Immortality : In Search of the Firebird
The theme of this year’s event is “immortality.
Some people live long lives without doing anything special. Some people live long lives by a combination of several coincidences, such as superior genes, strong immunity, etc.
But we cannot leave our one and only life to such coincidences. So, I thought about what I could do to maintain my apparent youth and vitality even after I reach the age of 100.
The average life expectancy in the Meiji Era, 100 years ago, was 44 years old. Now it is 85 years old. That’s about twice as long as the average life expectancy in the Meiji era. With this in mind, we should be able to live longer and healthier lives in the future, depending on the progress of medical treatment and our understanding of the world around us.
What is important in an aging society is to move from a defensive to an offensive stance against disease.
First, as a prerequisite for a long life, we should deal with the disease in order to prevent it (pre-disease).
Illness is a reckoning with the past. In contrast to the negative spiral of feeling sick → waiting in the hospital → painful treatment, pre-symptomatic diseases can be prevented by knowing one’s condition (genome analysis, MRI, intestinal flora, etc.).
I hate having to go through all these tests when I’m not sick! You may not need to read the rest of this column. But for those who are interested, I will continue.
It gets a little technical.
1. first, let’s find out the genetic information from the blood!
There is a blood test called the “milter test” that can check for disease at the genetic level before it is too late. There are two main types.
The “Telomere Test” to identify the risk of hidden diseases and the “Mia Test” to detect the signs of cancer and dementia.
It measures your genetic “strength” and “fatigue level” and shows your risk of age-related diseases.
Based on the test results, we aim to prevent diseases by improving lifestyle.
In recent years, Angelina Jolie had her breast removed after a “Mia Test” (early detection test) showed that she had a fairly high probability of developing breast cancer. It is the latest in predictive medicine to find out without the onset of the disease.
By the way, the full set of these inspections cost a little over 200,000 yen.
2. eliminating the element of death
No. 1 Cancer (tumor) 373,178
No. 2 Heart disease 204,203
No. 3 Cerebrovascular disease 109,844
No. 4 Senility 101,787
No. 5 Pneumonia 96,807
This year, pneumonia is the fifth leading cause of death, although the epidemic of the new virus corona has increased the number of cases of cold → pneumonia in the elderly that become serious and lead to death.
Overcoming cancer is directly related to the longest life. Early detection -> treatment from the aforementioned milter test is the best defense. It will be difficult to detect 100% early detection of cancer with blood tests, MRI, and echo level of physical examinations. That is why regular “milter examinations” are necessary.
The second- and third-ranked diseases, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, are both caused by arteriosclerosis. This is promoted by obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, and abnormal lipid metabolism. People who already have high blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and neutral fat levels have no choice but to follow a diet, exercise, sleep, and stress-free lifestyle.
What is a healthy body? It is assumed that the body is strong (gym, running, other exercises) and the mind is strong (Zen, sauna). Two other factors that are important to take care of are a strong immune system and a strong gut.
3. first of all, boost immunity with “autologous lymphocyte” therapy!
This is intended to enhance the immune system, which declines rapidly from the age of 50s.
Lymphocytes are a component of the white blood cells in the blood that form teams to attack foreign enemies such as viruses and foreign substances such as tumors. They also memorize foreign substances that have invaded the body, and when they invade again, they kill them. A high number of lymphocytes = a high level of immunity.
If a person’s immunity peaks at 100 at age 20, it drops by half to about 50 after age 50.
Immunity is the number of soldiers defending one’s body. If you have few soldiers, you catch colds more easily, are more susceptible to viruses, and cannot fight off cancer. When bad guys come to your body, the more soldiers you have, the better. This is why this kind of treatment is called “preventive medicine.
This “autologous lymphocyte therapy” has been used for more than 20 years as a treatment for early cancer patients. Only in recent years has it been applied to healthy individuals, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare has begun approving it for clinics.
All you have to do is go to the designated clinic and have your blood drawn.
