Monday, 29 December 2014

I recently discovered the blog of a life extension activist, Maria Konovalenko, that has lots of cool media, plans, and links to others in the community. She is, for instance, affiliated with the (Russian) Science for Life Extension foundation, and she also cofounded Labcures, a site for crowdfunding individual scientific experiments.

Below is a series of posters that she commissioned to show the possible paths to immortality.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

This open letter by the folks at the Brain Preservation Foundation was quite stirring, and pretty succinctly described why preserving dying people is beneficial,  and feasible with current technology.

As an aside, I learned from the letter that there are surgical procedures that stop all brain and circulatory activity in a patient and yet the patient can recover with their memories intact. This suggests that what makes us us can be preserved by a structural copy of the brain.

We choose brain preservation over natural decay because we accept the current scientific consensus that our unique conscious self is generated by processes within our physical brain. Further, we accept that all the memories, skills, and personality traits that make us unique are hardwired into the physical and molecular connections among our brain’s hundred billion neurons. Such a structural basis of memory and personality is demonstrated by the fact that surgical patients are often put into a state of Profound Hypothermia and Circulatory Arrest (PHCA) in which all patterned brain activity is halted for up to a full hour, yet these patients revive with memory and personality completely intact. The structural basis of memory and personality – the synaptic connectivity between neurons – can be preserved essentially perfectly by today’s chemical fixation and plastic embedding techniques. Extrapolating from current technologies for the nano‐imaging of plastic embedded brain tissue, we believe that one day science will have advanced sufficiently to allow complete retrieval of memories from such a preserved brain. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

I just ran into this 15-minute documentary that I think does a good job describing the motivation for pursuing anti-aging research. It is also wonderful to see how many established research institutions are working on the problem.