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An Ageless Infant and the Key to Immortality
As sensationalist as it sounds, there are considerable gains that could be made from understanding this exceptionally rare and nameless condition:

Gabby Williams is eight years old, but looks like a newborn. She is one of only a handful of people across the world who age at an incredibly slow rate, and scientists are trying to figure out why. Once they do, the discovery could help fight Alzheimer’s, and even give us an aging “off switch,” which would give humans the chance to stay the same age… pretty much forever.

This isn’t science-fiction. The other cases include a 29-year-old Florida man who has the body of a 10-year-old, and a 31-year-old Brazilian woman who still looks like a 2-year-old. While none of them were able to develop out of virtual infancy, and have suffered through other developmental ailments like deafness and blindness, scientists believe that they could learn from their genetic code how to stop the aging process once the maturation process is complete (when everyone is in their twenties. Which would kinda be hell, but whatever.).

“In some people, something happens to them and the development process is retarded,” medical researcher Richard F. Walker told ABC News. “The rate of change in the body slows and is negligible.”

“If we could identify the gene and then at young adulthood we could silence the expression of developmental inertia, find an off-switch, when you do that, there is perfect homeostasis and you are biologically immortal,” Walker said.

Basically, humans would stop aging past their peak of maturation. Once everything is formed, a human would remain that way for eternity. Of course, death could still come from disease and roller-coasters, but you’d remain at your physical peak until then.

There’s a lot of speculation, but it’s an opportunity well worth exploring — albeit as ethically as possible. Even if one disagrees with the notion of human immortality, there are still other benefits that could be found from such a gene, if it exists. Numerous degenerative diseases could be cured or mitigated, for example.

What are your thoughts?

The Immortal Jellyfish

Turritopsis nutricula probably isn’t well known. This tiny, coin-sized little jellyfish would hardly attract much notice or concern even without it’s ungraceful scientific name. This makes it all the more remarkable to consider that it may provide groundbreaking answers to regenerative medicine, if not to our concerns about mortality itself:  it  is thus far the only known animal on the planet capable of reverting back to youth.

Once again, the beauty of life has thoroughly seized me. Just looking at this gorgeous little creature makes me a tad sentimental, if I may be bold to admit:

Recall that it's only the size of a dime, but it may hold some game-changing answers as far as human life and well-being are concerned.

I can’t stress enough how exciting this news is. While this fascinating and unique ability has been known for at least two decades, interest has been renewed given the recent advancements in stem cell research, the crucial element in regenerative and anti-aging efforts (it also helps that the jellyfish’s population has boomed, giving itself ample attention). If the properties that render this humble little creature immortal could be singled-out, harness, or duplicated, the ramifications would obviously be vast, to say the least.

A relatively concise but well-written article on the subject could be found here . It’s a few months old, but there’s been no further update as far as I know.

While I’m tempted to delve into the greater philosophical, social, and ethical consequences of all this, I think I’ll leave that for another post (although don’t hesitate to reflect on it yourself of course). As anxious as I am about this news, I have no delusions about the possibility of this being a dead end, or of the result advancements in biotechnology being corrupting in some way. But such concerns are of course only natural, and healthy. This should in no way interfere with what I believer is a natural response to such an amazing and potentially groundbreaking discovery. There is a lot left to glean and understand, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes and ears on this one.

While I’m at it, I might as well share this lighthearted take on it too.