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Researchers aim to extend how long – and how well – we live

elderly people.jpg

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

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