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2016 Reminder Healthy Living Can Add Up To 14 Years to Your Life

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The Ethics of the Future: Human Genetic Engineering and Human Immortality Medicine is Coming in 19 years!!

Posted: January 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

The Ethics of the Future: Genetic Engineering and Immortality Medicine

2015 is Going to Be a Fascinating Year for Longevity Science

By Professor Mark

How do you feel about the potential for great advances in Human Longevity Science that have been occurring in recent years? Do you feel excited about the prospect of living a much longer life, or are you indifferent? Are you nervous about the prospects of what this sort of tinkering with genetics and human nature might bring?

Is the potential for a vastly expanded lifespan going to be something that everyone can enjoy, or will it be an advantage simply for those that can afford it? If you could live 100 years longer, would you want to? Would you care if the opportunity were afforded to you as an individual? Would such a huge opportunity lead to a new and beautiful life on earth, or would earth somehow take these momentous advantages and turn the world on its head?

My Beliefs Regarding Advanced Genetic Engineering

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at Penn State, our professor posited similar questions in our Genetics Class, which played a major role in affecting my beliefs toward the subject of hyper-longevity and Genetic Engineering. The class was large, with more than 100 students, and my professor asked the class what their opinions were regarding the use of genetic manipulation and engineering to alter human life.

Surprisingly, the class was completely silent. In response to this silence, the professor called up two students to debate the subject. One of my classmates volunteered to voice his opposition to genetic engineering, and I chose to volunteer, providing an argument in favor of it.

My opponent voiced his opinion to the class that genetic engineering for this purpose would be ethically wrong because it is not in man’s best interest to play God. Most of our classmates seemed to agree, nodding subtly in agreement.

Personal Aesthetic: Choosing to Be Different

I felt as though I was standing upon a grand crossroads of history. As I looked around the class, it felt as though all of my classmates, for all of their cliquish differences, were being incredibly closed-minded, like they just accepted what they had been told all their lives and were afraid to think for themselves.

After the professor gauged the response of the students, I had my opportunity to argue in favor of this advanced human genetic engineering. I glanced around the class, and felt my argument come together cleanly in my mind. I saw white girls with bleached hair stretching down their backs, more than a few of which had fake breasts. I saw black girls with expensive weaves and complex and expensive hairstyles.

There were white students mimicking their hip hop and rap idols, and I even saw a young Asian student that had very obviously dyed her hair red. In my class I saw a great commingling of different styles. People both attempting to exemplify American standards of beauty and those taking on the aspects of other cultures, adopting them as their own.

As I looked around at all of this, recognizing the great diversity in my class, I had a strong feeling that there was not one person in the class that didn’t have at least one thing they wanted to alter about the characteristics they were born with. I continued thinking to myself, that these students probably wanted to be different in a variety of different ways: some wanted to be smarter, some taller. Some girls wish they had larger breasts, and some guys wanted larger penises. Others probably wish that they didn’t have to go through the trouble to put in contacts and hair dyes to look like the person they wish they were. For myself, I would have given anything just to be a few inches taller.

A Call for Genetic Freedom

After standing quietly for a moment, with all of these thoughts running through my at head a rapid place, I spoke from my position, in the back of the class, and suddenly stated loudly: Genetic Freedom!

I felt that just those two words spoke for themselves, but my professor threw a dejected glance in my direction, and I could detect her shaking her head almost imperceptibly. Her silence was a sign that she needed more. After the brief silence, I continued. I argued to the class that the individual should have full control to alter his DNA as he sees fit, so long as it doesn’t negatively impact society or the rights of anyone else.

She seemed thoroughly unhappy with the argument, and the class began to chatter loudly, nearly in unison. After the short spate of controlled chaos, the class continued with liveliness and energy, but I felt that others in the class largely shunned me as a result of the fervent beliefs I expressed in regard to what legitimately amounted to the potential future of the human race.

Will People Be Able to Resist Genetic Alteration?

I still laugh to myself to this day about how my belief met such incredulity in the face of so many. In the future, once science makes it possible to make such powerful changes to humanity at the genetic level, I am confident that these same students, if given the actual opportunity to improve themselves through futuristic genetic methods, would absolutely jump at the chance with no second thought.

It wouldn’t be Playing God. It wouldn’t be unethical. It would simply be the new reality. In fact, once the time comes to pass when Genetic Alteration becomes a reality, the exact same people today that seek out plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery will clamor for these procedures as soon as they become available. In the end, I believe I made a B in the course, which is regretful, because I’ve always remained highly interested in genetics.

The Future of Humanity: The Organic and the Engineered

Another of my professors at Penn State, himself with a doctorate in genetics, explained an interesting aspect of human evolution, one which I had never thought of before. He explained that the many races that make up humanity as a whole developed their differences as a result of dispersing far from one another, and slowly adapting to their new environments over time.

After they migrated, geography, distance, and other factors kept them from interacting heavily with one another, which caused their minor adaptations to become more pronounced. In the same way that they developed their own habits and cultures, their aesthetic and physical makeup also changed. Some grew taller, others grew paler, and each individual culture became maximally resistant to the diseases which were prominent in their area.

Even though these physical and genetic changes were significant, any healthy woman on earth could still mate with any other healthy man, no matter how different he looked or acted. What he said that truly sparked my mind was that if the different races of human beings stayed geographically isolated from one another for longer period of time, eventually the different races could have changed enough to where they could no longer produce children with one another.

Could Genetically Engineered Humans Evolve Beyond Humanity?

This can also apply to the future of genetic engineering. The modern world is so interconnected that geography has no impact on the ability of humans to breed with one another, but genetic enhancement may lead to a point at which a human born today would not be able to mate with an individual that was the result of generations of genetically altered parents.

As Genetic Engineering becomes more advanced, humans may change enough at the genetic level to prevent interbreeding between lineages which have undergone these advancements and those that chose not to. This change would of course be gradual, first reducing the ability to conceive before denying that ability altogether. At this point, it would take genetic engineering just to create a viable child for two disparate humans. Interestingly enough, it may even come to pass that different species of humans evolve from such endeavors, as distinct from one another as they are from humans themselves.

The beginning of this story could begin sometime in the next hundred years, as scientists and medical specialists develop the ability to safely and effectively alter DNA to meet the specifications of the individual.

The Future is Coming: the Great Human Divergence and the Neo-Sapient

The people that choose to reject Genetic Modification and Advanced Longevity Treatments in the near future will create an interesting binary world. This could be the beginning of a grand human experiment. This could be the focal point of a genetic divergence so strong that it literally fragments the human race, creating a new class of post-humans that have advanced to a point where they qualify as their own unique species.

I think back to the genetics course I mentioned earlier. I remember the absolute ocean of diversity that was contained within the 100-student course, and I was able to visualize a future in which Genetic Modification leads to even greater diversity, and a uniqueness that has never existed in the history of the human race. It made me think of the diversity of the universe, and the unlimited options for diversity that it represents. As someone with an affinity for astronomy, I find it utterly inconceivable that planet earth is home to the only lifeforms in the universe.

Of course, along with my great optimism, I do recognize that there are risks and unknowns related to the future of Genetic Modification. There is even the potential that the science behind Genetic Modification could be used for Genetic Warfare. There is certainly the potential that the same science that creates a new humanity could be used to destroy large swathes of it. I can imagine an apocalypse that is not nuclear and grandiose, but genetic and nanoscopic.

Post-Humanism and the Search For Other Worlds

In the end, will humans be able to develop interplanetary travel and colonization in order to insure itself against such potential apocalyptic scenarios? It’s a subject that I am particularly concerned with, and is the core reason why I support NASA and the United States Space Program. As the world moves faster and the dangers become greater, it is imperative that we are able to save humanity even in the case of a state of mutually assured destruction.

If there truly is a Genetic Revolution on the horizon, it is vitally important that we use all of the resources we have available in order to make our dreams of space colonization a reality. Imagine a future so spectacular: A future where a multitude of post-human species advance outward from earth in order to colonize space like a rainbow across the galaxy.

This journey will be arduous and epic, as earthlings spread across the cosmos in order to find new viable homes and potentially interact with other life forms.

What Would Aliens Be Like?

Can you imagine how literally otherworldly that would be? If we found advanced aliens, would they have unlocked the key to eternity? Would we have done the same? There is no doubt that the first time that we make contact with an extraterrestrial species, they will come from worlds and cultures which are absolutely unimaginable in the face of everything that we have experienced.

I may have delved a bit into the realm of science fiction, but the future of humanity in the face of Genetic Modification has the potential to be every bit as exciting and otherworldly as the potential future that I just described. It instills a tremendous sense of fear, awe, and most importantly, unlimited potential.

Do You Think That You Could Handle Immortality?

If you ask the average person out on the street about the potential future afforded by Genetic Engineering, Advanced Longevity, and Immortality medicine, you’ll likely get a number of different responses, some positive, some negative, others simply incredulous. If you surveyed 100 people, I believe that you would find that the majority would ultimately reject the idea of immortality.

Some people think that eternity would take the excitement out of life. Others fear that they would eventually just become a broken shell of their former selves as their bodies physically decline in spite of science’s ability to prevent death. For many, the concept of eternity is just as fearsome as the concept of death itself. It’s not all that different from the way that people feel about retirement these days. They are frustrated because they have to work so hard all through the healthiest part of their lives only to be too frail and broken down by the time they retire to enjoy it.

Longevity Medicine and the Future

That’s why Longevity Medicine is so important. We want our retirement years to last as long as possible, and we want to be able to enjoy them. Maybe one day, we will be retired as long in our lives as we are at work, or longer! That’s what the approach to immortality will be like!

There are a growing number of people that are optimistic about a lengthy future. They understand that even with regard to a concept like immortality, life is the sum of individual experience. Some will take advantage of a life bordering on immortality, while others would simply choose to be boring. People that live lives full of happiness and vitality shouldn’t be deprived the opportunity to extend that joy, simply because there are others who wouldn’t appreciate it!

The arguments stemming from the subject of Human Immortality continue to become both more interesting and more complex, both for those that long for such a fate, and those that oppose the concept. No matter how you feel about the idea of Advanced Longevity, there is no doubt that such opportunities to live lives we now consider unimaginable will eventually come to pass.

As long as human beings are able to engage in scientific advancement without destroying ourselves or sending ourselves back to the stone age, such opportunities will present themselves to the human race in the near future.

Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy: The First Steps to Hyperlongevity

The seeds of these future endeavors are being planted today, in the fields of gene therapy, genetic medicine, and stem cell therapy. This is also the core concept behind medical treatments which seek to optimize hormone production in the body in order to alleviate the medical conditions associated with hormone imbalance and aging.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Streamline Your Body for the Future!

Treatments such as Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Sermorelin Acetate Therapy, and Bio-Identical Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy seek to correct common hormonal imbalances that occur as a result of the aging process. There is even a strong argument that these hormone imbalances are actually the root cause of many symptoms of aging, including frailty, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline.

There are many Health, Wellness, and Longevity Physicians that believe that these forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy are some of the must effective means to prolong a healthy and active life when used in combination with a healthy and conscientious lifestyle. These medical treatments are the best way to decrease your mortality risk so that you are more likely to experience the next great advancement in Anti-Aging Medicine.

If you feel that your quality of life has been on the decline as a result of changes in your body and mind resulting from the aging process, I strongly encourage you to get your hormone levels checked, because there is a significant chance that you may be suffering from a reversible form of hormone deficiency.

The Future of Human Genetic Engineering

This is truly an exciting time to be alive. We are quickly approaching the point at which scientific breakthroughs in health science will continue to occur at an ever-increasing pace, with groundbreaking new health advances occurring on a regular basis. The following years will be incredibly interesting, because there are a multitude of clinical trials regarding the promise and potential effectiveness of both gene therapy and stem cell therapy.

By 2012, these studies, and other similar studies, were already displaying high levels of potential to both treat and protect both animals and humans from disease. Beyond Hormone Optimization and Genetic Therapy, the next stage of advancement will most likely be in the field of nanomedicine. Beyond nanomedicine is femtomedicine.

At this stage of scientific inquiry, this is as far as even the most forward-thinking physician or philosopher could imagine, but there is no doubt as we create new medical treatments and expend our knowledge of medical science, new opportunities for advancement will be conceptualized that could be even more life-altering and fantastic than those that we just mentioned.

When you consider the future of medicine and longevity, you realize that human beings as they are now aren’t simply the end result of millions of years of evolution, but also a gateway to the next state of terrestrial life, a transitional state between what was and what will be, an opportunity to experience even greater consciousness and enlightenment by conquering time, itself.

What is the Idea Behind Human Immortality?

When we discuss the idea of human immortality, it doesn’t just mean allowing a human being to live forever, human immortality represents the idea that it will be possible, with future biomedical and genetic enhancements, for human beings to experience a practical immortality in which one is able to live as they were in the prime of their life, for all of their life.

It seems just as you master your body and your mind in the late twenties and early thirties, your body and mind start to enter a slow and unstoppable decline. What if you could preserve that period of physical and psychological perfection forever? It is during this period that the average person reaches his or her functional peak as an individual, with regard to strength, cognitive ability, immunity, and overall health.

How Much Better Would Life Be if You Lived to 200?

Think about how different and exciting that life would be if you could have the body and mind of a 29 year old for 120 years. There are a number of people that think that humans should not have this opportunity, but it sounds much better than spending the whole sum of those years in slow and steady decline.

How Much Better Would Life Be if You Could Live Indefinitely?

Immortalists subscribe to the belief that individuals that truly enjoy life and are creative or passionate enough to find interesting or fulfilling things to do would be able to easily take advantage of a significantly lengthened lifespan. I do understand how such a long life would feel to someone that lacks passion or imagination, however. I can imagine two hundred years of absolutely drudgery. If one does not have the propensity to invest or save to create wealth, I can imagine two hundred years of hard work with nothing to show for it.

With luck, a more automated world would allow us to enjoy our lives while actually working less. Imagine a world of eco-friendly machines could do the work of one hundred men. This could be a wonderful world of leisure for all, but it could also lead to a world where machines are used as a method of control and domination, like in Frank Herbert’s dystopian novel Dune.

The Temptation of Human Immortality

Whether the opportunity for Human Immortality comes in twenty years or two hundred years, there will be those that seek out the opportunity for such a life, and there will be those that choose to reject the opportunity for immortality.

The central question that Immortalists posit is a simple one: Why would anyone actually want to die or grow old? When you think of it that way, it sounds absolutely silly. Who would ever want to do such things? But in reality, it seems as though most human beings are resigned to such a fate.

Who Really Wants to Grow Old?

More than simply growing old, who wants to lose their lust for life or their libido? Who wants to experience their own body slowly deteriorate as they are beaten down by illness and disease? Human Immortalists are those that are willing to fight against what is perceived as inevitable by society at large. They believe that those that have resigned themselves to decay and death are simply not willing to imagine a post-human age where they could evolve beyond the inevitability of death.

It seems that many humans think of Human Immortalists as harbingers of doom which are going to bring about a new genocide. They believe that Immortalists are going against the will of God by altering the Human Genetic Code in an attempt to foster extreme lifespans, improved aesthetic, and vastly improved health outcomes.

The Great Schism of Humanity

There is a strong chance that a rift will develop between those that choose genetic alteration and those that choose to forgo such opportunities. In the end, it is likely that humanity will rift into two distinct groups. Over time, greater and greater numbers will opt for Genetic Modification, and those that opt out of such procedures may potentially lose footing in society as a result of their choice.

If modification indeed has the ability to create such disparity, genetically modified humans will spread their genes with one another, and their offspring may have greater potential for both prosperity and intellect, which will create a socioeconomic rift between GM Humans and Unmodified Humans.

Will Post-Humans be able to act ethically under these circumstances? Will Unmodified Humans be able to accept a place in the world where they are unequivocally inferior to their GM counterparts? This new world will be different and exciting, and it’s up to us to create a civil world where we can act in the best interest of all.

What Other Strange Opportunities May Become Available in the Future?

On top of our ability to vastly extend and improve our long-term health, the future will also provide us with enhanced opportunities with regard to personal aesthetic. We will not only be able to cure conditions such as psoriasis which plague millions in the world today, but many may choose to move beyond mere optimization and may choose to fully customize their appearance. Perhaps one may choose not to have olive or alabaster skin as many in society desire today, but go for a different color all together.

