Scientists edited mice brains so that they live longer — and humans could be next

  • In the future, scientists may edit our brains to help us live longer.
  • Researchers managed to successfully manipulate the lifespan of mice by adjusting their brain’s supply of hypothalamic neural stem cells, which they thought might regulate aging.
  • These neural stem cells create replacements for dead or damaged cells, but for mice, they begin vanishing around 10 months after birth — which is a typical mouse’s middle age, believe it or not. By the time mice turn the elderly age of 2, the stem cells are often nowhere to be found.
  • “By replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it’s possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of aging throughout the body,” Dongsheng Cai, a molecular pharmacologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a release. Read more (7/27/17)

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Things They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up:
  • Root Beer will stop tasting good at about age 25.
  • Your metabolism will change, allowing you to hurl fireballs like Mario. 
  • Your teeth will begin to have parties. Do not stifle your teeth’s social lives, this can result in gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • You will cease to be viewable in old video tapes. This disappearance is normal and does not mean you yourself will cease to be.
  • You will begin to grow hair in strange places, such as the garage, your local Jiffy Lube, and Cuba. Use Miracle Grow for best results.
  • You will finally understand why people like Richard Chamberlin TV shows. Except “The Thornbirds,” nobody understands the appeal of that show.
  • Flintstones Vitamins will cease to work. You must take adult multivitamins or your dick will fall off. If you do not have a dick, one will be provided for you by the FDA or your local pharmacy.

“This issue is the long-awaited, utterly necessary celebration of growing into your own skin — wrinkles and all. No one is suggesting giving up retinol. But changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging.

With that in mind, and starting with this issue, we are making a resolution to stop using the term “anti-aging.” Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle — think antianxiety meds, antivirus software, or antifungal spray.

Language matters. When talking about a woman over, say, 40, people tend to add qualifiers: “She looks great…for her age” or “She’s beautiful…for an older woman.” Catch yourself next time and consider what would happen if you just said, “She looks great.” Yes, Americans put youth on a pedestal. But let’s agree that appreciating the dewy rosiness of youth doesn’t mean we become suddenly hideous as years go by.”

Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief of Allure Magazine

Alright now, Allure! I see you! Teen Vogue can’t have all the good progressive karma. Y'all can have a cookie today too.

Diet and beauty culture thrive on guilt. Guilt over that delicious dessert. Guilt over that dress size. Guilt over those wrinkles. They teach you guilt and then they sell you the solution. Please, never feel guilty for existing. You are allowed to eat. You are allowed to take up space. You are allowed to age. You are allowed to exist in the body you have right now without spending all of your time, money and self worth to change it.
—  Megan Crabbe, Bodyposipanda

Helen was 82. She’d survived both breast cancer and outlived her husband.

One summer day she began bleeding from her colon and was admitted to the hospital. We assumed the worst — another cancer. But after she endured a series of scans and being poked with scopes, we figured out that she had an abnormal jumble of blood vessels called an arteriovenous malformation in the wall of her colon.

The finding surprised us, but the solution was clear: Surgery to remove that part of her colon should stop the bleeding once and for all. The operation went well. But afterward Helen’s lungs filled with fluid from congestive heart failure. Then she caught pneumonia and had to be put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

Her medical problems and our treatments had simply stressed her aging organs beyond their capability.

Why Immortality Is Overrated

Illustration: Isabel Seliger for NPR

Aging Jedi

As most athletes will tell you, lots of high impact activity (running, contact sports, gymnastics) can break your body down fast.  Stress fractures, pulled muscles, broken bones, etc.  It all adds up. 

And yes, medical care in the GFFA is probably better than here on earth.  And yes, the Jedi can probably use the Force to help with the feeling of tight muscles, and your joints aching, and all that.

Still.  You can’t tell me that after a life time of training in lightsaber combat, plus all the training they probably need to do to have the muscles to fight for long periods of time, plus all the running and jumping Jedi do, that Jedi don’t have problems with joint pain as they get older.

Some are probably lucky enough they don’t, but I’m willing to bet that a lot do.  They can push it off into the Force, and advanced medicine and Force healing probably means it takes longer than it does for most Earth humans (mid thirties for lots of athletes, at the latest).

But I’m willing to bet that by their forties at the latest, a lot of human Jedi start to feel a bit… creaky… when they’re not relying on the Force.  Knees and ankles complaining at a jump they could make without pain just a year before, having to ice down an elbow after teaching the new Padawan a certain block, things like that.  Human bodies, at least, just start to break down after a while.

This was not at all inspired by the fact that my knee is protesting a simple two mile run, one I’ve done many times before.  Absolutely not inspired by it.

