Health,Stem Cells, and Technology

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dr. Peter Duesberg's Theory That Carcinogenesis Is A Form Of Speciation

Dr. Duesberg,  a professor of Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley, presents evidence that cancer is a form of speciation and not simply a result of oncogenes, mutated genes. Professor Duesberg argues that because cancers have individual clonal karyotypes, are immortal, and evolve from normal cells treated by carcinogens only after exceedingly long latencies of many months to decades, that carcinogenesis may be a form of speciation. 


His theory proposes that carcinogens initiate carcinogenesis by causing aneuploidy, i.e., losses or gains of chromosomes. Aneuploidy destabilizes the karyotype, because it unbalances thousands of collaborating genes including those that synthesize, segregate, and repair chromosomes. Driven by this inherent instability aneuploid cells evolve ever-more random karyotypes automatically. Most of these perish, but a very small minority acquires reproductive autonomy, which is the primary characteristic of cancer cells and species. Selection for autonomy stabilizes new cancer species against the inherent instability of aneuploidy within specific margins of variation. 


Dr. Duesberg's speciation theory explains five common characteristics of cancers: (1) species-specific autonomy; (2) karyotypic and phenotypic individuality; (3) flexibility by karyotypic variations within stable margins of autonomy; (4) immortality by replacing defective karyotypes from constitutive pools of competent variants or subspecies generated by this flexibility; and (5) long neoplastic latencies by the low probability that random karyotypic alterations generate new autonomous species. Moreover, the theory explains phylogenetic relations between cancers of the same tissue, because carcinogenesis is restricted by tissue-specific transcriptomes. The theory also solves paradoxes of other cancer theories. For example, “aneuploidy” of cancers is now said to be a “paradox” or “cancer’s fatal flaw,” because aneuploidy impairs normal growth and development. But, as Professor Duesberg argues, if the “aneuploidies” of cancers are in effect the karyotypes of new species, this paradox is solved.


Dr. Duesberg has a long and illustrious, if not controversial, because of his theory of AIDS, career including membership in the highly prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and a NIH Fogarty Fellowship.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Epigenetic Memory: Nature Versus Nurture

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have made a discovery that explains how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. The discovery explains the mechanism of a type of memory that can be thought of as "biological switch" and how this biological switch can also be inherited by offspring

The work was led by Dr. Martin Howard and Dr. Caroline Dean professors at the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom. There are quite a few examples that we now know of where the activity of genes can be affected in the long term by environmental factors. And in some cases the environment of an individual can actually affect the biology or physiology of their offspring but without a change to the genome sequence.
For example, some studies have shown that in families where there was a severe food shortage in the grandparents' generation, the children and grandchildren have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which could be explained by epigenetic memory. But until now there hasn't been a clear mechanism to explain how individuals could develop a "memory" of a variable factor, such as nutrition.
The team used the example of how plants "remember" the length of the cold winter period in order to exquisitely time flowering so that pollination, development, seed dispersal and germination can all happen at the appropriate time.
Using a combination of mathematical modelling and experimental analysis the team has uncovered the system by which a key gene called FLC is either completely off or completely on in any one cell and also later in its progeny. They found that the longer the cold period, the higher the proportion of cells that have FLC stably flipped to the off position. This delays flowering and is down to a phenomenon known as epigenetic memory.
Epigenetic memory comes in various guises, but one important form involves histones - the proteins around which DNA is wrapped. Particular chemical modifications can be attached to histones and these modifications can then affect the expression of nearby genes, turning them on or off. These modifications can be inherited by daughter cells, when the cells divide, and if they occur in the cells that form gametes (e.g. sperm in mammals or pollen in plants) then they can also pass on to offspring.
Together with Dr Andrew Angel, also at the John Innes Centre, Professor Howard produced a mathematical model of the FLC system. The model predicted that inside each individual cell, the FLC gene should be either completely activated or completely silenced, with the fraction of cells switching to the silenced state increasing with longer periods of cold.
To provide experimental evidence to back up the model, Dr Jie Song in Prof. Dean's group used a technique where any cell that had the FLC gene switched on, displayed a blue signal under a microscope. From her observations, it was clear that cells were either completely switched or not switched at all, in agreement with the theory. Dr Song also showed that the histone proteins near the FLC gene were modified during the cold period, in such a way that would account for the switching off of the gene.
Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC said "This work not only gives us insight into a phenomenon that is crucial for future food security – the timing of flowering according to climate variation – but it uncovers an important mechanism that is at play right across biology. This is a great example of where the research that BBSRC funds can provide not only a focus on real life problems, but also a grounding in the fundamental tenets of biology that will underpin the future of the field. It also demonstrates the value of multidisciplinary working at the interface between biology, physics, and mathematics." Fundamental understanding of this kind will not only lead to eventual health care strategies to prevent and treat diseases, but will also help lower health care costs if politicians have the insight and the will to enact legislation that incorporates science and rational thought.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hints Of Higgs-Boson Observed At The LHC In Europe And At The Tevatron In The USA

