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Has the anti-aging community got it all wrong: the link between common pathogens and reduced healthspan and lifespan

virus pathogen infection micro-organism ewald

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#1 Hip

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:36 PM


It's funny how people in the anti-aging longevity community generally think that the key to a long healthy life is avoiding toxins and eating good food, along with taking beneficial supplements and drugs, and perhaps regular exercise. Yet they usually don't make the link between nasty viral, bacterial, fungal and protozoal pathogens in common circulation and chronic disease and early death. But most of the common chronic diseases that reduce healthspan and lifespan have been linked to common pathogens that many of us already have in our bodies, having picked them up earlier in life.
 
Many of these disease-causing pathogens will be unsuspectingly picked up from kissing a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Often such viruses may cause no initial symptoms when we first catch them from other human beings, or may just cause minor symptoms like a sore throat or a temporary gastrointestinal upset. But then a few years down the line, they may trigger a nasty chronic disease, like multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, myalgic encephalomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, etc, and also mental heath diseases such as generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar, anorexia nervosa, OCD, etc.
 
One brilliant scientist who studies the connection between common pathogens and chronic diseases is Professor Paul W. Ewald. In this video, he discusses the link between common pathogens and cancer. He says that back in the 1970s, there were no cancers which had been linked to pathogens. But nowadays, we know that around 20% of cancers are caused by infectious pathogens. Prof Ewald thinks that as we research the pathogen-cancer link, we will find that a lot more cancers are caused by infectious micro-organisms.


Edited by Hip, 28 December 2018 - 04:42 PM.

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#2 Dichotohmy

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:22 PM

While other environmental and controllable variables like toxin-exposure or diet are certainly important, I agree that pathogen exposure is the "holy grail" of sorts to explain why some people have better health and advantageous life outcomes than others. Eliminating or mitigating the effects of pathogen exposure is also likely the "holy grail" of preventing countless diseases -- short of curing those diseases, because damage already done by a pathogen is another matter entirely -- and boosting the quality of life and productivity of society at large. I wager that there are several reasons why this specific topic isn't researched more, let alone talked about more:

 

1. It's extremely difficult to impossible to avoid many viral (EBV, Herpes-spectrum, etc), bacterial (Chlamydia/Mycoplasma pnuemoniae, strep-spectrum) and even fungal infections (Valley Fever, mold, etc). All of those examples I mention can do very bad things, but they are everywhere and pretty much everybody has caught many if not all of these things at some point. Whether or not the pathogen does very bad things is so poorly understood, that it might as well be attributed to luck. Humans don't like things that are poorly understood or attributable to luck; it's intimidating or makes us feel guilty to think we are privileged. 

 

2. Blaming controllable factors, like stress and psychology, (relatively) easily avoidable toxins or infections (wear your PPE), lifestyle (get off the couch, you slob), or diet (eat more veggies) makes sexier headlines. People see pop-science news about the Latest Study on controllable factors like this, and say "that's something I can do," and so Latest Study gets talked about. Unfortunately, the kind of research and results that get lots of attention are the kinds of research and results that predominate regardless of objective merit. Research into pathogen exposure and immune-system dynamics don't make headlines nearly as good as more easily understood and controllable factors.

 

3. People discount my other two points based on anecdote. "I had the Chicken Pox when I was a kid and I turned out fine!" "My grandma drank Pomegranate juice everyday and lived to be 100!" People's opinions and views are more heavily molded by their peers than by objective science.

 

Everybody, from the anti-aging community to researchers and especially the medical establishment has something to sell. People don't want to buy pathogen exposure as the reason for their ills to the extent they will buy more easily understood or controllable explanations.


Edited by Dichotohmy, 28 December 2018 - 05:29 PM.

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#3 Hip

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 06:44 PM

@Dichotohmy: that's a good set of explanations of why the infectious pathogen link to chronic disease and reduced healthspan/lifespan is largely ignored by the anti-aging and longevity community. It's the elephant in the room. 

