Still Needed: More People Publishing Basically Sensible Thoughts About Treating Aging

It is always pleasant to see people publishing basically sensible thoughts about the treatment of aging as a medical condition. This short example is a good one: realistic, no hype, a sober assessment of the present state of development in academia and industry, yet still optimistic. We still need more of this sort of thing out there in the world, a beacon of common sense to counteract the nonsense-ridden, low-value discussions of aging that are still prevalent in the media whenever the topic arises.

Of the 150,000 deaths that occur on Earth every day, over two thirds of them are due to ageing. This is because, biologically, the ageing process is the cause of our biggest killers, like cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Though diet, lifestyle, and other factors can make these more or less likely, their effect is dwarfed by the biological consequences of getting older. Every so often, a study proposes a 'limit' on human lifespan, either by looking at demographic trends, or analysing aspects of human biology. However, these 'limits' have repeatedly been smashed historically, as life expectancy in the leading country has increased by three months per year, every year for almost two centuries.

Scientists have found dozens of ways to intervene in the ageing process in the lab. A lot of people imagine that living longer would mean extending the frail years at the end of life, dragging out our decrepitude. But this understandable worry gets things backwards from a biological perspective: as we treat ageing, we'd increase healthspan by deferring the age-related changes that cause disease, and this would cause people would live longer. Exceptionally long-lived humans don't just live longer, but spend a greater fraction of their lives in good health.

In spite of big-money bets from billionaires, it's not clear how long it will be before we can expect to see the first anti-ageing medicines in hospitals, or the local pharmacy. Moving from an idea that works in mice in the lab to human treatments is a notoriously difficult process. However, it seems likely that they will arrive in time for most people alive today. Front-runners, like senolytic drugs that remove aged, senescent cells from the body have proved their mettle in mice and are already undergoing human trials, so it's quite possible they could be in use before the decade is out. More speculative ideas, like the cellular reprogramming being explored by Altos Labs, might be decades away - but, if you're middle-aged or younger today, or a little older but live longer thanks to the first generation of anti-ageing drugs, a few decades is still soon enough to matter.



I'm sure many of you have been YouTube advertised by a doctor who says Lectin (in whole wheat, tomatoes, beans, etc.) is ripping tiny gashes in our intestines, causing leaky gut syndrome and all the deprivations caused by it. I'm experimenting with his probiotics (definitely active, as there was an initial ~2 hour war between my incumbents and those in the first 4 pills with explosive collateral fallout).

But this is representative of the state of research and awareness of gut biome and health. Why, after ~10 years of focus on longevity, is this infomercial the first I've ever heard of lectin and leaky gut? I can't remember an article here at about the topic. There should be a "Center for the Human Biome" at a major university, but we all know since Flexner and big pharma control of the Medical Industrial Complex, this will never happen.

My response to this article is of course we need sensible thoughts about aging, but thought by clever people in the marketplace for idea generation, costs money, and that money is controlled by a system that has no interest in such ideas.

Posted by: Thomas Mark Schaefer at February 1st, 2022 8:16 AM

Keep up the good fight Reason. Reading your writing is an important part of my day.

Posted by: Matt at February 1st, 2022 11:31 AM

@Thomas Mark Schaefer re: lectins
I suggest you type
lectin leaky
into Google and read or listen through the top 3-5 pages from that site for the other side of the story. Then you can decide who to believe on lectins. I'm gonna keep eating beans (& whole grains).

Posted by: Karl Pfleger at February 2nd, 2022 10:57 PM
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