Two weeks after the blood sample is taken, autologous lymphocytes are cultured 1,000-fold at a specialized vendor. The cultured autologous lymphocytes are returned to the patient every month via intravenous infusion.
The manga below is taken from “Hataraku Seibutsu” (author: Akane Shimizu), a comedy in which the cells in the body are personified. When foreign substances such as viruses enter the body, virus killers called “killer T cells” in the lymphocytes kill them. The number of these killers indicates the level of immunity. Cartoon, easy to understand!
4. potential of regenerative medicine
This type of treatment in general is called “regenerative medicine. It is a medical treatment to regenerate one’s own body using one’s own abilities. Incidentally, although it is called “lizard tail cutting,” there are 326 pieces of genetic information necessary for a lizard to grow a tail.
Once the roles of these genes are understood, cultured, and transplanted, skin, blood vessels, muscles, and bones can be regenerated. These are iPS cells discovered by Professor Yamanaka.
Regenerative medicine” requires a three-step evolution.
Tissue stem cells (adipose stem cells) → iPS cells → ES cells
The human genome is programmed by 3.7 billion bases. In recent years, AI can analyze the genome of the cancer part from the vast genetic information of cancer patients and provide cancer treatment that suits them. (Precision Medicine)
Precision medicine refers to personalized precision medicine (or personalized medicine) based on genome analysis. The genetic mutations of each person are analyzed in detail, and appropriate medicine is prescribed according to the results.
The 10/22/2019 issue of NEWS WEEK introduces an attempt to create a drug to identify and fix cancer-causing DNA by having AI check genome analysis.
Incidentally, the genome is the human blueprint consisting of 3.7 billion base pairs. There are 200 million genes in it, which means it contains one set (two sets) of DNA information. A gene is a part of DNA. There is also a part without genetic information.
Genome > DNA > Gene
In fact, cancer is a matter of intracellular proteins, and when the immune system is weakened, it mutates the cells and allows bad copies to proliferate.
The drug targets proteins, not genes. The AI is constantly reading examples of the protein patterns and finding formulas to block the bad behavior. That is why uniform radiation therapy does not work for everyone. Gene testing should be the standard treatment for cancer, he says.
Genome editing (Crisper CAS9), which recently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has made it possible to create improved varieties as well as regeneration by editing the genome at will.
5. now, what is the medical treatment that keeps you young?
First, the field of cosmetology is attracting attention. The first one is “autologous stem cell culture supernatant solution therapy. Since there are many Chinese characters, I have separated them into phrases.
This is said to be the trump card for immortality (the ultimate anti-aging).
The “culture supernatant” (supernatant made by extracting cellular components) is created from “autologous” (own) “stem cells” (mesenchymal stem cells that exist in bone marrow and adipose tissue and have the ability to change into various types of cells).
The treatment involves taking 10 to 20 cc of fat from the abdomen, culturing the stem cells contained in the tissue, and returning them to the body through an infusion once every few months.
The effect is to rejuvenate cells and strengthen skin and blood vessels.
These treatments do not make the healthy person feel “better” like other illnesses. They are also not covered by insurance. If preventive medicine to stay healthy is not considered an investment in one’s future, one will not see the point of doing it. For those who think that “I am very healthy, so I don’t need it,” they are just as “healthy” without any treatment. Cancer, however, comes without warning. For those who wish to remain as young as possible, it is possible to maintain youthfulness by increasing lymphocytes, ensuring immunity to disease, and cultivating stem cells to strengthen the skin and blood vessels.
Some clinics inject stem cells that are not their own, which I do not recommend.
Cost varies from clinic to clinic, but lymphocytes are 2-5 million yen per year. Incidentally, 10 years ago, the treatment cost was about 20 million yen. If it becomes more common, I think it will come down to about 1/10 of that.
Stem cell culture supernatant solution is currently about 3-5 million yen. This will also go down in the future due to recognition and performance.
6. the ultimate rejuvenation method “telomere
Do you know someone named Elizabeth Parrish?