What if someone chose to color their skin orange, green, or blue? What if they wanted to be leopard print or covered in zebra stripes? This may appear otherworldly and unnatural to our minds, but when presented with an entire array of customization, what would be so strange about doing something like that to stand out? How different would it be to dying your hair blue or rainbow, if there were no dangers in undergoing such a change?

But, given enough time and scientific innovation, skin color and other basic augmentations like genetic breast and penis enlargement will be just another evolution in the concept of general aesthetic. The potential for more extreme changes would eventually become possible. What if humans wanted to take on the characteristics of animals? What if someone wanted the ears or tail of a cat, for example? There would even be the potential to do even more drastic things that we can barely imagine today.

Genetically Engineered Pets

These genetic advancements won’t occur in a human vacuum. They will also apply to animals as well. Today people are paying top dollar for basic genetically modified hypo-allergenic dogs, and glow-in-the-dark mammals have even been developed in laboratories.

In the future, it is likely that scientists will come up with scientific modifications which significantly enhance both the aesthetic and intelligence of animals. It’s even likely that animals will experience the benefits of genetic engineering more quickly than humans, as this future will largely be facilitated by means of animal testing.

The Post-Human Era Starts with Basic Genetic Engineering and Ends with Post-Humanism, Hyperlongevity, and Potential Immortality

You may not be able to tell, but we are already in the midst of the first phase of the Post-Human era. The beginning of this era was marked by the first time that egg and sperm from two different individuals was combined and implanted into an adoptive mother. It was such a grand event in retrospect, but the passing into this new era was not met with massive celebrations, but simply with concerns over the ethics of the new future.

Post-Humanity will have a litany of moral conundrums to unravel, some that we can imagine, and others that are unfathomable to us today. The state of the mortal mind is simply not equipped to handle the moral and ethical quandaries that the genetically modified mind will face. What if there are other lifeforms just like us in other parts of the galaxy, that have also learned to take control of their very existence on the cellular level? What if the number of unique alien civilizations in the universe is unlimited? What if we as earthlings are just one form of intelligent life among a countless litany of others?

The Current State of Genetic Modification and Gene Therapy

Today, scientists, researchers, and physicians are taking the first step into this future, with the quickly growing field of genetic therapy. We are on the cusp of doing some truly amazing things, like genetically altering viruses in order to protect humans from genetic disorders and conditions. At first, these initial treatments have been risky, reserved for those in most dire need, but as medical science becomes more well-versed in these therapeutic advancements, they will become safer and more widely available to the general public. Could you imagine reducing your risk of cancer by 80% just with a single injection? That may be the future for you.

The Current State of Organ Regeneration and Stem Cell Therapy

Another aspect of genetic therapy has to do with the advancing field of Stem Cell Therapy. There are new, state of the art treatments available which utilize stem cells in order to improve the health of the heart. Patients that have experienced heart attack or heart disease can be treated with stem cells which have the ability to develop into new and healthy muscle tissue.

Similar techniques have also been used in order to regenerate other parts of the body or parts of individual organs. In one famous case, scientists biomanufactured a windpipe for a patient with the patient’s own cells. They were able to do this by taking the stem cells and allowing them to grow in culture before pouring them over a scaffold in the shape of a windpipe. Just by providing the cells with the nutrients to grow, they were able to recreate a human windpipe in the laboratory just in a matter of days.

Because the windpipe was created from the patient’s own cells, the body did not reject the windpipe when it was surgically implanted into the body. This is one of the first successful cases where a patient’s life was changed through the scientific advancements of genetic organ replacement.

Stem Cell Therapy Will Be Available in the Near Future: Hormone Replacement Therapy is Here Today!

Stem Cell Therapy is exciting and will become increasingly common and popular over the next century in the United States. Today, there are a few places where Stem Cell Therapy is available internationally, especially in Asia, but they have yet to be medically certified, and there are still a number of pertinent risks involved. In the Western World, Stem Cell Treatments are currently going through clinical trials. Although the results are mixed, continual progress is being made.

There are many scientists that believe that Stem Cell Research will lead to a new future in medicine, but policies enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush have set the United States behind by at least a decade, and other nations in Europe and Asia are currently taking advantage of their head start, and may one day eclipse us in these new and futuristic medical therapies.

In just a few short years, genetic testing will become affordable enough that it will become a common and recommended part of prenatal care as well as regular checkups throughout the lifespan. Over time, more and more Genetic Disorders will be able to be effectively treated with Gene Therapy, and with every breakthrough, people will be that much more likely to live a longer and healthier life.

Once the clinical science is sound, it won’t even be a difficult ordeal for the patient. It would simply be like going to visit the pharmacist, or making a call to a specialist pharmacy. After receiving the medication, one will be able to administer the medication on his or her own and without the frequent oversight of a medical professional.

Not long after these Genetic Treatments are made available to the public, Stem Cell Therapies will quickly become more and more advanced as well. There are even companies that have expressed a desire to take your stem cells and develop them in a laboratory environment. The goal of this treatment would be to take your own stem cells and foster the healthiest cells to multiply. After these cultures are developed, they would be mailed back to you in order for you to inject them to alleviate health conditions and other symptoms related to the aging process.

Beyond Genetic Engineering and Stem Cell Therapies, will come new forms of medical treatment that we are just beginning to research today, but will surely flourish in the coming decades: nanomedicine and femtomedicine.

Nanoscience and the Healthcare of the Future

These are tiny, genetically engineered cellular machines that will be able to improve your health by altering the functions of your body in a positive manner. They will be able to repair and alter particular forms of cells so that they function optimally, even after a period of long life in which you would expect to see physiological breakdown. It is even believed that these treatments can also preserve and repair the brain itself! Isn’t that exciting?

There are countless people in the world that have a litany of big dreams, more than they could ever hope to accomplish in a single lifetime in some cases. They have these long checklists of things they want to do in their life, a whole wide world they want to explore. Some have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and want to read thousands of books or learn dozens of languages in their life.

There are countless more people that have spent their early lives living on the edge, and suffer from issues such as alcohol dependency or drug addiction which have harmed their bodies and their brains. With these forms of genetic and nanomedicine, it will be possible to repair the bodies and minds of these individuals, allowing them to make a fresh start. It is possible that addiction itself may become a historical curiosity as a result of these medical advances.

What Would Do If You Had 200 More Years to Live?

  • Would you learn to play multiple musical instruments?

  • Would you research for decades in order to write the perfect novel?

  • Would you visit every country on earth?

The number of dreams that humans have yearned for is nearly infinite, and most never live to achieve all of their dreams, if they achieve any of their dreams at all. If you are still alive in the near future, around 2032, you will be able to take full advantage of what Longevity Medicine and Anti-Aging Therapy have to offer!

Some time in the future, we will finally overcome the condition of aging. We will be able to prevent all illness and be able to live in perpetuity, as long as we don’t succumb to an accident or similar fate. This is the extreme vision of Immortality Medicine.

The First Immortals Could be Alive Today!

By the time we make it to the 22nd century, there will already be individuals that have taken the road to Hyperlongevity, and there will likely be millions of humans that have taken part in this great leap forward into Post-Humanism. They will not only be healthier, but smarter too, with further advances in Genetic Science that allow us to amplify the capacity of our brains.

As people continue to develop down this evolutionary road, will we even consider them humans anymore? They will represent a new version of humanity, and they will likely use a new term to define themselves, whether that be Neohuman or some other clever word or phrase.

I believe that this advance into Neohumanism will also lead to a new era in space travel and human colonization. With these extensive lifespans, many Neohumans will inevitably turn their eyes to the stars in a desire to find new worlds and discover new lands and extraterrestrial lifeforms. Brave Neohumans from all over the planet will take to interplanetary space vessels in order to colonize and experience new worlds and lands that are beyond the scope of human imagination.

Can I Live to Experience This New Era of Humanity?

All of the things we’ve discussed may seem incredibly exciting to you, but we understand that these innovations are going to come in the near future. If you want to take part in this grand human experiment, it’s important that you live long enough to seize these innovations as they come! There are steps you can take now to alleviate the negative symptoms of the aging process and increase your odds of experiencing the new, human revolution.

My suggestions will not ensure that you will live for the next twenty years or longer, but they will potentially drastically decrease your mortality risk so that you are able to seek out this new and exciting future that we have laid before you.

Today, the door to Neo-Humanism, Hyperlongevity, and even Human Immortality is slightly open, and there are many alive today that will experience these magnificent and life-altering advances.

Will You Take Advantage of the Advances of Hyper-Longevity and Anti-Aging Medicine? Are You Willing to Commit to a Longer and more Youthful Life?

It’s quite plain to see that we are at the crest of an event horizon, beyond which it will truly be possible to lengthen lifespans indefinitely. The most important thing is to breach that horizon. By taking steps to increase health and lifespan now, you allow yourself the opportunity to take care of further, greater medical enhancements down the road.

The most modern advances available today are in the form of Recombinant Hormone Replacement Therapies. By optimizing your hormone balance, you increase the odds that you will live long enough to experience the new, up-and-coming breakthroughs of the mid-21st century.

If you live just a few more years, new genetic medical treatments will become available which will significantly increase your lifespan. While you are enjoying the benefit of genetic medicine, researchers and medical scientists will advance and perfect Genetic Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy, allowing you to live even longer!

There are a number of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies going through clinical trials as you read this, which show great promise in preventing or treating serious illnesses which severely inhibit lifespan today. As the medical community becomes more adept at using these new tools for the purpose of treatment, they will begin to utilize these treatments as forms of Positive Medicine.

They will be able to treat patients before they even get sick in order to optimize their health and greatly improve lifespans as a result, because the incidence of illness will decline significantly. In addition, these same treatments will be able to streamline existing physiological processes, keeping the body physiologically stronger and more youthful. They will be able to tailor these treatments uniquely to the individual in order to give the best care to each individual patient.

Stay on the Cutting Edge of Longevity Medicine to Perpetually Extend the Human Lifespan

With each of these breakthroughs and treatments, we will come one step closer to Immortality. Eventually, scientists and researchers will crack the code of human life, and finally figure out how to allow us to truly live indefinitely. It may take 100 years or it may take 500 years to achieve true Immortality, but each life-extending advance will allow people to survive until the next great advance. Hyper-Longevity will eventually become a universal reality, barring accident, war, or any other form of life-ending catastrophe.

You may feel that this is a science fiction world that I am describing, but it very well may be possible for you to experience this all for yourself. It is estimated that at some point between 2032 and 2052 we will have perfected medical practices which allow us to live significantly longer lives than we do today. Those that are optimistic feel that we are just twenty years away from this era, while those that are more cautious suggest that fifty years would be a more reasonable estimate.

Twenty to fifty years may not seem like that long in scientific study, but in terms of your own life, it is a significant period of time. Are you willing to make the sacrifices now in order to experience Hyperlongevity in the near future?

Eight Ways to Extend Your Lifespan

There are a lot of steps that you can take in your life today in order to significantly increase the odds that you survive to experience this new and amazing future. If you follow the suggestions below, conscientiously, you will maximize your potential to extend your life until further longevity advances develop in the coming decades.

These eight factors have been shown to be most important when determining the length of an individual’s lifespan:

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Environment

  • Social Circles

  • Vice

  • Climate

  • Calorie-Restricted Diet

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy

The Diet of the 21st Century: Caloric Restriction and Fasting for a Longer Life

A recent article in Newsmax Health explained that the future of longevity isn’t fad dieting or strenuous exercise, but a Calorie-Restricted diet which manages metabolism and ensures a long and healthy life.

Over the last century, there have been more than twenty thousand studies regarding caloric restriction in animal species from around the globe. All of these studies have unequivocally shown that restricting the calories in an animal’s diet has the ability to significantly increase the lifespan, and the same appears to apply to human beings..

This may sound like a starvation diet at first, but conscientiously and significantly restricting calories in the human diet is a powerful means to a longer life. Of course, most people consume at least 1500 calories per day and some consume several thousand! But, it appears that the sweet spot for human longevity is quite a bit lower than that 1500 calorie threshold.

For those that are struggling with Caloric Restriction, especially those that are currently overweight, HCG Injections can help relieve the feeling of hunger associated with the initial phase of the diet in order to acclimate to their new dietary lifestyle more effectively.

At first it may seem counter-intuitive, that too much of the Bread of Life can actually shorten the lifespan, but that absolutely seems to be the case. A diet that provides high levels of nutrients through the consumption of a small number of calories is the number one way to increase human longevity effectively. Intermittent Fasting and Caloric Restriction slow down aging and also reduce the incidence of a wide variety of illnesses that plague so many in America today.

The Modern Media and the Culture of Food in the West

In the United States, as well as other countries in the West including the United Kingdom, children were raised in a reality in which starvation was one of the greatest evils of the 19th and 20th century. The various forms of media available all showed the terrible fates of so many who were denied the food needed to live. Nowhere is this imagery more vivid in Western Civilization than in the footage captured after the end of World War II as the true horrors of the Holocaust were revealed to the world at large.

During the Cold War we also experienced further evidence of the horrors of famine as communist Russia and China struggled with providing their populations with proper nutrition, leading countless to die of starvation over many decades. Today, on modern television, there are advertisements for charities throughout Africa and Asia which show the plight of the starving in these third world nations.

I do not mean to discount the real and significant struggles that those that came before us experienced in the not so distant past, but it had a powerful impact on food culture in the West, particularly the idea that it is better to eat too much than too little. In our elementary education and beyond, we are confronted with story after story of mass famine, and it seems that part of the way that we culturally appreciate our current abundance is by partaking in it.

This appreciation for our abundance has led directly to a culture of overeating that borders on obsession. In the West, we simply love our food too much, and the expansion of cuisine in the West has allowed anyone to get whatever they want, when they want it, whether they go to the grocery store, the pizza parlor, or the Chinese buffet.

A Culture of Overeating Develops into a Culture of Force Feeding

Throughout the twentieth century, we have always been taught that we need to eat every last bite on our plates. Often times, we were also strongly encouraged, if not forced, to go back for a second portion. In addition to this, the proliferation of soda drinks has led directly to a significant increase in the empty calories that the average American consumes.

As the twentieth century barreled on, parents on average had less time to cook and prepare meals at home, which led to the greater proliferation of both fast food and microwavable dinners, loaded with sugars, salts, and carbohydrates which increased our caloric consumption even more!

During this age, restaurants like Burger King and McDonald’s became the captains of the fast food industry, generating billions of dollars in profit funneling cheap calories into the mouths of men, women, and children all across the country.

Because of all these pressures to overeat, the longevity gains that people in the West experienced as a result of modernization all began to slip away, the combination of unhealthy eating and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is threatening today’s generation with the prospect of living shorter lives than their parents on average!

The United States would be stronger in every way, if it could foster greater consciousness about the importance of eating smarter to eat longer. If we all just made the proactive decision to engage in a lifestyle of at least mild caloric restriction, it would both decrease the price of health care and allow the citizens of this nation to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Do You Dream of a Healthier, Happier Life? Contact the Conscious Evolution Institute Today!

If you are a man or woman over the age of thirty and currently live in the United States, the Conscious Evolution Institute can help you improve your health and longevity. We provide Doctor-Monitored Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy to patients all across the United States.

With just a simple phone call, we can arrange for you to meet with one of our affiliate physicians in order to set you on the road to a new you. We offer a variety of Hormone Replacement options, including Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Human Growth Hormone Injections, Sermorelin Acetate Injections, and HCG Injection Therapy for Weight Loss.

We also provide nutrition and lifestyle counseling in order to help you maximize the results of your treatment by choosing foods, supplements, and exercises that will get your body running on all cylinders!

If you feel that you may be a candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy, don’t hesitate, call us today, and one of our friendly specialists will walk you through the process and answer any and all questions that you may have.

For more information on Ten Ways To Live Ten Years Longer check out

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Physicians & Staff |Longevity Medical

Posted: October 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

At Longevity Medicalwe have assembled one of the finest groups of integrative physicians in the country. Many of our physicians are considered by their peers to be leaders in their field. In addition to providing excellent patient care, our physicians author research papers, lecture at medical conferences, as well as hold free medical lectures for our patients.

We recognize the importance of having a fully supportive environment, and that includes a caring staff. From your first phone call we are here to aid each patient through the process of scheduling, insurance, retrieving records, explaining treatment plans, and most of all getting you onto the path of health.

