Longevity Primer

Laura Deming runs the $26 million Longevity Fund – a VC firm dedicated to funding early-stage companies with a high-potential for increasing human lifespans.

Her blog has an interesting primer on longevity and the science behind increasing human lifespans. It’s filled with all kinds of well-referenced facts about things that affect our aging and ability to lead long lives.

10 years ago, one of the first projects I worked on was trying to understand a weird fact about reproduction in worms. If you take little worms and get rid of their gonads (I know, it’s weird), they live ~60% longer than normal. But this only works if you get rid of the stuff inside (sperm/eggs – these worms are hermaphrodites, which means they carry around both). If you get rid of the whole thing, lifespan goes back to normal.

Don’t miss the 95 things that make mice live longer and 70 drugs in the clinic that might make people live longer sections.

Via Oreilly

Bad Trips Gone Good

A new study (Survey Study Of Challenging Experiences After Ingesting Psilocybin Mushrooms: Acute And Enduring Positive And Negative Consequences) from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine had nearly 2,000 individuals complete an online survey about their single most psychologically difficult or challenging experience (worst “bad trip”) after consuming psilocybin mushrooms.

The study found that about 84 percent of users who have experienced a “bad trip” from hallucinogenic mushrooms say they benefited from the psychologically difficult situation. Some 60% of respondents considered their experience to be among the top 10 most psychologically personally meaningful experiences of their lives. Additionally, the majority of respondents said that a “psychologically difficult experience” while on Psilocybin lead to “enduring increases in well-being.” PsyPost reports that:

34 percent of participants said the bad trip was among the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their life and 31 percent said it was the among the top five most spiritually significant. And 76 percent said the bad trip had resulted in an improved sense of personal well-being or life satisfaction. Forty-six percent said they would be willing to experience the bad trip all over again.

Interestingly, the degree of psychological difficulty was statistically associated with beneficial outcomes. More difficult or challenging experiences tended to be viewed as more beneficial or meaningful. However, longer bad trips were associated with less beneficial outcomes.

Despite the counter-intuitive findings of this study, anyone who has psychedelic drug experience can assure you bad trips are not fun. Of those surveyed for this study, thirty-nine percent rated it among the top five most challenging experiences of his/her lifetime. Furthermore, 7.6% sought treatment for enduring psychological symptoms as result of their bad trip. Three cases appeared associated with onset of enduring psychotic symptoms and three cases with attempted suicide.

Remember, Set and Setting folks, Set and Setting.

This Is Your Brain On Drugs

A research group at Imperial College London have made what major break through in understanding LSD’s impact on the brain. The first modern brain scans of people high on the drug have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the neural basis for effects produced by LSD. The scientists measured blood flow, functional connections within and between brain networks, and brainwaves in the volunteers on and off the drug.

The brain scans revealed that trippers experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains, and not just the visual cortex at the back of the head that normally processes visual information. Under the drug, regions once segregated spoke to one another.

Further images showed that other brain regions that usually form a network became more separated in a change that accompanied users’ feelings of oneness with the world, a loss of personal identity called “ego dissolution”.

There is more about the findings in the Guardian article: LSD’s impact on the brain revealed in groundbreaking images. More images and detailed information can be found in the original paper.

See also: Benoit Paillé’s LSD Photos

Benoit Paillé’s LSD Photos

I have been a fan of Benoit Paillé’s ever since seeing his series on the Rainbow Gatherings a few years back (Photography at Rainbow Family gatherings is typically frowned upon). But I had somehow missed this great set. Benoit Paillé explains it as such:

After taking LSD. I lighting up a candle in the middle of the wood and during the exposure, i make a meditation about the holism of nature surrounding me. Feeling the crystal vibration irradiating from the center of the Gaia mother earth. So in this picture i try to show you the magic,sacred metaphysical quality of the nature and new age bullshiting you .

As always, click for Hi-Res.

LBJ Orders Some New Haggar Pants

It’s true that Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th President, was very concerned with his pants riding up “in the crotch, down where your nuts hang.” A valid concern among to many of us. Though, most of us don’t have our concerns recorded and entered into the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. Take a few minutes to listen to more than you ever want to know about LBJ’s nether regions.

While you’re there, take a little time to listen to John F. Kennedy, a known and avid user of methamphetamine (and Demerol, methadone, Ritalin, meprobamate, miscellaneous barbiturates and thyroid hormone), order a few more “of those blue pills”.

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