Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old

Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old is a forthcoming book discussing the aging research community and its newfound interest in treating aging as a medical condition. Aging is the cause of age-related disease and mortality, and far longer, far healthier lives lie ahead in the era in which the mechanisms of aging are targeted, rather than only their consequences. In this popular press article, the author and the book are discussed. The views are sensible and forward-looking, suggesting that it may be worth picking up when it is published in a few months.

The author began professional life as a physicist. As a child, he was fascinated by space, the way many scientists are. But he has spent the past three years researching a book about biogerontology, the scientific study of ageing, in which he argues the case for a future in which our lives go on and on. He considers ageing "the greatest humanitarian issue of our time". When he describes growing old as "the biggest cause of suffering in the world," he is being earnest.

In the past three decades biogerontological research has accelerated, and recent successes have sparked excitement. A 2015 study, published by the Mayo Clinic, in the US, found that using a combination of existing drugs - dasatinib, a cancer medicine, and quercetin, which is sometimes used as a dietary suppressant - to remove senescent cells in mice "reversed a number of signs of ageing, including improving heart function". A 2018 study that used the same drugs found that the combination "slowed or partially reversed the ageing process" in older mice. After the success in mice, the first trial aimed at removing senescent cells in humans began in 2018, and others are ongoing. "This collection of evidence is tantalising, and foreshadows a future where ageing will be treated. Scientists are rightly sceptical, but it's important to say that a lot of significant breakthroughs could happen in the lifespan of people alive today."

When the author brings up his work with people, the question he gets asked most often is: "What about overpopulation?" He has a go-to answer he thinks highlights the ridiculousness of the question. "Imagine we're staring down the barrel of 15 billion people on Earth. There are lots of ways to try and tackle that problem. Would one of them be: invent ageing?" That he is asked this question so frequently frustrates him. More so, he is bothered by the implication that what he is suggesting is somehow weird or inhuman or unholy, rather than ultimately helpful for society. "If I'd just written a book about how we're going to cure childhood leukaemia using some amazing new medicine, literally nobody would be like, 'But isn't that going to increase the global population?'"

He shakes his head. "What I'm saying is, 'Here is an idea that could cure cancer, heart disease, stroke...' Curing any one of those things would get you plaudits. But as soon as you suggest a potentially effective way of dealing with them altogether, suddenly you're some mad scientist who wants to overpopulate us into some terrible environmental apocalypse?" The author considers this a major hurdle in biogerontology's potential success - our "incredible bias toward the status quo" of ageing as an inevitable process, and our inability to accept it as preventable. "If we lived in a society where there was no ageing, and suddenly two-thirds of people started degenerating over decades, started losing their strength, started losing their mental faculties, and then succumbing to these awful diseases, it would be unthinkable. And of course, we'd set to work trying to cure it."

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/jan/03/observer-magazine-do-we-have-to-age-biologist-andrew-steele

Comments

At the risk of sounding like a broken record:
Upon consideration of the tone and argumentative nature of the author, I hear: "...my life is great. I want to live forever. Everyone stop what they're doing and let's get this thing done..."
childish. narcissistic. disingenuous. reductive. rare. not unacceptable.
Often 'saving the world' is the face of such underlying motivations.
It would be great if there was the medical option of undertaking a low-impact series of interventions to prolong healthy life. It would be nice if there was regular, affordable trips to the moon and space. It would be nice if everyone got the career, lifestyle, friendship group, political system that they wanted. Everyone deserves these things. Freedom (individual and by extension conflicting between individuals) and scarcity mean you have to wait. This is not cynicism.
Activism is useful until its not. A successful 'anything' is a series of supply and demand forces being met, ideally with enthusiasm and some kind of business rationalism.
Supply - where is the money, researchers, labs, and clinics? One can harp on government obstruction (not untrue) long enough but the simple matter is that if there is compelling enough interest, these things will coalesce naturally with expectation of demand.
Demand - where are the (enthusiastic and knowledgeable) patients, clinics and caregivers, and large-scale providers/ employers who would love healthy/ long-lived contributors? One can harp on the obviousness of the Work (to some), but comparable options in cryo, gyms, etc., show that people don't Care enough - maybe even when therapies are available that provide 20 extra years but require 5 hrs of therapies / week and $10k a year for 20+ years before advanced deterioration sets in (as a simple what-if).
It is not wrong to shrug off these Objections and shoulder on. Perseverance against apathy, disinterest, ridicule, etc., is usually the unavoidable path of most great things, even if only partially embraced. Unfortunately, idealism (a light form of fanaticism) is often its own worse enemy. Mapping interest, demographics, avenues for integrating treatments into check-ups/ common procedures, likely cost and time expectations, front-line medical buy-in, etc., are the data that needs to be collected for the foundation of such an 'industry'. A cult following does not always lead to a successful mainstreaming. Many consultancies provide such data and analysis - i assume many investors ask/ undertake for such things. Spend the fees. A good report does not say good/bad, but options.
Why are there not articles on the anti-ageing business (industry) case - in addition to medical/ pharmaceutical/ biological? How do you promote such in a 'live-in-the-moment' populace - do you have to or should you care? I would argue that the amount of money put into cosmetic surgery and sophisticated dietary regimes are indicative of the supply and monied nature of the customers available and receptive to pursue. Geez, integrate senescent therapies into 'spa days'. I don't mind preachy books, but please, most successful businesses do or had done a certain due diligence - maybe '9 Effective Therapies for Successful (Future) People'.

