June 21, 2019

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Older, wiser and perhaps healthier? It may sound too good to be true, but Sue Armstrong, author of Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age, says that growing older doesn’t have to lead to infirmity. Science is finding ways to intervene in the aging process, and to improve the quality of our later years. After all, some organisms on Earth live for centuries, so there may be good models for rethinking and easing the process of getting older. Armstrong says that while there’s no magic elixir for aging, there is a more hopeful future ahead.

Three Takeaways:

  • Gerontology research doesn’t just want to make you live longer, but better. Reaching your nineties won’t feel great if you’re infirm. That’s why there’s so much focus on the biological processes of aging - and figuring out how to hack these processes for our benefit.
  • You may have heard that chocolate and wine have health-improving qualities. But Armstrong tells us you’d have to consume an unrealistically large quantities of those foods to get any real benefit. So, while there isn’t a single food to focus on, there are lifestyle changes, including having a smaller caloric intake, that can extend our lifespan, according to Armstrong.
  • Armstrong says that a widely accepted theory for why we age is the “disposable soma theory.” The theory says we age because our bodies invest most of our energy into reproduction and resources for the next generation, rather than maintaining individual health. Could there be a way to do both?

More Reading:

aging, Body and Mind, Sue Armstrong, health

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