Just before the holiday I came across a U.S News & World Report article on longevity and researchers' quest to manipulate not only "how long we live but how well." From the piece:
The lives of lab animals have been dramatically stretched in several ways - by tweaking their genes, feeding them drugs, changing their diets - that seem to make them age more slowly while prolonging good health.
In theory, these strategies all do the same thing: fool the body into reacting as it would to a harsh environment, going into survival mode. The question is whether such techniques also can be made to work - safely - in humans.
Writer Lindsay Lyon goes on to describe what she calls the hot areas of human research: "cutting calories, developing drugs to mimic a lower-than-normal calorie diet, and deciphering the genetics of the oldest of the old."
It's a good read, and anyone wanting more on the topic might be interested in the Spring 2008 issue of Stanford Medicine. The magazine focuses on longevity/aging issues and highlights work being done at the Stanford Center on Longevity.
Photo by Ethan Prater