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Why are babies born young?

Why are babies born young? This sounds like an odd question. People would say "of course babies are born young". However, this goes to the core of the question of human (or animal) development. Why is it that as time passes people develop initially through puberty and then for women through menopause and more generally getting diseases such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer, but most of the time babies start showing no signs of this. Lots of research into this has happened over the years and now I think it is clear why this is. It raises some interesting questions. Biological youth is about how well a cell functions. Cells that are old in a biological sense don't work that well. One of the ways in which cells stop working is they fail to produce the full range of proteins. Generally the proteins that are produced from longer genes stop being produced. The reason for this relates to how the Genes work (the Genome). Because the genome is not gettin
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If you are thinking of starting to take Rapamycin for its general health benefits start by photographing your nails

Now this might seem an odd suggestion. However, if you are starting Rapamycin I think you should first photograph your nails. That is because Rapamycin affects the growth of many people's fingernails and you may wish to titrate your usage of Rapamycin by how you see the effects on your nails. Rapamycin is known as an mTOR inhibitor. mTOR is a kinase in each cell that passes signals around relating to cell growth. If mTOR is activated then there is plenty of nutrients and so the cell can get on with building things. If mTOR is inactive it means nutrients are scarce and the cell needs to start recycling things to make them more efficient. Hence inhibiting mTOR (through the use of Rapamycin or fasting) can get the cell to start the process of autophagy The particular aspect of autophagy that is very useful is mitophagy where the cell starts recycling mitochondria. The less efficient mitochondria have a lower MMP (Mitochondrial Membrane Potential) {normally} and the cell auto

Space Medicine Expert and Oxford Visiting Professor in Ageing Research join Ex-MPs $101 Million XPrize Biohacking team developing “Royal Jelly” for human beings.

Space Medicine Expert Dr Rawan Al Shammari has joined the “Biohacking to improve everyone’s health” XPrize healthspan team headed up by John Hemming who was previously a Member of Parliament, in the UK. Oxford Visiting Professor Dr Richard Siow has also joined the team as the academic advisor. XPrize healthspan is a USD $ 101 Million contest organised by the XPrize foundation as a global contest to see which teams can improve human health by the equivalent of 10-20 years in the three areas of cognition, frailty and immune system. John Hemming is an erstwhile Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament who has successfully run a number of businesses and who has created the “Biohacking to improve everyone’s health” team as part of the XPrize. Dr Rawan Al Shammari is a medical doctor who specialises in Space Medicine. She has been appointed as the medical advisor to the team. Dr Siow has also joined the team as the academic advisor. The team is working to develop a protocol which improve

Epigenetic Age Changes - what do they mean? Has my biological age really gone from 63 to 37?

The concept of an Epigenetic Clock has been around for some time. The idea is that there are markers on DNA from which it is possible to work out someone's biological age. The idea of "biological age" is that it is in essence a measurement of how healthy someone is. People with the same chronological age, but different biological ages differ in their health status. My own personal view is that in fact the overall health of an individual is a driven by the status of all of the cells. Hence one person can have a particularly unhealthy pancreas whilst another person has a particularly unhealthy kidney. However, the idea of a biological age is useful to the extent that it is an easy concept to understand even if realistically it is an oversimplification. There is then the idea that if you can reduce someone's biological age that means improving their health status. This is a good approach in the sense that we ideally would be trying to ensure people are so health

Neural Networks Introduction

As readers may know I have been helped in my court cases over the past few years by Samuel Collingwood Smith. As well as being a law graduate and former councillor, Sam is also a software developer and recently he has begun two article series on artificial intelligence. One focuses on neural networks, one more on the tensor mathematics used in modern AI and neural networks. These are intended to be simple, step-by-step introductions for those new to both topics. Introduction to Neural Networks Introduction to Tensors in Neural Networks

UK Autophagy Network and the importance of autophagy for health (Healthspan and Longevity)

On 19-20 June 2023 I attended the conference of the UK Autophagy network. They have a website for the conference here and https://twitter.com/autophagyuk is their twitter account. This was a really interesting conference. My degree is in Physics specialising in Theoretical, Atomic and Nuclear physics. However, I have spent a lot of time reading up on molecular biology in the last few years. This is mainly to improve the health of my own cells which I believe (with some evidence) will improve my health as an individual. I have ended up as a biohacker, which is someone who uses cutting edge science to improve their own health making their own decisions. I am pleased that the UK Autophagy network decided they would allow me as a biohacker - they described me as an Independent Student - to attend their conference. Autophagy comes from the greek words which imply "eating oneself". It is a key part of cellular metabolism. In many ways it is obvious why Autophagy would b

HDAC inhibitors and Gene Expression (The Sirtuins are not longevity genes) - Resveratrol etc

I have been reading up on the issues around acetylation of the histone and I have some ideas as to the interplay between acetylation and deacetylation. There are two steps in creating proteins. The first is called "transcription". This is where a complex called RNA Polymerase II (RNA Pol II or RNAPII) travels down the gene creating messenger RNA (mRNA) as essentially a local copy. The second is "translation" where proteins get created from the mRNA. Although I think there are important metabolic constraints on protein creation in this post I am going to concentrate on "transcription". One of the key things about Transcription is that for RNA Pol II to get at the genes to copy from them the genes need to be opened up. The opening up process is where an acetyl group (think vinegar without the hydrogen ion or oxygen which would attract the hydrogen) is added to the histone which holds the DNA. This causes it to open up as a result of the electric char