You look *amazing* for a two year old
February 3, 2016 5:14 PM   Subscribe

A series of experiments in mice has led to what some are calling “one of the more important aging discoveries ever."

I'm looking at a picture of two mice. The one on the right looks healthy. The one on the left has graying fur, a hunched back, and an eye that's been whitened by cataracts. “People ask: What the hell did you do to the mouse on the left?” says Nathaniel David. “We didn't do anything.” Time did that. The left mouse is just old. The one on the right was born at the same time and is genetically identical. It looks spry because scientists have been subjecting it to an unusual treatment: For several months, they cleared retired cells from its body.
posted by cotton dress sock (56 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
We're creating a utopia for mice, a place where they can live extremely long, active lives free of illness and want.

That is so cool of us to do that.
posted by Naberius at 5:35 PM on February 3, 2016 [96 favorites]


Reparations for the glue traps.
posted by The White Hat at 5:37 PM on February 3, 2016 [21 favorites]


Dying, here
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


But are the mice finding meaning in their newly extended lives?
posted by indubitable at 5:42 PM on February 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


indubitable: I sure hope not, given I can't even do that with my own regular-length life
posted by pumpkin_iron at 5:46 PM on February 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


*We're creating a utopia for mice, a place where they can live extremely long, active lives free of illness and want.

That is so cool of us to do that.*

Yeah, right up until we cut them open to see how well it's working...
posted by evilDoug at 5:49 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


At least the mice will be able to look young while they're forced to work for the rest of their lives.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:49 PM on February 3, 2016 [23 favorites]


yes really how are these mice going to pay for their retirements
posted by poffin boffin at 6:01 PM on February 3, 2016 [26 favorites]


can they give us any kind of advice aside from "sell your kidneys"

please mice can you help us
posted by poffin boffin at 6:02 PM on February 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


where are the mouse pics?
posted by ryanrs at 6:04 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH...
NICODEMUS: "In the beginning, we were ordinary street rats, stealing our daily bread, and living off the efforts of man's work. We were captured, put in cages, and sent to a place called NIMH. There were other animals there, in cages. They were put through the most unspeakable torture, to satisfy some scientific curiosity. Often, at night, I would hear them cry out in anguish. Twenty rats and eleven mice were given injections. Our world began changing."
posted by Fizz at 6:07 PM on February 3, 2016 [22 favorites]


where are the mouse pics?

Oh, good point - walla. And post-mortem, I think, unless they're goofing off (Wired). Don't think it's an involved mouse, but I like the more dramatic shot New Scientist went with.

(I just want someone to fix my damn tendons, finally.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:19 PM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Without wanting to be hyperbolic, most hyperbolic thing ever."
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 PM on February 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


(wait no don't get rid of p16 what about all the cancer?!)
posted by mittens at 6:22 PM on February 3, 2016


Speaking with the caveat that I haven't digested even the parts of the science I can understand, this seems like the sort of science article that makes me hate science articles. Mouse models for aging aren't validated--some things don't apply. And my god, but reading this

You take a drug—resveratrol, green tea, god knows what—for 30 years, and by the time you’re 80, you’re actually 70. That paradigm doesn’t work in the real world. People hate to take drugs, especially when they don’t know it’s helping them. And no pharma company would develop such a drug.

I'm thinking what planet does he live on? We in pharma drool over the idea of a drug like this. Genentech once took a hit for trying to define people who needed growth hormone as the shortest 3% of children, meaning they'd redefine kids as "sick" and guarantee a permanent market because 3% of kids are always the shortest. But on this one our patient population is legitimately the entire friggin' human race, now redefined as suffering from "aging syndrome," and the treatment length is forever. What's not to like?!

Maybe he's thinking clinical trials would take too long or something? But for that much profit we could manage something.
posted by mark k at 6:44 PM on February 3, 2016 [19 favorites]


Good job, science, I can't wait to have a house full of really fucking old mice so I have more time to get to know them as individuals.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:58 PM on February 3, 2016 [17 favorites]


I for one welcome our immortal mouse overlords.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:00 PM on February 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


ha ha just kidding, they're going to be immortal human overlords, probably Trump clones
posted by BungaDunga at 7:01 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


They came first for the senescent cells, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a senescent cell....
posted by mittens at 7:18 PM on February 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


We're creating a utopia for mice

Excellent, Benjy Mouse. Excellent!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:21 PM on February 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Several chemicals can slow the aging process in laboratory organisms, but Sharpless says it's hard to think how people might benefit. “You take a drug—resveratrol, green tea, god knows what—for 30 years, and by the time you’re 80, you’re actually 70. That paradigm doesn’t work in the real world. People hate to take drugs, especially when they don’t know it’s helping them. And no pharma company would develop such a drug.

