aubrey de grey aging

Solving the Aging Problem – Aubrey de Grey on The Joe Rogan Experience #1432

Key Takeaways

  • Aging happens because of physics, not biology—just like a machine, over time, damage accumulates in the human body. As these damages compound—most notably around 50-years of age—the aging process is accelerated.
  • Aging isn’t a disease; it’s a side effect of being alive
  • Periodic fasting is undoubtedly healthy, but likely only increases lifespan by 1-2 years
  • To live longer, mitigate stress
    • “There’s one thing that almost all centenarians have in common: nothing bothers them … When they encounter a stressful situation, they cope with it really well.” – Aubrey de Grey
  • If you’re interested in the supplement approach to anti-aging as Joe discussed with Dr. David Sinclair, for us at Podcast Notes, based on their unmatched quality standards and our personal experience, we strongly recommend Elysium Basis (use the code “podcast45” at checkout to receive $45 off a semi/annual subscription)

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Aubrey de Grey (@aubreydegrey) is an English author and biomedical gerontologist
    • He’s also Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation and VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, Inc.

Aubrey’s Work

  • Aubrey is the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, a public 501(c)(3) charity that works to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to therapies that cure and prevent the diseases and disabilities of aging
    • By relying on philanthropy instead of government grants, Aubrey’s foundation can tackle high-risk/high-reward projects
  • Aubrey is also the VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics
    • “This is the next big thing … We’ll actually have a genuine rejuvenation medicine in the foreseeable future.” – Aubrey de Grey
    • As part of their work, Aubrey and his team are experimenting with stem cell therapy for aging purposes and as a cure for Parkinson’s disease

What causes aging?

  • Aging happens because of physics, not biology—just like a machine, over time, damage accumulates in the human body. As these damages compound—most notably around 50-years of age—the aging process is accelerated.
  • After an organism reproduces, evolution doesn’t really care about what happens to it—this is why more things tend to go wrong, aging-wise, once you reach your adult years 

How do we solve aging?

  • Aging isn’t a disease; it’s a side effect of being alive
    • “It’s something that you can repair and stave off, but you must do it periodically because the damage will continue to be created” – Aubrey de Grey
  • Aubrey prefers to call aging a “medical problem”
  • About 110k die every day because of age-related diseases
  • Aging is a divide-and-conquer problem—there are MANY different types of damage, not just one
    • “We need to look at what fixes are available for each individual type … There’s a bunch of different things we have to do.” – Aubrey de Grey
    • Aging-related problems that need to be tackled:
      • Removal of molecular waste
      • Removal of extracellular waste products
      • Repair of mitochondrial DNA
  • Stem cells are great for “fixing” cells that are dying but aren’t being automatically replaced by cell division
  • Good news: The methods we’ve been using to fight aging for the past 20 years have proven successful; now, it’s all bout refining and implementing the procedures
  • CRISPR is playing a huge role in anti-aging research

Addressing the Problems of a Longer Human Lifespan

  • Will overpopulation become a problem once humans start to live longer?
    • Nope! Overpopulation is bad because of pollution—solar and wind energy will likely completely replace fossil fuels.
    • “The carrying capacity of the planet will rise far faster than the population” Aubrey de Grey
    • Also, as a country’s population becomes more educated and wealthier, people begin to have less children
  • What about food? Won’t there be a shortage?
    • Artificial meat will help solve this problem
      • “Soon, it’s going to be tastier and far cheaper than regular meat”Aubrey de Grey
      • Artificially-grown meat will also save the planet a ton of space as fewer farm animals will be needed
  • What about over-fishing?
    • If steak can be grown in a lab, it’s only a matter of time until the same can be done with fish 

What problems are we likely to face once humans start living longer?

  • Pensions, life insurance, health insurance, and inheritance agreements will all need significant changes
  • Anti-aging public policies will likely become a serious political issue
  • In 20 years, automation will have eliminated most of today’s jobs
    • Why is this a problem? – If people can live forever, that means they won’t have to retire

Aubrey’s Predictions for the Future of Anti-Aging

  • In 3-5 years, a variety of breakthroughs in the aging space will lead the majority of scientists to agree that living forever is possible
    • To follow on, TONS of money will flow into anti-aging research
      • “It’s going to be ridiculously sudden once it happens” – Aubrey de Grey

Quick Thoughts on Cancer

  • A side effect of increasing cell growth: increased cancer risk
    • “Every time you’re improving regenerative capacity, you’re potentially taking a risk of hastening the onset of cancer” – Aubrey de Grey
  • In the beginning stages of cancer, fasting slows its grows (fasting also improves chemotherapy’s effectiveness)

How to Live Longer

  • Periodic fasting is undoubtedly healthy, but likely only increases lifespan by 1-2 years (at most)
    • In general, prolonged fasting increases lifespan much more in species with organically short lifespans
      • (In mice, for instance, the right fasting protocol can increase lifespan by 50%. With dogs, however, only a ~10% increase is possible.)
  • Mitigate stress—an excess amount of stress increases bodily damage (which contributes to aging)
    • “Everything that relates to stress is critical when it comes to aging … When you’re in a stressed-out state, you synthesize elevated amounts of certain hormones, and in several ways, accelerate the accumulation of these various types of damage.”Aubrey de Grey
      • “There’s one thing that almost all centenarians have in common: nothing bothers them … When they encounter a stressful situation, they cope with it really well.”

Additional Notes

  • “It’s definitely difficult to make a difference to the world if you’re following the rules” Aubrey de Grey
  • “I don’t know anybody well-educated who gets bored”Aubrey de Grey
  • Joe’s mother underwent stem cell therapy for her knee and no longer needs a knee replacement
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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