Re: [GRG] Kidney donor ages…

Well, this is all well and good, and I can’t say I disagree with any of your speculations, in principle. But, they are of little relevance to those of us looking to find near-term, near-immediate interventions to ameliorate specific age-related pathologies, and to try and meaningfully extend our lifespans now. You are dealing with an expert in envisioning the limits of the possible in biotechnology and medicine. I was one of the first two people to conceive of cell and tissue repair devices (1972):

And I have co-authored a Springer published book chapter on the future of critical care medicine:

In 1988, I even tried my hand (with assistance from Steve Harris) at predicting the future of medicine in 2008: it and weep, or laugh, as you will. 

I’m dying right now and my concern with the ultimate possibilities and their likelihood in medicine is, as it properly should be, confined to the arena of cryonics. I’ve spent over 40 years in intense contemplation of not just possible future medical therapies, but of the detailed mechanics of how they might be realized. This has its uses, but staying alive right now isn’t one of them, again, except in the context of cryopreservation. 

I am almost completely unconcerned that human kidneys show no propensity for the ability to regenerate nephrons. I have a good GFR for my age and plenty of nephrons. In fact, at my current rate of loss, my supply of nephrons will last till I’m about 130. However, currently my chances of living to be 130, which, BTW, is 60 years from now, are nil. If I look at the rate of decay of other vital organs in my body, I will very likely not survive till age 80. Factor in all my individual  risks, and I’ll be lucky to make it to age 75 – very lucky. And that leaves out of consideration the quality of my life from now until it ends. 

So, I don’t spend any time at all pondering whether nephrons in human kidneys can be regenerated, and unless you are doing specific research in this area, I would suggest that you not spend time on this, either – even if you personally are losing nephrons at a fierce rate and are headed for renal failure. This is because even if regeneration of nephrons had already been demonstrated in principle in mammals, it would never make it to clinical application by the time you needed it. You’d need a kidney transplant long before, and if you were smart, you’d be spending your time researching and thinking about how to get the optimum kidney you can, and then how to manage your immunomodulation post-transplant to hold onto it as long as possible. This presumes you’d already exhausted any therapeutic maneuvers to slow or halt your kidney disease. 

This is in fact exactly what I did when I was 22 and discovered I was losing nephrons at a terminal rate. In my case, it was due to severe “essential” hypertension. I got a thorough work-up, selected the best meds available, and have continued to do that over the intervening 40 years – most recently switching my beta blocker to nebviolol. At diagnosis, my BP was 210/120. I’d have been dead decades ago if it were not for meticulous compliance with what was initially a complex regimen of medications (4x daily dosing)! The point here is that I didn’t give a thought to the “depressing reality” that nephrons don’t regenerate, but rather began to study hypertension. 

Funnily enough, when people talk about life extending drugs, and when they ask me about what are the most effective drugs for life extension, my answer is the antihypertensives. These dugs have added more years, not to mention more quality years, to the average human lifespan than any other drug, or class of dugs that I know of:

As you can see from the graph above, the incidence and prevalence of hypertension are so tightly associated with aging that hypertension might arguably be said to be one of the primary pathologies of aging. 

I’m looking for interventions that will demonstrably slow aging now. But what I’m really looking for is treatments that will fundamentally impact aging itself, and that, in effect, means treatments that reverse aging, such as GDF-11, systemic fetal stem cells transplants, or both.

Mike Darwin


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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