Book Review: Lifespan

[epistemic status: non-expert review of a book on a highly technical subject, sorry. If you are involved in biochemistry or anti-aging, feel free to correct my mistakes]

David Sinclair – Harvard professor, celebrity biologist, and author of Lifespan – thinks solving aging will be easy. “Aging is going to be remarkably easy to tackle. Easier than cancer” are his exact words, which is maybe less encouraging than he thinks.

There are lots of ways that solving aging could be hard. What if humans worked like cars? To restore an old car, you need to fiddle with hundreds of little parts, individually fixing everything from engine parts to chipping paint. Fixing humans to such a standard would be way beyond current technology.

Or what if the DNA damage theory of aging was true? This says that as cells divide (or experience normal wear and tear) they don’t copy their DNA exactly correctly. As you grow older, more and more errors creep in, and your cells become worse and worse at their jobs. If this were true, there’s not much to do either: you’d have to correct the DNA in every cell in the body (using what template? even if you’d saved a copy of your DNA from childhood, how do you get it into all 30 trillion cells?) This is another nonstarter.

Sinclair’s own theory offers a simpler option. He starts with a puzzling observation: babies are very young [citation needed]. If a 70 year old man marries a 40 year old woman and has a baby, that baby will start off at zero years old, just like everyone else. Even more interesting, if you clone a 70 year old man, the clone start at zero years old.

(there were originally some rumors that cloned animals aged faster, but those haven’t been borne out)

This challenges the DNA theory of aging. A 70 year old’s skin cells have undergone seventy years of DNA damage, and sure enough the 70-year-old has weak, wrinkled skin. But if you transfer the skin cell DNA to an egg, inseminate the egg, and turn it into a baby, that baby is just as young as all the other babies. So DNA damage can’t be the whole story.

Source: Book Review: Lifespan

WELL, GOOD: Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID P…

Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID Patients.

Source: WELL, GOOD: Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID P…

Not “drinking bleach”.

Also…

CNN’s Don Lemon Rails Against Misinformation About Covid – By Omitting Key Part of Trump Quote. “However, the clip was selectively shortened to exclude the full quote, which showed that Trump, contrary to popular misconception, did not tell people to inject themselves with bleach in response to Covid.”

Microbes in oceans and soils are evolving to eat PLASTIC 

Any molecule that has stored energy is going to represent a niche that bacteria can take advantage of.

Microbes in oceans and soils are evolving to eat PLASTIC Researchers in Sweden measured samples of DNA at hundreds of locations around the world, taken from both soil and water. They found 30,000 enzymes in these DNA samples that have the potential to degrade 10 different types of commonly used plastic, including the widely-used polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Microbes in oceans and soils are evolving to eat plastic, a new study reveals in a breakthrough that could help boost recycling of commercial packaging waste.

Researchers in Sweden measured samples of DNA at hundreds of locations around the world, taken from both soil and water.

They found 30,000 enzymes in these DNA samples that have the potential to degrade 10 different types of commonly used plastic, including the widely-used polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

What’s more, there appears to be a higher concentration of plastic-eating microbes where there is more plastic waste for them to break down.

It’s thought the soaring use of plastic for packaging over the last 70 years has given ‘sufficient evolutionary time’ for various microbes present in the environment to respond to these compounds.

Source: Microbes in oceans and soils are evolving to eat PLASTIC Researchers in Sweden measured samples of DNA at hundreds of l…

Mindless and Mortifying Covid Theater

There seems to be a deeply felt need to feel superior to someone. The coronapocalypse gives people someone to feel superior to — the great un-vaxxed.

(Don Boudreaux) I was prompted to write the note below – which I’ll send to managers of theaters, museums, concert halls, and other public venues – after attending an event at Strathmore, which requires proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks. To open the event, Strathmore’s (unmasked!) director, smiling broadly on stage, declared that “It’s wonderful to be here among the vaccinated!” I wanted to retch, for to my ears it’s as if he’d said “It’s wonderful to be here among the clean and away from the filthy untouchables.”

December 12, 2021

Manager of [Name of venue]

Sir or Madam:

To enter your premises, each of your patrons is required by you both to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 and at all times to wear a mask.

What’s the point of these requirements?

Vaccination is effective at preventing the vaccinated from suffering serious consequences from Covid. (And children naturally are at virtually no risk from Covid.) Therefore, those of your patrons who choose not to be vaccinated personally bear the costs of their choice without imposing any costs on those of your patrons who choose to be vaccinated. So your requirement of vaccination is pointless.

This conclusion would stand even if we were sure that vaccination appreciably lowers, or even eliminates, the likelihood of vaccinated persons spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus to other persons. But in fact we have no such assurance. Many prominent public-health researchers read the evidence as showing that being vaccinated against Covid does not prevent the vaccinated – at least not for any significant length of time – from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and spreading this virus to others. Even CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admits about the vaccines, after the emergence of the Delta variant, that “what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”

Requiring proof of vaccination would thus be pointless even if it were the case that recovery from Covid provided no natural immunity. But in fact the evidence is powerful that recovery from Covid provides significant natural immunity. Because nearly 50 million Americans have tested positive for Covid and recovered – and even apart from the considerations mentioned above – requiring all patrons to show proof of vaccination is, to put it mildly, excessive.

Similar questions apply to masks. Because vaccination is effective at protecting the vaccinated, why do you require each of your patrons to wear a mask? Again, those of your patrons who choose not to wear a mask – just like your patrons who choose not to be vaccinated – impose costs only on themselves and not on those of your patrons who choose differently.