Meet our Staff picture from above, pictured Left to Right:

Leticia (Lead Medical Assistant), Tracy (Front Office Medical Assistant), Karina (Front Office Medical Assistant), Tami (Patient Care Coordinator)

Excerpt from:
Physicians & Staff |Longevity Medical

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Alternative medicine – Wikipedia

Posted: October 22, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Alternative or fringe medicine is any practice claimed to have the healing effects of medicine and is: proven not to work; has no scientific evidence showing that it works; or that is solely harmful.[n 1][n 2][n 3] Alternative medicine is not a part of medicine,[n 1][n 4][n 5][n 6] or science-based healthcare systems.[1][2][4] It consists of a wide variety of practices, products, and therapiesranging from those that are biologically plausible but not well tested, to those with known harmful and toxic effects.[n 4][5][6][7][8][9] Despite significant costs in testing alternative medicine, including $2.5 billion spent by the United States government, almost none have shown any effectiveness beyond that of false treatments (placebo).[10][11] Perceived effects of alternative medicine are caused by the placebo effect, decreased effects of functional treatment (and thus also decreased side-effects),[12] and regression toward the mean where spontaneous improvement is credited to alternative therapies.

Complementary medicine or integrative medicine is when alternative medicine is used together with functional medical treatment, in a belief that it “complements” (improves the efficacy of) the treatment.[n 7][14][15][16][17] However, significant drug interactions caused by alternative therapies may instead negatively influence the treatment, making treatments less effective, notably cancer therapy.[12][18]

CAM is an abbreviation of complementary and alternative medicine.[19][20] It has also be called sCAM or SCAM for “so-called complementary and alternative medicine” or “supplements and complementary and alternative medicine”.[21][22] The word Holistic is often use, claiming to take into account the “whole” person, in contrast to the supposed reductionism of medicine. Due to its many names the field has been criticized for intense rebranding of what are essentially the same practices: as soon as one name is declared synonymous with quackery, a new is chosen.[23]

Alternative medical diagnoses and treatments are not included in the science-based treatments taught in medical schools, and are not used in medical practice where treatments are based on scientific knowledge. Alternative therapies are either unproven, disproved, or impossible to prove,[n 8][5][14][25][26] and are often based on religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, or fraud.[5][6][14][27] Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine and health care providers varies between and within countries. Marketing alternative therapies as treating or preventing cancer is illegal in many countries including the United States and most parts of the European Union.

Alternative medicine has been criticized for being based on misleading statements, quackery, pseudoscience, antiscience, fraud, or poor scientific methodology. Promoting alternative medicine has been called dangerous and unethical.[n 9][29] Testing alternative medicine that have no scientific basis has been called a waste of scarce medical research resources.[30][31] Critics have said “there is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t”,[32] and the problem is not only that it does not work, but that the “underlying logic is magical, childish or downright absurd”.[33] There have also been calls that the concept of any alternative medicine that works is paradoxical, as any treatment proven to work is simply “medicine”.[34]

It is loosely as a defined set of products, practices, and theories that are believed or perceived by their users to have the healing effects of medicine,[n 2][n 4] but whose effectiveness has not been clearly established using scientific methods,[n 2][n 3][5][6][24][26]and whose theory and practice is not part of biomedicine,[n 4][n 1][n 5][n 6] or whose theories or practices are directly contradicted by scientific evidence or scientific principles used in biomedicine.[5][6][27] “Biomedicine” or “medicine” is that part of medical science that applies principles of biology, physiology, molecular biology, biophysics, and other natural sciences to clinical practice, using scientific methods to establish the effectiveness of that practice. Unlike medicine,[n 1] an alternative product or practice does not originate from using scientific methodology, but may instead be based on testimonials, religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, or other unscientific sources.[n 3][5][6][14]

The expression also refers to a diverse range of related and unrelated products, practices, and theories ranging from biologically plausible practices and products and practices with some evidence, to practices and theories that are directly contradicted by basic science or clear evidence, and products that have been conclusively proven to be ineffective or even toxic and harmful.[n 4][7][8]

The terms-Alternative medicine, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, holistic medicine, natural medicine, unorthodox medicine, fringe medicine, unconventional medicine, and new age medicine are used interchangeably as having the same meaning and are almost synonymous in some contexts,[23][39][40][41] but may have different meanings in some rare cases.

The meaning of the term “alternative” in the expression “alternative medicine”, is not that it is an effective alternative to medical science, although some alternative medicine promoters may use the loose terminology to give the appearance of effectiveness.[5][42] Loose terminology may also be used to suggest meaning that a dichotomy exists when it does not, e.g., the use of the expressions “western medicine” and “eastern medicine” to suggest that the difference is a cultural difference between the Asiatic east and the European west, rather than that the difference is between evidence-based medicine and treatments that don’t work.[5]

It refers to use of alternative medical treatments alongside conventional medicine, in the belief that it increases the effectiveness of the conventional medicine.[43][44][45] An example of “complementary medicine” is use of acupuncture (sticking needles in the body to influence the flow of a supernatural energy), along with using science-based medicine, in the belief that the acupuncture increases the effectiveness or “complements” the science-based medicine.[45]

It refers to the pre-scientific practices of a culture, contrary to what is traditionally practiced in cultures where medical science dominates.

“Eastern medicine” typically refers to the traditional medicines of Asia where conventional bio-medicine penetrated much later.

Prominent members of the science[32][46] and biomedical science community[25] assert that it is not meaningful to define an alternative medicine that is separate from a conventional medicine, that the expressions “conventional medicine”, “alternative medicine”, “complementary medicine”, “integrative medicine”, and “holistic medicine” do not refer to any medicine at all.[25][32][46][47]

Others in both the biomedical and CAM communities point out that CAM cannot be precisely defined because of the diversity of theories and practices it includes, and because the boundaries between CAM and biomedicine overlap, are porous, and change. The expression “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) resists easy definition because the health systems and practices it refers to are diffuse, and its boundaries poorly defined.[7][n 10] Healthcare practices categorized as alternative may differ in their historical origin, theoretical basis, diagnostic technique, therapeutic practice and in their relationship to the medical mainstream. Some alternative therapies, including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, have antique origins in East or South Asia and are entirely alternative medical systems;[52] others, such as homeopathy and chiropractic, have origins in Europe or the United States and emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some, such as osteopathy and chiropractic, employ manipulative physical methods of treatment; others, such as meditation and prayer, are based on mind-body interventions. Treatments considered alternative in one location may be considered conventional in another.[55] Thus, chiropractic is not considered alternative in Denmark and likewise osteopathic medicine is no longer thought of as an alternative therapy in the United States.[55]

One common feature of all definitions of alternative medicine is its designation as “other than” conventional medicine. For example, the widely referenced descriptive definition of complementary and alternative medicine devised by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), states that it is “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.”[1] For conventional medical practitioners, it does not necessarily follow that either it or its practitioners would no longer be considered alternative.[n 11]

Some definitions seek to specify alternative medicine in terms of its social and political marginality to mainstream healthcare.[60] This can refer to the lack of support that alternative therapies receive from the medical establishment and related bodies regarding access to research funding, sympathetic coverage in the medical press, or inclusion in the standard medical curriculum.[60] In 1993, the British Medical Association (BMA), one among many professional organizations who have attempted to define alternative medicine, stated that it[n 12] referred to “…those forms of treatment which are not widely used by the conventional healthcare professions, and the skills of which are not taught as part of the undergraduate curriculum of conventional medical and paramedical healthcare courses.”[61] In a US context, an influential definition coined in 1993 by the Harvard-based physician,[62] David M. Eisenberg,[63] characterized alternative medicine “as interventions neither taught widely in medical schools nor generally available in US hospitals”.[64] These descriptive definitions are inadequate in the present-day when some conventional doctors offer alternative medical treatments and CAM introductory courses or modules can be offered as part of standard undergraduate medical training;[65] alternative medicine is taught in more than 50 per cent of US medical schools and increasingly US health insurers are willing to provide reimbursement for CAM therapies. In 1999, 7.7% of US hospitals reported using some form of CAM therapy; this proportion had risen to 37.7% by 2008.[67]

An expert panel at a conference hosted in 1995 by the US Office for Alternative Medicine (OAM),[68][n 13] devised a theoretical definition[68] of alternative medicine as “a broad domain of healing resources… other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period.”[69] This definition has been widely adopted by CAM researchers,[68] cited by official government bodies such as the UK Department of Health,[70] attributed as the definition used by the Cochrane Collaboration,[71] and, with some modification,[dubious discuss] was preferred in the 2005 consensus report of the US Institute of Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States.[n 4]

The 1995 OAM conference definition, an expansion of Eisenberg’s 1993 formulation, is silent regarding questions of the medical effectiveness of alternative therapies.[72] Its proponents hold that it thus avoids relativism about differing forms of medical knowledge and, while it is an essentially political definition, this should not imply that the dominance of mainstream biomedicine is solely due to political forces.[72] According to this definition, alternative and mainstream medicine can only be differentiated with reference to what is “intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society of culture”.[73] However, there is neither a reliable method to distinguish between cultures and subcultures, nor to attribute them as dominant or subordinate, nor any accepted criteria to determine the dominance of a cultural entity.[73] If the culture of a politically dominant healthcare system is held to be equivalent to the perspectives of those charged with the medical management of leading healthcare institutions and programs, the definition fails to recognize the potential for division either within such an elite or between a healthcare elite and the wider population.[73]

Normative definitions distinguish alternative medicine from the biomedical mainstream in its provision of therapies that are unproven, unvalidated, or ineffective and support of theories with no recognized scientific basis. These definitions characterize practices as constituting alternative medicine when, used independently or in place of evidence-based medicine, they are put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but are not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method.[1][14][25][43][44][75] Exemplifying this perspective, a 1998 editorial co-authored by Marcia Angell, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, argued that:

This line of division has been subject to criticism, however, as not all forms of standard medical practice have adequately demonstrated evidence of benefit, [n 1][76] and it is also unlikely in most instances that conventional therapies, if proven to be ineffective, would ever be classified as CAM.[68]

Public information websites maintained by the governments of the US and of the UK make a distinction between “alternative medicine” and “complementary medicine”, but mention that these two overlap. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services) states that “alternative medicine” refers to using a non-mainstream approach in place of conventional medicine and that “complementary medicine” generally refers to using a non-mainstream approach together with conventional medicine, and comments that the boundaries between complementary and conventional medicine overlap and change with time.[1]

The National Health Service (NHS) website NHS Choices (owned by the UK Department of Health), adopting the terminology of NCCIH, states that when a treatment is used alongside conventional treatments, to help a patient cope with a health condition, and not as an alternative to conventional treatment, this use of treatments can be called “complementary medicine”; but when a treatment is used instead of conventional medicine, with the intention of treating or curing a health condition, the use can be called “alternative medicine”.[78]

Similarly, the public information website maintained by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of the Commonwealth of Australia uses the acronym “CAM” for a wide range of health care practices, therapies, procedures and devices not within the domain of conventional medicine. In the Australian context this is stated to include acupuncture; aromatherapy; chiropractic; homeopathy; massage; meditation and relaxation therapies; naturopathy; osteopathy; reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine; and the use of vitamin supplements.[79]

The Danish National Board of Health’s “Council for Alternative Medicine” (Sundhedsstyrelsens Rd for Alternativ Behandling (SRAB)), an independent institution under the National Board of Health (Danish: Sundhedsstyrelsen), uses the term “alternative medicine” for:

In General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine, published in 2000 by the World Health Organization (WHO), complementary and alternative medicine were defined as a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.[81] Some herbal therapies are mainstream in Europe but are alternative in the US.[83]

A United States government agency, the National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), created its own classification system for branches of complementary and alternative medicine that divides them into five major groups. These groups have some overlap, and distinguish two types of energy medicine: veritable which involves scientifically observable energy (including magnet therapy, colorpuncture and light therapy) and putative, which invokes physically undetectable or unverifiable energy.[84]

Alternative medicine practices and beliefs are diverse in their foundations and methodologies. The wide range of treatments and practices referred to as alternative medicine includes some stemming from nineteenth century North America, such as chiropractic and naturopathy, others, mentioned by Jtte, that originated in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany, such as homeopathy and hydropathy,[85] and some that have originated in China or India, while African, Caribbean, Pacific Island, Native American, and other regional cultures have traditional medical systems as diverse as their diversity of cultures.[1]

Examples of CAM as a broader term for unorthodox treatment and diagnosis of illnesses, disease, infections, etc.,[86] include yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, herbalism, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, massage, osteopathy, reflexology, relaxation therapies, spiritual healing and tai chi.[86] CAM differs from conventional medicine. It is normally private medicine and not covered by health insurance.[86] It is paid out of pocket by the patient and is an expensive treatment.[86] CAM tends to be a treatment for upper class or more educated people.[87]

The NCCIH classification system is –

Alternative medicine consists of a wide range of health care practices, products, and therapies. The shared feature is a claim to heal that is not based on the scientific method. Alternative medicine practices are diverse in their foundations and methodologies.[1] Alternative medicine practices may be classified by their cultural origins or by the types of beliefs upon which they are based.[1][5][14][27] Methods may incorporate or be based on traditional medicinal practices of a particular culture, folk knowledge, supersition, spiritual beliefs, belief in supernatural energies (antiscience), pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, new or different concepts of health and disease, and any bases other than being proven by scientific methods.[5][6][14][27] Different cultures may have their own unique traditional or belief based practices developed recently or over thousands of years, and specific practices or entire systems of practices.

Alternative medicine, such as using naturopathy or homeopathy in place of conventional medicine, is based on belief systems not grounded in science.[1]

Alternative medical systems may be based on traditional medicine practices, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda in India, or practices of other cultures around the world.[1] Some useful applications of traditional medicines have been researched and accepted within ordinary medicine, however the underlying belief systems are seldom scientific and are not accepted.

Bases of belief may include belief in existence of supernatural energies undetected by the science of physics, as in biofields, or in belief in properties of the energies of physics that are inconsistent with the laws of physics, as in energy medicine.[1]

Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine. Proponents of acupuncture believe that a supernatural energy called qi flows through the universe and through the body, and helps propel the bloodand that blockage of this energy leads to disease.[99] They believe that inserting needles in various parts of the body, determined by astrological calculations, can restore balance to the blocked flows and thereby cure disease.[99]

In the western version of Japanese Reiki, practitioners place their palms on the patient near Chakras that they believe are centers of supernatural energies, and believe that these supernatural energies can transfer from the practitioner’s palms to heal the patient.

Mind-body medicine claims to take a “holistic” (whole) approach to health that explores the interconnection between the mind, body, and spirit. It works under the premise that the mind can affect “bodily functions and symptoms”.[1] Mind body medicines includes healing claims made in yoga, meditation, deep-breathing exercises, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, progressive relaxation, qi gong, and tai chi.[1] Notably it does not consider psychology or psychiatry.

Substance based practices use substances found in nature such as herbs, foods, non-vitamin supplements and megavitamins, animal and fungal products, and minerals, including use of these products in traditional medical practices that may also incorporate other methods.[1][11][109] Examples include healing claims for nonvitamin supplements, fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acid, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil, and ginseng.[110]Herbal medicine, or phytotherapy, includes not just the use of plant products, but may also include the use of animal and mineral products.[11] It is among the most commercially successful branches of alternative medicine, and includes the tablets, powders and elixirs that are sold as “nutritional supplements”.[11] Only a very small percentage of these have been shown to have any efficacy, and there is little regulation as to standards and safety of their contents.[11] This may include use of known toxic substances, such as use of the poison lead in traditional Chinese medicine.[110]

Manipulative and body-based practices feature the manipulation or movement of body parts, such as is done in bodywork and chiropractic manipulation.

Osteopathic manipulative medicine, also known as osteopathic manipulative treatment, is a core set of techniques of osteopathy and osteopathic medicine distinguishing these fields from mainstream medicine.[111]

Religion based healing practices, such as use of prayer and the laying of hands in Christian faith healing, and shamanism, rely on belief in divine or spiritual intervention for healing.

