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Life Extension Pseudoscience and SENS Plan


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#1 world33

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 02:01 PM


Life Extension Pseudoscience and the SENS Plan

 

Quote from the above document:

 

However, given the recent successes and highly emotional nature of life extension research, Aubrey de Grey is not the first, nor will he be the last, to promote a hopelessly insufficient but ably camouflaged pipe-dream to the hopeful many. With this in mind, we hope our list provides a general line of demarcation between increasingly sophisticated life extension pretense, and real science and engineering, so that we can focus honestly on the significant challenges before us.

 

May be when the mission, vision and goals of a company, or in this case a research foundation and public charity in financial distress, sound too good to be true the alarm bell should be ringing.

After 8 years since its foundation (2009) is there any available tested application/therapy coming out from SENS line of research?

 

 


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#2 Mind

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 07:17 PM

Life Extension Pseudoscience and the SENS Plan

 

Quote from the above document:

 

However, given the recent successes and highly emotional nature of life extension research, Aubrey de Grey is not the first, nor will he be the last, to promote a hopelessly insufficient but ably camouflaged pipe-dream to the hopeful many. With this in mind, we hope our list provides a general line of demarcation between increasingly sophisticated life extension pretense, and real science and engineering, so that we can focus honestly on the significant challenges before us.

 

May be when the mission, vision and goals of a company, or in this case a research foundation and public charity in financial distress, sound too good to be true the alarm bell should be ringing.

After 8 years since its foundation (2009) is there any available tested application/therapy coming out from SENS line of research?

 

No therapies yet, but several SENS strategies are now being entered into human trials as we speak. SENS has demonstrated proof-of-concept in several rejuvenation techniques. It is no pipe-dream. It is a strategy for rejuvenation. People at SENS will tell you straight up that there is no guarantee their strategies will work. They are probably the most honest about how difficult rejuvenation will be. They are not mis-leading anyone.

 

The SENS approach has been slow to gain traction because they have been on a shoestring budget (a couple million per year).

 

In contrast, Calico is spending hundreds of millions per year and have developed nothing. At least with SENS you get more bang for your buck with potential rejuvenation therapies.


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#3 albedo

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 06:49 AM

For completeness here the rebuttal and follow on discussion to the link posted by World33. I tend to agree with Mind. Moreover, there have been recent progresses, publications and spin-off out of SENS strategy. A good read is also the SENS annual report.

 


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#4 Avatar of Horus

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 07:12 AM

In another book the term quasiscientific is used for SENS, in:

 

Brocklehurst's Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 8th edition, Elsevier.

Pg.166-167. In the section:

"Brief history of antiaging medicine

Aubrey De Grey ...

His approach is a classic example of the quasiscientific methods that have been used to create antiaging literature.

..."

 

IMHO SENS is a good hypothesis, but when a hypothesis is presented as if it was fact, i.e. without evidence, that's a problem, and that is why those quasi-/pseudoscience terms are used by others.


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#5 albedo

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 09:44 AM

Also IMHO, I do not feel SENS is presented as a fact. I take it as a strategy to tackle aging and there are tons of hypothetical contents. One might dislike the tactics used by the proponents but if we are in war against aging, tactics are important too. As I understand, the strategy, not very dissimilar from what an engineer would maybe have, is to attack damages basically caused by metabolism and prior to the very same damages cause pathology. No surprise this is criticized by the bio-gerontology community on one side and the geriatric on the other. To me key message Aubrey put out out more that 10 years ago to the public (good tactic if you want to move forward) is you have a very limited number of areas you need to tackle. He is today definitively not alone in saying this reading the work by totally independent groups on the "hallmarks of aging". The strategy might scientifically be not so intellectually rewarding as fully understanding all the details of metabolism and finding ways to interfere with it but so what if this helps millions of people! And the tactic seems start working with more people endorsement, funding and hopefully convergence with other approaches as often in science.


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#6 albedo

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 10:25 PM

In case you missed the Dec 2017 podcast with Aubrey on progresses and recognition of the work done:

 

 

(not sure the link works but you can go to podcast link, which seems working...)


Edited by albedo, 31 January 2018 - 10:29 PM.

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#7 YOLF

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 04:09 PM

I don't see how SENS is a pipe dream... They've figured out what needs to be done... that's the biggest part. They even have some suggestions on how to get it done. We're getting there and it will be in parallel to the work of others I'm sure.


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#8 Griff

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 08:39 PM

Thank you OP for the Question and Dissenting Voice. There seems to be a growing amount of SENS fans who are not too rational, at the point of being Overzealous and not considering other options. There are tons more options, and thank god, more than SENS.

 

You have Buck Institute / Google Calico / Craig Venter in San Diego / Peter Diamandis' new Celularity / and the list is much longer.

 

It is always good and healthy to question things, especially SENS on how they are doing.


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#9 YOLF

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 03:49 AM

What are these orgs doing on the life extension front?


