Do I Really Have Much Control Over My Longevity

9 Feb

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

About ten years ago during a seminar at Case Western Reserve University, I speculated that aging research was speeding so fast that one or more of the students in attendance might have a chance to live to age 160, and many to 120, with the quality of life of the typical 45 year old of 2006.

A reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer attended that seminar and mocked my statement in an article that garnered the front page of that newspaper. I was ridiculed. It hurt me, even aged me. The reporter didn’t bother to write the gist of my argument—that enough progress was evident in each of the 14 areas of aging research, and enough money spent in each of these 14 areas, that we were entering the exponential phase of progress, much like computers and the internet entered in the mid 1990s.

In fact, most money spent for research on aging is focused on anti-aging. This area has the goal of slowing the aging processes through biochemical and behavioral therapies. It is now generally recognized that you can delay the breakdown of critical biological systems and keep yourself healthier for longer. And we’ve seen some substantial progress that we’ve reported in this column such as taking 900 mg of DHA a day and doing 18 hours of “speed of processing” games over 10 years making your brain the equivalent of six years younger each, or a daily multivitamin for 20 years decreasing cancer risk by 18 percent and cardiovascular risk by more than 20%.

These data have been replicated in several studies and make up some of the 26 (men) and 29 (woman) years you can make your RealAge younger by avoiding toxins, managing stress, eating only foods that love you back, and doing all four forms of physical activity that will help you get to 100 AgeProof—that is with your faculties intact.  (We talk about all of these in our new book, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, to be published on February 28, 2017—shameless plug, you can pre-order it on Amazon.)

And now to my 160 years old prediction…  Last month, scientists from the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla presented evidence that they unlocked powers in mice genomes to reverse aging and repair even major injuries.   The age reversal principle they used is pretty simple in concept. The DNA of all of our cells came from one set of cells, and possibly could revert to those of earlier cells.  The Salk researchers have figured out how to do this in mice. The mice got some gene therapy reversion processes (essentially in their drinking water), and then lived 30% longer.

It appears the cells and the organs got rid of the errors the mice cells had accumulated, and the muscles and organs of these mice looked many years younger than those from a control group.

The Salk Institute generated some media coverage, but not much. You may not have heard of it—most docs I talk to haven’t either. If the researchers are correct and they can translate their work to humans relatively easily, then it will be the end of the frailty and diseases associated with old age. More dramatically, it’s the elimination of maximum human life spans (currently about 120 years), and maybe as much as an average life span of 160.

Why didn’t this get more media coverage? Part of the problem according to Patrick Cox (who did cover this in his Technology Innovation blog) is that age reversal just seems too good to be true.

You and I need to get psychologically capable of processing the possibility of ageless individuals. Maybe ourselves.  And that changes everything—just like we discussed at the Case seminar in 2006. (By the way, I am still waiting for the Plain Dealer and their former columnist’s apologies.)

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to youdocs@gmail.com, and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

             Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

 PS: Please do look for and pre-order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, to be released on February 28th, 2017.

 

 NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. This article is of the opinion of its author. Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

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