David Sinclair, PhD: Can Humans Live For 1000 Years? – Modern Wisdom

Key Takeaways

  • It’s not if we can reverse the aging process, but when
    • When it comes down to it, aging is just another disease
  • Obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise all accelerate the aging process
  • Today the oldest living people reach 115-120 years of age, but why should life stop there?
  • David’s most important piece of advice to fight aging – Eat less!
  • David’s second best piece of advice – Exercise!

Intro

  • David Sinclair (@davidasinclair) is a Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-Director of the Paul Glenn Centre for the Biological Mechanisms of Ageing
    • Check out the Podcast Notes from his appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience
    • As well as the Podcast Notes from his appearance on The Rich Roll Podcast

Books Mentioned

About David Sinclair

  • David runs the center for aging research at Harvard Medical School
    • He and his research team are trying to find out why people age, how to slow down the aging process, and ultimately how to reverse it
    • David does more than just publish scientific papers – his team regularly files patents and forms companies which sell products/services based on their discoveries

The Aging Process

  • It’s not if we can reverse the aging process, but when
    • When it comes down to it, aging is just another disease
    • 100 years ago, people accepted the fact that once you had cancer, you were a goner
      • Today, we’ve dramatically improved the chances for survival
  • Obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise all accelerate the aging process
  • It’s possible to use CRISPR in order to genetically engineer babies to possess certain genes that will likely extend their lifespan
    • In China, a professor genetically engineered a pair of twins to be HIV resistant (using CRISPR)
      • There’s big ethical debate surrounding genetically engineered babies, but if we’re truly making them healthier, is it really that bad/ different from using antibiotics or curing other diseases?
    • Scientists still don’t know which traits (intelligence, looks, etc.) come from which genes, but 30 years from now they probably will
  • Scientists are currently working on making animal organs useable for humans (taking a pig liver and putting inside a human)
  • The aging clock begins even before birth – the earlier you start fighting aging, the better
  • Today the oldest living people reach 115-120 years of age, but why should life stop there?
    • “We just need to tell the cell to read the right genes at the right time”

How To Reverse Aging

  • There are 3 ways to fight aging:
    • Activating the body’s defenses against aging – hunger and exercise do this
    • Deleting cells that cause problems (aka senescence cells) – if you get rid of these cells in a mouse, it lives longer
    • “Partial cellular reprogramming” – this is a scientific method currently being researched to reverse the age of cells
  • David’s most important piece of advice to fight aging – Eat less!
    • For the past 70-80 years, labs have shown that eating less (caloric restriction) will extend your lifespan
    • What you eat is important, but so is when/how much you eat
      • David practices intermittent fasting – he usually skips breakfast, has a late lunch and an early dinner
    • By fasting, people boost their NAD levels which in turn makes the body’s “repair genes” more active
      • Fasting is a survival response – because the body is getting less food, it works harder to make you “younger” so you have a better chance of surviving
  • David’s second best piece of advice – Exercise!
    • Like fasting, exercise raises NAD levels and is healthy for many different reasons
      • David recommends high-intensity interval training
      • “You’ve got to put your body through this slightly painful experience to get it to react, otherwise it becomes complacent and your body just falls apart”

Additional Notes

  • There are 2 types of people in the world:
    • The first type attempts to take a deep dive into important topics and educate themselves
    • The second “watches cats playing pianos and stuff”
  • David disagrees with Elon Musk in regards to AI safety
    • He thinks an AI can be built with enough checks and balances so that it doesn’t get overrun by evil
  • It’s possible that testosterone and growth hormones could make tumors grow faster
    • Testosterone has been shown to increase strength, but it’s unlikely that it also increases lifespan
  • David is truly committed to his work – “I’m prepared to die for my science”
  • Even if David’s work could only extend the average lifespan by ten years, this would dramatically reduce healthcare costs and save trillions of dollars worldwide
  • The world population will plateau around 10-13 billion people
  • Because of advances in technology and science, every year you live today, it’s estimated you get ~3 extra months to live in the future
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