 

I would add to that set another factor: the self-interest factor. I suspect humanity will only make substantial progress in increasing healthspan and lifespan once the issue of common pathogenic infections is addressed. This will require developing more vaccines (hopefully safer vaccines) to cover a wider range of disease-associated pathogens, and by developing better antiviral drugs that may be able to fully eliminate a persistent virus from the body tissues. And better antibiotics, antifungals and antiprotozoals. Though vaccines would seem like the best approach, as it is better to prevent infection entirely.

 

However, even if we start an intensive research campaign now, these advancements will likely only appear many decades from now, which means that they will be of little benefit to the current generation. Thus it's only if you are a longevity enthusiast concerned with humanity's future welfare, or the welfare of your children's children, will this subject be of major interest to you.

 

 

 

I think the main reason nobody in science or politics is instigating a major anti-pathogen campaign for the benefit of all humanity (which in my view should be given the same funding and focus as JFK's project to put man on the moon) is because there are too many short-sighted biologists and medical scientists who just don't get it; they just can't see that although all the evidence is not there yet, there are good theoretical arguments (which Prof Ewald has expounded upon) as to why pathogens are the most likely culprits behind chronic diseases. 

 

I think in 100 or 200 years from now, we will have demonstrated beyond all doubt that pathogens are the primary cause of most chronic disease (apart from genetic diseases such as Huntington's — although even with Huntington's disease, it has been shown that infection may play a role). 

 

But at the moment, many scientists, even those at the top of their profession, are just too dopey to seriously look into the pathogen-disease connection. 

 


Edited by Hip, 28 December 2018 - 06:47 PM.

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#4 Phoebus

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 03:28 AM

yes agreed 100% 

 

the problem is that these bugs/viri are persistent little fckers and not easy to take out at all 

 

Even herpes, we have some meds that will beat it back into its hidey hole, but there is no cure for any of the 7 herpes viri as far as I know. 

 

Big pharma has been absolute shit at tackling these things. Staph A is becoming more and more of an issue

 

Alzheimer's has been strongly correlated with Herpes 1, lyme, Staph A. All of which are very very difficult to kill in the body. 

 

Not really sure what strategy the average person can take with these things. 

 

https://www.hindawi....ad/2010/140539/

 

 

 

Herpes simplex is implicated in Alzheimer's disease and viral infection produces Alzheimer's disease like pathology in mice. The virus expresses proteins containing short contiguous amino acid stretches (5–9aa “vatches” = viralmatches) homologous to APOE4, clusterin, PICALM, and complement receptor 1, and to over 100 other gene products relevant to Alzheimer's disease, which are also homologous to proteins expressed by other pathogens implicated in Alzheimer's disease. Such homology, reiterated at the DNA level, suggests that gene association studies have been tracking infection, as well as identifying key genes, demonstrating a role for pathogens as causative agents. Vatches may interfere with the function of their human counterparts, acting as dummy ligands, decoy receptors, or via interactome interference. They are often immunogenic, and antibodies generated in response to infection may target their human counterparts, producing protein knockdown, or generating autoimmune responses that may kill the neurones in which the human homologue resides, a scenario supported by immune activation in Alzheimer's disease. These data may classify Alzheimer's disease as an autoimmune disorder created by pathogen mimicry of key Alzheimer's disease-related proteins. It may well be prevented by vaccination and regular pathogen detection and elimination, and perhaps stemmed by immunosuppression or antibody adsorption-related therapies.

 


Edited by Phoebus, 29 December 2018 - 03:38 AM.

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#5 Hip

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 03:52 AM

Not really sure what strategy the average person can take with these things. 

 

The only strategy that may make a difference is one of amorous restriction: avoiding affairs or brief flings with guys and girls who you know are likely not going to be "the one", or are not likely to become a long-term meaningful girlfriend or boyfriend. Because viruses are spread by kissing and French kissing. Indeed, mononucleosis (caused by Epstein-Barr virus or sometimes cytomegalovirus) is otherwise known as the "kissing disease". So the more gratuitous brief flings you have, the more likely you will pick up some pathogen that years down the line will cause a chronic disease.