Posted by: Jer at January 7th, 2021 8:10 AM

Hi there! Just a 2 cents.

In my mind, we don't need 50 therapies, we need one, the right one; so far it seems one won't do/be enough to cure death/aging; but that is what we suppose. Sometimes 1 best umbrella is better than 50 cheap ones that break down after a single parade rain. 99% of therapies will not curing aging (I am nearly 100% certain on that point. It's why the 1%), but will make healthy aging/help you stay healthy fit and live to your 120 possible - never much beyond that and some people are ok with/fine with that, wish no more. I think people think that living over a 100 or so is too long and selfish (when they need to nuance this, aging defeat was never about 1 person). I hope his book différentiâtes the aging and health (I wish success to that book/people need to read that d*mn book and change their Outlook on life/death),

Manifestations 'of aging' are not True aging, they are:

Premature, degenerative health, exit process brought upon damage accrual - over time, Non-Aging. Premature non-aging or prematue degenerative degradation of health. It is not intrinsic aging in the sense we mean it, of 'becoming older by time passing'. Manifestations of health degradation are not aging. They are premature 'exit' - of aging, they are not aging, they are actual Premature Exiting of aging course (regular one).

That is different than, true intrinsic aging:

Actual accrual of cellular time tabs/marks, over time, which makes an age signature. True Aging.
Irrespectively of whatever damages, these intrinsic marks happen daily, one day at a time, damages or not, premature health degradation or not. I can be the sickest person there is, and I am far younger biologically than older people who have much better health than me. They still are older/more aged and thus closer to biogiolical aging/causing death 'from age'. Not from 'health degradation/premature degenerescence/degeneration' of health - irrespective of your total years age.

After reviewing new data, I can say that telomeres are important for epigenetics, because
sub-telomeres, centromères, pericentromeres, and other 'in between' telomeres, or Under-telomers are actually consequential of the epigenome because they have methylation and have a say on histone marks; thus, telomeres are independent but 'chunks' below telomeres are in communication with epigenome; it means that epi age reversal needs sub-telomeres methylation and reconfiguration...in essence, researchers foud that short telomeres are not only short, they are 'conformationally different'...as in, they are 'loose'/'open'/like uncoiled DNA, this can allow gene expression/activation (like the inflammatory/senescence ones p53, p21, TNF...), a short telomere is a different composition than a tall telomere; so not only shorter but 'made differently' as it becomes short. This can explain why long telomeres are needed, yet short telomeres cause senescence; but the epigenetic clock remains an independent element that works in tandem, yet seperately. The simply fact the subtelomeres need methylation and that histones must be 'trimethylated', shows that telomeres, like methylome, need methylation to preserve function. Thus, telomeres and epigenome work in concert but can 'diverge' depending on situation, such as premature degenerative health (from time passing and health degrading prematurely) VS
time passing and simply age accrual; yet, health preservation.