Shamanism is a practice of many cultures around the world, in which a practitioner reaches an altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world or channel supernatural energies in the belief they can heal.[112]

The history of alternative medicine may refer to the history of a group of diverse medical practices that were collectively promoted as “alternative medicine” beginning in the 1970s, to the collection of individual histories of members of that group, or to the history of western medical practices that were labeled “irregular practices” by the western medical establishment.[5][113][114][115][116] It includes the histories of complementary medicine and of integrative medicine. Before the 1970s, western practitioners that were not part of the increasingly science-based medical establishment were referred to “irregular practitioners”, and were dismissed by the medical establishment as unscientific and as practicing quackery.[113][114] Until the 1970’s, irregular practice became increasingly marginalized as quackery and fraud, as western medicine increasingly incorporated scientific methods and discoveries, and had a corresponding increase in success of its treatments.[115] In the 1970s, irregular practices were grouped with traditional practices of nonwestern cultures and with other unproven or disproven practices that were not part of biomedicine, with the entire group collectively marketed and promoted under the single expression “alternative medicine”.[5][113][114][115][117]

Use of alternative medicine in the west began to rise following the counterculture movement of the 1960s, as part of the rising new age movement of the 1970s.[5][118][119] This was due to misleading mass marketing of “alternative medicine” being an effective “alternative” to biomedicine, changing social attitudes about not using chemicals and challenging the establishment and authority of any kind, sensitivity to giving equal measure to beliefs and practices of other cultures (cultural relativism), and growing frustration and desperation by patients about limitations and side effects of science-based medicine.[5][114][115][116][117][119][120] At the same time, in 1975, the American Medical Association, which played the central role in fighting quackery in the United States, abolished its quackery committee and closed down its Department of Investigation.[113]:xxi[120] By the early to mid 1970s the expression “alternative medicine” came into widespread use, and the expression became mass marketed as a collection of “natural” and effective treatment “alternatives” to science-based biomedicine.[5][120][121][122] By 1983, mass marketing of “alternative medicine” was so pervasive that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) pointed to “an apparently endless stream of books, articles, and radio and television programmes urge on the public the virtues of (alternative medicine) treatments ranging from meditation to drilling a hole in the skull to let in more oxygen”.[120] In this 1983 article, the BMJ wrote, “one of the few growth industries in contemporary Britain is alternative medicine”, noting that by 1983, “33% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 39% of those with backache admitted to having consulted an alternative practitioner”.[120]

By about 1990, the American alternative medicine industry had grown to a $27 Billion per year, with polls showing 30% of Americans were using it.[119][123] Moreover, polls showed that Americans made more visits for alternative therapies than the total number of visits to primary care doctors, and American out-of-pocket spending (non-insurance spending) on alternative medicine was about equal to spending on biomedical doctors.[113]:172 In 1991, Time magazine ran a cover story, “The New Age of Alternative Medicine: Why New Age Medicine Is Catching On”.[119][123] In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine reported one in three Americans as using alternative medicine.[119] In 1993, the Public Broadcasting System ran a Bill Moyers special, Healing and the Mind, with Moyers commenting that “…people by the tens of millions are using alternative medicine. If established medicine does not understand that, they are going to lose their clients.”[119]

Another explosive growth began in the 1990s, when senior level political figures began promoting alternative medicine, investing large sums of government medical research funds into testing alternative medicine, including testing of scientifically implausible treatments, and relaxing government regulation of alternative medicine products as compared to biomedical products.[5][113]:xxi[114][115][116][117][124][125] Beginning with a 1991 appropriation of $2 million for funding research of alternative medicine research, federal spending grew to a cumulative total of about $2.5 billion by 2009, with 50% of Americans using alternative medicine by 2013.[10][126]

In 1991, pointing to a need for testing because of the widespread use of alternative medicine without authoritative information on its efficacy, United States Senator Tom Harkin used $2 million of his discretionary funds to create the Office for the Study of Unconventional Medical Practices (OSUMP), later renamed to be the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM).[113]:170[127][128] The OAM was created to be within the National Institute of Health (NIH), the scientifically prestigious primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.[113]:170[127][128] The mandate was to investigate, evaluate, and validate effective alternative medicine treatments, and alert the public as the results of testing its efficacy.[123][127][128][129]

Sen. Harkin had become convinced his allergies were cured by taking bee pollen pills, and was urged to make the spending by two of his influential constituents.[123][127][128] Bedell, a longtime friend of Sen. Harkin, was a former member of the United States House of Representatives who believed that alternative medicine had twice cured him of diseases after mainstream medicine had failed, claiming that cow’s milk colostrum cured his Lyme disease, and an herbal derivative from camphor had prevented post surgical recurrence of his prostate cancer.[113][123] Wiewel was a promoter of unproven cancer treatments involving a mixture of blood sera that the Food and Drug Administration had banned from being imported.[123] Both Bedell and Wiewel became members of the advisory panel for the OAM. The company that sold the bee pollen was later fined by the Federal Trade Commission for making false health claims about their bee-pollen products reversing the aging process, curing allergies, and helping with weight loss.[130]

In 1993, Britain’s Prince Charles, who claimed that homeopathy and other alternative medicine was an effective alternative to biomedicine, established the Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH), as a charity to explore “how safe, proven complementary therapies can work in conjunction with mainstream medicine”.[131] The FIH received government funding through grants from Britain’s Department of Health.[131]

In 1994, Sen. Harkin (D) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R) introduced the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).[132][133] The act reduced authority of the FDA to monitor products sold as “natural” treatments.[132] Labeling standards were reduced to allow health claims for supplements based only on unconfirmed preliminary studies that were not subjected to scientific peer review, and the act made it more difficult for the FDA to promptly seize products or demand proof of safety where there was evidence of a product being dangerous.[133] The Act became known as the “The 1993 Snake Oil Protection Act” following a New York Times editorial under that name.[132]

Senator Harkin complained about the “unbendable rules of randomized clinical trials”, citing his use of bee pollen to treat his allergies, which he claimed to be effective even though it was biologically implausible and efficacy was not established using scientific methods.[127][134] Sen. Harkin asserted that claims for alternative medicine efficacy be allowed not only without conventional scientific testing, even when they are biologically implausible, “It is not necessary for the scientific community to understand the process before the American public can benefit from these therapies.”[132] Following passage of the act, sales rose from about $4 billion in 1994, to $20 billion by the end of 2000, at the same time as evidence of their lack of efficacy or harmful effects grew.[132] Senator Harkin came into open public conflict with the first OAM Director Joseph M. Jacobs and OAM board members from the scientific and biomedical community.[128] Jacobs’ insistence on rigorous scientific methodology caused friction with Senator Harkin.[127][134][135] Increasing political resistance to the use of scientific methodology was publicly criticized by Dr. Jacobs and another OAM board member complained that “nonsense has trickled down to every aspect of this office”.[127][134] In 1994, Senator Harkin appeared on television with cancer patients who blamed Dr. Jacobs for blocking their access to untested cancer treatment, leading Jacobs to resign in frustration.[127][134]

In 1995, Wayne Jonas, a promoter of homeopathy and political ally of Senator Harkin, became the director of the OAM, and continued in that role until 1999.[136] In 1997, the NCCAM budget was increased from $12 million to $20 million annually.[137] From 1990 to 1997, use of alternative medicine in the US increased by 25%, with a corresponding 50% increase in expenditures.[87] The OAM drew increasing criticism from eminent members of the scientific community with letters to the Senate Appropriations Committee when discussion of renewal of funding OAM came up.[113]:175 Nobel laureate Paul Berg wrote that prestigious NIH should not be degraded to act as a cover for quackery, calling the OAM “an embarrassment to serious scientists.”[113]:175[137] The president of the American Physical Society wrote complaining that the government was spending money on testing products and practices that “violate basic laws of physics and more clearly resemble witchcraft”.[113]:175[137] In 1998, the President of the North Carolina Medical Association publicly called for shutting down the OAM.[138]

In 1998, NIH director and Nobel laureate Harold Varmus came into conflict with Senator Harkin by pushing to have more NIH control of alternative medicine research.[139] The NIH Director placed the OAM under more strict scientific NIH control.[137][139] Senator Harkin responded by elevating OAM into an independent NIH “center”, just short of being its own “institute”, and renamed to be the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM had a mandate to promote a more rigorous and scientific approach to the study of alternative medicine, research training and career development, outreach, and “integration”. In 1999, the NCCAM budget was increased from $20 million to $50 million.[138][139] The United States Congress approved the appropriations without dissent. In 2000, the budget was increased to about $68 million, in 2001 to $90 million, in 2002 to $104 million, and in 2003, to $113 million.[138]

In 2004, modifications of the European Parliament’s 2001 Directive 2001/83/EC, regulating all medicine products, were made with the expectation of influencing development of the European market for alternative medicine products.[140] Regulation of alternative medicine in Europe was loosened with “a simplified registration procedure” for traditional herbal medicinal products.[140][141] Plausible “efficacy” for traditional medicine was redefined to be based on long term popularity and testimonials (“the pharmacological effects or efficacy of the medicinal product are plausible on the basis of long-standing use and experience.”), without scientific testing.[140][141] The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) was created within the European Medicines Agency in London (EMEA). A special working group was established for homeopathic remedies under the Heads of Medicines Agencies.[140]

Through 2004, alternative medicine that was traditional to Germany continued to be a regular part of the health care system, including homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine.[140] The German Medicines Act mandated that science-based medical authorities consider the “particular characteristics” of complementary and alternative medicines.[140] By 2004, homeopathy had grown to be the most used alternative therapy in France, growing from 16% of the population using homeopathic medicine in 1982, to 29% by 1987, 36% percent by 1992, and 62% of French mothers using homeopathic medicines by 2004, with 94.5% of French pharmacists advising pregnant women to use homeopathic remedies.[142] As of 2004[update], 100 million people in India depended solely on traditional German homeopathic remedies for their medical care.[143] As of 2010[update], homeopathic remedies continued to be the leading alternative treatment used by European physicians.[142] By 2005, sales of homeopathic remedies and anthroposophical medicine had grown to $930 million Euros, a 60% increase from 1995.[142][144]

In 2008, London’s The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst that asked the FIH to recall two guides promoting alternative medicine, saying: “the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.” In 2010, Brittan’s FIH closed after allegations of fraud and money laundering led to arrests of its officials.[131]

In 2009, after a history of 17 years of government testing and spending of nearly $2.5 billion on research had produced almost no clearly proven efficacy of alternative therapies, Senator Harkin complained, “One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.”[139][145][146] Members of the scientific community criticized this comment as showing Senator Harkin did not understand the basics of scientific inquiry, which tests hypotheses, but never intentionally attempts to “validate approaches”.[139] Members of the scientific and biomedical communities complained that after a history of 17 years of being tested, at a cost of over $2.5 Billion on testing scientifically and biologically implausible practices, almost no alternative therapy showed clear efficacy.[10] In 2009, the NCCAM’s budget was increased to about $122 million.[139] Overall NIH funding for CAM research increased to $300 Million by 2009.[139] By 2009, Americans were spending $34 Billion annually on CAM.[147]

Since 2009, according to Art. 118a of the Swiss Federal Constitution, the Swiss Confederation and the Cantons of Switzerland shall within the scope of their powers ensure that consideration is given to complementary medicine.[148]

In 2012, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a criticism that study after study had been funded by NCCAM, but “failed to prove that complementary or alternative therapies are anything more than placebos”.[149] The JAMA criticism pointed to large wasting of research money on testing scientifically implausible treatments, citing “NCCAM officials spending $374,000 to find that inhaling lemon and lavender scents does not promote wound healing; $750,000 to find that prayer does not cure AIDS or hasten recovery from breast-reconstruction surgery; $390,000 to find that ancient Indian remedies do not control type 2 diabetes; $700,000 to find that magnets do not treat arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or migraine headaches; and $406,000 to find that coffee enemas do not cure pancreatic cancer.”[149] It was pointed out that negative results from testing were generally ignored by the public, that people continue to “believe what they want to believe, arguing that it does not matter what the data show: They know what works for them”.[149] Continued increasing use of CAM products was also blamed on the lack of FDA ability to regulate alternative products, where negative studies do not result in FDA warnings or FDA-mandated changes on labeling, whereby few consumers are aware that many claims of many supplements were found not to have not to be supported.[149]

By 2013, 50% of Americans were using CAM.[126] As of 2013[update], CAM medicinal products in Europe continued to be exempted from documented efficacy standards required of other medicinal products.[150]

In 2014 the NCCAM was renamed to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) with a new charter requiring that 12 of the 18 council members shall be selected with a preference to selecting leading representatives of complementary and alternative medicine, 9 of the members must be licensed practitioners of alternative medicine, 6 members must be general public leaders in the fields of public policy, law, health policy, economics, and management, and 3 members must represent the interests of individual consumers of complementary and alternative medicine.[151]

Much of what is now categorized as alternative medicine was developed as independent, complete medical systems. These were developed long before biomedicine and use of scientific methods. Each system was developed in relatively isolated regions of the world where there was little or no medical contact with pre-scientific western medicine, or with each other’s systems. Examples are traditional Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic medicine of India.

Other alternative medicine practices, such as homeopathy, were developed in western Europe and in opposition to western medicine, at a time when western medicine was based on unscientific theories that were dogmatically imposed by western religious authorities. Homeopathy was developed prior to discovery of the basic principles of chemistry, which proved homeopathic remedies contained nothing but water. But homeopathy, with its remedies made of water, was harmless compared to the unscientific and dangerous orthodox western medicine practiced at that time, which included use of toxins and draining of blood, often resulting in permanent disfigurement or death.[114]

Other alternative practices such as chiropractic and osteopathic manipulative medicine were developed in the United States at a time that western medicine was beginning to incorporate scientific methods and theories, but the biomedical model was not yet totally dominant. Practices such as chiropractic and osteopathic, each considered to be irregular practices by the western medical establishment, also opposed each other, both rhetorically and politically with licensing legislation. Osteopathic practitioners added the courses and training of biomedicine to their licensing, and licensed Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine holders began diminishing use of the unscientific origins of the field. Without the original nonscientific practices and theories, osteopathic medicine is now considered the same as biomedicine.

Further information: Rise of modern medicine

Until the 1970s, western practitioners that were not part of the medical establishment were referred to “irregular practitioners”, and were dismissed by the medical establishment as unscientific, as practicing quackery.[114] Irregular practice became increasingly marginalized as quackery and fraud, as western medicine increasingly incorporated scientific methods and discoveries, and had a corresponding increase in success of its treatments.

Dating from the 1970s, medical professionals, sociologists, anthropologists and other commentators noted the increasing visibility of a wide variety of health practices that had neither derived directly from nor been verified by biomedical science.[152] Since that time, those who have analyzed this trend have deliberated over the most apt language with which to describe this emergent health field.[152] A variety of terms have been used, including heterodox, irregular, fringe and alternative medicine while others, particularly medical commentators, have been satisfied to label them as instances of quackery.[152] The most persistent term has been alternative medicine but its use is problematic as it assumes a value-laden dichotomy between a medical fringe, implicitly of borderline acceptability at best, and a privileged medical orthodoxy, associated with validated medico-scientific norms.[153] The use of the category of alternative medicine has also been criticized as it cannot be studied as an independent entity but must be understood in terms of a regionally and temporally specific medical orthodoxy.[154] Its use can also be misleading as it may erroneously imply that a real medical alternative exists.[85] As with near-synonymous expressions, such as unorthodox, complementary, marginal, or quackery, these linguistic devices have served, in the context of processes of professionalisation and market competition, to establish the authority of official medicine and police the boundary between it and its unconventional rivals.[153]

An early instance of the influence of this modern, or western, scientific medicine outside Europe and North America is Peking Union Medical College.[155][n 15][n 16]

From a historical perspective, the emergence of alternative medicine, if not the term itself, is typically dated to the 19th century.[156] This is despite the fact that there are variants of Western non-conventional medicine that arose in the late-eighteenth century or earlier and some non-Western medical traditions, currently considered alternative in the West and elsewhere, which boast extended historical pedigrees.[153] Alternative medical systems, however, can only be said to exist when there is an identifiable, regularized and authoritative standard medical practice, such as arose in the West during the nineteenth century, to which they can function as an alternative.