What? Isn't this, like, exactly what people hope to get out of multivitamins?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:30 PM on February 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


Are you pondering what I'm pondering?
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:32 PM on February 3, 2016 [34 favorites]


Nice that they've started solving how to not get old... now that I'm already too old to benefit.
Thanks Obama.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:38 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wow, Scalia will really do anything to not have to give up his seat on the court.
posted by drezdn at 7:57 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Scientists built a rat utopia as part of a behavioral research study. Warning nightmare fuel follows.
posted by humanfont at 7:58 PM on February 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does it hurt to remove these cells?
posted by AugustWest at 8:25 PM on February 3, 2016


posted by Naberius We're creating a utopia for mice, a place where they can live extremely long, active lives free of illness and want.

Worst Disneyland slogan ever.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:36 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


At least the mice will be able to look young while they're forced to work for the rest of their lives.

2048: Presidential candidate Prescott Bush III proposes cutting taxes and raising the Social Security retirement age to 135.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 PM on February 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Several chemicals can slow the aging process in laboratory organisms, but Sharpless says it's hard to think how people might benefit. “You take a drug—resveratrol, green tea, god knows what—for 30 years, and by the time you’re 80, you’re actually 70. That paradigm doesn’t work in the real world. People hate to take drugs, especially when they don’t know it’s helping them. And no pharma company would develop such a drug.

What? Isn't this, like, exactly what people hope to get out of multivitamins?


I'm inferring that Sharpless means people could see a moderate attenuation of the rate of aging, which can be difficult to discern as a distinctive benefit or improvement since people will still be getting older, just more slowly, and will have no faster-aging experience to compare it directly to.
posted by clockzero at 8:46 PM on February 3, 2016


People hate to take drugs

Actually it rather seems that people love taking drugs. Unless they really have to. Which is perfect for developers.
posted by sapagan at 9:22 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


" In 2004, they found that turning off a gene called BubR1, which they initially thought would be involved in cancer, actually revved the aging process into high gear."

So, we need more Bubb Rubb in order to not grow old?! That might be too high of a price to pay, frankly.
posted by markkraft at 9:28 PM on February 3, 2016


"We're creating a utopia for mice, a place where they can live extremely long, active lives free of illness and want."

Fitter, happier, more productive!
posted by markkraft at 9:30 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Science's initial summary*.

Rather unsurprisingly, a magazine pitching itself to scientists doesn't go all in on early results with heavily modified rodents as one of the "most important aging discoveries ever."

Some interesting stuff:
Some of the increased longevity may have stemmed from a beneficial effect on cancer. Removal of senescent cells didn’t prevent tumors from forming in the rodents, but it did slow their growth. [ . . . ]Not all age-related problems in the mice improved, however. Their memory, muscle strength, coordination, and balance—all of which decline as we grow older—were no better than those of control rodents.
[ . . . ]
But deleting senescent cells could be feasible in people, he says. For the first time, a researcher can say, “if I can figure out a way to kill senescent cells with a small molecule or an antibody, I could do a clinical trial.”
The researchers have, of course, already founded a company.

*I don't think that section is paywalled**, apologies if it is.†
**If it's not you can hang around the site to read how bats are completely screwed by white nose fungus. Unrelated, I just feel bats can't catch a break.
†If it is paywalled try humanfront's link to the mouse utopia story. Also unrelated but it's an interesting story.

posted by mark k at 9:51 PM on February 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


(have the bats tried tiny little neti pots?)
posted by mittens at 10:17 PM on February 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


I just know we all are the last generation to die so early. I know it. And I kind of hate everyone younger than us because of it. Screw you, centuries-living youngsters. So in pre-emptive retaliation we're going to screw up the planet so bad you can't enjoy it.

*turns on all his faucets and electricity before he goes to sleep*

Ok, I'm kidding about that last part, but not the hating part.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Who Wants To Live Forever.
posted by Pendragon at 1:53 AM on February 4, 2016


If you get a chance please tell Algernon to put some flowers on my grave.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:39 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


memory, muscle strength, coordination, and balance ... were no better than those of control rodents.

So nursing homes filled with really good looking longer term wretched dementia patients.
posted by sammyo at 3:54 AM on February 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


For You, Justinian.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:25 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


"In 2004, they found that turning off a gene called BubR1, which they initially thought would be involved in cancer, actually revved the aging process into high gear."

We've already tried it. Ethyl methane sulfonate is an alkylating agent and a potent mutagen. It created a virus so lethal the subject was dead before he left the table.

See, I told you we've segued into PKD's mind. Or perhaps he just merged with the future and transformed reality ahead of time. That, we can never know.

Extreme medical longevity will turn us all into replicants, desperately fighting for more life, fucker, while the powerful, cognisant of the extreme social mayhem that will follow, fight just as forcefully to deny it to others.

This will happen. It cannot be stopped. The end of this century will see the social consensus split apart like Gondwanaland, but with more fire and chaos and of the world beyond nothing can be said, except that to the inhabitants there our times will be less tangible than Arthur or Gilgamesh.
posted by Devonian at 6:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


People hate to take drugs, especially when they don’t know it’s helping them.

