Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New York Meeting


We are pleased to announce our two upcoming presentations at the 2007 Population Association of America Annual meeting this week. These two poster presentations will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, (212) 398-1900, at the following dates and locations:

Poster Session 1
Thursday, March 29
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Westside Salon 3-4
5th floor

Poster # 9.
Physical Markers at Young Age and Survival to 100:
A Study of a New Historical Data Resource (The U.S. WWI Draft Cards)
by Natalia S. Gavrilova and Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago

Poster Session 7
Saturday, March 31
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Westside Salon 3-4
5th floor

Poster # 39.
Problems of Mortality Measurement at Advanced Ages
by Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago

Looking forward to see you there!

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Monday, March 26, 2007


Mark your Calendar for this meeting, which will cover the quantitative and mathematical approaches to aging and longevity studies:

International Conference on Mathematical Sciences
"Integrating Mathematical Sciences within Society"
28-29 November 2007, Equatorial Hotel, Bangi-Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tentatively, among those who have agreed to give the talks are:

Prof. J.C. Butcher (University of Auckland), Numerical Analysis.
Dr. L.A. Gavrilov (University of Chicago), Population and Human Longevity.
Mr. G. Hoo, FCAS (NMG Financial Services Consulting), Insurance.
Prof. S. Owa (Kinki University), Complex Analysis.
Mr. W.C. Pan, FFA (Kurnia Asia Berhad), Insurance.
Prof. B.K. Sinha (University of Maryland Baltimore County), Statistics.

Please note that just before this conference, there will be another interesting meeting at the same location:

Human Longevity Workshop
26-27 November 2007, Equatorial Hotel, Bangi-Putrajaya, Malaysia

Therefore, consider participating in both events at the same place for the period of November 26-29, 2007 !
And then you can take a free tour to Kuala Lumpur on 30th Nov 2007!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Evolution of Aging

Discussion of a new book The Evolution of Aging by Theodore C. Goldsmith


Here is a new book for discussion:

The Evolution of Aging
How New Theories Will Change the Future of Medicine
by Theodore C. Goldsmith

Book Description
Why do we age? Scientists have been baffled by this question for centuries and disagree regarding even the general nature of aging. Is aging the result of fundamental limitations that apply to all living things, or are organisms designed by nature to age because a limited life span conveys some advantage? All of the theories either fail to fully explain observed animal characteristics or conflict with generally accepted evolution theory.
This issue has potentially enormous implications for medicine. If aging is the result of fundamental and unalterable forces of nature, then anti-aging medicine is impossible and anti-aging research is futile and foolish. If aging is imposed by an evolved life span regulation system, then research will likely reveal means for altering the operation of the aging mechanism and thereby improve the treatment of many age-related diseases and conditions.
This book provides a historical review of biological aging theories including underlying evolution and genetics issues and describes exciting recent discoveries and new theories that are causing renewed interest in aging-by-design. The author discusses Darwin's theory of evolution as well as more recent proposed modifications such as the selfish gene theory, evolvability theory, and group selection in connection with their effects on aging theory. A chapter is devoted to describing the aspects of modern genetics that have implications for evolution theory including the application of digital information theory to genetics.

This book looks like a popular book (with 29 references only) promoting a controversial idea that aging is genetically programmed. The search for author's scientific publications in peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journals through Pubmed/Medline returns only one article published by this author in Medical Hypotheses, 2004;62(2):304-8: "Aging as an evolved characteristic - Weismann's theory reconsidered." It looks like the author is not an evolutionary biologist, but rather an expert in computer programming, digital systems engineering and microcircuit design for NASA projects (as described at the back cover of the book).
Overall, the book contains some new interesting ideas, but it is definitely not a recommended mainstream textbook for students.
On the other hand, after reading this book, I believe it could be recommended as an additional reading, stimulating creative thinking.


Page 48 (Disposable Soma Theory):
In fact, some traditional biologists such as Leonid Gavrilov, of the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago, consider the disposable soma theory to be a "version of" the antagonistic pleiotropy theory and a "widowed concept" [Note: what is missing here is the reference to original publication, which explains why the Disposable Soma Theory is a version of the antagonistic pleiotropy theory, and how it has become a "widowed concept"]

Page 153 (Anti-Aging Research):
It is therefore apparent that solutions to the question "what causes aging" may be as unlikely to come from evolutionary biology alone in the next 140 years, as they have been in the previous 140 years. Even some traditional biologists such as L. Gavrilov (26) caution against basing research decisions on theories to an excessive extent:
"Now, when the single-gene life-extending mutations have been found, evolutionary biologists are presented with the task of reconciling these new discoveries with the [traditional] evolutionary theory of aging, and no doubt they will ultimately succeed. However, gerontologists will also have to learn a lesson from the damage caused by decades of misguided research, when the search for major life-extending mutations and other life-extension interventions was equated by evolutionary biologists to a construction of perpetual motion machine."
Future medical researchers tend to be unaware of this history when learning in "Biology 101" about "generally accepted theories of aging." [Note: I agree].

Post your comments below!:

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Art of Aging

Discussion of a new book The Art of Aging: A Doctor's Prescription for Well-Being by Sherwin B. Nuland


Here is a new book, just published:

The Art of Aging:
A Doctor's Prescription for Well-Being

by Sherwin B. Nuland

The book says:

“For reasons that are pragmatic, scientific, demographic, economic, political, social, emotional and secularly spiritual, I am committed to the notion that both individual fulfillment and the ecological balance of life on this planet are best served by dying when our inherent biology decrees that we do.”
Not nice, in other words, to fool with Mother Nature.

Recent review of this book by The New York Times (Joseph Epstein) concludes:

"...is “The Art of Aging” itself an example of what aging can do to make a once unsparingly unsentimental writer so intellectually squishy?"

You can see the video of the Charlie Rose Interview with the author of this book, Sherwin B. Nuland, here
(Note: Second half, the first half is someone else)

Post your comments below!:

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