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#10 caliban

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 05:17 PM

the OP references a 12-year old contest entry and controversy 

https://en.wikipedia...y_Review_debate

 

to evaluate what the SENS foundation has done it may be more useful to go by their organizational reports 


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#11 albedo

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:38 AM

I fully agree with Caliban. I would add that even if you do not agree in full to the SENS approach it has created a great momentum. E.g. look at what is called the "SENS conference" (the next happening in EU this week), even if not all the speakers and participants are or can be associated to the SENS program the very fact that are there is synergistic to the cause. Eventually controversy will fade and convergence will happen:

https://www.undoing-...rg/program.html



#12 Mind

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 06:05 PM

The title of this thread bothers me. The SENS plan is not a "pipe-dream" or "pseudo-science". It is as "scientific" as any other anti-aging or life extension effort. They are all pushing forward into unknown territory with no guarantee of success.

 

The difference with SENS is that there is a cadre of professional scientists and science writers who are out to "get" SENS. Why? I am unsure. SENS gets a tiny fraction of the money that other efforts receive. Are they worried SENS will be a success and absorb more of the biotech funding, or something?


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#13 Griff

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 08:33 PM

Whether it bothers a person or not, open discussion and constructive criticism is a good thing. If freedom of speech and expression was shutdown here, I will never use this site again. Believe it or not; not speaking of SENS's funding, there is actually a huge bandwagon of mindless drone people who think that SENS is the godsend answer on many forums and media, such as youtube or reddit; without ever questioning it. There is more to life, aka tons of organizations in this world, than just SENS.


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#14 Avatar of Horus

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 07:26 PM

Also IMHO, I do not feel SENS is presented as a fact. ...

 
Well that seems to be one of their main problems,
quotes from their paper:

... de Grey's own description of SENS is as follows: "It is not just an idea: it's a very detailed plan to repair all the types of molecular and cellular damage that happen to us over time. ...
When we get these therapies, we will no longer all get frail and decrepit and dependent as we get older, and eventually succumb to the innumerable ghastly progressive diseases of old age."

Any claim regarding extreme extension of life span in higher organisms must be regarded with extreme skepticism, and the evidentiary and logical support for such a claim must be as extraordinary as the claim itself.
...
Unscientifically simplified; diffuse and undiscovered damage/pathologies excluded as causes of aging without compelling evidence
...
Hypothetical and untested approaches are strongly implied or claimed to be "cures" for aging

... human aging is not well understood, and any prospective therapy or cure must be regarded as pure speculation. ... any claim of a cure for human aging prior to evidence of therapeutic efficacy, or prior to a scientifically supported mechanistic model of human aging, must be pseudoscience. Even after the existence of a scientifically supported mechanistic model of human aging, any prospective therapy should be considered experimental until efficacy is tested. In other words, for now, and for the foreseeable future, all explicit and implicit claims of cures for human aging are pseudoscience.

 
So basically: in science any unsubstantiated claim is pseudoscience; in biology and medical science evidence means experimental data and clinical trial results; all other is at most hypothesis and theory.

But they go further and, through an example of microbial hydrolases ( LysoSENS I belive ), say that "the shortening of life span might well be the outcome" of it.

#15 Avatar of Horus

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 07:30 PM

The title of this thread bothers me. The SENS plan is not a "pipe-dream" or "pseudo-science". It is as "scientific" as any other anti-aging or life extension effort. They are all pushing forward into unknown territory with no guarantee of success.
 
The difference with SENS is that there is a cadre of professional scientists and science writers who are out to "get" SENS. Why? I am unsure. SENS gets a tiny fraction of the money that other efforts receive. Are they worried SENS will be a success and absorb more of the biotech funding, or something?


I think this is connected to the things in the previous post, and, as it appears they didn't take it well that Aubrey lashed out at them :
 

Gerontology, SENS, and Opposition to SENS are Misrepresented

... de Grey has misrepresented the views of hypothetical "mainstream" gerontologists, and he has confused and misrepresented the fundamental differences of opinion between himself and gerontologists. He often caricatures working gerontologists as blundering fools
...
de Grey also has belittled scientists
...
Although we believe SENS to be obvious pseudoscience, there is one feature that does separate it from routine pseudoscience: the nature of the irresponsible accusations that de Grey makes against scientists.


It doesn't help either that several scientists consider him a charlatan or crackpot or snake oil salesman, harmful to the gerontology field;
as described in this relevant journal article overviewing life extension:
https://www.newstate...ong-immortality
 

Is Aubrey de Grey a charlatan?
...
Some critics are outspoken. The neurobiologist Colin Blakemore of the University of London's School of Advanced Study appears in The Immortalists calling de Grey's views "foolish" and "naive", and denouncing his proposed remedies for ageing as "dangerous snake oil". De Grey is confident that the ranks of such critics are dwindling – but that might be because they are wary of even giving him the respectability of debate. "I think giving any publicity to crackpots like de Grey and his ilk is distinctly bad for the field. It makes it harder for people outside the research community to take ageing research seriously" said one gerontologist I contacted, who asked to remain anonymous.






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