Immortality is an essential theme of countless legends at home and abroad. China has the elixir of Xu Fu, and foreign countries have the fountain of youth brewed with mermaid tears. Can humans live forever? This idea may seem crazy and ridiculous, but it has always been the subject of serious scientific research by scientists.
In the eyes of scientists, this crazy idea can be disassembled into several serious scientific questions: Why do cells and bodies age? Are there genes for longevity? Can the lifespan of an organism be extended?
Longevity is a book that attempts to answer these questions scientifically.
The science of aging
The science of aging is actually a fascinating scientific question. Not only do organisms age, but cells also age.
Scientists have discovered that cells have a dividing limit, and the number of times a cell can divide is determined by a countdown clock. Every time a cell divides, the clock counts down once. Generally, after dozens of cell divisions, the hands of the clock will return to zero, and the cell will die.
Why can’t cells divide indefinitely? Or, what if cells divide indefinitely? That will produce the most feared disease of mankind – cancer. Cancer cells are the only cells in the human body that can divide indefinitely. Therefore, aging and immortality are two choices, which are not good or bad for cells, but only if cells choose to age can an organism survive.
The causes of aging in organisms with numerous cells are more complex, and it is currently believed that there are many factors, such as oxidative free radicals.
In this research, scientists usually use the tiny C. elegans worm as a model. Because the worm has a very short life cycle, scientists can randomly induce genetic mutations and then look for those genetic switches that resist aging.
Of course, we already know the paradox of aging and immortality, so if a gene can indeed immortalize cells, or make tiny worms live unexpectedly long, scientists will first wonder if the gene will lead to the development of organisms The road to cancer.
For humans, aging is often accompanied by many diseases of old age. For example, the incidence of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer will gradually increase with age. Therefore, what human beings face is not so much the threat of aging, but a series of aging diseases brought about by aging. threaten.
This book considers aging to be a disease, and I personally prefer to think of aging as a state. In this state, the risk of senile diseases increases sharply, and how to properly deal with these risks is the top priority of human society, especially those modern countries that are rapidly entering an aging society.
How to achieve scientific longevity
The next question is: how to age healthily, or, in other words, how to achieve scientific longevity? Anti-aging drugs and anti-aging methods are the most indispensable things in today’s era, and the overwhelming information bombardment on social media makes people feel at a loss.
In this regard, I agree with the famous fitness coach Zhang Zhanhui’s words: “Modern people do not need to run a marathon, but they need a body capable of running a half marathon.” Having a healthy body and mind is the most desired goal of modern people. Although there are countless recommendations for diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements, I think that the scientific and medical communities currently agree on only these points: stay away from cigarettes, stay away from alcohol, and work and rest regularly.
Healthy Living Healthy enough to keep us a little at a distance, do we have to sacrifice the joys of our youth in order to live a few more years? For young people, doing the above three points is easier said than done. It would be great if there is a “magic medicine” that can prolong life after eating.
In recent years, many candidate “magic drugs” have indeed been under the scrutiny of scientists, including metformin and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). But I have to say responsibly that the most reliable way to live longer is to “stay away from cigarettes, stay away from alcohol, and work on a regular schedule.” The biological mechanism of “magic medicine” anti-aging still needs to undergo rigorous scientific research, and whether they can truly anti-aging needs to be judged by the medical community through strict clinical trials.
Social Dilemmas After Longevity
People who laugh at longevity research often have a point: If everyone lived long, wouldn’t the Earth have a population explosion? I want to ask them: What was the average lifespan of a human being on Earth 100 years ago? In 1900, in the most developed Europe, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; in Asia, the average life expectancy was less than 30 years. In the 100 years since, the average life expectancy of people in Eurasia has risen to more than 70 years. What about 100 years from now? I don’t think the average life expectancy of more than 120 years is an exaggerated estimate.
What will happen in the next 100 years? First, of course, advances in science and medicine will extend human lifespans; second, the political system of human society must prepare for longevity. For example, in the past, “life is rare in the past seventy years”, but now there are many 70-year-old retirees who travel around and enjoy life. Social security systems need to deal with people who are living longer and longer.
Of course, the most important thing is how to make the science and technology of longevity benefit all mankind. Longevity should not be the privilege of the rich, nor should it be a by-product of a widening gap between rich and poor. In a modern society enjoying the dividends of aging, more measures must be taken to use social public resources to promote healthy aging of the public. After all, dealing with a large number of elderly diseases will consume huge amounts of social security and medical resources.
Therefore, the last part of this book raises the very real question that only by establishing a virtuous circle of health and wealth can human society have a better and longer-lived future.
This book explores everything from aging to longevity, from cutting-edge health sciences to social and public policy, and is an excellent book for scientific people. Although the author of this book, Professor Sinclair, personally advocates NMN as a potential anti-aging drug, he is not “advertising” NMN, but from the perspective of a scientist, expounding scientific research and social initiatives for longevity .
If you are a modern person who wants to live a long and healthy life, then this book is a must-read for you.