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Lifespan News

Super Cool Cryonics Party

Carrie a posted Mar 24, 14


Cryonics is one area of radical life extension that Lifespan BC provides information on.  We hosted the first "Super Cool Cryonics Party” in Vancouver on a Saturday evening and tried to get everyone to wear blue.  Within this casual setting, we provided information about the basic science of cryonics and answered any questions people had.  Our turnout from the Less Wrong or Vancouver Rationalist Group was pretty high, a number of their philosophies overlap with ours.  Keegan, Luke and I are all Alcor members but we provided information about all the cryonics providers in the states and how to fund the procedure.  The providers we briefly went over: Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Cryonics Institute and the new Oregon Cryonics.  We also quickly covered Suspended Animation.


After the information meeting we headed to James’ place to make liquid nitrogen ice-cream.  It was a blast and we learned about the chemical properties of nitrogen and made delicious ice-cream.  We also shattered a few objects like a banana peel.  You can watch a short video of this process on youtube.


The ice-cream turned out really well, better than I thought it would be; it was very even and smooth and creamy.  We hope to host more social events like this in the future, so you can find us on meetup.com or facebook.

Dano Morrison giving his talk

Lifespan Society of B.C. is proud to have hosted our second annual mini-conference in downtown Vancouver on December 7th, 2013.  The theme of this year’s event was "Life Extension and Your Brain” and featured three presentations on longevity and brain health, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with all three speakers. Following the success of last year’s conference, we saw a great turnout of both Lifespan members and the general public, including some from outside the province.  If you missed this conference, we have the talks on our youtube channel.   

The first talk was presented by resident medical student Hans Wu, titled "Nutrition+ and Brain Health” which explored evidence-based nutrition and supplementation with a focus on promoting long-term brain health.  Hans’ talk examined the major contributing factors to cognitive decline and dementias such as Alzheimer’s.  Out of many contributing factors, he singled out diet as being the most significant.  He elaborated on the Mediterranean diet’s preventative benefits against mild cognitive impairment- especially in combination with olive oil consumption.  Hans addressed the issue of supplementation by selecting two supplements of particular interest for the prevention of dementia: lithium and creatine.  Lithium is better known for its therapeutic use as a mood stabilizer and Hans shared two compelling studies that show that in very small doses lithium reduces rates of suicide across populations.  As there is a well-established correlation between depression and development of dementia, this means that lithium could well be a previously unrecognized essential mineral that reduces risk of dementia.  Creatine is a supplement Hans promoted for its brain health benefits, in particular for vegetarians.  He also highlighted the risk of toxins, in particular mercury and cautioned against including certain types of fish that tend to have higher levels of mercury present.  Both physical and mental exercises are important for staving off cognitive decline, but Hans stressed that mental exercises must be challenging and involve learning new skills or knowledge. Lastly, Hans reminded the audience of the brain health benefits of sleep and stress reduction. Hans’ talk was followed by a Q&A session where he answered questions relating to his presentation as well as his personal nutrition regime, which he has designed over the course of many years based on his research on disease prevention and whole-body health, from rigorously evidence-based sources.

Dano Morrison’s presentation "Use or Lose It: Cognitive Exercise for Extending Longevity” explored the various forms of cognitive exercises and their potential effects on brain health over the long term.  Dano expanded upon Hans’ talk by discussing key factors that affect cognitive decline and offering strategies for mitigating mild cognitive impairment.  Dano opened with a list of lifestyle factors that decrease dementia risk, which included level of education, engaging leisure activities, intellectually challenging careers and I.Q.  He continued by introducing the concept of cognitive reserve which, loosely defined, is the capacity of a brain to cope with degeneration.  To elaborate on the idea of cognitive reserve, Dano shared a study where subjects with Alzheimer’s dementia appeared to use different parts of their brain in response to a working memory test, in accordance with their highest level of completed education.

Dano discussed a recent review paper that concluded that many of the studies on brain training exercises were methodologically flawed, the few quality studies he uncovered suggested that any gains from brain training are narrow and largely temporary, further there was no evidence that these games transferred to general function in healthy adults. However, brain training does potentially improve cognitive and behavioral deficits in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

The next subject Dano explored was the possible role of meditation in improving cognitive function. He explained how current research demonstrates how meditation can result in structural changes in the brain, leading to cognitive improvement. Long-term meditation is associated with improved attention, emotional regulation, working memory, and executive function.  Furthermore, meditation training in patients with mild cognitive impairment lead to increased connectivity in memory-related networks. Dano’s talk stimulated a lot of questions and insightful conversation particularly on the topic of meditation.

