The Science of Staying Younger Longer

It is pleasant to see larger, more conservative research institutions being much more aggressive in publicizing longevity science and the goal of extending the healthy human life span. It shows that the old scientific and funding institution culture of hiding and suppressing any work on aging that might be relevant to extending life is done with and over. When the research community talks openly about their goals, levels of funding and public support rise.

Nowadays the more important battle is fought to ensure that the best strategies for extending life are those that are funded: for example none of the lines of research mentioned in the article below are in any way relevant to the SENS vision of rejuvenation through damage repair. Despite the talk of rejuvenation they instead reflect the mainstream focus on altering genes and metabolism to slow down the progression of aging, which is a harder, slower, less certain road to a less useful outcome.

Eleven leading scientists from the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) - a state-funded consortium founded by UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz - presented their latest research findings and anti-aging strategies at a daylong symposium earlier this month called "The Science of Staying Younger Longer." The goal of this research area is rejuvenation: longer, healthier life, free from the costly and debilitating chronic diseases associated with aging and a too-early demise. Better living in old age is a growing priority as a bulging population of baby boomers enters their golden years.

Thanks primarily to better control over infectious diseases through improved sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics, Americans live on average more than three decades longer than they did a century ago. But today tantalizing research findings from different scientific disciplines - including genetics, immunology, cell biology, diabetes research and microbiology - are raising hopes for another revolutionary increase in life expectancy.

"Perhaps rejuvenation therapies will appear in less than a decade, if we pool our resources and skills," said Regis Kelly, PhD, director of QB3 and organizer of the event on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. At UCSF, researchers have led important research to identify the treatment needs of elderly patients, including disabled patients and individuals with HIV infection; they have made breakthroughs in accurately diagnosing dementias, a major malady of old age; and they have identified what may be biological underpinnings for aging at the genetic and biochemical level.


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