Scientist at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe and at the Tevatron at the Fermi Lab in the USA have both reported preliminary evidence for the Higgs boson particle. The Higgs particle was first postulated by Edinburgh phsyicist Dr. Peter Higgs as a necessary element in the Standard Model.  The boson helps confer the property of mass on all other particles through their interaction with something called the Higgs field. The Higgs field, or Higgs mechanism is a type of gauge theory that is important as a successful field theory explaining the dynamics of elementary particles. Many of us are familiar with quantum electrodynamics, first devised by Dr. Paul Dirac, which is another form of a gauge theory that explains the interaction of photons and matter.


The Standard Model is a well verified framework that explains how the known sub-atomic particles interact with each other. If the Higgs boson is not found, physicists will need to find some other mechanism to explain where particles attain their mass.The efforts put into finding the boson relate to its status as the last missing piece in the the Standard Model, which is the most widely accepted theory of particle physics.


Stay tuned to see whether verification of the Higgs boson occurs with the appropriate scientific rigor required for formal acceptance.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Letter To BioRegenerative Sciences From A User Of I-Ease


Dear BRS,

I began wearing contact lenses when I was a senior in high school. I wore contacts daily for a period of about four years with no problems at all. I regularly replaced my contacts and followed each of my doctor’s instructions. After some time, I began to slip up and occasionally fell asleep with my contacts in. I began to notice a minor burning sensation and irritation when wearing contacts, which progressively worsened until I was unable to wear contacts at all.

I thought that by taking some time off, wearing my glasses and allowing my eyes to heal, that I might again be able t wear contact lenses. Turns out that I was wrong, my eyes did not heal on their own, not even after 4 years of wearing glasses. I tried several treatments as directed by my doctor, but nothing worked. I had all but given up on ever wearing contact lenses again.

Then, I met Peter and Greg from BioRegenerative Sciences, who gave me a free sample of I-Ease. After using I-Ease twice a day for about a week, I finally was able to wear my contact lenses.

I now wear contacts every day, and continue to use I-Ease for maintaining healthy eyes. I would recommend I-Ease to anyone who has trouble wearing contact lenses due to irritability.

Thanks BioRegenerative Sciences!

Erika Csaszi
San Diego, CA

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Molecular Chaperones Enable Normal Protein Folding And Proteostasis

The proteins in our body must correctly fold into defined three-dimensional structures to gain their normal functional activity. However in the cellular and extracellular environments, both newly synthesized, or previously synthesized, proteins are at great risk of aberrant folding and aggregation, potentially forming toxic species of misfolded proteins. To avoid these dangers, cells utilize in a complex network of molecular chaperones that use highly evolved mechanisms to prevent aggregation and promote and retain efficient folding. Because protein molecules are highly dynamic, vibrating into different conformational structures, constant chaperone surveillance is required to ensure protein homeostasis, sometimes called proteostasis. Recent studies suggest that an age-related decline in proteostasis capacity allows the manifestation of various protein-aggregation diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Interventions in these and numerous other pathological states may spring from a detailed understanding of the pathways underlying proteome maintenance. Because of the chaperoning qualities of SRM from stem cells, new methods employing SRM therapeutics developed at BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc. may provide a new and effective means for age management, including warding off the devastating effects of Alzeheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Experience Drives Stem Cell And Neuronal Populations In Brain

A new paper this week by Drs. Alex Dranovsky and  Alyssa M. Picchini at Columbia University in New York show that adult hippocampal neurogenesis and enhancement of the stem cell population in the hippocampal part of the brain are partially controlled by experience.