Our final speaker Keegan Macintosh began his presentation by briefly dispelling some of the common myths surrounding cryonics (hint: Walt Disney was not cryopreserved), before moving on to a more detailed look at the premises of the cryonics hypothesis and the growing indirect evidence supporting it, including an example of naturally occurring "cryobiosis" in the animal kingdom.  He went on to explain in more detail how cryoprotectants work to protect tissue from ice damage, and the recent development of vitrification techniques and research into the viability of vitrified brain tissue.  Then, Keegan outlined the cryonics procedure as carried out today with human patients.

The second half of Keegan’s talk moved onto a brief historical overview of the inception and development of cryonics into its current form, honing in on Canada and British Columbia, which enacted the first (and only) explicitly anti-cryonics law in 1990.  He tracked the activity of Canadian cryonics advocates to ascertain why the law was enacted, and to have it removed or at least explained in the years since.  This led to the formation of a cryonics and life extension advocacy group in Vancouver, which ultimately gave rise to Lifespan Society.  Keegan closed with a discussion about the steps being taken by Lifespan to improve access to cryonics in B.C., in light of the anti-cryonics law and the changing legal landscape.

The hour-long panel discussion that concluded the conference gave attendees the chance to ask our presenters follow up questions about their talks and present new questions on a variety of brain health topics.  Questions from the audience ranged from promising curative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases to the potential role of personal genomics services such as 23andme. Discussion generated during the panel session proved both insightful and well informed, largely due to the level of knowledge demonstrated by the audience.  Following the panel, attendees were invited to join Lifespan at a separate venue for dinner to continue discussion on the topics of the day and share their interests with other health and longevity enthusiasts.  

We hope to see you at our next conference.




Lifespan is proud to present its second annual Mini Conference, to be held in downtown Vancouver on December 7th.  Last year's mini conference brought together Soceity members from across B.C. and this year we are excited to host the event i na larger space to accommodate our growing membership.  The theme of this year's event is "Life Extension and Your Brain" and we are hosting a full day of guest speakers, presentations and lunch for new and existing members.  The complimentary lunch is suitable for most diets (vegetarian and vegan friendly).

The event is located at The Network Hub at 422 Richards St., downtown Vancouver, from 10am-445pm, with dinner afterwards at Subeez Cafe (within walking distance).

Here are the speaker bios and abstracts.

Hans Wu - Nutrition+ and Brain Health

Abstract: The health of your brain in old age can be affected by what you do now, like the rest of your body. Aspects such as nutrition and supplementation will be covered with a large focus on using the evidence to determine effective methods to preserve who we are.

Bio: Hans is an upper-year medical student with a large interest in nutrition and health. He has been involved with various online life extension forums for many years, and has a voracious interest in supporting lifestyle choices with solid evidence.

Dano Morrison - Use it or Lose it: Cognitive exercise for extending longevity

Abstract: Preclinical research suggests that those with more mentally active lives have decreased risk of dementia, but the associations between mental activity, cognitive performance, dementia, & longevity are not yet fully understood. In this talk, I will evaluate research into dementia and mental activity, focusing on effectiveness of 'cognitive exercise’ such as brain training software and meditation, and whether any effects transfer to general cognitive function, longevity, and quality of life.

Bio:  Dano holds a BSc. from the University of British Columbia and performs research at the Brain Research Centre into how seizures disrupt neuroplasticity in the developing brain. Dano was an executive of the UBC Life Extension Club and has published in several student journals. His interest in neuroplasticity and how it might be manipulated to prevent disease and enhance quality of life unites all of his work.

Keegan Macintosh - Go West: Cryonics in British Columbia

Abstract: Cryonics is the practice of preserving critically ill persons at subzero temperatures in the hopes that future advancements in health care technology will permit their resuscitation and return to health. In my talk, I will give a brief introduction to cryonics in theory and practice, an overview of its regulatory status in B.C., and steps Lifespan Society is taking to advance cryonics in the province.

