Friday, January 26, 2007

SENS

SENS stands for
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence
scientific initiative

See also:
What is Aging? Anti-Aging Is Immortality Possible?


To Read comments on this topic and post your own thoughts, click here


Greetings,

Recently Steve Connor, the science editor of 'The Independent' has published an interesting review of a new popular book "How to Live Forever or Die Trying", by Bryan Appleyard.

The review is critical, which is understandable for evaluations of a popular book, but I am struck by the following comment about the life-extension researcher, Dr. Aubrey de Grey:



"... de Grey's belief in immortality - or "strategies for engineered negligible senescence" - are something of a laughing-stock among mainstream gerontologists"

Well, all you need to do is just to take a look at this scientific book below, which contains research publications by over a hundred of mainstream gerontologists, with Dr. Aubrey de Grey being a Scientific Editor (!):

Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence:
Why Genuine Control of Aging May Be Foreseeable
(Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)




Obviously, the "strategies for engineered negligible senescence" (SENS) are not a laughing-stock any longer among mainstream gerontologists, and many of them do participate in this scientific initiative.

Also read the relevant consensus letter "Antiaging Technology and Pseudoscience" signed by seven experts and published in Science, which acknowledges the legitimacy of anti-aging studies and cites the list of these anti-aging scientific publications. Please note that the first author of this published consensus letter is Dr. Aubrey de Grey.
This Science letter was later cited in a prestigious 2003 Macmillan Encyclopedia of Population, USA with a comment: "...the possibility should not be excluded that current intensive biomedical anti-aging studies may help to extend the healthy and productive period of human life in the future (de Grey et al., 2002)."

My personal attitude to the SENS scientific initiative could be best characterized with a quote by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950):


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;

the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself."

"Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."



See also: New Books Discussing SENS


Disclaimer for a potential conflict of interest
We have published three articles in this SENS book, so we do know what we are talking about:


Gavrilov LA, Gavrilova NS. Early-Life Programming of Aging and Longevity: The Idea of High Initial Damage Load (the HIDL Hypothesis). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004, 1019: 496-501.

Gavrilova NS, Gavrilov LA, Semyonova VG, Evdokushkina GN. Does Exceptional Human Longevity Come With High Cost of Infertility? Testing the Evolutionary Theories of Aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004, 1019: 513-517.

Gavrilov LA, Gavrilova NS. The Reliability-Engineering Approach to the Problem of Biological Aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004,
1019: 509-512.

Also I have to admit that I am one of seven coauthors of the above mentioned consensus letter "Antiaging Technology and Pseudoscience" published in Science.

See also:
What is Aging? Theories of Aging Anti-Aging Population Aging


Read further comments, and post your own thoughts here

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Stephen R. Spindler, Ph.D. said...

There is quite a lot of superheated rhetoric being posted about SENS. SENS is undeniably highly optimistic and may or may not be realistic. Many think it too optimistic, and worry that it will hurt the science of gerontology.

But, Aubrey has already raised more than one million dollars for gerontological research with his optimism. This money might never have been available if he had not started SENS. He has captured the imagination of some people. Pessimism and criticism (even if you think it is realism) rarely raises money, captures the imagination of successful people, or accomplishes much which is positive.

-- Steve Spindler, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biochemistry,
Department of Biochemistry,
University of California, Riverside, CA

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Professor Ruth Itzhaki said...

Heresies should be encouraged, even if they merely make those doing more conventional work – the vast majority in most fields - think more broadly. It’s astonishing how reluctant many researchers are even to contemplate innovative ideas, especially if the person is an outsider from a different field, unless the ideas directly bolster their own work. Have they forgotten how often such creative people are proved correct, years after their ideas have been derided or ignored, and have they forgotten Crick, and Perutz – two amongst the many outsiders - physicists - who trod indelicately, but oh so fruitfully, in the field that subsequently developed as molecular biology? Aubrey might not be proved right or wrong until well after we’re all dead, but it’s excellent that he has brought a breath of fresh air (as well as funding), into ageing research.

Professor Ruth Itzhaki
Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Manchester
United Kingdom

5:55 PM  
Blogger Barry Mahfood said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I will keep checking yours for more great info on SENS.