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons) has been implicated in cognitive and emotional processes, as well as in response to antidepressant treatment. However, little is known about how the adult stem cell lineage contributes to hippocampal structure and function and how this process is modulated by the animal’s experience. In this study the authors perform an indelible lineage analysis and report that neural stem cells can produce expanding and persisting populations of not only neurons, but also stem cells in the adult hippocampus. Furthermore, the ratio of stem cells to neurons depends on experiences of the animal or the location of the stem cell. Surprisingly, social isolation facilitated accumulation of stem cells, but not neurons. These results show that neural stem cells accumulate in the adult hippocampus and that the
stem cell-lineage relationship is under control of anatomic and experiential niches. Their findings
suggest that, in the hippocampus, fate specification may act as a form of cellular plasticity for adapting
to environmental changes. Of note here is the result that social isolation increases the number stem cells in the brain, as if the brain is lying in wait for a period of increased social interaction when those stem cells will be differentiated into neurons to accommodate the new stimulation.


The paper includes a number of multilabeled confocal images showing the results in the brain, and can be viewed at the following site:

http://download.cell.com/neuron/pdf/PIIS0896627311004405.pdf?intermediate=true

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vitamin C Required For Retinal Synaptic Function

Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff and his research group in Oregon published a paper this week showing that nerve cells in the eye require vitamin C in order to function properly. What is surprising in this study is that cells in the retina need to be 'bathed' in relatively high doses of vitamin C, inside and out, to function properly. Further, because the retina is part of the central nervous system, this suggests there's likely an important role for vitamin C throughout our brains, to a degree that had not been previously demonstrated.


The brain has special receptors, called GABA-type receptors, that help modulate the rapid communication between cells in the brain. GABA receptors in the brain can be thought of as an inhibitory "brake" on excitatory communication between neurons in the brain. The OHSU researchers found that these GABA-type receptors in the retinal neurons stopped functioning properly when vitamin C was eliminated. Because vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, occurring at very high levels in the retina, vitamin C may protect the receptors and cells from premature breakdown.


The findings may have implications for diseases such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease of the retina characterized by dysfunction of nerve cells, specifically retinal ganglion cells (glaucoma is not necessarily associated with high eye pressure as is often reported). One possibility is that the ganglion cells become over excited in part because GABA receptors may not be functioning properly. One can speculate that a vitamin C-rich diet could be neuroprotective for the retina, especially those who are glaucoma suspect. Those with glaucoma, or who are glaucoma suspect, should eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables, maintain an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, and supplement their diet with anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.


The study was published online in the June 29, 2011 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hair Regrowth With Hair Stemulating Complex From BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc.

video

Injecting SRM Into The Heart Could Stop Chronic Chest Pain

Recent studies by a number of labs shows that injecting stem cells directly into the heart, or indirectly though an IM injection, can perfuse the heart with stem cell released molecules (SRM). A clinical trial has begun at Northwestern University by Professor Losordo whereby a type of stem cell from bone marrow, a CD34 stem cell, is injected directly into the heart. Initial studies suggest that the CD34 stem cells release their molecules (SRM) into the heart and induce repair of the heart tissue, including induction of blood vessel growth. Trials have also begun using CD34+ cells to help restore blood vessels in people at risk for amputation and in patients with artery blockages in their legs.


BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc. uses a similar approach, but uses our patent-pending technology where the SRM from stem cells is used for injection in a precise dosing schedule. We applaud Dr. Losordo for his ground breaking work in advancing stem cell therapeutics.

I-Ease Now Available Without Preservative: Relief For Dry Eye And Other Ocular Irritations

I-Ease without preservative, called I-Ease PF,  for dry eye and other irritations of the anterior ocular tissue is now available from BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc. of San Diego, CA. Many sufferers of dry eye from around the world have benefited from the use of I-Ease, an eye drop that contains the molecules that stem cells normally release into the tissue of the anterior eye. These drops help to soothe and heal the tissue, reducing pain, inflammation, and irritation while helping the tissue of the eye heal itself.

The next generation of I-Ease is now available without preservative and is called I-Ease PF (I-Ease Preservative Free). For those who are sensitive to preservative or prefer not to use products with preservative, I-Ease PF is the perfect solution. I-Ease PF needs to be kept refrigerated, while I-Ease does not. Some people have found that keeping both products on hand is most convenient, using I-Ease on the occasion when it is not convenient to use the I-Ease PF, but using the I-Ease PF for the bulk of their I-Ease usage. I-Ease has been found to be very effective for dry eye, corneal ulcers, diabetic keratopathy, post lasik irritation, post corneal transplant healing, allergic reactions of the anterior eye, and other irritations of the tissue in the anterior eye.

