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Medicine Science

Key Gene Found Responsible For Accelerated Aging and Cancer 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the giant-book-that's-hidden-inside-you dept.
First time accepted submitter gbrennan123 writes "Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have identified a single gene that simultaneously controls inflammation, accelerated aging and cancer. From the article: '"This was certainly an unexpected finding," said principal investigator Robert J. Schneider, PhD, the Albert Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis, associate director for translational research and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. "It is rather uncommon for one gene to have two very different and very significant functions that tie together control of aging and inflammation. The two, if not regulated properly, can eventually lead to cancer development. It's an exciting scientific find."'"
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Key Gene Found Responsible For Accelerated Aging and Cancer

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  • "To Live Forever" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bdwoolman (561635) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @09:34PM (#40131629) Homepage
    Jack Vance explored some of the social implications of selective immortality in his weird murder mystery. To Live Forever [wikipedia.org] As I read about possible life extension breakthroughs in the news and contemplate the implications -- we really do seem to be getting somewhere -- I often catch myself thinking about this insightful lesser known work of the reclusive and gifted Mr. Vance.
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:50PM (#40132289)

    Letting nature control population means relying on one or more of nature's methods. These are also known as War, Famine, Pestilence and Death. Human choices of control are preferrable if they beat nature's. By beat, we could be talking about "less wasteful", "kinder", or somehow "ethically fairer", and the exact conclusion will vary depending on which we emphasize. In fact, we could be trying to balance many such goals. You may be arguing from some definition of "ethically fairer", "less wasteful", "less arbitrary", or some other standard. So if you really want somebody to tell you what's faulty about your proposal, until you can explain what you are trying to accomplish better than by just letting nature take its course you don't really have any logic behind your claim to refute. Without that understanding, your proposal is an emotional argument disguised as a reasoned conclusion.
                Knocking out aging actually has relatively little effect on population growth in some ways, for example women still stop having fertile eggs at menopause even if they typically live much longer. How many of those opportunities to fertilize an egg actually get used has a direct effect on population that is really larger than any possible additional lifespan.
              (Yes, try the math. Increase the lifespan to a blisteringly worst case full 800 years, which would be about the average if we assume nobody dies of anything except violent accidents and deliberates such as being struck by a bus or shot in a war, and add some additional worst case for population assumptions such as that most of the people who kill themselves either do it early or wouldn't do it at all if they had their health. Assume ALL fatal diseases are cureable, and all people enjoy a biological age of about 25 for as long as they live, but women still stop being fertile about 45 to 50. Now instead assume current longevity prevails, but take the worldwide reproductive rate back up to about 4.2 children per generation, add that we can somehow feed all those kids for a few generations and so the rate can (temporarily, from a long enough perspective) stay that high, and now guess which group eventually gets bigger than the other way.).
              By the way, surgical sterilization is seldom reversable. The usual effect is that closing off the tubes (for either gender) triggers internal scarring and often within a couple of years an autoimmune reaction sets in which causes the eggs to become infertile or the sperm to not fully form. The odds of a pregnancy resulting from a successful reversal are as low as 20% for the most common methods of female sterilization, although there is a procedure involving simply banding the tubes with clips or rings and doing no cutting and this gives odds as high as 70%. Male sterilization reversal has slightly better odds than that, but this assumes the surgeon did the original procedure with an eye towards eventual reversal, the reversal can include more than a simple reconnection but be followed as necessary with a complete epididymal repair (with a doctor who can determine on the fly which of three different procedures should be used after he or she actually gets in there) and the auto immune reation didn't happen. We're talking about a great success rate if you have one of a few dozen extremely skilled doctors who can do that work, but those guys are a bit like heart transplant surgeons - they don't grow on trees, and they don't come cheap. If you pay a doctor public clinic wages to bulk sterilize poor people, he or she won't be a doctor with that sort of success rate on reversals. You're making something sound simple and reliable which is actually pretty much experimental rocket science, and nobody should get sterilized with the idea that it can reliably be fixed if they change their mind or circumstances..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @01:19AM (#40132759)

    Let's not forget the most likely cause of future reduction in America's middle-class (and above) birth rates: thirtysomething men who happily occupy their rent-free wing of Mom & Dad's McMansion, and have relatively high-paying jobs that finance cool toys, nice cars, a half-dozen vacations, and casual sex with college-age girls roughly 2/3 their age (shamelessly outspending their frustrated, mostly celibate college-age male peers) and have zero interest in dating girls their own age, because those girls all seem to be obsessed with marriage and having kids -- something they have zero interest in. Their college-age fsckbuddies view pregnancy as a major social disaster, use birth control, and run to their local abortion clinic at the slightest hint of pregnancy.

    Thirtysomething women, meanwhile, increasingly find themselves forced to choose between having a child by artificial insemination (and rendering themselves un-dateable and likely to be single until their kid(s) are in college) and rolling the dice with a first pregnancy in their 40s by holding out hope that maybe some guy in his late 40s or 50s will finally grow up and decide he wants to be a dad... and that he really, truly DOES want to get married -- now -- and have kids, and isn't just losing his ability to score with 20something college girls & settling for "Plan B".

    It's already happening, but the trend is clear -- given the chance, men can (and will) defer marriage (and parenthood) as long as they possibly can, and are perfectly happy extending adolescence into their 30s and beyond. Women, meanwhile, are running against a fairly fixed deadline that might be a tiny bit negotiable, but will ultimately arrive LONG before men their age who feel zero pressure to cooperate will feel the same way. Parents who are tolerant and smart recognize that grandkids are nice (in theory), but having their son around well into adulthood is potentially more useful. It might not be a strategy Evolution would smile upon, but from the rational viewpoint of two self-interested parents, it's not a bad idea.

    It's actually not hard to see a future where a large plurality of kids in school have a lesbian couple as parents (because they'd be one of the only groups left that still tended to be married and having kids in their early 30s), and a slightly larger group of heterosexual women who form households, have kids via artificial insemination, and eventually engage in "reverse polygamy" -- finding one of the few men of their age, educational background, and social class who actually DOES want to get married and have kids, and marrying him together. And of course, the remainder of kids, with mothers who won't be twice their age until they're in high school.

    And the guys who didn't marry into a reverse-polygamous household and eventually get to be too old to pick up college girls, regardless of how much money they have? They eventually end up dating women their age, after those women's kids are in college (or beyond).

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