Reversing Aging

A long but interesting interview with George Church:

Certainly if you could fix all nine hallmarks at once that would do well. Reversal of aging has been demonstrated in simple animals. Some people will dismiss those as too simple — because they have such a short life already, it’s not surprising you can make them live longer. But I think it’s quite clear that aging is programmed in some sense. It’s not like you’ve been programmed to die at some age, but the laziness of evolution has resulted in your program to not avoid dying.

Over evolutionary time, to use analogy, it was not cost effective to invest a lot of your precious food to live longer because you’re going to get eaten by a wolf anyway. Now we have plenty of excess food, and rather than becoming obese let’s spend that on living longer, by spending extra ATP on repair and rejuvenation. That’s something 20-year-olds do fine, but after 60 you stop investing quite as well.

Yes. There has been no evolutionary pressure for us to live longer, but it’s absurd to think it would violate any laws of physics (and ultimately, even biology comes down to physics) that prevent us from living indefinitely long lives. And how soon could it happen?

The simple answer is, I don’t know. Probably we’ll see the first dog trials in the next year or two. If that works, human trials are another two years away, and eight years before they’re done. Once you get a few going and succeeding it’s a positive feedback loop.

That’s pretty exciting, but still: faster, please.

But I did come across this:

If you find that in the western world we’re eating a lot of marbled cow that didn’t exist in the ancient days, all you have to do is get rid of the marbled cow and you’re all set.

Except I’m not aware of any scientific evidence that marbled cow is a problem. I wonder how up on nutrition he is?

7 comments on this post.
  1. John K Berntson:

    This is just the sort of thing governments like to keep from people, so while I have hope, I will be happily surprised if it happens in time for us.

    Meanwhile, if the dog trials are starting in a year, at least maybe my dogs – currently 6 & 3 – may be able to take advantage of it. They live too short of lives as it is.

  2. Tim:

    “Meanwhile, if the dog trials are starting in a year, at least maybe my dogs – currently 6 & 3 – may be able to take advantage of it. They live too short of lives as it is.”

    It is a brilliant piece of marketing on their part. First you do an end run around the FDA’s 10 year approval process for human drugs. Second every dog you successfully treat is a poster child of the efficacy of the treatment (assuming it works okay). When people see there own/friends/families old pets come back “rejuvenated” they will wonder why can’t they get the same treatment? Thirdly treating pets successfully is very much a stand alone business; you could make allot of money even if somehow the treatment doesn’t work on humans. And I have even gotten to the possibility that if the “treatment” is shown to work on pet dog but the FDA drags its feet too much on approving it for people, who to say they won’t set up shop somewhere overseas where the laws are different? People would just take “medical” vacations or whatever to said foreign country and have the treatment done.

  3. wodun:

    Thirdly treating pets successfully is very much a stand alone business; you could make allot of money even if somehow the treatment doesn’t work on humans.

    It is also a better choice than testing on mice because no one cares how long mice live or what diseases they have been engineered to be immune to. Everyone loves their pets though.

  4. FC:

    Loren Cordain and his collaborators have argued that traditionally meat was low in fat, and that’s one of his precepts of paleo.

    That said, the tri-tip I just ate for dinner was nicely fatty. Cordain and Church can have all the lean cuts they want.

  5. peterh:

    It seems to me a fallacy that what our distant ancestors ate for thousands of years is necessarily the best diet for ourselves. While it follows that we should be well adapted to live on such a diet, it does not follow that some variation of that diet is worse for us.

  6. Rand Simberg:

    There may be variations of it that aren’t worse for us, but low-fat high-carb certainly isn’t one.

  7. MikeR:

    Marbled cow – throwaway line, ignore. The rest of the interview was very good.

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