Nick Lane on Sex, Death, and How to Extend the Human Lifespan

In our case, we are limited by our brains. If we can replace everything—cells, tissues—as we live, then there would be presumably no limits to how long we could live. But if we replace our neurons, we’re also rewriting our own experience in the process, and cease to be ourselves. I think that’s the real penalty for extending life beyond the natural maximal lifespan of a neuron, which is 120 years or thereabouts. That’s where I see the real limit. How do we prevent our brains from effectively losing mass over time, losing neuronal connections, losing synapses, which is where we’re storing memories and experiences?

Source: Nick Lane on Sex, Death, and How to Extend the Human Lifespan

The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am – Features – The Stranger

Other sugars are also present, including some 150 oligosaccharides (there may be even more, scientists are really just beginning to understand them), complex chains of sugars unique to human milk. (I repeat: unique to human milk.) These oligosaccharides can’t be digested by infants; they exist to feed the microbes that populate a baby’s digestive system.

And speaking of microbes, there’s a ton of them in breast milk. Human milk isn’t sterile—it’s very much alive, filled with good bacteria, much like yogurt and naturally fermented pickles and kefir, that keep our digestive systems functioning properly. So mother’s milk contains not only the bacteria necessary to help a baby break down food, but the food for the bacteria themselves to thrive. A breast-feeding mother isn’t keeping one organism alive—but actually hundreds of thousands of them.