Extending the lifespan: problems and questions

P C Knox pck at castle.ed.ac.uk
Tue Apr 28 03:25:32 EST 1992

wcalvin at hardy.u.washington.edu (William Calvin) writes:


>IQ has a lot to do with the speed of processing, and the number of things
>that you can "hold in mind" simultaneously (as in doing an
>analogouis-reasining task, or digit span, etc.).  I doubt that either is
>greatly affected by the sorts of 10-20% losses of synapses in adulthood
>that we're probably talking about.  Now if the losses from puberty to age
>70 reached 80%, as they do in some subcortical regions (substantia nigra),
>then you'd probably see trouble.  That's what we might get into, with a
>130 year life span.
>   W. H. Calvin

In fact it was suggested at the recent meeting of the Brain Research
Association (UK) that if we were to live to 130 (and all else remained
equal) that given the normal rate of loss of Dopaminergic cells and
development of plaques and neurofibular tangles we would all suffer both
Parkinson's and Altzheimer's. At age 70 these conditions are not
present, but the begginings of them in the cortex or basal nuclei
clearly are. Only where these processes are speeded up (for genetic,
environmental or some other cause) do these deseases manifiest
themsevles within the normal lifespan.

Paul C. Knox

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