During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries regular and irregular medical practitioners became more clearly differentiated throughout much of Europe and,[158] as the nineteenth century progressed, most Western states converged in the creation of legally delimited and semi-protected medical markets.[159] It is at this point that an “official” medicine, created in cooperation with the state and employing a scientific rhetoric of legitimacy, emerges as a recognizable entity and that the concept of alternative medicine as a historical category becomes tenable.[160]

As part of this process, professional adherents of mainstream medicine in countries such as Germany, France, and Britain increasingly invoked the scientific basis of their discipline as a means of engendering internal professional unity and of external differentiation in the face of sustained market competition from homeopaths, naturopaths, mesmerists and other nonconventional medical practitioners, finally achieving a degree of imperfect dominance through alliance with the state and the passage of regulatory legislation.[85][153] In the US the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, based in Baltimore, Maryland, opened in 1893, with William H. Welch and William Osler among the founding physicians, and was the first medical school devoted to teaching “German scientific medicine”.[161]

Buttressed by increased authority arising from significant advances in the medical sciences of the late 19th century onwardsincluding development and application of the germ theory of disease by the chemist Louis Pasteur and the surgeon Joseph Lister, of microbiology co-founded by Robert Koch (in 1885 appointed professor of hygiene at the University of Berlin), and of the use of X-rays (Rntgen rays)the 1910 Flexner Report called upon American medical schools to follow the model of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and adhere to mainstream science in their teaching and research. This was in a belief, mentioned in the Report’s introduction, that the preliminary and professional training then prevailing in medical schools should be reformed, in view of the new means for diagnosing and combating disease made available the sciences on which medicine depended.[n 17][163]

Putative medical practices at the time that later became known as “alternative medicine” included homeopathy (founded in Germany in the early 19c.) and chiropractic (founded in North America in the late 19c.). These conflicted in principle with the developments in medical science upon which the Flexner reforms were based, and they have not become compatible with further advances of medical science such as listed in Timeline of medicine and medical technology, 19001999 and 2000present, nor have Ayurveda, acupuncture or other kinds of alternative medicine.[citation needed]

At the same time “Tropical medicine” was being developed as a specialist branch of western medicine in research establishments such as Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine founded in 1898 by Alfred Lewis Jones, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, founded in 1899 by Patrick Manson and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, instituted in 1912. A distinction was being made between western scientific medicine and indigenous systems. An example is given by an official report about indigenous systems of medicine in India, including Ayurveda, submitted by Mohammad Usman of Madras and others in 1923. This stated that the first question the Committee considered was “to decide whether the indigenous systems of medicine were scientific or not”.[164][165]

By the later twentieth century the term ‘alternative medicine’ entered public discourse,[n 18][168] but it was not always being used with the same meaning by all parties. Arnold S. Relman remarked in 1998 that in the best kind of medical practice, all proposed treatments must be tested objectively, and that in the end there will only be treatments that pass and those that do not, those that are proven worthwhile and those that are not. He asked ‘Can there be any reasonable “alternative”?'[169] But also in 1998 the then Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher,[170] issued public information about eight common alternative treatments (including acupuncture, holistic and massage), together with information about common diseases and conditions, on nutrition, diet, and lifestyle changes, and about helping consumers to decipher fraud and quackery, and to find healthcare centers and doctors who practiced alternative medicine.[171]

By 1990, approximately 60 million Americans had used one or more complementary or alternative therapies to address health issues, according to a nationwide survey in the US published in 1993 by David Eisenberg.[172] A study published in the November 11, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 42% of Americans had used complementary and alternative therapies, up from 34% in 1990.[87] However, despite the growth in patient demand for complementary medicine, most of the early alternative/complementary medical centers failed.[173]

Mainly as a result of reforms following the Flexner Report of 1910[174]medical education in established medical schools in the US has generally not included alternative medicine as a teaching topic.[n 19] Typically, their teaching is based on current practice and scientific knowledge about: anatomy, physiology, histology, embryology, neuroanatomy, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology.[176] Medical schools’ teaching includes such topics as doctor-patient communication, ethics, the art of medicine,[177] and engaging in complex clinical reasoning (medical decision-making).[178] Writing in 2002, Snyderman and Weil remarked that by the early twentieth century the Flexner model had helped to create the 20th-century academic health center, in which education, research, and practice were inseparable. While this had much improved medical practice by defining with increasing certainty the pathophysiological basis of disease, a single-minded focus on the pathophysiological had diverted much of mainstream American medicine from clinical conditions that were not well understood in mechanistic terms, and were not effectively treated by conventional therapies.[179]

By 2001 some form of CAM training was being offered by at least 75 out of 125 medical schools in the US.[180] Exceptionally, the School of Medicine of the University of Maryland, Baltimore includes a research institute for integrative medicine (a member entity of the Cochrane Collaboration).[181][182] Medical schools are responsible for conferring medical degrees, but a physician typically may not legally practice medicine until licensed by the local government authority. Licensed physicians in the US who have attended one of the established medical schools there have usually graduated Doctor of Medicine (MD).[183] All states require that applicants for MD licensure be graduates of an approved medical school and complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).[183]

The British Medical Association, in its publication Complementary Medicine, New Approach to Good Practice (1993), gave as a working definition of non-conventional therapies (including acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy): “…those forms of treatment which are not widely used by the orthodox health-care professions, and the skills of which are not part of the undergraduate curriculum of orthodox medical and paramedical health-care courses.” By 2000 some medical schools in the UK were offering CAM familiarisation courses to undergraduate medical students while some were also offering modules specifically on CAM.[185]

The Cochrane Collaboration Complementary Medicine Field explains its “Scope and Topics” by giving a broad and general definition for complementary medicine as including practices and ideas outside the domain of conventional medicine in several countriesand defined by its users as preventing or treating illness, or promoting health and well being, and which complement mainstream medicine in three ways: by contributing to a common whole, by satisfying a demand not met by conventional practices, and by diversifying the conceptual framework of medicine.[186]

Proponents of an evidence-base for medicine[n 20][188][189][190][191] such as the Cochrane Collaboration (founded in 1993 and from 2011 providing input for WHO resolutions) take a position that all systematic reviews of treatments, whether “mainstream” or “alternative”, ought to be held to the current standards of scientific method.[182] In a study titled Development and classification of an operational definition of complementary and alternative medicine for the Cochrane Collaboration (2011) it was proposed that indicators that a therapy is accepted include government licensing of practitioners, coverage by health insurance, statements of approval by government agencies, and recommendation as part of a practice guideline; and that if something is currently a standard, accepted therapy, then it is not likely to be widely considered as CAM.[68]

That alternative medicine has been on the rise “in countries where Western science and scientific method generally are accepted as the major foundations for healthcare, and ‘evidence-based’ practice is the dominant paradigm” was described as an “enigma” in the Medical Journal of Australia.[192]

Critics in the US say the expression is deceptive because it implies there is an effective alternative to science-based medicine, and that complementary is deceptive because it implies that the treatment increases the effectiveness of (complements) science-based medicine, while alternative medicines that have been tested nearly always have no measurable positive effect compared to a placebo.[5][193][194][195]

Some opponents, focused upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery as public health problems in the US, are highly critical of alternative medicine, notably Wallace Sampson and Paul Kurtz founders of Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and Stephen Barrett, co-founder of The National Council Against Health Fraud and webmaster of Quackwatch.[196] Grounds for opposing alternative medicine stated in the US and elsewhere include that:

Paul Offit proposed that “alternative medicine becomes quackery” in four ways, by:[46]

“CAM”, meaning “complementary and alternative medicine”, is not as well researched as conventional medicine, which undergoes intense research before release to the public.[86] Funding for research is also sparse making it difficult to do further research for effectiveness of CAM.[206] Most funding for CAM is funded by government agencies.[86] Proposed research for CAM are rejected by most private funding agencies because the results of research are not reliable.[86] The research for CAM has to meet certain standards from research ethics committees, which most CAM researchers find almost impossible to meet.[86] Even with the little research done on it, CAM has not been proven to be effective.[207]

Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine, wrote that government funded studies of integrating alternative medicine techniques into the mainstream are “used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate.”[208] Marcia Angell considered that critics felt that healthcare practices should be classified based solely on scientific evidence, and if a treatment had been rigorously tested and found safe and effective, science-based medicine will adopt it regardless of whether it was considered “alternative” to begin with.[25] It is possible for a method to change categories (proven vs. unproven), based on increased knowledge of its effectiveness or lack thereof. A prominent supporter of this position is George D. Lundberg, former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).[47]

Writing in 1999 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians Barrie R. Cassileth mentioned a 1997 letter to the US Senate Subcommittee on Public Health and Safety, which had deplored the lack of critical thinking and scientific rigor in OAM-supported research, had been signed by four Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists. (This was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).)[209]

In March 2009 a staff writer for the Washington Post reported that the impending national discussion about broadening access to health care, improving medical practice and saving money was giving a group of scientists an opening to propose shutting down the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They quoted one of these scientists, Steven Salzberg, a genome researcher and computational biologist at the University of Maryland, as saying “One of our concerns is that NIH is funding pseudoscience.” They noted that the vast majority of studies were based on fundamental misunderstandings of physiology and disease, and had shown little or no effect.[208]

Writers such as Carl Sagan (1934-1996), a noted astrophysicist, advocate of scientific skepticism and the author of The demonhaunted world: science as a candle in the dark (1996), have described the lack of empirical evidence to support the existence of the putative energy fields on which these therapies are predicated.

The NCCIH budget has been criticized[208] because, despite the duration and intensity of studies to measure the efficacy of alternative medicine, there had been no effective CAM treatments supported by scientific evidence as of 2002[update], according to the QuackWatch website; the NCCIH budget has been on a sharp and sustained rise.[210] Critics of the Center argue that the plausibility of interventions such as botanical remedies, diet, relaxation therapies and yoga should not be used to support research on implausible interventions based on superstition and belief in the supernatural, and that the plausible methods can be studied just as well in other parts of NIH, where they should be made to compete on an equal footing with other research projects.[208]

Sampson has also pointed out that CAM tolerated contradiction without thorough reason and experiment.[211] Barrett has pointed out that there is a policy at the NIH of never saying something doesn’t work only that a different version or dose might give different results.[10] Barrett also expressed concern that, just because some “alternatives” have merit, there is the impression that the rest deserve equal consideration and respect even though most are worthless, since they are all classified under the one heading of alternative medicine.[212]

A 2002 report on public attitudes and understanding issued by the US National Science Foundation defined the term “alternative medicine” as treatments that had not been proven effective using scientific methods, and described them as giving more weight to ancient traditions and anecdotes over biological science and clinical trials.[14]

English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in his 2003 book A Devil’s Chaplain (chapter 4.4), defined alternative medicine as a “set of practices that cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests.”[213] Another essay in the same book (chapter 1.4) quoted an article by John Diamond in The Independent: “There is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t.”[32] Dawkins argued that if a technique is demonstrated effective in properly performed trials it ceases to be alternative and simply becomes medicine.[214]

Use of the terms “Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” and “alternative medicine” have been criticized.

Criticisms have come from individuals such as Wallace Sampson in an article in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, June 1995.[5] Sampson argued that proponents of alternative medicine often used loose or ambiguous terminology to create the appearance that a choice between “alternative” effective treatments existed when it did not, or that there was effectiveness or scientific validity when it did not exist, or to suggest that a dichotomy existed when it did not, or to suggest that consistency with science existed when it might not. Proponents meant the term alternative to imply that a patient had a choice between effective treatments when there was none; meant the word “conventional” or “mainstream” to suggest that the difference between alternative medicine and science-based medicine was the prevalence of use rather than alternative medicine’s lack of scientific basis; that use of complementary or integrative was to suggest that purported supernatural energies of alternative medicine could enhance science-based medicine.

Stephen Barrett, founder and operator of Quackwatch, argues that practices labeled “alternative” should be reclassified as either genuine, experimental, or questionable. Here he defines genuine as being methods that have sound evidence for safety and effectiveness, experimental as being unproven but with a plausible rationale for effectiveness, and questionable as groundless without a scientifically plausible rationale.[212]

CAM is less regulated than conventional medicine.[86] There are ethical concerns about whether people who perform CAM have the proper knowledge to treat patients.[86] CAM is often done by non-physicians and does not operate with the same medical licensing laws as conventional medicine.[86] It is an issue of non-maleficence.[215]

According to two writers, Wallace Sampson and K. Butler, marketing is part of the training required in chiropractic education, and propaganda methods in alternative medicine have been traced back to those used by Hitler and Goebels in their promotion of pseudoscience in medicine.[5][216]

In November 2011 Edzard Ernst stated that the “level of misinformation about alternative medicine has now reached the point where it has become dangerous and unethical. So far, alternative medicine has remained an ethics-free zone. It is time to change this.”[217] Ernst requested that Prince Charles recall two guides to alternative medicine published by the Foundation for Integrated Health, on the grounds that “[t]hey both contain numerous misleading and inaccurate claims concerning the supposed benefits of alternative medicine” and that “[t]he [British] nation cannot be served by promoting ineffective and sometimes dangerous alternative treatments.”[218] In general, he believes that CAM can and should be subjected to scientific testing.[219][n 21]

A research methods expert and author of “Snake Oil Science”, R. Barker Bausell, has stated that “it’s become politically correct to investigate nonsense.”[10] There are concerns that just having NIH support is being used to give unfounded “legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate.”[208]

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Alternative medicine – Wikipedia

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Longevity – Wikipedia

Posted: October 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

The word “longevity” is sometimes used as a synonym for “life expectancy” in demography – however, the term “longevity” is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long-lived members of a population, whereas “life expectancy” is always defined statistically as the average number of years remaining at a given age. For example, a population’s life expectancy at birth is the same as the average age at death for all people born in the same year (in the case of cohorts). Longevity is best thought of as a term for general audiences meaning ‘typical length of life’ and specific statistical definitions should be clarified when necessary.

Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the brevity of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life. Longevity has been a topic not only for the scientific community but also for writers of travel, science fiction, and utopian novels.

There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span ever by modern verification standards, owing to inaccurate or incomplete birth statistics. Fiction, legend, and folklore have proposed or claimed life spans in the past or future vastly longer than those verified by modern standards, and longevity narratives and unverified longevity claims frequently speak of their existence in the present.

A life annuity is a form of longevity insurance.

Various factors contribute to an individual’s longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Below is a list of life expectancies in different types of countries:[3]

Population longevities are increasing as life expectancies around the world grow:[1][4]

The Gerontology Research Group validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of supercentenarians; many other unvalidated longevity claims exist. Record-holding individuals include:[citation needed]

Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices.[5]

Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% the variation in human lifespan can be related to genetics, with the rest due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified.[6] Although over 200 gene variants have been associated with longevity according to a US-Belgian-UK research database of human genetic variants,[7] these explain only a small fraction of the heritability.[8] A 2012 study found that even modest amounts of leisure time physical exercise can extend life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.[9]

Lymphoblastoid cell lines established from blood samples of centenarians have significantly higher activity of the DNA repair protein PARP (Poly ADP ribose polymerase) than cell lines from younger (20 to 70 year old) individuals.[10] The lymphocytic cells of centenarians have characteristics typical of cells from young people, both in their capability of priming the mechanism of repair after H2O2 sublethal oxidative DNA damage and in their PARP gene expression.[11] These findings suggest that elevated PARP gene expression contributes to the longevity of centenarians, consistent with the DNA damage theory of aging.[12]

A study of the regions of the world known as blue zones, where people commonly live active lives past 100 years of age, speculated that longevity is related to a healthy social and family life, not smoking, eating a plant-based diet, frequent consumption of legumes and nuts, and engaging in regular physical activity.[13] In a cohort study, the combination of a plant based diet, normal BMI, and not smoking accounted for differences up to 15 years in life expectancy.[14] Korean court records going back to 1392 indicate that the average lifespan of eunuchs was 70.0 1.76 years, which was 14.419.1 years longer than the lifespan of non-castrated men of similar socio-economic status.[15] The Alameda County Study hypothesized three additional lifestyle characteristics that promote longevity: limiting alcohol consumption, sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night, and not snacking (eating between meals), although the study found the association between these characteristics and mortality is “weak at best”.[16] There are however many other possible factors potentially affecting longevity, including the impact of high peer competition, which is typically experienced in large cities.[17]

In preindustrial times, deaths at young and middle age were more common than they are today. This is not due to genetics, but because of environmental factors such as disease, accidents, and malnutrition, especially since the former were not generally treatable with pre-20th century medicine. Deaths from childbirth were common in women, and many children did not live past infancy. In addition, most people who did attain old age were likely to die quickly from the above-mentioned untreatable health problems. Despite this, we do find many examples of pre-20th century individuals attaining lifespans of 75 years or greater, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Cato the Elder, Thomas Hobbes, Eric of Pomerania, Christopher Polhem, and Michelangelo. This was also true for poorer people like peasants or laborers. Genealogists will almost certainly find ancestors living to their 70s, 80s and even 90s several hundred years ago.

