Harold Katcher (the plasmapheresis person) is the most inspiring late bloomer ever

Previously I called Morris Chang inspiring, but he’s way MORE inspiring.

Just covered in sheekay science show too

I think he was born in the 1940s (74 in 2016). Like, even getting into programming when you were born in the 1940s, alone, is inspiring enough for those surrounded by those who learned coding by age 12.

He also seems reasonably “weird-friendly” in all the right dimensions (in the same way that https://www.linkedin.com/in/louis-hawthorne-b654b12b?miniProfileUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afs_miniProfile%3AACoAAAZNaD0BWSFhRw0uzv2IjONoYdlLaGmuJak&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_search_srp_people%3BNrb%2FcJYvST2V7MdRShlJsg%3D%3D is weird friendly)

[he’s not as ageless as Edward O. Thorpe though]


While I don’t agree with his thinking that aging is fundamentally programmed, Harold is definitely one of the smartest people I have had the pleasure of conversing with. He is incredibly knowledgeable on various aspects of biology. The fact that he is working so hard to solve aging at his age with new methods is very inspiring. I have great respect for him.


How did you talk to him?

I don’t agree with programmed aging either, but there is something top-down about it (this is also Michael Levin’s approach) that means you don’t have to understand all the details of it in order to have substantial leverage over its direction

It would be nice if his work could move along more expeditiously. Still working with rats, even though only one is alive. His skin cream was promised but hasn’t materialized.

A lot depends upon what “programmed aging” means. If it means that it happens because of the way the genes function in the sense that it is an epigenetic effect then that is different to something which is scheduled.

However, in the way as described here:

I don’t think it serves a purpose although you can find greater survival of creatures which are capable of responding to changes in the environment even if those genetic changes cause reductions in longevity. There was I think a worm experiment done that looked at this.

I conversed with Katcher on the GRG research group a while back mainly discussing programmed aging.

I agree

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@John_Hemming @Olafurpall @AlexKChen
Programmed aging is an interesting topic. I couldn’t find a thread on this forum so I’m responding to this post.

I believe it is clear that organisms can respond with longevity to environmental conditions that delay procreation. Low food, etc. The longevity benefit is not for the individual organism but for the improvement in passing genes into the future.

The programmed aging idea that I’m aware of suggests that aging is also not for the benefit of the individual organism. (Just like CR causing longevity is not for the individual organism). But in this case it is AGAINST the individual organism for the reason that older organisms in the ecological niche compete with younger organisms with similar genetics. The idea is that the genes are the beneficiaries of programmed aging. Individual organisms are mere links in the chain of the genes indefinite survival. Younger organisms have superior genes (evolution) and have a better chance of indefinite survival IF the older similar organisms do not stick around too long to use up resources. So programmed aging gets rid of the older organisms.

The point of this speculation is to make the case that our attempts to slow / stop aging shouldn’t be done with the thought that aging is a mistake and could be avoided by living perfectly. Instead we should look to fight against our nature to live longer (plus live a healthy lifestyle).


I think that is basically right. Evolution does not really “care” about anything. It promotes genes that are more effective including those of viruses.

Any organism with a sense of existance of self is not relevant.


I have critisized theories of programmed aging elsewhere many times. I am not a fan of them. I think they are missing the big picture and discarding the role of physics in aging. While programming of course influences aging, aging cannot be simply programmed. There are many things that cause aging that are not controlled by any programming and cannot be fixed by reprogramming. Therefore aging is clearly not programmed. That said, programming does have a large effect on aging. There is no denying that.

Evolution cares about one thing only. That is passing the genes on to the next generation, sometimes referred to as evolutionary fitness. Unfortunately, what is good for evolutionary fitness is not always good for longevity.


Entropy is overlooked and no one has beaten it yet.


Not for long, agreed. Fighting off entropy takes energy. This is why I have come to accept that falling energy production is central to “aging”. We must keep our mitochondria healthy and producing energy fight off entropy. It’s not the only thing but it’s a big one.

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Creatures are not closed systems. Hence although damage occurs there are repair systems. The whole body is to some extent in a state of renewal. However, this process breaks down and hence you get the phenotype of aging.

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Actually entropy in the guise of oxidative stress hits the mitochondria.

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