Please call customer service to order: 877-892-9991

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Building Tomorrow's Transistor Atom by Atom


Silicon Valley-based Applied Materials, the world's leading supplier of manufacturing equipment to chipmakers, has announced a new system for making one of the most critical layers of the transistors found in logic circuits, and critical to making Intel's new 3D chip.
Applied Materials' new tool, called Centura was announced at the Semicon West conference in San Francisco on Tuesday and deposits a critical layer in transistors one atom at a time, providing unprecedented precision.
As chipmakers scale transistors down to ever-smaller sizes, enabling speedier and more power-efficient electronics, atomic-scale manufacturing precision is a growing concern. The first chips with transistors just 22 nanometers in size are going into production this year, and at that size, even the tiniest inconsistencies can mean that a chip intended to sell at a premium must instead be used for low-end gadgetry.
Transistors are made up of multiple layers: an active silicon material topped with an interfacing layer and then a layer of a material called a dielectric that makes up the "gate" that switches the transistor on and off.
Applied Materials sells equipment for depositing these layers, called the gate stack, on top of silicon wafers. In the switch from today's 32-nanometer to the next generation of 22-nanometer transistors, it's become trickier to make the gate. The interface and dielectric layers both have to get thinner, and the behavior of the layers can be affected by tiny flaws where the materials touch. And as the layers become thinner, tiny flaws can be magnified even more than in larger transistors made from thicker layers.


Patients Undergo Embryonic Stem-Cell Blindness Treatment


Surgeons in California at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute have implanted lab-grown retinal cells into the eyes of two patients going blind from macular degeneration.
The procedures were performed this week by Dr. Steven Schwartz, chief of the retina division at the Jules Stein. The trials were financed by Advanced Cell Technology, a biotech company with laboratories in Marlborough, Massachusetts, that recently won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test the treatment in 24 patients suffering from either dry advanced macular degeneration, or a juvenile form of the disease  known as Stargardt's Disease.
Two patients are among the first volunteers ever to receive a treatment created using embryonic stem cells. Last year, the California biotech company, Geron, began a small study using stem cells in a bid to repair spinal cord injury.
Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from some form of macular degeneration. Scientists see the start of a second set of tests, in blindness, as an important landmark for the stem-cell field. These trials are also a major step for Advanced Cell, a small biotech that has long been at the center of stem-cell controversies. Anti-abortion protesters once protested outside the company, and investors were fearful. Twice the company has laid off nearly its entire staff when its bank account fell to zero.


It's no accident, for instance, that both early studies of embryonic stem-cell therapies—those of Geron and Advanced Cell—involved cells of the nervous system. The reason is that embryonic stem cells naturally want to make neuroectoderm, a cell lineage in the embryo that forms the nervous system. Although embryonic stem cells can grow into any other type of human tissue, and that's why they have been touted as a potential cure for everything from Alzheimer's disease to alopecia, the reality is that applications are likely to be far more limited, at least in the near term. Because embryonic stem cells have a mind of their own easily transforming into neural tissue, efforts to produce other cell types, such as liver cells, have proved far more difficult.


Although this is a promising line of research, other groups are using different procedures to treat blindness and retinal degeneration. Adult stem cells, SRM, or combinations of these with embryonic stem cells are another approach that is being studied by other groups, including BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc.   

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chaperoning Stem Cells And Chaperone Proteins

Chaperone proteins are thought to promote the correct folding and assembly of newly synthesized proteins and to facilitate restoration of the folded state under environmental conditions that favor protein denaturation. Chaperone proteins are among the most ubiquitous and highly conserved of all proteins. 


As a similar concept, chaperoning stem cells are thought to not simply generate new tissue themselves, rather stem cells, as a major means of their healing capabilities, induce the surrounding tissue to heal itself by orchestrating many functions including chaperone effects. The means for the stem cells to act as chaperones is through the release of multiple molecules (SRM), including chaperone proteins, from the stem cell into the surrounding tissue.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cellular Communication Within and Between Cells Occurs At A Distance Via Actin Cytoskeleton