For example, an 1871 census in the UK (the first of its kind, but personal data from other censuses dates back to 1841 and numerical data back to 1801) found the average male life expectancy as being 44, but if infant mortality is subtracted, males who lived to adulthood averaged 75 years. The present male life expectancy in the UK is 77 years for males and 81 for females, while the United States averages 74 for males and 80 for females.

Studies have shown that black American males have the shortest lifespans of any group of people in the US, averaging only 69 years (Asian-American females average the longest).[18] This reflects overall poorer health and greater prevalence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer among black American men.

Women normally outlive men, and this was as true in pre-industrial times as today. Theories for this include smaller bodies (and thus less stress on the heart), a stronger immune system (since testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant), and less tendency to engage in physically dangerous activities.

There is a current debate as to whether or not the pursuit of longevity is a worthwhile health care goal for the United States. Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, who is also one of the architects of ObamaCare, has stated that the pursuit of longevity via the compression of morbidity explanation is a “fantasy” and that life is not worth living after age 75; therefore longevity should not be a goal of health care policy.[19] This has been refuted by neurosurgeon Miguel Faria, who states that life can be worthwhile in healthy old age; that the compression of morbidity is a real phenomenon; that longevity should be pursued in association with quality of life.[20] Faria has discussed how longevity in association with leading healthy lifestyles can lead to the postponement of senescence as well as happiness and wisdom in old age.[21]

All of the biological organisms have a limited longevity, and different species of animals and plants have different potentials of longevity. Misrepair-accumulation aging theory [22][23] suggests that the potential of longevity of an organism is related to its structural complexity.[24] Limited longevity is due to the limited structural complexity of the organism. If a species of organisms has too high structural complexity, most of its individuals would die before the reproduction age, and the species could not survive. This theory suggests that limited structural complexity and limited longevity are essential for the survival of a species.

Longevity traditions are traditions about long-lived people (generally supercentenarians), and practices that have been believed to confer longevity.[25][26] A comparison and contrast of “longevity in antiquity” (such as the Sumerian King List, the genealogies of Genesis, and the Persian Shahnameh) with “longevity in historical times” (common-era cases through twentieth-century news reports) is elaborated in detail in Lucian Boia’s 2004 book Forever Young: A Cultural History of Longevity from Antiquity to the Present and other sources.[27]

The Fountain of Youth reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. The New Testament, following older Jewish tradition, attributes healing to the Pool of Bethesda when the waters are “stirred” by an angel.[28] After the death of Juan Ponce de Len, Gonzalo Fernndez de Oviedo y Valds wrote in Historia General y Natural de las Indias (1535) that Ponce de Len was looking for the waters of Bimini to cure his aging.[29] Traditions that have been believed to confer greater human longevity also include alchemy,[30] such as that attributed to Nicolas Flamel. In the modern era, the Okinawa diet has some reputation of linkage to exceptionally high ages.[31]

More recent longevity claims are subcategorized by many editions of Guinness World Records into four groups: “In late life, very old people often tend to advance their ages at the rate of about 17 years per decade …. Several celebrated super-centenarians (over 110 years) are believed to have been double lives (father and son, relations with the same names or successive bearers of a title) …. A number of instances have been commercially sponsored, while a fourth category of recent claims are those made for political ends ….”[32] The estimate of 17 years per decade was corroborated by the 1901 and 1911 British censuses.[32] Mazess and Forman also discovered in 1978 that inhabitants of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, claimed excessive longevity by using their fathers’ and grandfathers’ baptismal entries.[32][33]Time magazine considered that, by the Soviet Union, longevity had been elevated to a state-supported “Methuselah cult”.[34]Robert Ripley regularly reported supercentenarian claims in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, usually citing his own reputation as a fact-checker to claim reliability.[35]

The U.S. Census Bureau view on the future of longevity is that life expectancy in the United States will be in the mid-80s by 2050 (up from 77.85 in 2006) and will top out eventually in the low 90s, barring major scientific advances that can change the rate of human aging itself, as opposed to merely treating the effects of aging as is done today. The Census Bureau also predicted that the United States would have 5.3 million people aged over 100 in 2100. The United Nations has also made projections far out into the future, up to 2300, at which point it projects that life expectancies in most developed countries will be between 100 and 106 years and still rising, though more and more slowly than before. These projections also suggest that life expectancies in poor countries will still be less than those in rich countries in 2300, in some cases by as much as 20 years. The UN itself mentioned that gaps in life expectancy so far in the future may well not exist, especially since the exchange of technology between rich and poor countries and the industrialization and development of poor countries may cause their life expectancies to converge fully with those of rich countries long before that point, similarly to the way life expectancies between rich and poor countries have already been converging over the last 60 years as better medicine, technology, and living conditions became accessible to many people in poor countries. The UN has warned that these projections are uncertain, and cautions that any change or advancement in medical technology could invalidate such projections.[36]

Recent increases in the rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, may eventually slow or reverse this trend toward increasing life expectancy in the developed world, but have not yet done so. The average age of the US population is getting higher[37] and these diseases show up in older people.[38]

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel examined how much mortality from various causes would have to drop in order to boost life expectancy and concluded that most of the past increases in life expectancy occurred because of improved survival rates for young people. She states that it seems unlikely that life expectancy at birth will ever exceed 85 years.[39]Michio Kaku argues that genetic engineering, nanotechnology and future breakthroughs will accelerate the rate of life expectancy increase indefinitely.[40] Already genetic engineering has allowed the life expectancy of certain primates to be doubled, and for human skin cells in labs to divide and live indefinitely without becoming cancerous.[41]

However, since 1840, record life expectancy has risen linearly for men and women, albeit more slowly for men. For women the increase has been almost three months per year, for men almost 2.7 months per year. In light of steady increase, without any sign of limitation, the suggestion that life expectancy will top out must be treated with caution. Scientists Oeppen and Vaupel observe that experts who assert that “life expectancy is approaching a ceiling … have repeatedly been proven wrong.” It is thought that life expectancy for women has increased more dramatically owing to the considerable advances in medicine related to childbirth.[42]

Mice have been genetically engineered to live twice as long as ordinary mice. Drugs such as deprenyl are a part of the prescribing pharmacopia of veterinarians specifically to increase mammal lifespan. A large plurality of research chemicals have been described at the scientific literature that increase the lifespan of a number of species.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality and is the goal of radical life extension.

Currently living:


Certain exotic organisms do not seem to be subject to aging and can live indefinitely. Examples include Tardigrades and Hydras. That is not to say that these organisms cannot die, merely that they only die as a result of disease or injury rather than age-related deterioration (and that they are not subject to the Hayflick limit).


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Nanomedicine – Wikipedia

Posted: October 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology.[1] Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials and biological devices, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology such as biological machines. Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related to toxicity and environmental impact of nanoscale materials (materials whose structure is on the scale of nanometers, i.e. billionths of a meter).

Functionalities can be added to nanomaterials by interfacing them with biological molecules or structures. The size of nanomaterials is similar to that of most biological molecules and structures; therefore, nanomaterials can be useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and applications. Thus far, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, contrast agents, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery vehicles.

Nanomedicine seeks to deliver a valuable set of research tools and clinically useful devices in the near future.[2][3] The National Nanotechnology Initiative expects new commercial applications in the pharmaceutical industry that may include advanced drug delivery systems, new therapies, and in vivo imaging.[4] Nanomedicine research is receiving funding from the US National Institutes of Health, including the funding in 2005 of a five-year plan to set up four nanomedicine centers.

Nanomedicine sales reached $16 billion in 2015, with a minimum of $3.8 billion in nanotechnology R&D being invested every year. Global funding for emerging nanotechnology increased by 45% per year in recent years, with product sales exceeding $1 trillion in 2013.[5] As the nanomedicine industry continues to grow, it is expected to have a significant impact on the economy.

Nanotechnology has provided the possibility of delivering drugs to specific cells using nanoparticles.

The overall drug consumption and side-effects may be lowered significantly by depositing the active agent in the morbid region only and in no higher dose than needed. Targeted drug delivery is intended to reduce the side effects of drugs with concomitant decreases in consumption and treatment expenses. Drug delivery focuses on maximizing bioavailability both at specific places in the body and over a period of time. This can potentially be achieved by molecular targeting by nanoengineered devices.[6][7] More than $65 billion are wasted each year due to poor bioavailability.[citation needed] A benefit of using nanoscale for medical technologies is that smaller devices are less invasive and can possibly be implanted inside the body, plus biochemical reaction times are much shorter. These devices are faster and more sensitive than typical drug delivery.[8] The efficacy of drug delivery through nanomedicine is largely based upon: a) efficient encapsulation of the drugs, b) successful delivery of drug to the targeted region of the body, and c) successful release of the drug.[citation needed]

Drug delivery systems, lipid- [9] or polymer-based nanoparticles,[10] can be designed to improve the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of the drug.[11][12][13] However, the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nanomedicine is highly variable among different patients.[14] When designed to avoid the body’s defence mechanisms,[15] nanoparticles have beneficial properties that can be used to improve drug delivery. Complex drug delivery mechanisms are being developed, including the ability to get drugs through cell membranes and into cell cytoplasm. Triggered response is one way for drug molecules to be used more efficiently. Drugs are placed in the body and only activate on encountering a particular signal. For example, a drug with poor solubility will be replaced by a drug delivery system where both hydrophilic and hydrophobic environments exist, improving the solubility.[16] Drug delivery systems may also be able to prevent tissue damage through regulated drug release; reduce drug clearance rates; or lower the volume of distribution and reduce the effect on non-target tissue. However, the biodistribution of these nanoparticles is still imperfect due to the complex host’s reactions to nano- and microsized materials[15] and the difficulty in targeting specific organs in the body. Nevertheless, a lot of work is still ongoing to optimize and better understand the potential and limitations of nanoparticulate systems. While advancement of research proves that targeting and distribution can be augmented by nanoparticles, the dangers of nanotoxicity become an important next step in further understanding of their medical uses.[17]

Nanoparticles can be used in combination therapy for decreasing antibiotic resistance or for their antimicrobial properties.[18][19][20] Nanoparticles might also used to circumvent multidrug resistance (MDR) mechanisms.[21]

Two forms of nanomedicine that have already been tested in mice and are awaiting human trials that will be using gold nanoshells to help diagnose and treat cancer,[22] and using liposomes as vaccine adjuvants and as vehicles for drug transport.[23][24] Similarly, drug detoxification is also another application for nanomedicine which has shown promising results in rats.[25] Advances in Lipid nanotechnology was also instrumental in engineering medical nanodevices and novel drug delivery systems as well as in developing sensing applications.[26] Another example can be found in dendrimers and nanoporous materials. Another example is to use block co-polymers, which form micelles for drug encapsulation.[10]

Polymeric nano-particles are a competing technology to lipidic (based mainly on Phospholipids) nano-particles. There is an additional risk of toxicity associated with polymers not widely studied or understood. The major advantages of polymers is stability, lower cost and predictable characterisation. However, in the patient’s body this very stability (slow degradation) is a negative factor. Phospholipids on the other hand are membrane lipids (already present in the body and surrounding each cell), have a GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status from FDA and are derived from natural sources without any complex chemistry involved. They are not metabolised but rather absorbed by the body and the degradation products are themselves nutrients (fats or micronutrients).[citation needed]

Protein and peptides exert multiple biological actions in the human body and they have been identified as showing great promise for treatment of various diseases and disorders. These macromolecules are called biopharmaceuticals. Targeted and/or controlled delivery of these biopharmaceuticals using nanomaterials like nanoparticles and Dendrimers is an emerging field called nanobiopharmaceutics, and these products are called nanobiopharmaceuticals.[citation needed]

Another highly efficient system for microRNA delivery for example are nanoparticles formed by the self-assembly of two different microRNAs deregulated in cancer.[27]

Another vision is based on small electromechanical systems; nanoelectromechanical systems are being investigated for the active release of drugs. Some potentially important applications include cancer treatment with iron nanoparticles or gold shells.Nanotechnology is also opening up new opportunities in implantable delivery systems, which are often preferable to the use of injectable drugs, because the latter frequently display first-order kinetics (the blood concentration goes up rapidly, but drops exponentially over time). This rapid rise may cause difficulties with toxicity, and drug efficacy can diminish as the drug concentration falls below the targeted range.[citation needed]

Some nanotechnology-based drugs that are commercially available or in human clinical trials include:

Existing and potential drug nanocarriers have been reviewed.[38][39][40][41]

Nanoparticles have high surface area to volume ratio. This allows for many functional groups to be attached to a nanoparticle, which can seek out and bind to certain tumor cells. Additionally, the small size of nanoparticles (10 to 100 nanometers), allows them to preferentially accumulate at tumor sites (because tumors lack an effective lymphatic drainage system).[42] Limitations to conventional cancer chemotherapy include drug resistance, lack of selectivity, and lack of solubility. Nanoparticles have the potential to overcome these problems.[43]

In photodynamic therapy, a particle is placed within the body and is illuminated with light from the outside. The light gets absorbed by the particle and if the particle is metal, energy from the light will heat the particle and surrounding tissue. Light may also be used to produce high energy oxygen molecules which will chemically react with and destroy most organic molecules that are next to them (like tumors). This therapy is appealing for many reasons. It does not leave a “toxic trail” of reactive molecules throughout the body (chemotherapy) because it is directed where only the light is shined and the particles exist. Photodynamic therapy has potential for a noninvasive procedure for dealing with diseases, growth and tumors. Kanzius RF therapy is one example of such therapy (nanoparticle hyperthermia) .[citation needed] Also, gold nanoparticles have the potential to join numerous therapeutic functions into a single platform, by targeting specific tumor cells, tissues and organs.[44][45]

In vivo imaging is another area where tools and devices are being developed. Using nanoparticle contrast agents, images such as ultrasound and MRI have a favorable distribution and improved contrast. This might be accomplished by self assembled biocompatible nanodevices that will detect, evaluate, treat and report to the clinical doctor automatically.[citation needed]

The small size of nanoparticles endows them with properties that can be very useful in oncology, particularly in imaging. Quantum dots (nanoparticles with quantum confinement properties, such as size-tunable light emission), when used in conjunction with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), can produce exceptional images of tumor sites. Nanoparticles of cadmium selenide (quantum dots) glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. When injected, they seep into cancer tumors. The surgeon can see the glowing tumor, and use it as a guide for more accurate tumor removal.These nanoparticles are much brighter than organic dyes and only need one light source for excitation. This means that the use of fluorescent quantum dots could produce a higher contrast image and at a lower cost than today’s organic dyes used as contrast media. The downside, however, is that quantum dots are usually made of quite toxic elements.[citation needed]

Tracking movement can help determine how well drugs are being distributed or how substances are metabolized. It is difficult to track a small group of cells throughout the body, so scientists used to dye the cells. These dyes needed to be excited by light of a certain wavelength in order for them to light up. While different color dyes absorb different frequencies of light, there was a need for as many light sources as cells. A way around this problem is with luminescent tags. These tags are quantum dots attached to proteins that penetrate cell membranes. The dots can be random in size, can be made of bio-inert material, and they demonstrate the nanoscale property that color is size-dependent. As a result, sizes are selected so that the frequency of light used to make a group of quantum dots fluoresce is an even multiple of the frequency required to make another group incandesce. Then both groups can be lit with a single light source. They have also found a way to insert nanoparticles[46] into the affected parts of the body so that those parts of the body will glow showing the tumor growth or shrinkage or also organ trouble.[47]

Nanotechnology-on-a-chip is one more dimension of lab-on-a-chip technology. Magnetic nanoparticles, bound to a suitable antibody, are used to label specific molecules, structures or microorganisms. Gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA can be used for detection of genetic sequence in a sample. Multicolor optical coding for biological assays has been achieved by embedding different-sized quantum dots into polymeric microbeads. Nanopore technology for analysis of nucleic acids converts strings of nucleotides directly into electronic signatures.[citation needed]