Bio: Keegan received his J.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2012, and is the Executive Director of Lifespan Society. Keegan has been involved in life extension community-building in Vancouver since his time in law school, and is a board member of the Institute for Evidence Based Cryonics and the Cryonics Society of Canada, as well as an advisory board member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

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Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.  Space is limited:

https://www.facebook.com/events/244061469092971/
 
http://www.meetup.com/LifespanBC/events/151651662/

[edit] Unfortunately, this event is now full.


 

As a leader in the movement to modernize medical treatment through the latest technology, Dr. Eric Topol is creating new, more effective ways to treat patients — ways that will dramatically bring down the costs of health care.
     
He is working to bring a new kind of medicine into widespread practice: specifically-designed treatments based on the individual’s unique genetic structure. This innovative approach, combined with the latest in medical technology, opens up a world of highly personalized treatment, better care, reduced need for hospital beds, and lower costs for everybody.
     
A dynamic and eloquent speaker, Dr. Topol presents fascinating developments in wireless technology that allow physicians to monitor and respond to their patients vital signs from anywhere in the world — all in real time.
     
He is also a leading medical researcher in the area of genomics, where his work has led to the discovery of the genes that increase a person’s risk of heart attack. He has pioneered new drugs and new advances in the treatment of heart disease.
     
As director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, he is dedicated to training new generations of physicians and scientists for research based careers — bringing together the latest scientific findings and clinical work for more effective medical research.

Dr. Topol has been named the Most Influential Physician Executive in healthcare byModern Healthcare magazine. He was also named one of the twelve "Rock Stars of Science" by GQ.

You can follow Eric on Twitter @EricTopol #CDoM.

The hashtag for this event is #DRDK.

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If you snagged a ticket and you want to let us know you're coming, RSVP at http://www.meetup.com/LifespanBC/events/139184742/, or https://www.facebook.com/events/562996343764800/



***Update:  You Are Very Star is tomorrow! :-)

In the words of one early reviewer: "You Are Very Star is a curious, inventive, and adventurous evening of artistic experiences. The most lasting impression of the piece is that one has experienced something very special…it is clear that many hands came together to create something unique to our time and place. A strange little gift that is just for Vancouver." 

If you did not RSVP and would like to come, you can purchase tickets at the regular price of $30 here (make sure you select the 8pm showing for tomorrow, not the matinee): http://youareverystar.brownpapertickets.com/

We'll meet in front of the giant crab sculpture in front of the Space Centre (so we should be very hard to miss). If you arrive late and we're not there, head inside and hopefully I will have been able to leave your ticket with will-call. But don't be late :-)

And be sure to check out the online prologue for the show! http://yavs.electriccompanytheatre.com
***

Original post: 

To change things up a bit, instead of hosting a movie night this month, Lifespan Society will be attending Electric Company's newest production, You Are Very Star.

From the website: (http://electriccompanytheatre.com/)

"YOU ARE VERY STAR is an immersive, transmedia experience from Vancouver’s legendary ELECTRIC COMPANY THEATRE that will transport you back to 1968 and ahead to 2048, from the height of the Space Race to the dawn of a new augmented humanity, as characters in each story look forward or back to 2013 as a mysterious time of wonder.

Pushing at the boundaries of where theatre exists, You Are Very Star is encountered on-line, through social media, as a site-specific treasure hunt and as live theatre inside Vancouver’s beloved planetarium.

Perched like a spaceship in Vanier Park, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is, for a limited time, a portal to the most important moment in history: right now. Your presence will change the world."

Electric Company is one of Vancouver's most innovative theatre companies, whose projects often focus on the relationship between humans and technology. You Are Very Star deals with themes that arise frequently in discussions with members of Lifespan Society, so we have organized a talkback with the show's creators and performers, after the curtain falls (well, the figurative curtain, probably).

Lifespan Society members are eligible for the group rate of $18. Regularly priced tickets are $30, but if you sign up for membership a www.lifespanbc.ca/membership before June 15 (also $30), we will purchase your tickets for you at the group rate - resulting in a 66% savings on your first year's member dues!

We'll assemble in the lobby before the show begins at 8 p.m., so try to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Then after the show & talkback finish, we'll find a local watering hole to continue the discussion, if there's interest.

Remember! Lifespan Society members and new sign-ups wanting to take advantage of the new member deal above must RSVP by June 15 so we can forward our numbers to Electric Company.
Please RSVP on our Meetup page, or via Facebook.
Thanks to Globalme for supporting our event by providing projection equipment.
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