The Future Of Aging: Pathways To Human Life Extension
The Future Of Aging
A frequent lament of new parents is that babies don’t come with owner’s manuals. That’s still true, though the book The Future Of Aging is as close to an owner’s manual chapter on extending life span as anything you’ll ever get your hands on.
The book, produced by the brilliant minds at a number of scientific and medical research organizations, includes the most up-to-date information and predictions by the best and the brightest in the fields of science and aging.
Biogerontology – or aging research – is an intense field that has seen incredible advances over the past 10 years or so, but for the first time, the contributors to The Future Of Aging have, in a single volume, make a convincing case that we are still in the very early stages of understanding the aging process, and that the best is yet to come.
As the September 2011 issue of Life Extension (minds at Life Extension were also contributors to the book) states:
“They (the contributors to the book) assert that we are in the midst of a crucial period in the study of aging: millions of post-World War II Baby Boomers are about to enter the American long-term health care system, and the economic costs could potentially cripple an already severely strained economy. Accordingly, this guide is not only indispensable; the timing for it has never been more urgent.”
The Future Of Aging starts by outlining the basic first steps to extending life: nutrition, exercise, and supplementation. Futurist, writer and inventor Ray Kurzweil, author of several books on futurism and anti-aging (Fantastic Voyage), maintains that science is galloping along at such a rate, that by adopting present-day therapies one can remain healthy long enough to take advantage of future advancements. Kurzweil cites modified calorie restriction (CR) as a proven, viable method of extending lifespan across a wide range of animal species.
“Free radicals cause a gradual deterioration of body tissues, particularly fragile cell membranes,” Kurzweil explains. “CR test animals have significantly lower levels of free radicals, so they also have less free-radical damage to their cell membranes. Extrapolating animal studies to humans, some researchers have estimated that our maximum life span might be extended from 120 to 180 years.”
Kurzweil also points out that exercise is a basic tool of life extension that everyone should be using. He references and eight-year study that showed a 60% lower overall death rate for even moderate exercisers, particularly those with cardiovascular disease. He writes, “Even as little as 30 minutes a day can provide significant benefit. Despite this, some 70% of Americans do not participate in any type of physical activity.”
Nutritional supplementation is also recommended as a means to overcome the depletion in vitamin and mineral content of the foods that we eat as a result of over-farming. Vitamin and mineral deficiency has long been linked with premature aging.
Michael R. Rose, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine, goes beyond Kurzweil: Rose and his colleagues propose that the best future strategy for radical life extension in humans may be nutritional supplementation: “Evolutionary nutrigenomic agents can emulate the process of natural selection, using nutritional supplements in lieu of genetic variation.”
Gregory M. Fahy, cryobiologist and biogerentologist, and originator and editor-in-chief of The Future Of Aging suggests that the basic control over aging may reside without our own genomes. Fahy believes that the key to preventing and even reversing aging in mammals lies in gaining interventional control over how and when biochemical signals that trigger the aging process in our genes is expressed. “The ability of many species to sustain a nominally zero aging state even as adults indicates that aging is not a fundamentally inescapable process,” he states.
The Future Of Aging expounds on these and other topics, ranging from stem cell research and gene repair to nanorobotics and more. As Stephen Laifer writes Life Extension: “Taken as a whole, the visions described her represent just a fraction of alternate pathways toward the goal of extending human life, with each mthod showing equal promise. As with most plane, one step may be inextricably interlinked with another, so that several interventions work in tandem. ‘Truly effective intervention into aging is likely to require a multiplicity of interventive strategies, and this will remain a significant challenge for some time,’ say Fahy.
One thing is for certain: The face of aging is changing at a rapid pace as we learn to modify the aging process. Science is advancing in exponential leaps and the future will be here in the blink of an eye. To take full advantage of current knowledge and coming technologies, grab a copy of The Future Of Aging today, and commit to making the changes that are within your reach.