Hourglass VI: A carnival of biogerontology

For its sixth edition, Hourglass returns home to Ouroboros. I think the holidays have resulted in a bit of contraction of effort all around the blogosphere, so this installment is a little…”cozy”. Still, I think we have quite a range of excellent articles featured in this issue:


The Predicated Life is a blog by Matt Farrell, who is engaging in alternate day fasting (ADF) in part for general health reasons and in part to help alleviate joint inflammation. (This idea is theoretically well-motivated if not yet widely tested: ADF increases levels of the longevity assurance factor SIRT1, and SIRT1 activity decreases inflammation.) Matt shares two pieces about his experience: On Knees and Inflammation, which isn’t especially about either topic but rather about strategies for controlling appetite when one is engaging in ADF; and The Nuts and Bolts of How Alternate Day Fasting Actually Works, where Matt delves into the evolutionary explanation of why one might expect ADF to be a good idea.

Mmmm…nuts and bolts.

Reason at Fight Aging! submitted posts describing two different aging-related organizations.


One is the Millard Foundation, a California-based non-profit whose “primary purpose is to promote bringing true regenerative medicine and greater, healthy longevity to humanity.” MF is just starting to stretch its wings in the funding arena, and is focusing its largesse on strategies devoted to repair (rather than delay) of age-related damage.


The second post regards a commercial enterprise, Sierra Sciences, currently working to develop telomerase-related therapeutics; Reason takes the opportunity to talk about the ways in which telomere-centric theories of aging have evolved over the course of the past decades, and emphasizes that the jury is still out on the ultimate role that telomerase will play in regenerative medicine.

While the role of telomerase in aging-related therapeutics remains undecided, biogerontologists remain convinced of the merits of studying telomere biology. Fueling the fire are studies like the recent report (blogged here) that telomerase expression slows aging — at least in a mouse that’s already tricked out to be highly cancer resistant. While it’s unlikely that we’ll be engineering cancer-resistant humans anytime soon, results like this suggest that ways to conditionally activate telomerase (and then shut it off again) might have profound effects on tissue regeneration.


Wrapping up the carnival, Ward Plunet at brainhealthhacks shares a length, thoughtful and wide-ranging post entitled Longevity: Think of yourself now, and yourself in the future. Ward discusses the future of the longevity field, and then describes at length a study that has evaluated the human capacity — or lack thereof — to think rationally about the future.

That’s all for now. If you’d like to host a future installation of Hourglass, please email me.

One comment

  1. Cool, thanks for hosting again. I have definitely been a bit “contracted” lately as far as blogging goes (the end of year stuff at work this year was pretty intense and I didn’t have a lot of brain leftover at the end of the day) but should be writing some more longevity and other stuff this vacation. It’s quite neat that the carnival still hasn’t missed a month, though, in any case!

Comments are closed.