 

In other words, reign in the behavior promoted by the 1960s sexual revolution (easier said than done!). Ironically protected sex itself is a fairly safe activity in terms of pathogen spread; it's kissing and its saliva exchange which can spread disease-associated pathogens.

 

In my case, as a result of kissing on a date — a date that was entirely gratuitous, in the sense that the person was definitely not my type and not material for a long-term relationship — I caught a nasty virus from kissing that triggered a chronic life-changing illness (myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka: chronic fatigue syndrome), as well as triggering some horrible mental health symptoms, especially after this virus infected my brain via encephalitis. 

 

What's more, the virus I caught from this pointless date went on to infect over 30 friends and family by normal social contact, triggering many illnesses in these people, including fatal heart attacks. My blood tests indicated the virus was coxsackievirus B4, and the horrifying array of physical and mental illnesses it triggered in my friends are listed on this thread. All that disease caused by some French kissing I indulged in on a pointless date.

 

As a result of this experience, I am older and wiser; but I wish I'd known about the pathogen-disease connection beforehand, so that I could have been more circumspect with who I gratuitously dated.

 

Prof Paul Ewald touches upon this subject towards the end of his video at timecode 50:27.


Edited by Hip, 29 December 2018 - 04:08 AM.

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#6 ceridwen

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 09:41 AM

Since I got memory loss I have given up kissing. Especially since my symptoms are exactly the same as those of an adopted aunt by marriage who looked after me as a baby. One possible means of transmission. Drop a baby's dummy on the ground suck it and give it back to them. Why British people use that as a means of sterilisation is beyond me. The last 2 men I kissed one got very bad memory loss but he has largely recovered. I told him of the Bredesen Protocol. He didn't stick to it religiously but he got better. Some long term memory loss remains but he's back at work. The other I really didn't want to kiss but it happened. Next email many more typos. Worrying but he's moved on now an amicable parting. The first one had family members who had it and different symptoms from me. No tinnitus. The second also no tinnitus but typos was the first thing I noticed as a memory defect. I hope this is not off topic. Just to say it's more than just cancer that might be passed on in a kiss
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#7 Mind

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:27 PM

"Germs", ever since they have been discovered, are frequently blamed for pretty much everything that ails the individual human. It could be that chronic long-term infections play an important role in the aging process, however, aging seems more complicated than just "infections".

 

We have a lot of data in support of exercise and good nutrition as powerful modulators of the rate of aging. It seems a healthy body (and thus a healthy immune system) can ward off infections for a long time. It seems unlikely that ALL of the world's supercentenarians somehow managed to avoid all of the common "germs" that are passed from person to person over the course of a lifetime, and thus that is why they have lived so long.


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#8 Hip

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 04:08 PM

It seems unlikely that ALL of the world's supercentenarians somehow managed to avoid all of the common "germs" that are passed from person to person over the course of a lifetime, and thus that is why they have lived so long.

 

Common infectious pathogens which persist long-term in the body do not always cause the diseases they are associated with in every individual who harbors those pathogens. A given pathogen may only cause its associated disease(s) in, for example, 0.2% of the population who carry that pathogen. We now know that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes more than one type of cancer (such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma); but most people do not get those cancers, in spite of the fact that EBV is found in 90% of adults.

 

(EBV hides in a latent state in the B-cells in the blood; that's the main reason it is not eliminated by the immune system; new antivirals that tackle this latent B-cell infection may in future allow us to fully eliminate this virus from the body).

 

So unlike HIV, which will cause AIDS in nearly 100% of the people it infects (if antiviral are not used), in the case of many infectious pathogens in common circulation, they only cause the diseases they are associated with in a small percentage of the population. 

 

Indeed, this is what makes it harder to ascribe causality. Prof Paul Ewald points out that historically, science was quick to identity the infectious micro-organisms which when caught led to disease quickly and consistently every time — because in these cases, the cause-effect relationship is easy to observe. But when it takes 2 decades before a pathogen triggers the disease, and when it only triggers the disease in 0.2% of the population, that makes causality a lot harder to ascribe. This is the issue facing scientists who research into these pathogen-disease connections. 

 

 

So in the case of supercentenarians, their longevity might be partly because they managed to avoid some of the nastier pathogens in circulation; party a bit of luck that the pathogens they did catch did not trigger disease in their case; and no doubt partly to do with avoidance of the non-infectious factors that are also linked to diseases and ill health, such as environmental toxins, stress and bad diet.

 

 

 

"Germs", ever since they have been discovered, are frequently blamed for pretty much everything that ails the individual human.

 

It has often been the other way around, with people ridiculed for suggesting that an infectious pathogen may cause a disease or illness.

 

One famous example is Ignaz Semmelweis, the Hungarian obstetrician who observed in 1847 that there was a higher chance mothers would die of a fever just after a childbirth which had been assisted by doctors. Semmelweis hypothesized the existence of invisible microbes on the hands of the doctors that were getting into the female reproductive tract, and postulated these microbes caused the fever, and ordered that all doctors should wash their hands thoroughly before assisting with childbirth. This led to a dramatic lowering of maternal mortality in his obstetric ward.

 

However, most of his contemporaries did not believe in his theory of "invisible germs," and eventually after a few years, these doctors abandoned the hand-washing practice, which then resulted in the mortality rate going back up. 

 

 

Nothing has changed much today. I was recently in contact with a research group who are investigating the connection between herpes simplex virus (HSV) and Alzheimer's. Although there is good preliminary evidence for HSV causing Alzheimer's (in people with a certain genetic susceptibility in the APOE gene), this research group cannot get any funding, because the leading experts in Alzheimer's research think the idea that HSV might cause it is ridiculous, and so refuse all their research grant applications. Thus they can only proceed very slowly, and on a shoestring budget, due to the incredulity of the rest of the Alzheimer's research community.  


Edited by Hip, 29 December 2018 - 04:31 PM.

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#9 Mind

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 05:34 PM

 

 

It has often been the other way around, with people ridiculed for suggesting that an infectious pathogen may cause a disease or illness.

 

True, it has gone both ways.


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#10 Hip

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 02:56 PM

It's worth mentioning one remarkable new antiviral technology in development which is a very potent and very broad-spectrum antiviral that has the potential to not only control infection, but to actually eliminate virtually all viruses from the body, including viruses like EBV, cytomegalovirus and HHV-6 which persist in the body, lying hidden inside human cells in a latent state.

 

The new antiviral is called DRACO, and is the brainchild of MIT researcher Dr Todd Rider. As a drug, DRACO is able to achieve a broad-spectrum elimination of viruses by focusing on a specific Achilles heel found in the vast majority of viruses (an Achilles heel which relates to the viral production of double-stranded RNA inside infected cells).

 

If DRACO works as intended, it will not only be a game changer for medical antiviral treatment, but I think it will also revolutionize the world of anti-aging, by eliminating the vast majority of persistent viruses hiding in your cells. This should dramatically reduce your risks of developing chronic disease.

 

DRACO may well be able to cure chronic diseases that have already appeared, such as multiple sclerosis which is strongly linked to EBV.

 

 

Unfortunately DRACO is currently short of funding: Dr Rider's website says this:

If it’s so great, why isn’t DRACO funded?
 
DRACO research has entered what is known as the “Valley of Death.” Modest amounts of funding from the National Institutes of Health have enabled the previous proof-of-concept experiments in cells and mice, but that funding grant is now over.
 
Major pharmaceutical companies have the resources and expertise to carry new drugs like DRACO through the manufacturing scale-up, large-scale animal trials, and human trials required for FDA approval. However, before committing any of their own money, those companies want to see that DRACOs have already been shown to be effective against major clinically relevant viruses (such as members of the herpesvirus family), not just the proof-of-concept viruses (such as rhinovirus) that were previously funded by NIH.
 
Thus the Valley of Death is the financial and experimental gap between the previously funded NIH proof-of-concept experiments and the threshold for convincing major pharmaceutical companies to advance DRACOs toward human trials.

Edited by Hip, 30 December 2018 - 03:21 PM.

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