Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey – featured in this video -- believes aging is a preventable phenomenon, much like a disease, stating that aging is merely a side effect of being alive.
Here he explains his belief that humans could live for centuries, if only we approach the aging process as “an engineering problem.”
He outlines the seven basic ways people age, and how to solve each one. And if we get to work now, he says, humans alive today could live to be 1,000.
According to de Grey, these “7 Deadly Things” are responsible for your physical aging, and are the basis of his “engineering approach” solutions:
Nuclear mutations and epimutations
mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) mutations
Protein cross links
Junk inside cells
Junk outside cells
Essentially, de Grey’s hypothesis states that if you can keep these seven deadly cell-damaging processes below the threshold of pathology – the state where processes start to break cells down until your body dies from the cumulative damage – you will be able to extend your life indefinitely.
In other anti-aging news, published in Best Life magazine, two preeminent aging experts have placed a bet on whether or not someone living today will be alive in 2150.
Steven Austad, biologist and professor of cellular and structural biology at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, believes someone alive today will still be alive in 2150. For the past 20 years, Austad has researched the fundamentals of aging, and has been able to drastically extend the lifespan of various animals by tinkering with their genes, or restricting their calorie intake.
Jay Olshansky, on the other hand, believes there are too many hurdles to be overcome, suspecting any benefit derived from anti-aging drugs will probably be wiped out by rising threats to public health, such as obesity and diabetes. In fact, the demographic models Olshansky and his colleagues have built project that obesity alone will cut the life expectancy of Americans by two to five years within the next 50 years.
Both experts agree, however, that science is making radical advances. Scientists now have a much more detailed understanding of how shutting down certain genes and restricting calories slow your aging process.
The shared factor between all long-lived animals is their superior capability to repair their DNA.
Edward Masoro, at the University of Texas, pioneered research in the 1990’s, showing that a low-calorie diet switches on a key gene called SIRT1 that controls a network of other genes, which in turn create proteins that protect cells from damage. The idea proposed by more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies working on anti-aging drugs, is that you may one day be able to simply take a pill that switches on SIRT1 in your cells.
One such molecule is resveratrol, produced by grapes and other plants. Sirtis Pharmaceuticals, Elixir Pharmaceutical, and about a dozen others are pursuing these kinds of molecular-based anti-aging drugs.
The current old-age record holder is Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who died in 1997 at the age of 122, after smoking for nearly 100 years.
Best Life September 22, 2007
(Watch this video: 22 minutes, 55 seconds)