Ask Aubrey de Grey About Longevity Research

The next Slashdot interview is with Aubrey de Grey, biomedical gerontologist and advocate for radical life extension. So if you have things you'd like to ask, get over to Slashdot and write up a question:

There may be such a thing as a conventional scientist - but Aubrey de Grey is not one. Instead, biogerontologist de Grey has spent much of the last 20 years investigating the science of aging by considering the aging process as a multifaceted disease whose manifestations can be mitigated, rather than an inevitability to merely accept. That might not be unusual in itself, but de Grey believes that by addressing the causes and symptoms of aging, human life can be extended to at least 1000 years - a stance has earned him accolades and contempt in various degrees. (He might not especially mind being called names like "rogue" and "maverick," though.) De Grey is also chairman and chief science officer of The Methuselah Foundation, whose M-Prize for extending the lifespan of mice has been mentioned on Slashdot before. Ask de Grey about his research below; he'll answer the top-rated questions, and we'll publish them in this space. The usual Slashdot interview rules apply - so ask all the questions you'd like, but please confine yourself to one per post..

Some interesting and possibly useful questions - in the sense of illustrating important misunderstandings or areas in which existing answers haven't yet made it into common knowledge - are forming already:

From the studies I've looked at, and the differing oppinions of the popular media, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions on the effects (or lack thereof) of telomerase on aging. Could you give a brief discussion of that (and possibly other factors/nonfactors and relative importance)?

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Has any research been done on how extreme longevity affects a person psychologically?

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If you had 60 secs to get a college student excited about wanting to study and research life extension, what would you say besides the obvious 'live-forever' meme?

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Given that the most promising research to-date on life-extension (resveratrol and caloric restriction) can produce about a 40% increase in maximum lifespan at best, how do you estimate that we can achieve a lifespan of 1,000 years (about a 10-fold increase in current maximum lifespans)?

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If the average human lifespan were extended to 1000, would the average human age at a normal speed (i.e., like now), then hit a certain specific age and remain at that age until the end (everlasting youth), or would the aging be constant?

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If I gave you a lab rat today, how long could you extend his life? What about me - is there anything I can do (other than a healthy lifestyle), or could have done, today, to start extending my life? How long before the answers to either of these questions change significantly? 5 years? 10? 20?

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Others have listed potential problems, I'm interested in the follow-up question to those: what do you look for to say "this won't work"? Simply stating "I believe it can" is the realm of religion. What evidence would it take to convince you that it isn't possible after all?

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