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The secret to living past 100? Lots of sex. Also, rosemary.
1 in 10 people in Acciaroli, Italy are over 100 years old. Their secret to longevity? Their biology, diet, and the high-levels of friskiness among the elderly.
Acciaroli is a quaint little town in south-west Italy. Tucked into the Cilento coast 85 miles south of Naples, its winding cobblestone roads, small stone houses, and friendly locals could have been plucked straight from the movie Chocolat. Acciaroli has one major difference to its idyllic French counterpart; more than 1 in 10 of its residents is over 100 years old.
Researchers from Rome's Sapineza University and the University of California San Diego spent six months studying Acciaroli's 700 residents. They discovered that those residents have “unusually good blood circulation for their age," The Independent reports. The 100-year-old residents had circulation similar to Americans in their 20s and 30s. The key element aiding that circulation was low levels of adrenomedullin, a hormone that widens blood vessels. Adrenomedullin builds up over time and causes blood vessels to contract, which often leads to vascular problems like cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death for men and women over 65, according to the American Heart Association. Acciaroli's residents are safe from those issues, because they have adrenomedullin “in a much reduced quantity… and [it] seems to act as a powerful protecting factor, helping the optimal development of microcirculation, or capillary circulation," The Independent reports.
100-year-old Antonio Vassallo and his wife Amina Fedollo, 93, pose in their house in Acciaroli, southern Italy. The town has a disproportionately high number of centenarians in its population of about 2,000, and is renowned for its low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer's. A study attempted to find out why 300 people there have hit the 100 mark. (Photo: MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Acciaroli residents were able to keep their adrenomedullin levels low due to a number of factors. They ate locally sourced fish, rabbit, and chicken. They also ate home-grown vegetables, and olive oil. All of those foods are staples of the Mediterranean diet, which has numerous health benefits including reducing cardiovascular disease. The locals also eat rosemary, which the researchers found to help improve brain function. “When we tested it, we found a dozen different compounds in there," said UC San Diego cardiologist Dr Alan Maisel to The Telegraph. “Scientific studies have shown that acids [in rosemary] help the function of the brain." That diet does seem to lead to increased health and longevity. Psychiatrist Drew Ramsay told us why here:
There is one other thing helping the residents of Acciaroli live to 100: sex. Lots and lots of it. “Sexual activity among the elderly appears to be rampant," Dr Maisel told The Telegraph. “Maybe living long has something to do with that. It's probably the good air and the joie de vivre." Research out of Wilkes University in Pennsylvania backs that up, according to WebMD: it found that people who have sex have higher levels of antibodies that defend against germs and viruses than people who don't. Regular sexual activity also lowers blood pressure. “One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically (not masturbation) lowered systolic blood pressure," Dr. Joseph J. Pinzone CEO of Amai Wellness told WebMD.
“This project will not only help to unlock some of the secrets of healthy aging, but will build closer ties with researchers across the globe, which will lead to more science and improved clinical care in our aging population," said Salvatore DiSomma, MD, lead Italian investigator and professor of emergency medicine at University of Rome La Sapienza in a statement. While all of those results still need to be replicated before becoming gospel, they do follow general longevity guidelines. So take heart, eat more foods that reduce the effects of cardiovascular disease, and have more sex. It's all good for you.
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.
- Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
- Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
- One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.