Longevity-Digest

Brian C. Rowley BRowley at alumni.ubc.ca
Thu Jan 16 06:40:07 EST 1997


LONGEVITY-DIGEST
 I would like to announce the existence of Longevity-Digest, 
an E-mail group devoted to the science of aging; there are currently
353 subscribers. I am Brian Rowley (BS, MS), owner and moderator.

SUBSCRIBING AND UNSUBSCRIBING
        To subscribe, send E-mail to LISTSERV at VM.EGE.EDU.TR that
reads:
subscribe longevity-digest firstname lastname

        Write your full name where it says "firstname lastname". To
unsubscribe, send E-mail to LISTSERV at VM.EGE.EDU.TR that reads: signoff
longevity-digest

        If subscription with LISTSERV is unsuccessful, write to me at
browley at alumni.ubc.ca, giving your full name or an alias.

MISSION
        Longevity-Digest is designed to bring together scientists and
laypersons interested in diverse aspects of longevity science. Some
will be molecular biologists, some endocrinologists, some life
extensionists, some pharmacologists, some demographers...

        The subject matter of this list is of great importance. Aging
is the most important risk factor for almost all causes of death.
Right now, medical science is trying to prolong healthy life chiefly
by attacking disease directly. But at some point in life this approach
serves only to prolong morbidity. We are unlikely to get beyond a life
expectancy of 85 or so unless we treat the aging process itself
(Olshansky, Carnes & Cassel 1990). Furthermore, even without any life
expectation gain, the benefits of preserving a youthful physiology are
incalculable.

 There is some reason for hope that effective treatments for aging
 will
be found in our lifetime. For example, there are studies of
shorter-lived species that document successful interventions in the
aging process: (1) caloric restriction with ample micronutrients
prolongs the life span of long-lived rodents (those already resistant
to the diseases of aging) and a phylogenetically diverse array of
other species (e.g., rotifers, daphnia, spiders, fish....), by up to
50% (Weindruch & Walford 1988). (2) the clonal life span of paramecia
can be increased 33% by consecutive treatments of damaging (nucleotide
fusing) UV and undamaging (nucleotide splitting) UV. Damaging and
undamaging the DNA is hypothesized to trick cells into mobilizing a
reserve DNA repair capacity that can reverse age-accumulated damage
(Smith-Sonneborn 1979). Such a reserve is probably enormous--how else
to explain the complete reversal of senescence routinely seen in
paramecia after fission and reconjugation; the same rejuvenation
occurs each time a sperm combines with an egg, otherwise each new
generation would be "older" than the last. (3) Liu & Walford (1975)
have found that lowering the body temperature of C. bellottii fish
from 20 to 15 degrees Celsius adds over 80% to the life span. Complex
metabolic changes, not simply a =F4lowered metabolism=F6, seem implicated.
(4) Combinations of daf-2 and daf-12 mutant alleles nearly quadruple
the adult life span of C. elegans nematodes (Larsen, Albert & Riddle
1995). As a result of these successes, it would be premature to
conclude that nothing will ever be done about aging, and it is
certainly true that underlying mechanisms of aging can be studied in a
laboratory setting.

 Less mainstream researchers (e.g., life extensionists and
 cryonicists)
are welcome along with more traditional scientists--in my view, good
research is defined not only by tidy puzzle-solving and the amount of
accumulated evidence, but also by potential application and importance
to people's lives. As a result, scientists from both traditional and
non-traditional areas are welcome.

POSTING
        To post a message to Longevity-Digest, send E-mail to
Longevity-Digest at vm.ege.edu.tr. It is recommended that you subscribe
first.

ACTIVITIES
        Each week, Longevity-Digest invites one or more "guest
speakers" from various fields related to longevity to post a few
paragraphs describing their work, or giving information, opinions or
ideas. In fact, anyone can be a "guest speaker" simply by sending a
post and initiating a thread. Replies to "guest speaker" posts, if
numerous, are collected and amalgamated into an E-mail digest (all
authorships acknowledged), which is then distributed to subscribers
via E-mail. The "guest speaker" is given a copy of the digest, and can
reply to the replies.

        Exchanges on Longevity-Digest are less rapid-fire than on
newsgroups, as posting can take from hours to days. However, junk is
eliminated (see rules of moderation). The Longevity-Digest is also
prepared to carry out subscribership polls on certain issues that
wouldn't be possible with any other format, depending on subscriber
interest.

RULES OF MODERATION
        "Spams" (advertisements), "flames" (personal attacks), swear
words, vapid musings, unaddressable complaints, conspiracy theories,
excessive verbiage, redundancies, rants and gibberish will not be
posted. These rules allow much flexibility, while giving posters
freedom from junk mail and abuse.

        I also make 3 posting suggestions:

        (1) Strong claims should come with a description of the
supporting evidence.

        (2) Opinions, speculation and theorizing should be presented
as such; start sentences with "I think..." or "My hypothesis is...".

        (3) Anecdotes can be given, but should not be asserted as
proof.

        Let me extend my warmest greetings to you. I am looking
forward to making your acquaintance on Longevity-Digest, and I
anticipate many exciting discussions :->

                                        -Brian Rowley

REFERENCES
Olshansky, SJ, Carnes, BA and Cassel, C. In search of Methuselah:
estimating the upper limits to human longevity. Science 250:634-640,
1990.

Weindruch, R and Walford, RL. The Retardation of Aging and Disease by
Dietary Restriction. Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas,
publisher, 1988 pp. 31-72. 

Smith-Sonneborn, J. DNA repair and longevity assurance in Paramecium
tetraurelia. Science 203:1115-1117, 1979.

Liu, RK and Walford, RL. The effect of lowered body temperature on
lifespan and immune and non-immune processes. Gerontologia 18:363-388,
1972.

Larsen, PL, Albert, PS and Riddle, DL. Genes that regulate both
development and longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics
139(4):1567-1583, 1995.






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