Becoming an adult is more of an elusive, sort of abstract concept than I’d thought when I was younger. I just assumed you’d get to a certain age and everything would make sense. Bless my young little heart, I had no idea!
At 28, I can say that sometimes I feel like an adult and a lot of the time, I don’t. Being a Millennial and trying to adult is wildly disorienting. I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to start a non-profit, get another degree, develop a wildly profitable entrepreneurial venture, or somehow travel the world and make it look effortless online. Mostly it just looks like taking a job that won’t ever pay off my student debt in a field that is not the one that I studied. Then, if I hold myself to the traditional ideal of what it means to be an adult, I’m also not nailing it. I am unmarried, and not settled into a long term, financially stable career. Recognizing that I’m holding myself to an unrealistic standard considering the economic climate and the fact that dating as a Millennial is exhausting, it’s unfair to judge myself, but I confess I fall into the trap of comparison often enough. Sometimes because I simply desire those things for myself, and sometimes because Instagram.
My ducks are not in a row, they are wandering.
—  Maria Eleusiniotis

Turning 50 Means Finally Accepting That You’ll Probably Never Be Activated As An Unstoppable Rogue Agent

This year, I turned 50 years old. As I celebrated with friends, family, and my incredible children, I found myself reflecting on my past and considering my future, the choices I’d made and the roads not taken. And in closing that chapter of my life, I realized something important: Turning 50 means finally accepting that you’ll probably never be activated as an unstoppable rogue agent.

And you know what? That’s okay.

As a young man entering adulthood, I remember feeling like my potential was infinite. Would I be attacked at my stifling day job by masked men and somehow take them all out with just a staple gun? Black out watching TV and snap back into consciousness to find myself sprinting across the top of a bullet train? Would I pick up the phone one day, hear a voice rasp “Virgo Rising,” and suddenly remember all 71 of my confirmed kills as an asset of the Erebus Foundation? It seemed like a matter of time before the world would take note of my talents and give me my due, or send the very protégé I’d trained to liquidate me once and for all.

But growing older meant facing reality, bit by bit trading the lives I’d imagined for the life I was actually living. Every time I checked my balance at an ATM without a conditioning-activating trigger word flashing across the screen was a reminder that ambition had its limits. Every time I was mugged without me effortlessly snapping the thief’s wrist with reflexes I never knew I had, I had to acknowledge that it probably wouldn’t happen the next time, either. And as my body got stiffer and my mind more stubborn, the prospect of discovering a cache of fake passports and experimental handguns behind a false panel in my freezer began to seem, more than anything, like a hassle.

As time goes on, though, you come to realize that living the life you’ve built is more than a fair trade for never putting a bullet between the eyes of the Russian scientist who made you a living weapon. It turns out those youthful fantasies of fame, glory, and an entire control room realizing they’ve tracked your signal to their own building just can’t compare to the joy of your daughter’s laughter, or the satisfaction of a hard-won promotion. And while I may never kiss the only woman who claims to know everything they took from me, our knives at each other’s throats, I still get to wake up every morning next to my wife of 25 years, who is just as beautiful as the day I met her.

I’ve made a lot of memories in my 50 years, and while they may not have huge, unaccountable gaps triggered by a Frank Sinatra song, they’re mine, and I cherish them. Of course, I’ve considered the possibility that my whole easygoing-family-man identity is an implanted persona with false memories, a reward for years of bloody loyalty to the Ghost State. But until a council member attempts a coup and sends a Seraph squad of my own clones after me to clean up loose ends, what difference does it really make?

Now that I’ve made peace with my first 50 years, I can look forward to the next 50 without bitterness over never waking up speaking Mandarin or writing in Cyrillic without even realizing it. I’m sure life’s still got surprises up its sleeve for me, and even if my hidden past never destroys my hope for a future, I can’t wait to see what they are.

5

A demographic crisis looms over Maine, the oldest and whitest state in the U.S. with one of the country’s lowest birth rates.

Employers are already feeling the effects on Maine’s workforce as they struggle to fill positions with “old Mainers” — long-time residents in a state where many take pride in their deep family roots, especially along the shores of Washington County.

Here in the rugged, eastern edges of the U.S., dotted with evergreens and wood-shingled houses, many make a living from the waters of Down East Maine, including Annie Sokoloski, an office manager in Steuben, Maine, for Lobster Trap, a wholesale lobster dealer. Working in seafood goes back generations in her family.

“My grandmother forced me to go into the fish factory and pack sardines,” says Sokoloski, who recalls working as a sardine packer while on break from school. “She told me anytime that I thought about not having an education I needed to remember that day.”

These days, Sokoloski says she still remembers other lessons: “You need to get away from here to make anything for yourself” she remembers her grandparents telling her when she was growing up.

Maine’s Immigrants Boost Workforce Of Whitest, Oldest State In U.S.

Photos: Hansi Lo Wang/NPR