I.e it is a bit like comparing someone 65 years old healthy vs someone 65 years old unhealhy (with disease). The unhealhy may die prematurely of health degenerescence in his 70s. While the healthy will live on to 100 years old, and die then - not from unhealthyness brought about age/time passing. But die 'from age/intrinsic aging' by time passing and 'depletion/spent entire
reservoir 'of life' there is to spend, hence reached the 'Limit of the Program' (regular epiaging, arriving to an end at some point, roughly 120s).

Just a 2 cents.

PS: I send me deepest thoughts from afar to USA about what is happening in the Capitol/capital Washington DC White House over the presidential elections. Images like that tell me that, indeed, people will insurrect (to protect their life....''on my life/body..I will protect my life - a life or death matter - of my life'') if we are ever 'limited' on however long we want to live/if some body decides you must die at a certain point for society because living too long. It means ww3 civil war might/will happen over life/death decision (already we see abortion laws manifestations, so we will see manifestations on 'govs wanting you live to a maximum/die at certain point') such someone wanting to live forever (always said selfishly egotistically, when actually, it is an altruist goal (yes altruist not bs 'me myself and I, ..& f..the others'), for all, to live however long they choose on their life because some people would like to decide how long you live) or someone wanting to die on the '120 clock stop (because from the ethical view ofwe can't live forever and ethical overpopulation/need others to replace them). We face many uphill ethical battles in the next years, not just biological/research battles/regulation battles, but ethical 'convincing' of the people that there is merit and imperativity to defeating aging/death.

''He shakes his head. "What I'm saying is, 'Here is an idea that could cure cancer, heart disease, stroke...' Curing any one of those things would get you plaudits. But as soon as you suggest a potentially effective way of dealing with them altogether, suddenly you're some mad scientist who wants to overpopulate us into some terrible environmental apocalypse?" The author considers this a major hurdle in biogerontology's potential success - our "incredible bias toward the status quo" of ageing as an inevitable process, and our inability to accept it as preventable. "If we lived in a society where there was no ageing, and suddenly two-thirds of people started degenerating over decades, started losing their strength, started losing their mental faculties, and then succumbing to these awful diseases, it would be unthinkable. And of course, we'd set to work trying to cure it."

I agree quite a lot with this, as soon as you wish to living longer healthy, possibly centuries, you are a nutcase/outlandish, viewed like some lunatic selfish moron that does not think things through and unethical/unmoral.

''...this a major hurdle in biogerontology's potential success - our "incredible bias toward the status quo" of ageing as an inevitable process, and our inability to accept it as preventable.''

It is ethics once more, societies work/are founded on ethics/morals/laws that work ethics morals and try find a just(ice)/just middle for all. But people jump to conclusions about Prolongevity (anti-aging) and think it is a vain selfish *mmortality plot for the mad selfish scientist in quest to live forever (kind of like Ponce the Lèon seeking the Mayan Elixir Fountain of Jouvence/Tree of Eternal Life story), that is because humanity has died of 'aging' for 2 million years and it is a precedent like never, that we Could/Might stop aging/death, for, like ever. But to many that is 'too much' too hyperbolic, too unreal, too unhuman (because human ages/die, the Natural ProcessTM), too fake, too outlandish, too lunatic, just 'Too' (much). So we end up once again, to 'small incremental' 'improving o health' to live a long 120 years in health...that's about it.
Not one shred of thought/desire to like death/dying (what happens After) once the life ends, besides 'yeah you die at 120 yaers old, Fin/fin de l'histoire. Shut up, after, and die, let other Young borns replace you'). Why should the story end at 120, because overpopulation, selfishness, people must die one day soon, 'you're unreasonable/ lunatic fool/outlandish luminary living a dream in technicolor 'out there in space'', what is it?

Posted by: CANanonymity at January 7th, 2021 1:34 PM

PS: Read further on website:

''What Steele is talking about isn't immortality; people will continue to die. Science won't help if, looking down at your phone, you walk out into the road and get hit by a car. Or if you fall off a ladder and break your neck. Or if you are unlucky enough to be hit by a missile in a war zone. Or if you contract a virulent infectious disease that has no vaccine.

But it will result in lifespans that are significantly longer than what we currently consider normal.
I want to see healthy older people able to play with their great-grandkids
I ask if Steele expects there to someday be lots of 150-year-olds wandering around, as healthy as 20-year-olds.
"Yes," he says, "if it all works."