Wang et. al. (2010) reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  that electrical signals can be transmitted between distant cells by means of nanotubes, which are ultrathin cables containing actin proteins, and that gap junctions are involved in the process. Gap junctions are proteins that form pores between two adjacent cells, and that can transmit electrical signals between animal cells directly. Wang et al point out that because many types of cells throughout the body form nanotubes and gap junctions, these data suggest that electrical communication via nanotubes could be widespread.
I’d like to add to the concept that signaling via actin in animal cells is more wide-spread than indicated in the Wang et al article. Cantiello’s (1993)  lab first reported that actin filaments can transmit electrical signals, doing so within cells to effect a number of channel properties. The data of Cantiello (1993) was modeled as a soliton wave and suggested  a mechanism by which electrical signaling in actin filaments was able to occur over long distances without degradation. Maguire et al (1998) first demonstrated that actin filaments can regulate voltage-gated ion channels in neurons, and more recent work by Cristofanilli and Apokian (2006) demonstrates a rich interaction between actin filaments and ion channels within neurons. Electrical signaling over long distances using “actin wires” may be a widely used signaling system throughout the body, including within cells and between cells. Because actin filaments can act as electrical and mechanical signal transduction devices, actin signaling may be thought of as acting in two modes over long distances using 1. solid state electrical signaling, and 2. mechanical switching signals, doing so within and between cells. Thus, the actin-based signaling system is yet another means, and possibly a widespread means, for integrating signals throughout a biological system.
References:
Wang, X et al (2010) Animal cells connected by nanotubes can be electrically coupled through interposed gap-junction channels. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 5;107(40):17194-9. Epub 2010 Sep 20).

E C Lin and H F Cantiello  (1993) A novel method to study the electrodynamic behavior of actin filaments. Evidence for cable-like properties of actin.Biophys J. 1993 Oct;65(4):1371-8


J Physiol. Sep 1;575(Pt 2):543-54. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Age Management And The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics, formulated in 1850 by Dr. Rudolf Clausius, professor of physics at University of Zurich, is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature. Entropy is a measure of the energy in a thermodynamic system not available to do useful work, the tendency for a system to become less structured. In nature the over-all entropy of a complete, or closed, system must spontaneously occur. However, in the case of interacting sub-systems of a closed system, some sub-systems may gain entropy, while other sub-systems may lose entropy. For example, a fundamental axiom of thermodynamics is that when heat flows from subsystem A to subsystem B, the entropy of A decreases and the entropy of B increases. The statement that an increase in order can only occur as the result of a directional mechanism or perturbation is misleading. In Nobel-laureate physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s book from 1944 What is Life?, Shrodinger theorizes that life, contrary to the general tendency dictated by the Second law of thermodynamics, decreases or maintains its entropy by feeding on negative entropy. In 1964, Dr James Lovelock, professor of chemistry at University of London, and a consultant to NASA's life detection project, when asked how he would detect life on Mars stated that he would search for "entropy reduction" as a basic characteristic of life.

When used in thermodynamics, probability means that some specific change will occur. Probability is related to the thermodynamic concept of irreversibility. An irreversible physical or chemical change will not spontaneously reverse itself without some perturbation in the surrounding conditions. Irreversible changes have a high degree of probability. The probability of an irreversible change spontaneously reversing itself without an outside perturbation is zero. Further, when change is said to be irreversible, we are stating that the change will not spontaneously reverse itself without some perturbation in the surrounding conditions. Irreversible does not suggest that the condition, or thermodynamic equilibrium, cannot be reversed by some external means.
Moreover, a change that has a high degree of probability under one set of conditions may have a very low degree of probability under a different set of conditions. For example, if the temperature drops below freezing, the probability of water becoming ice is very high, and the reaction from water to ice is thermodynamically irreversible. If the surrounding temperature rises above the freezing point, the probability of water becoming ice, or remaining as ice, is zero. Under these conditions the backward reaction of ice to liquid water is also thermodynamically irreversible.

Failure to understand that in thermodynamics probabilities are not fixed entities has led to a misinterpretation that is responsible for the false belief that the second law of thermodynamics does not permit order to spontaneously arise from disorder, or as Shrodinger would name it, “Negative entropy”. Many examples in nature exist where order does arise spontaneously from disorder, where sub-systems within the closed system exhibit negative entropy. Snowflakes with their six-sided crystalline symmetry are formed spontaneously from randomly moving water vapor molecules. Salts with precise planes of crystalline symmetry form spontaneously when water evaporates from a solution. Seeds sprout into flowering plants, eggs develop into chicks, and aged skin or other organs can become more orderly and structured when acted upon by an outside perturbation.

