GRG News for 2014

GRG Names Gertrude Weaver, 116, the New ‘Oldest Living American’ Titleholder

Gertrude Weaver & Robert Young
July 4, 2014; The Gerontology Research Group of Los Angeles, California has awarded Mrs. Gertrude Weaver, 116, the title of “Oldest Living American,” retroactive to December 17, 2012, when Dina Manfredini of Iowa passed away at age 115. Jeralean Talley, 115, of Inkster, Michigan, was previously thought to be the titleholder. Robert Young and Mark Muir were honored to be present for her 116th birthday celebration. Robert Young had the honor of awarding Ms. Weaver the “Oldest Living American” title.

For more information about this announcement, please click here.

"GRG Members No. 1, 2, and 3"

Drs. L. Stephen Coles, Steven M. Kaye, and Robert Nathan
Sunday, April 20, 2014; 2:00 PM; A short one-hour visit to Bob Nathan's home in Pasadena, CA.

"Friends of the LA-GRG"

Friends of the GRG
Saturday, April 19, 2014; 7:30 PM; Friends of the GRG at dinner in Manhattan Beach, CA.

"Epcot Center in Orlando, FL

Steve Coles at the Epcot Center
Thursday, April 17, 2014; Noon, EDT; Steve Coles at the Epcot Center (Disney World) in Orlando, FL.

"Dr. Coles Gives the Distinguished Lecture on Supercentenarians at the Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL

Drs. Antonio Novello and L. Stephen Coles, Distinguished Lecture on Aging Dr. L. Stephen Coles, Distinguished Lecture on Aging
Dr. L. Stephen Coles, Distinguished Lecture on Aging
Thursday, April 16, 2014; 10:00 AM (two hours) and 6:30 PM (one hour) EDT; Dr. L. Stephen Coles gave the April Distinguished Lecture on Aging at the Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL at the invitation of Dr. Antonio Novello, M.D., former US Surgeon General.

"Prof. Douglas Melton of Harvard Gives IMED Seminar at UCLA"

Drs. Stephen Coles and Douglas Melton
Wednesday, April 9, 2014; Noon; Prof. Douglas Melton, Ph.D., Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Xander University Professor at Harvard, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, spoke on the topic of "Making Pancreatic Beta Cells." He showed that hiPSC's can make Islet Beta Cells today in his lab at the billion cells espansion after years of frustrating blind alleys and false-start hypotheses. One original idea that came out of the Q&A session that may impact the organ transplantation/rejection problem is the use of an HLA protein known to protect embryos/fetuses from the Mothers' immune system that might be used to make xenographic organ transplants appear to have the same protection as fetuses by coating foreign tissue with this type of HLA protein. A curious factoid during the lecture was that if there were no apoptotic Programmed Cell Death in the tissues containing our replicative cells and they continued to divide at their normal rates, the volume of our future bodies would be the equivalent of 70 Earths after one year of incredible exponential expansion. So, thank goodness for cell turnover and the recycling of old, senescent cells. Of course, we need to examine the consequences of keeping lots of senescent cells around as they age (that consume oxygen and nutrients without making a contribution to the tissue function, in those tissues in which they are embedded, as they may have once done) in older tissues without having them be recycled and replaced by fresh cells.

"Prof. George Church Gives IMED Seminar at UCLA"

Prof. George Church in 1977 Prof. George Church at MIT
Prof. George Church, Ph.D. Book: Regenesis by Church Drs. Coles and Church
Wednesday, March 26, 2014; [Noon - 1:00 PM] PDT; Geneticist Prof. George Church of Harvard University spoke to a full auditorium at today's UCLA IMED Noon Seminar on the topic of "Technologies for Reading and Writing Genomes." In particular, he spoke about CRISPER/Cas9 technology as well as the new BRAIN Initiative which he helped initiate with his early Neuron paper, Vol. 74 (November 21, 2012) that led to President Obama's announcing it in his 2013 "State of the Union Address" as a Grand Challenge." Finally, he intimated that they were collaborating with a commercial venture from Miami, FL on the complete sequencing of 30 Supercentenarians, while showing a slide of Madam Jeanne Calment smoking a cigarette.

"Doctor Performs Autopsy on U.S. Retirement System: The Likely Cause of Death: 'Failure To Raise the Retirement Age,'"

Gil Weinreich
March 20, 2014; [9:30 - 10:15] AM; Telephone interview of Dr. Coles by Mr. Gil Weinreich of Think Advisor and Editor-in-Chief of Research Magazine.

Other References:

1. CDC Mortality Tables
2. Life Expectancy by Country.

"Investigation of an Alleged 122 yo Monk from a Coptic Monastery in Ethiopia"

L. Stephen Coles Video Interview
Saturday, March 15, 2014; [2:00 - 5:00] PM PDT; Dr. Stephen Coles was interviewed by CNN Reporter Alan Duke concerning a Monk who claimed to be 122 yo. This claim is now being investigated by the GRG (that has a history of skepticism regarding extreme longevity claims). Our Monk died last year, but not before he was interviewed by two experts who prepared a lengthy video documentary for the occasion.

"Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT Lectures at UCLA"

Prof. Noam Chomsky, Ph.D. of MIT Prof. Noam Chomsky, Ph.D. of MIT
Friday, March 14, 2014; [Noon - 1:00 PM] PDT; Emeritus Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT lectured at UCLA about the state of the world. As a computational linguist, he is most noted as the father of Transformational Grammar which he created back in 1965 but now mostly as a Left- Wing anti-war protester against both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

"Dr. Stephen Coles Lectures at a Local Synagogue"

Prof. L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D. at a Local Synagogue Prof. L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D. at a Local Synagogue
Wednesday, March 12, 2014; [10:00 - 11:15] AM PDT; Prof. Coles lectured to an audience of ~30 members at the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles near the Getty Museum off the 405 Freeway.

"Dr. Aubrey de Grey Visits Los Angeles, CA"

Dr. Aubrey de Grey at the Podium
Saturday, March 8, 2014; [9:30 AM - 3:00 PM] PST; The Plato Society of Los Angeles held its Annual Milhaupt Symposium at the Mount St. Mary's Catholic College in Los Angeles, CA. The Panelists included Dean Pinchas Cohen, M.D. of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Executive Director of the Andrus Gerontology Center, who spoke on the topic of "The Aging Revolution: Longevity in the 21st-Century."
Dr. Laurie Zoloth, Ph.D., McCormick Professor of Bioethics at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL who spoke on the topic of "Utopia Is Hard Work: Duty and Freedom for the 120- Year Old."
Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Biomedical Gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation who spoke on the topic of "In a future Free of Age-Related Disease, Longevity Is a Welcome Side Effect." and
Dr. JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez, Ph.D., Professor of the UCLA Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology who spoke on the topic of "A Critical View of the Societal Aspects of Extreme Longevity,"
After lunch and Breakout-Room Discussions, Dr. Gary Small, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Aging and Director of the UCLA Longevity Center spoke on the topic of "Strategies for Living Longer and Better."

"Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D. Visits UCLA"

Drs. Steven A. Rosenberg and L. Stephen Coles
Thursday, March 6, 2014; 12:00 Noon; Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Surgery Branch of the NCI at NIH in Bethesda, MD spoke on the "Curative Potential of T-Cell Immunotherapy for Cancer" to a packed audience with students sitting on the floor in CHS 73-105. Tumor sequences are now know to contain an average of 234 mutations. About 25 mutations don't even fit into a pattern, but are unique to each patient. The support for this new cutting-edge data will appear soon in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Photo by N. Coles

"J. Craig Venter: IMED Seminar at UCLA"

Drs. J. Craig Venter and L. Stephen Coles Natalie S. Coles and Dr. J. Craig Venter
Wednesday, February 26, 2014; 12:30 PM; Dr. J. Criag Venter gave the weekly IMED Seminar at UCLA on the topic of his book "Life at the Speed of Light." He also mentioned that [30 - 40] percent of all the essential genes identified in the human genome [those whose knock-outs are lethal] have an unknown function. He also mentioned that the human biome contains 10,000 unique bacterial genes (in addition to the 20,000 human genes we know about) that are activated by the food we eat. Many of the protein gene products cross the BBB.

There were
to the News Section of our website, as of the Start Date on May 1, 1999;
[For reference, our Counter had
3,082 hits as of February 20, 2001;
15,202 hits as of June 14, 2002;
40,847 hits as of January 2, 2003;
83,065 hits as of January 1, 2007;
112,538 hits as of June 22, 2007;
139,848 hits as of January 1, 2008;
150,000 hits as of April 11, 2008;
161,000 hits as of August 4, 2008;
187,000 hits as of January 12, 2009;
221,500 hits as of January 5, 2010,
257,827 hits as of January 5, 2011;
322,654 hits as of July 21, 2012;
359,067 hits as of June 16, 2013; and
378,570 hits as of January 17, 2014.
The website for tracking hits to our website has been out of business starting January 2000.
To fill this void, on June 16, 2005, we switched over to the webbot Site Meter at
Click on the icon above for more details. As there were
29,400 hits as of January 3, 2005, we estimate that we are now receiving ~55,000 hits per year at the current rate].
Actually, there were 53,794 hit for the 12 months ending June 16, 2006
and also 161 members of our World-Wide GRG Discussion Group as of this date.
June 27, 2009; As of this date, there were 222 members.
As of June 16, 2013, there were 489 members.

"Russian Visitors"

Drs. Alex Zhavornonkov and Steve Coles
January 15, 2014; 2:30 PM; Dr. Alex Zhavornonkov and Dmitry Kamensky, a wealthy Russian banker who recently funded a Biology of Aging Laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) visited Los Angeles on their way from Hong Kong and then on their way to Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, MD. They neglected to update their calendars, having crossed the International Date Line, and got to visit me at UCLA one day earlier than planned! - - Steve Coles

Click for News Items from 2013.