I mention some of my thoughts on priorities, supplements, and the likely nature of meaningful future anti-aging technologies in the latest Longevity Meme newsletter. As we all know, I'm not that hot on the amount of (media and community) attention lavished on supplements and pills when serious anti-aging science is languishing for lack of support.
I was planning on posting a followup here today regarding balance in our approach to the future and health, but Ian Clements beat me to the punch in an e-mail communication. So I'll let him to do the talking:
You keep saying that a pill is not the answer - how do you know (as distinct from believe)? Whilst I share your scepticism about a pill being the answer, I'm sufficient of a scientist not to be certain about anything about the future - empiricists use evidence, not belief, as their criterion.
More importantly, taking pills is not mutually exclusive to doing all the other things to extend life and improve health (we both seem to agree on that).
The problem I, and, I suspect, most others face, is attempting to keep fit and healthy whilst staying cautious - waiting too long until all the evidence is in is to maybe delay too long the benefits. This necessarily applies when the science is moving only as fast as I am ageing! It is a balance of risk - hoping that the risk is minimal or non-existent for adopting what turns out to be false ideas and possible major advantages if they are right. We've all seen this for vitamins; smoking; diet and exercise. Sure there's been blind alleys, wrong turns even (avoiding all fat as much as possible being a recent example), but I suspect that those of us who've attempted to follow the best science at the time have stayed ahead of the curve despite these errors (all too-often pointed out by dubious relatives and friends).
So I see nothing wrong in chasing supplements at the same time as calling for progress for cures for ageing - they are not mutually exclusive.