Thermodynamics is an exact science, indeed this is why there are four laws of thermodynamics, that is based on specific mathematical concepts. The laws are not easily explained using qualitative metaphors, but are best understood as the relationship between probability theory of stochastic processes and the second law. Entropy is a mathematically defined entity that is the fundamental basis of the second law of thermodynamics and all of the 2nd laws’ engineering, biological, physical and chemical ramifications. The mathematical relation between entropy neither precludes the possibility of order spontaneously arising from disorder, nor negative entropy arising from external forces. In describing the laws of thermodynamics we often refer to a "closed system." A closed system is a specific entity or object or region in space and time that can be evaluated in terms of its thermodynamic properties and possible changes. The system can be defined as many things, such as an ice cube, a steam turbine, a man within a defined environment, or even the entire universe itself, and then that defined system can be thermodynamically analyzed. As an example, when using classical thermodynamics to describe events that are not subatomic, such as ion currents across a cellular membrane, we can describe the statistical distribution of particles using the Boltzman Equation described by Dr. Ludwig Boltzman in the late 1800s when he was professor of mathematical physics at the University of Graz. In such a system, the distribution of ion particles will flow across the membrane in such a way as to achieve equilibrium, i.e. an equal number of particles on each side of the membrane such that no work can be performed once equilibrium is achieved.  The Boltzmann equation, a first-order differential equation based on Hamiltonian Mechanics, was developed to describe the dynamics of an ideal gas such that:

 \frac{\partial f}{\partial t}+ v \frac{\partial f}{\partial x}+ \frac{F}{m} \frac{\partial f}{\partial v} = \frac{\partial f}{\partial t}\left.{\!\!\frac{}{}}\right|_\mathrm{collision}

where ƒ represents the distribution function of single-particle position and momentum at a given time, where F is a force, m is the mass of a particle, t is the time, and v is an average velocity of particles.

If we think of aging, the process is one that obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Considering the body, or a portion of the body, perhaps a cell, as a closed system, then that defined closed system will naturally obey the principles of entropy, and tend towards a state of equilibrium. Equilibrium will bring the closed system, such as a cell, to a point where there is no longer organization and hence there is no longer a chance for the system to create work from the inherent energy. The lack of structure within the closed system and the inability to do work is the death of the cell.

However, if we think of the cell not as a closed system, rather, if we think of the cell as a sub-system within the overall construct of a closed-system, then the cellular subsystem can achieve negative entropy if the other sub-system can support positive entropy.
Therefore life can be thought of as negative entropy. On the other hand, aging is considered by some as no longer an unsolved biological problem and simply positive entropy. This means the understanding of the biological cause of aging is the same as the cause of nonbiological aging and is attributable to the second law of thermodynamics, to increased entropy. As discussed above, all molecules, including biological molecules, dissipate energy, losing structural integrity and functional capacity, headed for a state of equilibrium. Our bodies have sub-systems for enormous repair capacity, which evolved to repair dysfunctional molecules. Some will argue that the repair systems function only until reproductive maturation, after which the repair mechanisms break down and the molecules recoil to a high entropy state. Allowing the repair to occur until the time of reproductive maturation means the species will procreate and survive. However, the accumulation over time of dysfunctional molecules in the high entropy state leads to the properties of aging at the clinical level that we all recognize, and eventually leads to death.

While the laws of physics are inevitable, some people have proposed changing the parts as they wear out. Others argue if you change the parts, the original is no longer the original. However, one may argue that a person naturally changes anyway during maturation, and if you don’t die, you’re really the same person; just the same as when you change during the natural maturation process; one could think of biological replacement or enhancement as an extended maturation process. In this way, the entropic values of the person, a sub-system, decreases, but, of course, the replacement procedure would increase the entropy of the complete system. And, procedures using adult stem cells for tissue repair drive negative entropy in the tissue being repaired (a sub-system), but increase the overall entropy of the system, or the sub-system beyond the tissue that is being repaired. Moreover, while stem cell releasing molecules (SRM) will decrease entropy in the target tissue (a thermodynamic sub-system) that the SRM repairs or rejuvenates, the overall entropy of the system will increase. This is because of the energy used to manufacture the SRM, thus leading to that subsystem to equilibrate and increase in entropy.
The bottom line is that we can use technology, for example using stem cell therapeutics or SRM technology, to produce negative entropy in a subsystem, i.e. human tissue, but the entropy of the overall system will increase. Therefore age management is a means for helping to drive a subsystem, the aging body, towards a more negative entropic state within a world where the inevitable second law of thermodynamics runs its course.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why Manufacturing Matters

My article last year detailed an argument for the importance of maintaining a manufacturing base here in the USA to, not only promote job creation, but more importantly, allow for the continued innovation of next generation products. A new article by Suzanne Berger further argues for such policy here in the USA. As she states, "Manufacturing is not merely about giving people jobs. The next generation of technological innovations is intimately tied to production processes."