104 people need to take statins for 5 years to prevent 1 heart attack. And yet they are some of the most prescribed (and most profitable) drugs in the United States.
posted by jedicus at 6:39 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I want my senescence cells! Why are they always trying to kill off the disabled, weak and elderly "for the good of the whole"! Things that look frumpy and hobble a little to get around can still have value!!! My body is my ship- it is my empire and every cell matters and will be a given a nice happy life as long as can be done so long as it's not harming the other cells or genuinely in need of merciful euthanasia. (And unfortunately have a disease that can't be cured that is rapidly spreading can constitute a temporary change in policy due to the necessity to keep anyone at all alive.) When it is their time they will pass peacefully into the cell spirit realm where they will dance and play as happy little cell spirits.

Love all the cells yay!!!
(My cells are having a little cell rights march right now in my body, there is lot's of rainbow banners and glitter.)
posted by xarnop at 6:54 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't want to live forever, but it would be nice to come back every 500 years or so to see how things are going. I've had so many half-baked thoughts about the forces that might be driving history that it'd be interesting to see how at least some of them turn out.
posted by clawsoon at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


This part gave me pause.
Even then, senescent cells have benefits. Last year, Campisi showed that these cells help to heal wounds. And sure enough, Baker and van Deursen found that their mice heal more slowly after such cells were removed.

I wonder how much more slowly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


"it would be nice to come back every 500 years or so to see how things are going."

By the time you loop back, at your high rate of vibration and velocity; we as a species, will look like spreading, drying and then evaporating scum, around the bases of immobile tower structures. Little change from today, but not the heart warming reunion you had, in your once human mind.
posted by Oyéah at 8:26 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


See elderly can have skillz!!! Silver hair is a sign of magic ripened with age and wisdom.
posted by xarnop at 9:26 AM on February 4, 2016


I'm down with silver hair and wisdom, but not so much with my ratty-ass tendons
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:06 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I like the potential here [and sympathize with David]: "His first goal is to use these compounds to treat a couple of diseases that are likely caused by senescent cells and that are localized to specific body parts. Osteoarthritis might be a good target—David has it in his toes—and so might late-stage glaucoma.")
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is very promising, but I'll get excited when I see the replication.
posted by nicodine at 10:53 AM on February 4, 2016


Did someone say replicants?
posted by Oyéah at 12:36 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Your control group is wrinkling and deteriorating, desperately trying to stay ahead of the Reaper. But it can't, not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that?
posted by No-sword at 12:48 PM on February 4, 2016


Who the heck wants to live forever? I'm 41, if I could remain in good physical shape until I'm 150, does that mean I have 90-100 years left where I have to work? That sounds fucking horrible. I'd off myself when I was 100 or so.
posted by desjardins at 1:49 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's surprising to me that senescent cells help the healing process, as older people (with more senescent cells) tend to be much much slower to heal than young people. Without the senescent cells, would that difference be even more exaggerated?

Regardless, while immorality may have its downsides on a societal level, as far as I can see there's really no downside to extending quality of life. In an ideal world, we'd all live like elves, limber and healthy and alert practically up until maybe a year before we died. This research could get us one step closer to such a world, and IMO that's tremendously exciting.
posted by Kilter at 5:06 AM on February 5, 2016


I would like to live forever. it's not so much the "oh I want to see what comes after" impulse, or a desire to carry out plans that would take thousands of years to bring off, or any of that. I would like to live forever so that the memories of the world that exist within my brain in whatever fashion, and the characteristic ways of being in the world associated with me — that weird stuff I do, all of it — and the characteristic ways that my characteristic ways of being shift and rearrange themselves over time, I would like all these somehow-stored pieces of information and characteristic ways of being to in some way persist. I don't want them to persist because I want to see what they do in the future. I want them to persist so that all of the things that they've done in the past are not retroactively obliterated at the moment of my death.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how the idea of life in the present moment can exist without being vouchsafed for by recollections in moments beyond the current moment. As stands I must relate to the percepts of what appears to what appears to be me as coming from the universe as being in no way stable — not unstable across time, like something that is here now and won't be later, but unstable in an immanent way, not quite present in the present moment, illusions that will shortly, with the retraction of all present moments at the moment of death. be revealed as illusions and then retroactively obliterated — not erased in the future but erased everywhen.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:24 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you want to live forever, you will need a lot more data storage capacity. Cloud storage?
posted by Oyéah at 10:11 PM on February 5, 2016


> If you want to live forever, you will need a lot more data storage capacity. Cloud storage?
posted by Oyéah at 10:11 PM on February 5 [+] [!]


I was just planning on becoming as un-nice as possible on as many machines as possible.

I also wouldn't object to becoming a mind virus.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older Is this just Fantasy?   |   "I could do without all of the Children of the... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments