team. Borax was a laundry additive that made you wash fresh and clean!

In that primitive time the dentists did a study and found that fluorine , another halogen, seemed to retard tooth decay and wanted to fluoridate the water supply. This movement brought out how truly ignorant the public was at that time by the scare tactics that were used and believed against the public. We mostly get our fluoride in tooth paste to this day. In a way the forces against fluoridation did everyone a favour by making people think about the water they were drinking: the result in California was a bottle water boom in the 60's and 70's that hasn't really stopped even today with better government control of water quality in effect.

We still have very little knowledge of the actual best mineral and quality of drinking water. It has been found that there are polymeric structures in some kinds of water that are not well understood. The use of chlorine compounds to release atomic chlorine into water to oxidize the tissue of bacteria and detoxify the water has not been the success that it should have been because the effects of small amounts of organic chlorine compounds causes mutagenic and carcinogenic effects: birth defects in frogs for example. In other words in the effort to control bacteria that cause water born diseases we have been poisoning our own wells.

A viable alternative has been the irradiation by gamma rays to produce bacteria free waters. Nature pores x-rays dawn an the earth every day and until the ozone layer was damaged only the most energetic reached the earths surface, so that irradiation is a more natural process than chlorination. As long as the heavy metal and organic content of the water isn't too great, it seems that irradiative water purification is cheap and less toxic than the current methods. The same farces of ignorance that stopped fluoridation are against irradiation, although testing of the techniques are almost 50 years old.

I think that education and research are important in determination of the best paths that people can take. The harsh chemical solutions that originated in the last century are turning out to be a long term problem and that we should seek ways that leave our water with less residues- We should also try to understand why waters from different sources with apparently the same chemical content effect animals in different ways. The source and purity of the water that we live on is today, as in ancient times, a very important topic. In the 70's I had a tour of the La Mesa drinking water purification plant and in the 60's as well. The tour told us of the use of permanganate as well as chlorine in the clarification process. Parkinson's disease has been epidemic in the La Mesa area and has been connected to manganese levels in blood in some studies that I read about. It occurred to me that no one else had made the connection? Are they still using permanganate in the water purification process? But then traces of heavy metals can be so damaging we have to begin to ask such questions. Is it the water... Really?


by Paul Wakfer, with an introduction by John de Rivaz

There is a lot of discussion about doing research now to produce a protocol for reversible suspended animation of a brain.

I wonder whether the following would be a helpful analogy.

Supposing the ancient Romans wanted to make a fax machine - a method of sending pictures around their empire.

An inventor may have discovered that if you use a pinhole camera obscurer you can project an image onto a wall of a darkened room. The wall could have squares drawn on it and a semaphore system could be set up to transmit the average brightness and colour of each square as assessed by an artist. At the receiving end, an artist could paint the picture.

Suppose they wanted to put all their resources in sending moving pictures?

The research they would have to do to create a television system or modern faxes would rely on so much other technology that no matter how much effort they put into it, they would never see any results within the lifetime of those then living.

The question is, do people today have enough supporting technology to even consider a "semaphore, pinhole and squared paper" (SPSP) version of suspend and reanimate?

Would an spsp system approach anything near enough the desired result to convince the unconvincable that it may be possible in the future? Anyone with any sense (at the time) would look at the SPSP fax and say that sending moving pictures would be quite impossible. (Even though the myths of that time did suggest seeing moving pictures at a distance, usually by gazing into in ponds in a religious trance.)

Paul Wakfer writes:

With all due respect, John, your analogy does not relate in many different ways to the current promotion of research to perfect suspended animation. While it is true that whole-body suspended animation may not be possible by finding the right combination of methods and chemicals that already exist in current technology, we already are so close to a demonstration that this is possible for a complex organ like a kidney that is hard to concieve that complete success for kidneys is not possible. (The reasons why is has not been done are purely logistical, red tape, inept organization, and lack of funding.)

Therefore, it is clear that it may very well be possible to find a combination of cryoprotectants and cooling perfusion methods which allow us to do fully reversible whole-body suspended animation without requiring any major new technology at all. It is in this sense that I keep saying that the Prometheus Project research does not require the same kind of "basic" research as does something like eradicating all cancer or stopping aging or even curing AIDS. And that is why I maintain that it can be done with relatively little money, if at all (more money would simply speed up the process).

Even if suspended animation cannot be perfected with "today's" technology, I believe the research will still be extremely important in reducing the damage done by the cryopreservation process so that we can be more certain that we are saving the essential brain information which makes us who and what we are. This will happen because as we reduce the damage and find out what is remaining intact or at least repairable, at the same time neuroscience research will be finding out more and will be able to tell us more surely what brain structures hold the essential information which we seek to preserve. At the same time, the research results and the increased confidence in human cryopreservation methods will lead to an increase rate of enrollment of individuals for cryonics and thus a strengthening of the whole movement.

For these reasons and many, many more, I am convinced that we must all work together to promote and fund a concerted attempt to perfect suspended animation. Our lives depend on it!

Use any of these methods to find out about the Prometheus Project to develop reversible suspended animation: Voice/Fax:909-481-9620 Page:800-805-2870

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