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“This Could Be the Holy Grail to Replace Palm Oil”

Curiosities | Life Expectancy

Outliving Your Peers Is Now a Competitive Sport

Longevity has officially become a competitive sport.

Welcome to the ‘Rejuvenation Olympics.’ In this contest founded by tech entrepreneur and longevity bro Bryan Johnson, anti-agers take their health obsession to new levels. Just not dying isn’t enough. Instead, you have to not-die better than your competitor…

Johnson came up with an antiaging competition that anyone can enter so long as they have completed a specific blood test to measure how fast they are aging biologically.

Online leaderboards launched in January 2023 track who’s the best anti-ager.

The key metric is ‘pace of aging,’ or how fast your body is aging biologically per calendar year, as measured by a blood test from a company that manages the competition. Someone whose pace of aging is reported to be .85, for example, is said to be aging roughly 10 months for each year that passes. The test costs $230.

The leaderboard ranks entrants by the lowest average rate of aging.”

From Wall Street Journal.

Associated Press | Communications

A Rare Voice Box Transplant Helped a Cancer Patient Speak

” A Massachusetts man has regained his voice after surgeons removed his cancerous larynx and, in a pioneering move, replaced it with a donated one.

Transplants of the so-called voice box are extremely rare, and normally aren’t an option for people with active cancer. Marty Kedian is only the third person in the U.S. ever to undergo a total larynx transplant – the others, years ago, because of injuries – and one of a handful reported worldwide.

Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona offered Kedian the transplant as part of a new clinical trial aimed at opening the potentially lifechanging operation to more patients, including some with cancer, the most common way to lose a larynx.”

From Associated Press.

Science | Health & Medical Care

Is Mimicking the Cells That Carry Hemoglobin the Key to a Blood Substitute?

“The bunny huddled in a black metal cage, a catheter going straight into its carotid artery. Days before, a portion of its blood had been siphoned out and replaced with an experimental blood substitute called ErythroMer. It is decidedly not milk. Developed by Allan Doctor, a bespectacled 61-year-old physician-researcher at the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Medicine, and colleagues, ErythroMer is made from ‘recycled’ human hemoglobin—the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body—wrapped in a membrane to mimic a tiny cell. In the rabbit, the transfusion appeared to be working. The animal’s heart rate and blood pressure, displayed on a small monitor nearby, looked just fine.

Doctor is as fervent an advocate for hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs), as ErythroMer and its predecessors are more formally known, as Thomas was for lacteal transfusions. Donated blood has a shelf life of just 42 days. There’s also not enough, even in developed countries with well-organized blood donation systems: In January 2022, the American Red Cross, which distributes 40% of the country’s donor blood, declared the first-ever national blood crisis, as its supply—especially precious O-negative blood, the universal type—dipped dangerously low. Meanwhile, hemorrhagic shock caused by severe blood loss kills some 20,000 people in the U.S., and 2 million globally, every year.

An artificial ‘blood’ could, perhaps, fill the void.”

From Science.

NBC News | Health & Medical Care

Scientists Say They Have Identified a Root Cause of Lupus

“Researchers at Northwestern Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital say they’ve discovered a root cause of lupus, a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. 

Scientists have long suspected that a person’s genetics or hormones may predispose them to lupus, and that the disease may be triggered by environmental factors like a previous viral infection or exposure to certain chemicals.

Now, a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature outlines a clear pathway for how the disease likely develops, pointing to abnormalities in the immune systems of people with lupus…

The new study hints at the possibility of better treatments in the future, which could take the forms of infusions or pills, said Dr. Jaehyuk Choi, one of the study authors and a dermatologist at Northwestern Medicine.

The study found that giving people with lupus anifrolumab, a drug that blocks interferon, prevented the T-cell imbalance that likely leads to the disease.”

From NBC News.