I say, "200-year-olds playing football in the park?"

"Why not?" he says.

"The trouble is, saying we're going to have 150-year-olds walking around looking like 20-year-olds, it's weird. It sounds sci-fi. It sounds a bit creepy.

Ultimately, I don't want this because I want to have a load of 150-year-olds looking like 20-year-olds,

I want it because those 150-year-olds won't have cancer, they won't have heart disease, they won't be struggling with arthritis. They'll still be playing with their grandkids, their great-grandkids even. It's about the health and lifestyle benefits."''

It's a sensible approach, but one way or another, 150 years olds will not be 20-years old (unless entire replacement of body/cells with age 0 cells/organs), they will be 150 years old - That Continue to live, as, 150 years old bio. Which I know does not sound enticing because decrepitude of people at that very Advanced/near-death maximal age. As I explained in a earlier post, you could end up an 'old person' for a very very long time (centuries). Simply, because, the 'phases' of aging are post-poned, so that 'old phase' will be much much longer/...'stretched' now. In effect you could be 150 years old biologicially - for 200 years/200 anniversaires of real-time years passing (then you would reach 350 years of real-time/chronological-time that has passed. you are still 150 biologically -inside body/cells/organs). That is if we can't Reverse to a 20 year old age signature (epigenetic reprogramming solves that by reversering the clock age...but we haven't done this in All Cells/all organs...that is remains a barrier to overcome/circumvent; if we can indeed do it entire body).

I agree that there will be challenges..like this 'creepiness' of 150 years old...that look like your children/Young people 20 years old body...yet, they are Older than you (they are 150 year bio). ''they are supposed to be dead 'great-great grand parents....long gone, not still walking around and looking like teenagers body yet being older chronologically than your grand-pa/grand-ma (i.e. a walking person of 300 years chrono, with a 19 year teen bio body)''.

It means, in the future, that we will have to consider - 2 Times - , the Real-Time/Chronological Time and the Biological Time. 2 things, to people; some people will age fast like HGPS...they will be like old people - at 15 years old...while the reverse, will be people that look like Benjamin Button or Adaline movie (aging 'in reverse' - being born 'an old baby/old small human' and as they 'grow up' and time passes, in reverse, they become little kids/'tall young babies' - to age 0 back again).

It also mean people will have to get used to 'inter-generational' exchange...more...like old people exchaging with young people; young people exchanging with old people and this 'creepy' factor will (have to) lessen...as in 'it's normal now'....since people don't die of intrinsic aging anymore.
Kind of like an old 70 year old man dating a 20 year old girl....we will be back to ethics with this.
Since this could be construed as pedophelia, or in inverse a 65 year old woman dating a 18 year old young man. These things will be challenged because they are 'the norms/conventions' that society have worked with since the dawn of humanity. We can't envision 'the inverse' 'it's wrong'...'it's creepy'...etc...it's not 'socially normal/accepted'...

Well, things may change quite drastically on what is 'normal/accepted/sociallly 'OK'' and what is not. Traditions and social norms will fall and new ones will happen, because they have/will have to 'adapt' to this new situation of people Living Much Much longer...so societies will change due to that then future-fact. Some will become extinct (govs/societies), while new ones will happen to accomodate and adapt to this new future reality. The saying is : ''adapt or don't/&perish''.

''I say, "200-year-olds playing football in the park?"

"Why not?" he says. ''

Because, so many people Against eternal life/Against 'the normal traditional process of aging / dying '...too creepy, too unnormal, against order of nature/god, overpopulation, planet will die because so many people..no more food, misery (who wants to live forever and decrpit) and other inumerable ethical reasons. That is why, not, to them. The great thing is that author is young, this means there are more young people looking 'to the future' about curing aging/death...then there are old people who say 'no we die and that'S it'. The future is this: young people under 40 will not continue this old human traidition 'we get old and die'.

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at January 7th, 2021 4:07 PM

Happy new Year to everyone!