This man had a short life span in his family, and his own son became diabetic when he was five years old. He decided that he could not afford an early death, so he started a business in Silicon Valley and raised money by creating a research company (BioViva USA) to study the longevity of life. Because of the risk of carcinogenicity and the fact that it could not be done in the U.S., he himself became a test subject and traveled to Colombia to conduct the treatment. By the way, the treatment cost about 100 million yen. Hmmm, this is still expensive!
The treatment was an intravenous injection of a genetically modified virus. The result was a brilliant success (no side effects so far), and although he is 48 years old, he is now 30 years old on the inside.
The treatment consisted of stretching telomeres in the DNA that cause aging.
DNA is the basis for the formation of all human cells, which metabolize and divide regularly through cell division.
At the tip of the DNA is the telomere. Without telomeres, DNA would be damaged and unable to divide. Without telomeres, DNA would be damaged and cells would not be able to divide, and cells would age.
Telomeres shorten just a little bit with each cell division.
And when it shortens below a certain length, the cell can no longer divide. This is what we call aging.
Telomeres not only shorten with age, but also due to stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diet.
Telomere length represents biological youth. Age-related decline in immunity is also related to telomere length. Incidentally, Elizabeth Parrish’s telomere length before the procedure was 6,710 base pairs compared to 7,330 base pairs after the procedure. This is a 20-year extension. The white blood cells have been rejuvenated. Incidentally, telomere length can be checked for about 50,000 yen. Please give it a try.
And, although not as effective as that injection, an enzyme called telomerase is very much involved in telomeres and has made it possible to slow or stop the shortening process.
Recent research has also made it possible to do the opposite, lengthening telomeres.
Activation of telomerase has made it possible to
Identify short telomeres, restore telomere length, and delay shortening.
This again triggers cell division and activates the cells themselves.
Telomere length can be maintained or lengthened.
Telomerase is found in the human body and its amount decreases with age. However, when human cells are exposed to the telomerase enzyme, they slow down the aging process and begin to divide again. Lengthened telomeres change the expression of genes in cell division to a younger form, resulting in a younger functioning cell.
The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to the telomere researcher who discovered telomerase, and there are high hopes for further development of telomere research.
7. now, more familiar health maintenance
You hear the term “intestinal flora” (intestinal bacteria) a lot these days.
They say the gut is a “second brain,” but it’s not. The gut has so much to do with longevity that the brain is the “second gut.
First, let’s find out what’s going on with our intestinal flora. (about 20,000 yen)
The percentage of major intestinal bacteria (lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, butyric acid-producing bacteria, equol-producing bacteria, etc.) can be determined. This gives us an idea of the diversity (balance) of the intestines. (Not only do we know if there are bacteria that cause weight gain, but we also know how to reduce the risk of disease)
Regulating intestinal flora increases good bacteria and reduces bad bacteria.
It can be addressed by taking frozen live bifidobacteria.
I am doing gut revitalization with Chinese herbal medicine. The formula of Chinese herbs can be changed from person to person, so you can create the optimal intestinal environment for yourself. Please ask for a consultation first, depending on the condition of your intestines. There are so many ways to deal with it.
I wrote “immortality,” but in the end, we all die someday. According to Ayurveda, we can live to be 126 years old, but if you want to live a long and vigorous life, the best thing to do is not to be bedridden, but to do what you love with all your might, without stressing yourself out.
Eat a lot, sleep a lot, exercise a lot, travel a lot, laugh a lot. There are many things that are not possible, but in the spirit of Zen, we cherish the “now” and live in the moment. I try not to think about yesterday or tomorrow.
He believes that if he does so, even if his true life expectancy is 80 years, he can live as long as 100 years with vigor.
What I have written here is just Fukuda’s feeling, and each person can have his/her own strategy for a long life. But the basic premise is “Let’s live long! I think it is important to have a strong will to do so.
Do grandparents not die until their grandchildren come along at the time of their death? Science can’t figure it out, but isn’t there a strong will of the person in question?
“I’ll do what I have to do!”
That soul may be the engine of immortality.