Re: [GRG] Thoughts for the New Year

Stan: Thank you for your fascinating New Year’s
Greeting.  🙂 — Steve Coles

“Year End Thoughts on Aging and the
Evolution of Size”

Dear friends and Members of the Los Angles Gerontology Research
Group:I would be remiss were I not to end the year by passing
along these thoughts on the evolution of health, aging, and average size.
— Stan ShostakAs a biologist (not an anthropologist or a physician), I
suspect that decreasing ambient temperatures over the last million years
(and, no doubt, a variety of other adaptive pressures in the past) pushed
Homo sapiens to evolve into the present medium-sized terrestrial
mammals we are. These pressures would have pushed us to become an even
larger terrestrial mammals (the size of a small cow) had the abrupt
change toward increasing ambient temperatures (the crook in the hockey
stick) accompanying the industrial revolution not interrupted our
evolution. My thesis is that our most pressing health-care and aging
problems are consequences of this interruption, and the solution for
these problems rests in our return to our evolutionary predisposition and
its former trajectory.Presently, anthropogenic gasses and warmer climates have
stifled our species march toward larger size ­ Bergmann’s Rule predicts
that smaller animals evolve in warmer climates ­ leaving us in the lurch.
All the prognosticators who fill the media with foreboding about global
warming and climate change will ultimately be heard, however, and
Soylent Green [1] will be averted.
My guess is that we’re intelligent enough animals at this point in our
evolution to solve manmade problems, and, consequently, as Earth resumes
a cooling course, we will be pushed toward seriously larger size with
salubrious consequences. As a rule of thumb, animal mass and health problems do not
increase proportionally: Mass increases exponentially while problems
increase linearly. Take cancer, for example: Enlarged organs of larger
organism have more normal cells than small organs of smaller organisms
and, hence, are better able to absorb abnormal growths of malignant
cells.  And what is aging anyway but outliving the biological limits
of one’s organs? A larger organism with larger organs has more healthy
cells available for living longer[2]. The problems
of cancer and aging would thus seem to be evidence of our failure to
reach our optimal size: Grow larger and live healthier longer lives!The frequency and consequences of cardiovascular disease
would also be reduced in larger human beings (if indirectly). When we
reach average weights between half a ton and a ton, cardiovascular health
would improve for two reasons:
(1) We would have to return to four-legs to distribute our weight, since
we could no longer support our present upright posture. Most of the
problems of circulation (and I might add, with pelvic adjustments, child
birth) would hence disappear. Adapting to all fours would present new challenges,
however.  I doubt that we would defy Dollo’s Law and evolve knuckle
walking. Rather, I imagine we would retain our opposable thumb and agile
fingers so well adapted to computer, pad, pod, and phone keyboards we’re
so reliant on.  (We might also extend dexterity to our toes and
hence use two keyboards at once.) Who can say how far we might go? As for
locomotion proper, we wouldn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” if we
modified skateboards for Intelligent Transport (IT).I must add that individuals four times the size of the
average present adult would, in general, have to forego the standard
missionary’s position for copulation, since it would be crushing for
whomsoever is on the bottom. But, there are abundant and adequate
alternatives such as doggy-style and T-Square. After all, other
four-legged creatures do just fine.
(2) In order to support individuals of the new large size, we would have
to rely on a diet of grains, fruits, roots, and stalks, thus eliminating
problematic foodstuffs and supporting healthier life styles. I might add
that reducing radical changes in daily diet (e.g., meat to vegetables)
might result in the reduction and ultimately the elimination of
problematic organs such as the pancreas. At the same time, we might
evolve new organs such as a ruminating esophagus with enhanced digestive
activity. My guess is, therefore, that during the next say
750,000 to a million years, we can expect to evolve into a species that
absorbs its cancers, neutralizes gravity’s problems, lives on healthy
food, and expands longevity simply as a consequence of having evolved
into larger organisms. Of course, we would inevitably encounter other
barriers to health and longevity, but I leave these problems for the
future. In the meantime, as we look forward to overcoming global warming
and climate change in 2014, let us celebrate the miracles of enhanced
longevity that await us through bigness in 752,014 or thereabouts.1. 1973 American science fiction film directed by
Richard Fleischer, starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in his
final film.  [A really great film… — LSC]2. This argument is easily extended from
organ-functional cells to stem cells.

About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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