DAILY DOSE: More proof of water in Mars’ past; Patients seeking out longevity treatments beyond the reach of the FDA.

More evidence of the presence of water in Mars’ past continues to be discovered. Per the Associated Press,

Water may be more widespread and recent on Mars than previously thought, based on observations of Martian sand dunes by China’s rover.

The finding highlights new, potentially fertile areas in the warmer regions of Mars where conditions might be suitable for life to exist, though more study is needed.

Friday’s news comes days after mission leaders acknowledged that the Zhurong rover has yet to wake up since going into hibernation for the Martian winter nearly a year ago.

Its solar panels are likely covered with dust, choking off its power source and possibly preventing the rover from operating again, said Zhang Rongqiao, the mission’s chief designer.

Before Zhurong fell silent, it observed salt-rich dunes with cracks and crusts, which researchers said likely were mixed with melting morning frost or snow as recently as a few hundred thousand years ago.

Tantalizing clues such as these keep upping the expectation that hidden patches of water, probably in the form of ice, are hiding somewhere on the planet, the same way it is on the moon. https://bit.ly/3AKH9Rg

In a case of iffy science being called on to do extraordinary things, farmers have asked scientists to make it rain (the water kind)… According to Nature,

Farmers in Mexico desperate for rain are asking their government to ‘bomb’ the clouds. The country is experiencing its second-worst drought in a decade, and farmers are afraid for their crops and livestock. So they’ve asked the Mexican government to use cloud-seeding technology to help them.

In March, the National Commission for Arid Zones (Conaza), a branch of the country’s agriculture ministry, announced that it would launch a rain-stimulation programme in the northeastern and northwestern states of Tamaulipas and Baja California, respectively.

However, scientists warn that there is scant evidence that cloud seeding works, despite the Mexican government saying that it has had successes. The idea behind cloud-seeding is to disperse particles — usually crystalline silver iodide — into clouds. Because the particles have a crystal structure similar to ice, they attract water droplets to nucleate around them; eventually the droplets become heavy enough to fall as rain or snow.

Some rigorous experiments have resulted in a modest increase in precipitation. But there is no evidence that it will work every time. https://bit.ly/3Ny9Rg5

Patients with debilitating and terminal diseases like Alzheimer’s can be excused if they refuse to wait for the deliberate steps taken by agencies like the Food and Drug Administration to approve a radical new treatment. Nobody is wrong in cases like those. The FDA has a job to do and patients have their lives at stake. That’s why, people sometimes take matters into their own hands and seek out ways to gain access to potentially revolutionary drugs. Wired tells the story of how patients are hooking up with companies that often conduct their business outside of the reach of American government agencies.

MJ was willing to take that risk. To participate in the BioViva trial, she had paid only for her travel to Mexico, expenses, and some initial tests and scans—an organization called Maximum Life Foundation (MLF) had covered the treatment costs. Founded by David Kekich, a well-known figure among researchers and activists who believe lifespan can be greatly expanded, MLF says its aim is to “reverse the human aging process by 2033.” It plans to do so by funding experimental technologies involving genomics, proteomics, regenerative medicine, nutraceuticals, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. “When people get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, everything stands still, it’s a death sentence,” Kekich told me in April 2020. “That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.” Kekich died the following year, though not of dementia. His body was cryogenically frozen, in case he can one day be revived.

In the BioViva trial, MJ and the other patients had two “anti-aging” genes delivered into their brains, with a virus used for transport. Rather than treat dementia directly, these genes supposedly instruct brain cells to create two enzymes—telomerase and Klotho—that play a role in controlling cellular aging. The idea is that boosting levels of these enzymes helps rejuvenate cells in the brain, turning back the clock and erasing age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

When the trial’s results were published in November 2021, BioViva boasted that it had done just that. “Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars devoted to dementia research, we have seen very little progress … until now,” founder CEO Liz Parrish declared in a press release. Working at the fringes of medicine, she claimed her company had succeeded where countless others had failed—by reversing the effects of aging.

This is a good read and well worth the time. https://bit.ly/42bRfX1

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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