True, overpopulation is a major disaster, and this planet is already awfully overpopulated, and this is why we have frequent pandemics, in underpopulated world (less than one billion humans) epidemics would be rare and local ( not global as COVID is now)

If so many people object to rejuvenation / life extension , then many of them , the vast majority , will not participate in anti-aging treatments and therefore there will not be overpopulation because of it. Just as many ,perhaps 30 to 40 percent are against vaccination, so if 90 percent are against overpopulation and refuse rejuvenation and only 10 % are willing and can afford it , then we will not have overpopulation because of rejuvenation.

But still, we need at least 10% of global population of repeat customers buying rejuvenation products / services To make longevity / rejuvenation industry commercially successful (paying for research and making modest profits).

Posted by: Nicholas at January 7th, 2021 6:48 PM

Hi Nicholas! Just a 2 cents. That is a good point.

I mean earth is quite populated, on that point, it is quite true; 7 billion people is starting to affect earth in quite a few ways (global warming, planet's resources exhaustion..), but I believe Still despite so we can find solutions to these more ethical and earthly/planetary problems. Earth is housing Dzzillions of animals/creatures..of which 1 is humans; ok, we 7 billion but...there is still huge swaths of Earth that are Absolutely unpopulated/empty empty..we only 'live on the surface' of earth; we don't live in 'caves' or 'down in the abysses' (earth's 'internal space'/alien space'), we don't even live 'in mountains' (except like Himalayas Nepal and mountain people areas...) but the Large chunk of people on earth are living at Sea Level/Surface...on the ground land/ soil...what if we live 10,000 feet in the air 'in floating magic castles in the sky/clouds' or what if we live 10,000 feet in the dark abyss of our océans, not habitable? lots of unhabitable dangerous places for humans, became habitable with adjustment/adaptation....space (or lack thereof), we will find/make it...just like time, we will Make time (for the most important thing, Life to continue). We have to. Otherwise, life ends.

We cannot continue to find excuses and reasons to 'not try' and simply say 'stop it, just stop it, stubborn fool 'trying to play *mmortal wannabe god'; we die, end of story, accept it/embrace it/stop fighting it/give up already/your life will end'.

I don't think it is being unreasonable, poor sport/sore loser to 'not abandon to fight for life'....we just have 1 Life (unlike 50 Lifes in Super Nintendo Mario Bros), people can say: 'yea just 1 life...savour it while you have it...then it's over and done/lights out'.
That is 'bittersweet' but not in the sweet sense...but the bitter one and certainly not 'better' one.
Why should it be a 'bittersweet End'...how about 'sweet' period. There is (in my mind) notthing sweet about death/life ending...sweet because you Lived/Had a Chance/loved Loved Ones and your family...but now it'S all over/all gone/all finished....(in turns into) it's bitter in that sweetness that you had a life to begin with and 'enjoyed that privilege of living'. The bitter being, It Ends, one day. People don't want 'infinite' they want 'finite'...like life, a finite thing. Infinite Life? What's that? Infinite Death....oh, that's perfect A-OK, you just gotta accept it that death lasts an eternitiy while life lasts a micro-length in the Grand scheme of life/universe.
''I just gotta accept that and let go?''.

''Everything ends one day, even you''.

Just a 2 cents.

PS: Yes, that's correct; but if I/you/we/us could end, later (than sooner); then, I'm taker' (and so should be most people who are tired of 'everything ends one day' when you die of aging).

PPS: All my previous comments are only about 'intrinsic death/biological aging'...notthing related to 'extrinsinc death', we can't do mucg anything about 'suicide/homicide/accidents (car accident...etc), 'risk mitigation' is dependent of one's actions/circumstances and the consequences of them, stuff that happens 'randomly' while you take your odds walking on the street...like getting hit by a car causign death/injuurious death from the impact). I only speak of the largest problem with time, which is that we age (biologically) and then die of, That point; ..at some point later in time/in our life's far future. This is what ends Most people on Earth..not accidents...etc...

I don't remember but it was said that if you do not 'go outside' and 'face odds' (of dying by accident/homicide), you remove Quite a lot of chances of dying from these extrinsic odds to your life. And so If I remember it was like, if you stayed cloistered 'inside' a prison (with no one else) or a bunker/cave 'closed-in'...you could live 800-900 years in it 'like a hermit recluse', 900 years and then you might get hit by lightning while on 'stroll outside after all this time' closed-in/trapped-in. Thus, you can reduce your odds of death by extrinsinc factors...people Did reach 115-120 years and 'with luck' and being safe...they did not die of 'accidents' extrinsic problems...maybe they lived cloistered all this time like hermits/monks. And yes a ton of other people died of 'accidents' in that time....but that is Up to You to reduce/calculate your risks/odds...when you leave your door, you play the russian roulette with your life.