Sensor test chips containing thousands of nanowires, able to detect proteins and other biomarkers left behind by cancer cells, could enable the detection and diagnosis of cancer in the early stages from a few drops of a patient’s blood.[48]Nanotechnology is helping to advance the use of arthroscopes, which are pencil-sized devices that are used in surgeries with lights and cameras so surgeons can do the surgeries with smaller incisions. The smaller the incisions the faster the healing time which is better for the patients. It is also helping to find a way to make an arthroscope smaller than a strand of hair.[49]

Research on nanoelectronics-based cancer diagnostics could lead to tests that can be done in pharmacies. The results promise to be highly accurate and the product promises to be inexpensive. They could take a very small amount of blood and detect cancer anywhere in the body in about five minutes, with a sensitivity that is a thousand times better than in a conventional laboratory test. These devices that are built with nanowires to detect cancer proteins; each nanowire detector is primed to be sensitive to a different cancer marker. The biggest advantage of the nanowire detectors is that they could test for anywhere from ten to one hundred similar medical conditions without adding cost to the testing device.[50] Nanotechnology has also helped to personalize oncology for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. It is now able to be tailored to each individuals tumor for better performance. They have found ways that they will be able to target a specific part of the body that is being affected by cancer.[51]

Magnetic micro particles are proven research instruments for the separation of cells and proteins from complex media. The technology is available under the name Magnetic-activated cell sorting or Dynabeads among others. More recently it was shown in animal models that magnetic nanoparticles can be used for the removal of various noxious compounds including toxins, pathogens, and proteins from whole blood in an extracorporeal circuit similar to dialysis.[52][53] In contrast to dialysis, which works on the principle of the size related diffusion of solutes and ultrafiltration of fluid across a semi-permeable membrane, the purification with nanoparticles allows specific targeting of substances. Additionally larger compounds which are commonly not dialyzable can be removed.[citation needed]

The purification process is based on functionalized iron oxide or carbon coated metal nanoparticles with ferromagnetic or superparamagnetic properties.[54] Binding agents such as proteins,[53]antibodies,[52]antibiotics,[55] or synthetic ligands[56] are covalently linked to the particle surface. These binding agents are able to interact with target species forming an agglomerate. Applying an external magnetic field gradient allows exerting a force on the nanoparticles. Hence the particles can be separated from the bulk fluid, thereby cleaning it from the contaminants.[57][58]

The small size (

This approach offers new therapeutic possibilities for the treatment of systemic infections such as sepsis by directly removing the pathogen. It can also be used to selectively remove cytokines or endotoxins[55] or for the dialysis of compounds which are not accessible by traditional dialysis methods. However the technology is still in a preclinical phase and first clinical trials are not expected before 2017.[60]

Nanotechnology may be used as part of tissue engineering to help reproduce or repair or reshape damaged tissue using suitable nanomaterial-based scaffolds and growth factors. Tissue engineering if successful may replace conventional treatments like organ transplants or artificial implants. Nanoparticles such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, molybdenum disulfide and tungsten disulfide are being used as reinforcing agents to fabricate mechanically strong biodegradable polymeric nanocomposites for bone tissue engineering applications. The addition of these nanoparticles in the polymer matrix at low concentrations (~0.2 weight%) leads to significant improvements in the compressive and flexural mechanical properties of polymeric nanocomposites.[61][62] Potentially, these nanocomposites may be used as a novel, mechanically strong, light weight composite as bone implants.[citation needed]

For example, a flesh welder was demonstrated to fuse two pieces of chicken meat into a single piece using a suspension of gold-coated nanoshells activated by an infrared laser. This could be used to weld arteries during surgery.[63] Another example is nanonephrology, the use of nanomedicine on the kidney.

Neuro-electronic interfacing is a visionary goal dealing with the construction of nanodevices that will permit computers to be joined and linked to the nervous system. This idea requires the building of a molecular structure that will permit control and detection of nerve impulses by an external computer. A refuelable strategy implies energy is refilled continuously or periodically with external sonic, chemical, tethered, magnetic, or biological electrical sources, while a nonrefuelable strategy implies that all power is drawn from internal energy storage which would stop when all energy is drained. A nanoscale enzymatic biofuel cell for self-powered nanodevices have been developed that uses glucose from biofluids including human blood and watermelons.[64] One limitation to this innovation is the fact that electrical interference or leakage or overheating from power consumption is possible. The wiring of the structure is extremely difficult because they must be positioned precisely in the nervous system. The structures that will provide the interface must also be compatible with the body’s immune system.[65]

Molecular nanotechnology is a speculative subfield of nanotechnology regarding the possibility of engineering molecular assemblers, machines which could re-order matter at a molecular or atomic scale. Nanomedicine would make use of these nanorobots, introduced into the body, to repair or detect damages and infections. Molecular nanotechnology is highly theoretical, seeking to anticipate what inventions nanotechnology might yield and to propose an agenda for future inquiry. The proposed elements of molecular nanotechnology, such as molecular assemblers and nanorobots are far beyond current capabilities.[1][65][66][67] Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair machines, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation, with the first technical discussion of medical nanorobots by Robert Freitas appearing in 1999.[1]Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[68] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see nanotechnology). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[69]

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Immortality – Wikipedia

Posted: October 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

Immortality is eternal life, the ability to live forever.[2]Natural selection has developed potential biological immortality in at least one species, Turritopsis dohrnii.[3]

Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers have theorized about the immortality of the human body (either through an immortal cell line researched or else deeper contextual understanding in advanced fields that have certain scope in the proposed long term reality that can be attained such as per mentioned in the reading of an article or scientific documentation of such a proposed idea would lead to), and advocate that human immortality is achievable in the first few decades of the 21st century, whereas other advocates believe that life extension is a more achievable goal in the short term, with immortality awaiting further research breakthroughs into an indefinite future. The absence of aging would provide humans with biological immortality, but not invulnerability to death by physical trauma; although mind uploading could solve that issue if it proved possible. Whether the process of internal endoimmortality would be delivered within the upcoming years depends chiefly on research (and in neuron research in the case of endoimmortality through an immortalized cell line) in the former view and perhaps is an awaited goal in the latter case.[4]

In religious contexts, immortality is often stated to be one of the promises of God (or other deities) to human beings who show goodness or else follow divine law. What form an unending human life would take, or whether an immaterial soul exists and possesses immortality, has been a major point of focus of religion, as well as the subject of speculation, fantasy, and debate.

Life extension technologies promise a path to complete rejuvenation. Cryonics holds out the hope that the dead can be revived in the future, following sufficient medical advancements. While, as shown with creatures such as hydra and planarian worms, it is indeed possible for a creature to be biologically immortal, it is not known if it is possible for humans.

Mind uploading is the transference of brain states from a human brain to an alternative medium providing similar functionality. Assuming the process to be possible and repeatable, this would provide immortality to the computation of the original brain, as predicted by futurists such as Ray Kurzweil.[5]

The belief in an afterlife is a fundamental tenet of most religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, and the Bah’ Faith; however, the concept of an immortal soul is not. The “soul” itself has different meanings and is not used in the same way in different religions and different denominations of a religion. For example, various branches of Christianity have disagreeing views on the soul’s immortality and its relation to the body.

Physical immortality is a state of life that allows a person to avoid death and maintain conscious thought. It can mean the unending existence of a person from a physical source other than organic life, such as a computer. Active pursuit of physical immortality can either be based on scientific trends, such as cryonics, digital immortality, breakthroughs in rejuvenation or predictions of an impending technological singularity, or because of a spiritual belief, such as those held by Rastafarians or Rebirthers.

There are three main causes of death: aging, disease and physical trauma.[6] Such issues can be resolved with the solutions provided in research to any end providing such alternate theories at present that require unification.

Aubrey de Grey, a leading researcher in the field,[7] defines aging as “a collection of cumulative changes to the molecular and cellular structure of an adult organism, which result in essential metabolic processes, but which also, once they progress far enough, increasingly disrupt metabolism, resulting in pathology and death.” The current causes of aging in humans are cell loss (without replacement), DNA damage, oncogenic nuclear mutations and epimutations, cell senescence, mitochondrial mutations, lysosomal aggregates, extracellular aggregates, random extracellular cross-linking, immune system decline, and endocrine changes. Eliminating aging would require finding a solution to each of these causes, a program de Grey calls engineered negligible senescence. There is also a huge body of knowledge indicating that change is characterized by the loss of molecular fidelity.[8]

Disease is theoretically surmountable via technology. In short, it is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism, something the body shouldn’t typically have to deal with its natural make up.[9] Human understanding of genetics is leading to cures and treatments for myriad previously incurable diseases. The mechanisms by which other diseases do their damage are becoming better understood. Sophisticated methods of detecting diseases early are being developed. Preventative medicine is becoming better understood. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may soon be curable with the use of stem cells. Breakthroughs in cell biology and telomere research are leading to treatments for cancer. Vaccines are being researched for AIDS and tuberculosis. Genes associated with type 1 diabetes and certain types of cancer have been discovered, allowing for new therapies to be developed. Artificial devices attached directly to the nervous system may restore sight to the blind. Drugs are being developed to treat a myriad of other diseases and ailments.

Physical trauma would remain as a threat to perpetual physical life, as an otherwise immortal person would still be subject to unforeseen accidents or catastrophes. The speed and quality of paramedic response remains a determining factor in surviving severe trauma.[10] A body that could automatically repair itself from severe trauma, such as speculated uses for nanotechnology, would mitigate this factor. Being the seat of consciousness, the brain cannot be risked to trauma if a continuous physical life is to be maintained. This aversion to trauma risk to the brain would naturally result in significant behavioral changes that would render physical immortality undesirable.

Organisms otherwise unaffected by these causes of death would still face the problem of obtaining sustenance (whether from currently available agricultural processes or from hypothetical future technological processes) in the face of changing availability of suitable resources as environmental conditions change. After avoiding aging, disease, and trauma, you could still starve to death.

If there is no limitation on the degree of gradual mitigation of risk then it is possible that the cumulative probability of death over an infinite horizon is less than certainty, even when the risk of fatal trauma in any finite period is greater than zero. Mathematically, this is an aspect of achieving “actuarial escape velocity”

Biological immortality is an absence of aging, specifically the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. A cell or organism that does not experience aging, or ceases to age at some point, is biologically immortal.

Biologists have chosen the word immortal to designate cells that are not limited by the Hayflick limit, where cells no longer divide because of DNA damage or shortened telomeres. The first and still most widely used immortal cell line is HeLa, developed from cells taken from the malignant cervical tumor of Henrietta Lacks without her consent in 1951. Prior to the 1961 work of Leonard Hayflick, there was the erroneous belief fostered by Alexis Carrel that all normal somatic cells are immortal. By preventing cells from reaching senescence one can achieve biological immortality; telomeres, a “cap” at the end of DNA, are thought to be the cause of cell aging. Every time a cell divides the telomere becomes a bit shorter; when it is finally worn down, the cell is unable to split and dies. Telomerase is an enzyme which rebuilds the telomeres in stem cells and cancer cells, allowing them to replicate an infinite number of times.[11] No definitive work has yet demonstrated that telomerase can be used in human somatic cells to prevent healthy tissues from aging. On the other hand, scientists hope to be able to grow organs with the help of stem cells, allowing organ transplants without the risk of rejection, another step in extending human life expectancy. These technologies are the subject of ongoing research, and are not yet realized.[citation needed]

Life defined as biologically immortal is still susceptible to causes of death besides aging, including disease and trauma, as defined above. Notable immortal species include:

As the existence of biologically immortal species demonstrates, there is no thermodynamic necessity for senescence: a defining feature of life is that it takes in free energy from the environment and unloads its entropy as waste. Living systems can even build themselves up from seed, and routinely repair themselves. Aging is therefore presumed to be a byproduct of evolution, but why mortality should be selected for remains a subject of research and debate. Programmed cell death and the telomere “end replication problem” are found even in the earliest and simplest of organisms.[16] This may be a tradeoff between selecting for cancer and selecting for aging.[17]

Modern theories on the evolution of aging include the following:

There are some known naturally occurring and artificially produced chemicals that may increase the lifetime or life-expectancy of a person or organism, such as resveratrol.[20][21]

Some scientists believe that boosting the amount or proportion of telomerase in the body, a naturally forming enzyme that helps maintain the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes,[22] could prevent cells from dying and so may ultimately lead to extended, healthier lifespans. A team of researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Centre (Madrid) tested the hypothesis on mice. It was found that those mice which were genetically engineered to produce 10 times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50% longer than normal mice.[23]

In normal circumstances, without the presence of telomerase, if a cell divides repeatedly, at some point all the progeny will reach their Hayflick limit. With the presence of telomerase, each dividing cell can replace the lost bit of DNA, and any single cell can then divide unbounded. While this unbounded growth property has excited many researchers, caution is warranted in exploiting this property, as exactly this same unbounded growth is a crucial step in enabling cancerous growth. If an organism can replicate its body cells faster, then it would theoretically stop aging.

Embryonic stem cells express telomerase, which allows them to divide repeatedly and form the individual. In adults, telomerase is highly expressed in cells that need to divide regularly (e.g., in the immune system), whereas most somatic cells express it only at very low levels in a cell-cycle dependent manner.

Technological immortality is the prospect for much longer life spans made possible by scientific advances in a variety of fields: nanotechnology, emergency room procedures, genetics, biological engineering, regenerative medicine, microbiology, and others. Contemporary life spans in the advanced industrial societies are already markedly longer than those of the past because of better nutrition, availability of health care, standard of living and bio-medical scientific advances. Technological immortality predicts further progress for the same reasons over the near term. An important aspect of current scientific thinking about immortality is that some combination of human cloning, cryonics or nanotechnology will play an essential role in extreme life extension. Robert Freitas, a nanorobotics theorist, suggests tiny medical nanorobots could be created to go through human bloodstreams, find dangerous things like cancer cells and bacteria, and destroy them.[24] Freitas anticipates that gene-therapies and nanotechnology will eventually make the human body effectively self-sustainable and capable of living indefinitely in empty space, short of severe brain trauma. This supports the theory that we will be able to continually create biological or synthetic replacement parts to replace damaged or dying ones. Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical biological machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[25] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see nanobiotechnology). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[26]

Cryonics, the practice of preserving organisms (either intact specimens or only their brains) for possible future revival by storing them at cryogenic temperatures where metabolism and decay are almost completely stopped, can be used to ‘pause’ for those who believe that life extension technologies will not develop sufficiently within their lifetime. Ideally, cryonics would allow clinically dead people to be brought back in the future after cures to the patients’ diseases have been discovered and aging is reversible. Modern cryonics procedures use a process called vitrification which creates a glass-like state rather than freezing as the body is brought to low temperatures. This process reduces the risk of ice crystals damaging the cell-structure, which would be especially detrimental to cell structures in the brain, as their minute adjustment evokes the individual’s mind.

One idea that has been advanced involves uploading an individual’s habits and memories via direct mind-computer interface. The individual’s memory may be loaded to a computer or to a new organic body. Extropian futurists like Moravec and Kurzweil have proposed that, thanks to exponentially growing computing power, it will someday be possible to upload human consciousness onto a computer system, and exist indefinitely in a virtual environment. This could be accomplished via advanced cybernetics, where computer hardware would initially be installed in the brain to help sort memory or accelerate thought processes. Components would be added gradually until the person’s entire brain functions were handled by artificial devices, avoiding sharp transitions that would lead to issues of identity, thus running the risk of the person to be declared dead and thus not be a legitimate owner of his or her property. After this point, the human body could be treated as an optional accessory and the program implementing the person could be transferred to any sufficiently powerful computer. Another possible mechanism for mind upload is to perform a detailed scan of an individual’s original, organic brain and simulate the entire structure in a computer. What level of detail such scans and simulations would need to achieve to emulate awareness, and whether the scanning process would destroy the brain, is still to be determined.[27] Whatever the route to mind upload, persons in this state could then be considered essentially immortal, short of loss or traumatic destruction of the machines that maintained them.[clarification needed]

Transforming a human into a cyborg can include brain implants or extracting a human processing unit and placing it in a robotic life-support system. Even replacing biological organs with robotic ones could increase life span (i.e., pace makers) and depending on the definition, many technological upgrades to the body, like genetic modifications or the addition of nanobots would qualify an individual as a cyborg. Some people believe that such modifications would make one impervious to aging and disease and theoretically immortal unless killed or destroyed.