Barry's Best Blog - http://www.barrysbestblog.com
The Price of Rice! - http://www.thepriceofrice.com

12:03 PM  
Blogger Sunil Bajpai said...

Thanks for pointing out this post and your blog to me.

Wonderful to learn what's happening at the frontier of science and to read the opinion of informed researchers in the comments too!

Sunil
http://sunilbajpai.blogspot.com

11:41 PM  
Anonymous sempersanus said...

Although I understand your emotions, I'd suggest that instead of being touchy you should accept the criticism as a part of life in a competitive society (at the level of mere opinion there are no winners) and take a more pragmatic approach. What part of your vast knowledge is applicable to your everyday life? At the end the day the decision whether your theories are useful will be at the level of the individual. I'll be interested to learn as to how you translate your knowledge into practice.

3:01 PM  
Blogger ---vertovis said...

Dr.,
Thank you for alerting me to your blog and all the interesting info herein.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and suggesting I stop by here.

I suspect that part of the problem is that the popular press tends to focus on the more speculative of deGrey's ideas (which don't seem to be based in particularly solid biology). His ideas seem to have attracted a fair number of "disciples" that really don't understand the science and take de Grey's most fantastic claims (e.g. the first person to live for 1000 years was born in 1945) as gospel. It doesn't help that he is extremely confident in his ideas, outspoken, as well as a bit of an odd fellow.

The circus around SENS overshadows the solid (but non-flashy) research on longevity that is indeed supported by de Grey and his Methuselah Foundation. I'm reminded a bit of the hoopla surrounding the human genome project, including some over-the-top claims as to what the outcome of the project would mean to medicine and science in the short term. That doesn't mean it wasn't an important scientific endeavor, and the hype probably did help in getting it funded.

(I have several links about de Grey and his ideas from MIT's Technology Review and other sources in a post on my blog, if people are interested.)

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations,

Great work!!

I found this useful blog also quite useful with videos, links and explanations about Fitness & Health & Anti-Aging & Life Extension:


Sincerely

Jane

10:14 AM  
Blogger Kevin Perrott said...

Hi Leonid,

On balance, given the benefits of real anti-aging therapies and the fact that serious scientists are working towards them and discuss their possibility, I think skepticism that they can be developed at all will soon be more appropriately applied to how to make the fastest progress.

That will be a huge step forward and hearing this message from respected gerontologists and other researchers will hasten that transformation.

Thanks for this great post.

Kevin Perrott
Executive Director
The Mprize

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Longevity Science said...

Thank you for your interesting comments!

See also:

New Books Discussing SENS

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Pessimistic Youth said...

One of the most common flaws found within the human race, is its lack of cooperation as a whole. If it were at all possible to cooperate, we could potentially solve one of life's most basic problems.
But alas, this complex organism (humans) will never learn to cooperate as a whole on this mud ball, which floats in the void of space.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Theodore A. Hoppe said...

While we may want to live longer the quality of life is a corollary issue. There is a short 4 minute TED.com talk by Gregory Petsko that warns of the coming neurological epidemic. Mr. Pescko states: The average lifespan more than doubled since 1840, and it increasing currently at the rate of about five hours every day. And this is why that's not entirely a good thing: because over the age of 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer or Parkinson Disease will increase exponentially. By 2050, there will be about 32 million people in the United States over the age of 80, and unless we do something about it, half of them will have Alzheimer Disease and three million more will have Parkinson Disease." We currently have no cure or prevention for these or other neurological diseases. His brief talk is must viewing to those interested in this topic.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You posted an interesting and somewhat inspiring quote by the late George Bernard Shaw:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;

the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself."

"Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

While I am not always considered reasonable, it seems anything but reasonable to allow death on a voluntary basis. That being said, I don't see the neccessity in adapting the world to ourselves in such circumstance(as it relates to the quote). What does seem obvious, is the conclusion that survival in its purest and most unadulterated form is the greatest proof of man's adaptation to the world. Therefore, one can logically deduce that "the reasonable man" shall be the one in pursuit of life in and of itself, and therefore, with the aforementioned onslaught of future technologies at his disposal, shall have the higher probability of acheiving progress in such circumstance. The unreasonable man shall find no reason in which any such ideas(or subset thereof) shall come to fruition.

8:14 PM  
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