PPPS:
Your point of overpopulation not happening because many people will refuse rejuvenation...is understandble since there will be 'mortality of the population' by refusing 'to live on' using rejuvenation (which means 'removal of population pool'/by aging themselves by choice) but I think what may Also happen, is that these people refusing 'to live on'/wishing to die...will be source of conflict and will try to 'sabotage' the plan of others to live longer/possibly eternally; like you know this angry jealous husband analogy...''if you can't have me..then you must die''..the homicidal husband finds out that she cheated and has another man,,,and now he wishes her gone and that this new man she dates - does not HAve Her Ever...like he can't have her, so the ex husband must terminate her ''if you won't have me anymore, then you don't deserve to live/him have you/he will never have you, you belong to me and we will die together''...

That is what I fear (obviously that is an extremen example just for explanation). Some people are bitter (not bittersweet), bitter period and will be angry that Others Will Live Forever...apparently...Even If They Too can be so (let us remember longevity is For All, not 1 person; with that said, as you said, it Costs, so not everyone can afford$ it), so this means some people may be jealous/enraged by the fact that others 'don'T want to die/contribute to the normal aging/dyign process of 'everyone else/they think they 'are special'/for a 'special' treatment to 'live forever'''''. So, as I said before, this can mean war/carnage to just have people Respect your Right to Live (and Not wish to die).

People Already Fight for Children/Abortion..yuo/we think they will not fight over human longevity life and others 'who bow out/butt out' decide 'want to die' or 'force others to die too/in jealousy/rage 'you're selfish''' always the 'selfish' excuse...they already fight over baby life/abortion...rights...so it will happen (people want to decide for you/want to make the choice for you/your body life/they feel Your Right to Your Life is not important/what is the Collective Right Of All Lives that matter, so if All want to Die - so Will You).. Makr my words, people will die/live (fight over) - To Live/die when they Want to Live/die as a personal choice. Just like women, right now, in South america/Brazil/Mexico are fighting to have their right(s) to 'abortion'...it's very 'cut/dry' 50/50, some are against abortion of foetus some are for it ...what says it will not be the same thing with 'we abort people live 140 years...they live too long'...or 'we give the Pro-life choice of living over 140 years...no abortion of an old human that lives too long and causes 'overpopulation of planet'''. We're not out of the woods, we're knee deep in them, knee deep in the mud/sh...and we can't see the forest from the trees; look all teh same. It's war in it.

I hope I am 100% wrong, but things shown on TV (Manifestations over COVID, presidential electison, abortion in Mexico, China Hong Kong people Under this law to be sentenced......) don'T seem to show that it will be 'peaceful' thing and people won't care if you live or not.
They will/they care, it's why they are so Against it. Otehrwise they would not care...and Let You Be. But they say : 'it's bceause we are a society and so...your little person/selfishness will not just change the 'normality'/tradition of 'dying/aging'...so don't change things'....

Change causes fear in people because it requires accepting that things won't be the same anymore, it takes huge will and 'adaptation...it is scary for many. Change can be seen wrong
''why fix something that needs no fixing''. They think aging needs no fixing but only embracing it and 'giving up on it to try to 'fix it''...and just embrance 'the end/death'. I am surprised that so may people still think it's miraculous to obtain like 5 years of lifespan extension...i mean it is impressive to live longer, 5 years even...but. Is it??? really...should I be impressed that we can live 4 years longer by taking fruit senolutics...my health will improve...Ok? what else....Nothing else? ''Nope, you die later''. It's like I must have people 'wake up' and 'smell the coffee/end soon'', ''waky waky eggs and baky'' won't be any waky waky anymore, but simply 'you're dead/you aged, and died of age'.

Posted by: CANanonymity at January 7th, 2021 8:28 PM

Curious that Amazon says the publish date is March 23, 2021 when I saw some copies in a Melbourne bookshop several days ago.

Posted by: John L at January 8th, 2021 2:44 AM

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