Another approach, developed by biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis, holds that human biological immortality is an inevitable consequence of evolution. As the natural tendency is to create progressively more complex structures,[28] there will be a time (Kyriazis claims this time is now[29]), when evolution of a more complex human brain will be faster via a process of developmental singularity[30] rather than through Darwinian evolution. In other words, the evolution of the human brain as we know it will cease and there will be no need for individuals to procreate and then die. Instead, a new type of development will take over, in the same individual who will have to live for many centuries in order for the development to take place. This intellectual development will be facilitated by technology such as synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and a technological singularity process.

As late as 1952, the editorial staff of the Syntopicon found in their compilation of the Great Books of the Western World, that “The philosophical issue concerning immortality cannot be separated from issues concerning the existence and nature of man’s soul.”[31] Thus, the vast majority of speculation regarding immortality before the 21st century was regarding the nature of the afterlife.

Immortality in ancient Greek religion originally always included an eternal union of body and soul as can be seen in Homer, Hesiod, and various other ancient texts. The soul was considered to have an eternal existence in Hades, but without the body the soul was considered dead. Although almost everybody had nothing to look forward to but an eternal existence as a disembodied dead soul, a number of men and women were considered to have gained physical immortality and been brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, heaven, the ocean or literally right under the ground. Among these were Amphiaraus, Ganymede, Ino, Iphigenia, Menelaus, Peleus, and a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars. Some were considered to have died and been resurrected before they achieved physical immortality. Asclepius was killed by Zeus only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. In some versions of the Trojan War myth, Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis, resurrected, and brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains, or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus’ Histories, the 7th century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he was found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.

The philosophical idea of an immortal soul was a belief first appearing with either Pherecydes or the Orphics, and most importantly advocated by Plato and his followers. This, however, never became the general norm in Hellenistic thought. As may be witnessed even into the Christian era, not least by the complaints of various philosophers over popular beliefs, many or perhaps most traditional Greeks maintained the conviction that certain individuals were resurrected from the dead and made physically immortal and that others could only look forward to an existence as disembodied and dead, though everlasting, souls. The parallel between these traditional beliefs and the later resurrection of Jesus was not lost on the early Christians, as Justin Martyr argued: “when we say… Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus.” (1 Apol. 21).

The goal of Hinayana is Arhatship and Nirvana. By contrast, the goal of Mahayana is Buddhahood.

According to one Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Dzogchen, individuals can transform the physical body into an immortal body of light called the rainbow body.

Christian theology holds that Adam and Eve lost physical immortality for themselves and all their descendants in the Fall of Man, although this initial “imperishability of the bodily frame of man” was “a preternatural condition”.[32] Christians who profess the Nicene Creed believe that every dead person (whether they believed in Christ or not) will be resurrected from the dead at the Second Coming, and this belief is known as Universal resurrection.[citation needed]

N.T. Wright, a theologian and former Bishop of Durham, has said many people forget the physical aspect of what Jesus promised. He told Time: “Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return. Part of this will be the resurrection of all the dead, who will ‘awake’, be embodied and participate in the renewal. Wright says John Polkinghorne, a physicist and a priest, has put it this way: ‘God will download our software onto his hardware until the time he gives us new hardware to run the software again for ourselves.’ That gets to two things nicely: that the period after death (the Intermediate state) is a period when we are in God’s presence but not active in our own bodies, and also that the more important transformation will be when we are again embodied and administering Christ’s kingdom.”[33] This kingdom will consist of Heaven and Earth “joined together in a new creation”, he said.

Hindus believe in an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death. According to Hinduism, people repeat a process of life, death, and rebirth in a cycle called samsara. If they live their life well, their karma improves and their station in the next life will be higher, and conversely lower if they live their life poorly. After many life times of perfecting its karma, the soul is freed from the cycle and lives in perpetual bliss. There is no place of eternal torment in Hinduism, although if a soul consistently lives very evil lives, it could work its way down to the very bottom of the cycle.[citation needed]

There are explicit renderings in the Upanishads alluding to a physically immortal state brought about by purification, and sublimation of the 5 elements that make up the body. For example, in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (Chapter 2, Verse 12), it is stated “When earth, water fire, air and akasa arise, that is to say, when the five attributes of the elements, mentioned in the books on yoga, become manifest then the yogi’s body becomes purified by the fire of yoga and he is free from illness, old age and death.” This phenomenon is possible when the soul reaches enlightenment while the body and mind are still intact, an extreme rarity, and can only be achieved upon the highest most dedication, meditation and consciousness.[citation needed]

Another view of immortality is traced to the Vedic tradition by the interpretation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:

That man indeed whom these (contacts) do not disturb, who is even-minded in pleasure and pain, steadfast, he is fit for immortality, O best of men.[34]

To Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the verse means, “Once a man has become established in the understanding of the permanent reality of life, his mind rises above the influence of pleasure and pain. Such an unshakable man passes beyond the influence of death and in the permanent phase of life: he attains eternal life… A man established in the understanding of the unlimited abundance of absolute existence is naturally free from existence of the relative order. This is what gives him the status of immortal life.”[34]

An Indian Tamil saint known as Vallalar claimed to have achieved immortality before disappearing forever from a locked room in 1874.[35][36]

Many Indian fables and tales include instances of metempsychosisthe ability to jump into another bodyperformed by advanced Yogis in order to live a longer life.[citation needed]

The traditional concept of an immaterial and immortal soul distinct from the body was not found in Judaism before the Babylonian Exile, but developed as a result of interaction with Persian and Hellenistic philosophies. Accordingly, the Hebrew word nephesh, although translated as “soul” in some older English Bibles, actually has a meaning closer to “living being”.[citation needed]Nephesh was rendered in the Septuagint as (psch), the Greek word for soul.[citation needed]

The only Hebrew word traditionally translated “soul” (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul.[37] In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated “soul” () has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul.[38] Soul may refer to the whole person, the self: three thousand souls were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23).

The Hebrew Bible speaks about Sheol (), originally a synonym of the grave-the repository of the dead or the cessation of existence until the Resurrection. This doctrine of resurrection is mentioned explicitly only in Daniel 12:14 although it may be implied in several other texts. New theories arose concerning Sheol during the intertestamental literature.

The views about immortality in Judaism is perhaps best exemplified by the various references to this in Second Temple Period. The concept of resurrection of the physical body is found in 2 Maccabees, according to which it will happen through recreation of the flesh.[39] Resurrection of the dead also appears in detail in the extra-canonical books of Enoch,[40] and in Apocalypse of Baruch.[41] According to the British scholar in ancient Judaism Philip R. Davies, there is little or no clear reference either to immortality or to resurrection from the dead in the Dead Sea scrolls texts.[42] Both Josephus and the New Testament record that the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife,[43] but the sources vary on the beliefs of the Pharisees. The New Testament claims that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but does not specify whether this included the flesh or not.[44] According to Josephus, who himself was a Pharisee, the Pharisees held that only the soul was immortal and the souls of good people will be reincarnated and pass into other bodies, while the souls of the wicked will suffer eternal punishment. [45]Jubilees seems to refer to the resurrection of the soul only, or to a more general idea of an immortal soul.[46]

Rabbinic Judaism claims that the righteous dead will be resurrected in the Messianic age with the coming of the messiah. They will then be granted immortality in a perfect world. The wicked dead, on the other hand, will not be resurrected at all. This is not the only Jewish belief about the afterlife. The Tanakh is not specific about the afterlife, so there are wide differences in views and explanations among believers.[citation needed]

It is repeatedly stated in Lshi Chunqiu that death is unavoidable.[47]Henri Maspero noted that many scholarly works frame Taoism as a school of thought focused on the quest for immortality.[48] Isabelle Robinet asserts that Taoism is better understood as a way of life than as a religion, and that its adherents do not approach or view Taoism the way non-Taoist historians have done.[49] In the Tractate of Actions and their Retributions, a traditional teaching, spiritual immortality can be rewarded to people who do a certain amount of good deeds and live a simple, pure life. A list of good deeds and sins are tallied to determine whether or not a mortal is worthy. Spiritual immortality in this definition allows the soul to leave the earthly realms of afterlife and go to pure realms in the Taoist cosmology.[50]

Zoroastrians believe that on the fourth day after death, the human soul leaves the body and the body remains as an empty shell. Souls would go to either heaven or hell; these concepts of the afterlife in Zoroastrianism may have influenced Abrahamic religions. The Persian word for “immortal” is associated with the month “Amurdad”, meaning “deathless” in Persian, in the Iranian calendar (near the end of July). The month of Amurdad or Ameretat is celebrated in Persian culture as ancient Persians believed the “Angel of Immortality” won over the “Angel of Death” in this month.[51]

The possibility of clinical immortality raises a host of medical, philosophical, and religious issues and ethical questions. These include persistent vegetative states, the nature of personality over time, technology to mimic or copy the mind or its processes, social and economic disparities created by longevity, and survival of the heat death of the universe.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first literary works, is primarily a quest of a hero seeking to become immortal.[7]

Physical immortality has also been imagined as a form of eternal torment, as in Mary Shelley’s short story “The Mortal Immortal”, the protagonist of which witnesses everyone he cares about dying around him. Jorge Luis Borges explored the idea that life gets its meaning from death in the short story “The Immortal”; an entire society having achieved immortality, they found time becoming infinite, and so found no motivation for any action. In his book “Thursday’s Fictions”, and the stage and film adaptations of it, Richard James Allen tells the story of a woman named Thursday who tries to cheat the cycle of reincarnation to get a form of eternal life. At the end of this fantastical tale, her son, Wednesday, who has witnessed the havoc his mother’s quest has caused, forgoes the opportunity for immortality when it is offered to him.[52] Likewise, the novel Tuck Everlasting depicts immortality as “falling off the wheel of life” and is viewed as a curse as opposed to a blessing. In the anime Casshern Sins humanity achieves immortality due to advances in medical technology, however the inability of the human race to die causes Luna, a Messianic figure, to come forth and offer normal lifespans because she had believed that without death, humans could not live. Ultimately, Casshern takes up the cause of death for humanity when Luna begins to restore humanity’s immortality. In Anne Rice’s book series “The Vampire Chronicles”, vampires are portrayed as immortal and ageless, but their inability to cope with the changes in the world around them means that few vampires live for much more than a century, and those who do often view their changeless form as a curse.

Although some scientists state that radical life extension, delaying and stopping aging are achievable,[53] there are no international or national programs focused on stopping aging or on radical life extension. In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel and the Netherlands, pro-immortality political parties were launched. They aimed to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and at the same time transition to the next step, radical life extension, life without aging, and finally, immortality and aim to make possible access to such technologies to most currently living people.[54]

There are numerous symbols representing immortality. The ankh is an Egyptian symbol of life that holds connotations of immortality when depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs, who were seen as having control over the journey of life. The Mbius strip in the shape of a trefoil knot is another symbol of immortality. Most symbolic representations of infinity or the life cycle are often used to represent immortality depending on the context they are placed in. Other examples include the Ouroboros, the Chinese fungus of longevity, the ten kanji, the phoenix, the peacock in Christianity,[55] and the colors amaranth (in Western culture) and peach (in Chinese culture).

Immortal species abound in fiction, especially in fantasy literature.

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Human reproduction – Wikipedia

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Human reproduction is any form of sexual reproduction resulting in human fertilization, typically involving sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. During sexual intercourse, the interaction between the male and female reproductive systems results in fertilization of the woman’s ovum by the man’s sperm. These are specialized reproductive cells called gametes, created in a process called meiosis. While normal cells contains 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs, gamete cells only contain 23 chromosomes, and it is when these two cells merge into one zygote cell that genetic recombination occurs and the new zygote contains 23 chromosomes from each parent, giving them 23 pairs. After a gestation period, typically for nine months, is followed by childbirth. The fertilization of the ovum may be achieved by artificial insemination methods, which do not involve sexual intercourse.

The male reproductive system contains two main divisions: the testes where sperm are produced, and the penis. In humans, both of these organs are outside the abdominal cavity. Having the testes outside the abdomen facilitates temperature regulation of the sperm, which require specific temperatures to survive about 2-3C less than the normal body temperature i.e. 37C. In particular, the extraperitoneal location of the testes may result in a 2-fold reduction in the heat-induced contribution to the spontaneous mutation rate in male germinal tissues compared to tissues at 37C.[1] If the testicles remain too close to the body, it is likely that the increase in temperature will harm the spermatozoa formation, making conception more difficult. This is why the testes are carried in an external pouch viz. scrotum rather than within the abdomen; they normally remain slightly cooler than body temperature, facilitating sperm production.

The female reproductive system likewise contains two main divisions: the vagina and uterus, which will receive the semen, and the ovaries, which produces the ova. The vagina is attached to the uterus through the cervix, while the uterus is attached to the ovaries via the Fallopian tubes. At certain intervals, the ovaries release an ovum, which passes through the fallopian tube into the uterus.

The fertilization of the ovum with the sperm occurs at the ampullary-isthimic junction only. That is why not all intercourse results in pregnancy. The ovum meets with Spermatozoon, a sperm may penetrate and merge with the egg, fertilizing it with the help of certain hydrolytic enzymes present in the acrosome. The fertilization usually occurs in the oviducts, but can happen in the uterus itself. The zygote then becomes implanted in the lining of the uterus, where it begins the processes of embryogenesis and morphogenesis. When the fetus is developed enough to survive outside the womb, the cervix dilates and contractions of the uterus propel it through the birth canal, which is the vagina.

The ova, which are the female sex cells, are much larger than the spermatozoon and are normally formed within the ovaries of the female fetus before its birth. They are mostly fixed in location within the ovary until their transit to the uterus, and contain nutrients for the later zygote and embryo. Over a regular interval, in response to hormonal signals, a process of oogenesis matures one ovum which is released and sent down the Fallopian tube. If not fertilized, this egg is flushed out of the system through menstruation.

Human reproduction normally begins with sexual intercourse, followed by nine months of pregnancy before childbirth, though it may be achieved through artificial insemination. Many years of parental care are required before a human child becomes independent, typically between twelve and eighteen or more. Pregnancy can be avoided with the use of contraceptives such as condoms and Intrauterine devices.

Human reproduction takes place as internal fertilisation by sexual intercourse. During this process, the male inserts his penis, which needs to be erect, into the female’s vagina, and then either partner initiates rhythmic pelvic thrusts until the male ejaculates semen, which contains sperm, into the vaginal canal. This process is also known as “coitus”, “mating”, “having sex”, or, euphemistically, “making love”. The sperm and the ovum are known as gametes (each containing half the genetic information of the parent, created through meiosis). The sperm (being one of approximately 250 million sperm in a typical male ejaculation) travels through the vagina and cervix into the uterus or Fallopian tubes. Only 1 in 14 million of the ejaculated sperm will reach the Fallopian tube. The egg simultaneously moves through the Fallopian tube away from the ovary. One of the sperm encounters, penetrates and fertilizes the ovum, creating a zygote. Upon fertilization and implantation, gestation of the fetus then occurs within the female’s uterus.[2][3][4][5]

Pregnancy is the period of time during which the fetus develops, dividing via mitosis inside the female. During this time, the fetus receives all of its nutrition and oxygenated blood from the female, filtered through the placenta, which is attached to the fetus’ abdomen via an umbilical cord. This drain of nutrients can be quite taxing on the female, who is required to ingest slightly higher levels of calories. In addition, certain vitamins and other nutrients are required in greater quantities than normal, often creating abnormal eating habits. Gestation period is about 266 days in humans. While in the uterus, the baby first endures a very brief zygote stage, then the embryonic stage, which is marked by the development of major organs and lasts for approximately eight weeks, then the fetal stage, which revolves around the development of bone cells while the fetus continues to grow in size.[6]

Once the fetus is sufficiently developed, chemical signals begin the process of birth, which begins with the fetus being pushed out of the birthing canal. The newborn, which is called an Infant in humans, should typically begin respiration on its own shortly after birth. Not long after, the placenta eventually falls off on its own. The person assisting the birth may also sever the umbilical cord.

A human baby is nearly helpless and the growing child requires high levels of parental care for many years. One important type of early parental care is lactation, feeding the baby milk from the mother’s mammary glands in her breasts.[7]

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