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The End of Aging? Soon It Might Be a Prescription Away
They are calling him the Elon Musk of biology. But will we see an end to aging soon?
Since time immemorial, humans have tried to halt the aging process. Various avenues have been explored. The Elixir of Life was thought to be a formula for immortality, sought by alchemists throughout the Middle Ages. In the early 16th century, a Hungarian countess took part in a macabre method. Elizabeth Báthory was said to bathe in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth and beauty, which helped inspire a young Irish author, with a thirst for vampire legends, a few centuries later. Famous explorer Ponce de León attempted a less horrifying pathway. Spring break enthusiasts and Disney fans can thank him. But he did little to halt time’s roughshod march over our biology.
Though we have added decades to the human lifespan through medical science, we have done little to reverse the process of aging itself, other than surface, cosmetic procedures. Now, billionaire engineer and biotech CEO Osman Kibar has a new root to the fountain of youth, through genetics. As a result, his San Diego-based Samumed is the most highly valued startup in the world. The company’s name comes from the Zen term samu. This means meditating through normal daily tasks, like dressing or brushing your teeth. The company is no slouch in the fundraising department. It is currently worth $6 billion, a figure is projected to double. The reason? Samumed is developing the first family of medicines to go after specific organs and systems and rejuvenate them, as if they were young, healthy tissue again.
One medication is claimed to reverse baldness and regrow hair. Another brings back color to gray or white hair. A third smoothes away wrinkles. Another drug aims at regenerating lost cartilage, thereby overcoming osteoarthritis. Others look to reverse disc degeneration in the spine, treat cancer, and remove scarring from the lungs. Further plans include ending Alzheimer’s and the most common cause of blindness, macular degeneration. Samumed’s method is to tackle one age-related illness at a time, and in this way overcome aging in total. Kibar wants to reach the point where the very cells of those of advanced age regenerate and grow as quickly as those in a developing fetus.
John Hood is Samumed’s chief scientific officer. Hood made a name for himself at Targegen with a groundbreaking cancer drug. Hood has a specific method he uses for developing new drugs. He believes others in the pharmaceutical industry cut too many corners. Instead of outsourcing crucial aspects such as new drug fabrication and animal testing, Hood does everything in-house.
The main focus on age-reversing medicines, no matter what aforementioned condition, is through a gene called Wnt. This controls several other genes. Wnt is an acronym which stands for “wingless integration site.” That’s because if this gene is turned off in fruit flies, they will fail to develop wings. The master gene and those it supervises are known together as the Wnt pathway. This gene controls all the processes involved in fetal development, from fruit flies all the way up to humans. By activating certain genes under Wnt’s control, a regeneration of cells begins, making old skin new again, for instance. Previously, researchers have found that certain cancers can shut off Wnt, stopping it from reining in the tumor’s growth. By overcoming the inhibition process, researchers may be able to halt a tumor’s development.
Researchers have been trying to develop drugs based on Wnt since the 1970's. The problem is, cells become very different as time goes on from when they were first in the fetal state. Hood decided to look at the gene through the lens of colorectal cancer cells which expressed Wnt. He compared them to healthy colon cells that did not express it. After almost three years, Hood discovered something. But what he found remains a mystery, since Samumed considers it proprietary. Discoveries surrounding genes aren’t patentable, according to a 2013 Supreme Court decision. So no patent application can be scoured for clues.
Hood and Kibar may have found the holy grail of medicine, a way to affect disease without harming healthy tissue. Though many things are still unknown, Samumed has displayed its treatment for baldness. It used mini-pigs and mice, removing their hair and then applying the treatment, to have it grow back again. Arthritis experiments have also yielded success in animal subjects. Here, scientists removed ligaments in the knees of rats, essentially destroying the cartilage there. Currently, there is no way to regrow cartilage, since blood supply does not pass through it. But one of Samumed’s medications was able to restore the missing cartilage. The rats were shown to walk normally again. Even so, animal studies do not necessarily prove these drugs will have the same effect on humans.
A human study found that Samumed’s anti-baldness drug helped prevent hair loss by 9.6%. But it did not show any significant hair regrowth. A large study on the company’s anti-arthritis drug however, did show substantial cartilage regeneration. 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis today. Such a drug would change the calculus on that condition entirely. Still, the data available on these drugs remains preliminary. More studies have to be conducted to see whether or not Samumed has made significant progress to mirror its auspicious claims. If even one of these drugs is proven to work however, the others are likely to work too.
See Osman Kibar speak for himself here:
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.