I urge you, in the name of liberal civilization and the open society, to stop mindlessly giving credence to pronouncements from the likes of Anthony Fauci and other government officials who have a personal stake in stoking Covid hysteria for as long as they can. Please let your patrons enjoy what you have to offer without being accosted by pointless Covid restrictions or required to participate in dystopian hygiene theater.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics

 

Source: Mindless and Mortifying Covid Theater

Some Covid Links

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet Robby Soave details some of the incoherence of DC’s Covidocracy . A slice: It would be hard to argue that the mask mandate was what kept delta deaths at bay, since all those masks failed to prevent cases from increasing.

Cafe Hayek

Here are the age-stratified statistics of the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for the disease, recently compiled by John I. A. Ioannides, one of the most prestigious bio-statisticians in the world.

Continue reading “Some Covid Links”

New blood test detects cancers

Randy Cassingham gave a heads-up about this sort of technology on his page. Here’s some more of the same.

I may be looking into this, since having one form of cancer is no guarantee against developing another.

Fox Business:

Mayo Clinic developing blood test that can spot more than 50 types of cancer

Galleri, which is not covered by insurance, costs $949 and must be ordered by a licensed health care provider

Galleri looks for signals present in the blood stream that may be associated with cancer at the time of a blood draw.

The test uses next-generation sequencing and machine-learning algorithms to analyze methylation patterns of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the bloodstream, which can carry cancer-specific information. DNA methylation is a process used by cells to regulate gene expression. If a cancer signal is detected, Galleri will pinpoint where in the body the cancer is coming from to help health care providers determine the appropriate next steps for patient treatment.

Source: New blood test detects cancers

Early Covid Care

Here at earlycovidcare.org you can learn about the history, safety and current usage of effective drug treatments for COVID-19, and find doctors who are available either in person or by telemedicine to provide expert early outpatient treatment for COVID patients. Just scroll down to review the evidence in support of COVID treatments, find guidance for clinicians, or see the latest from the Early COVID Care Experts.

Early Covid Care Experts

Under the Mike Rowe Scope: Vaccine Skeptics

I have not publicly encouraged anyone to get vaccinated. In fact, I have recently declined to participate in several PSA’s designed to persuade people to get the jab. That’s not because I’m opposed to vaccines, obviously. Vaccines have saved more lives than any other advancement in the long history of medicine, and to your point, I got the shots the minute I was eligible. But I’m not a doctor, Steve, and even though I occasionally play one on TV, I’m not inclined to dispense medical advice to the people on this page.

Mike Rowe: Blogs and articles

True, I did appear in a few PSA’s early on, back when they assured us that locking down was essential to keeping our hospitals from being overrun. “Two weeks to flatten the curve!” Remember that one? That of course, turned out to be untrue, and I regret my role in helping perpetuate that particular falsehood. I also regret what I said during the first Zoom show to air in primetime. It was an episode of After the Catch, where I discussed the lockdowns with a few crab-boat captains. At one point, I looked into the camera lens on my computer and said, with uncharacteristic earnestness, “For the first time in a long time, it appears we’re all in the same boat.”

Continue reading “Under the Mike Rowe Scope: Vaccine Skeptics”

Double Immunotherapy

A new cancer treatment can wipe out tumours in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients, scientists have discovered.

In a landmark trial, a cocktail of immunotherapy medications harnessed patients’ immune systems to kill their own cancer cells and prompted “a positive trend in survival”, according to researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and the Royal Marsden NHS foundation trust.

One patient, who was expected to die four years ago, told the Guardian of the “amazing” moment nurses called him weeks after he joined the study to say his tumour had “completely disappeared”. The 77-year-old grandfather is now cancer-free and spent last week on a cruise with his wife.

Scientists found the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab medications led to a reduction in the size of tumours in terminally ill head and neck cancer patients. In some, their cancer vanished altogether, with doctors stunned to find no detectable sign of disease.

We’re seeing lots of multiple drug combinations in myeloma. I haven’t heard of multiple antibody treatments yet.

I saw an article a few years ago about Israeli research into “Multiple Targeted Toxins” or “MuTaTo”. The article said the treatment might be able to cure cancer after a three month treatment session. If so, I’d love to see it. And the name sounds like a Marvel supervillain…

Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid

In the 1980s, Fauci and Redfield sowed fear about a heterosexual epidemic that never happened.

Source: Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid

‘Follow the science,” we’ve been told throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. But if we had paid attention to history, we would have known that once a disease becomes newsworthy, science gets distorted by researchers, journalists, activists and politicians eager for attention and power—and determined to silence those who challenge their fear-mongering.

When AIDS spread among gay men and intravenous drug users four decades ago, it became conventional wisdom that the plague would soon devastate the rest of the American population. In 1987, Oprah Winfrey opened her show by announcing, “Research studies now project that 1 in 5—listen to me, hard to believe—1 in 5 heterosexuals could be dead of AIDS in the next three years.” The prediction was outlandishly wrong, but she wasn’t wrong in attributing the scare to scientists.

One early alarmist was Anthony Fauci, who made national news in 1983 with an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association warning that AIDS could infect even children because of “the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease.” After criticism that he had inspired a wave of hysterical homophobia, Dr. Fauci (who in 1984 began his current job, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), promptly pivoted 180 degrees, declaring less than two months after his piece appeared that it was “absolutely preposterous” to suggest AIDS could be spread by normal social contact. But other supposed experts went on warning erroneously that AIDS could spread widely via toilet seats, mosquito bites and kissing.

Continue reading “Unlearned AIDS Lessons for Covid”