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Time to own up to the elephant in the room. Medicine so far has done a really good job of prolonging people's seventies and eighties. All the symptoms of advanced aging that used to be compressed into ages 70-82 or so, ending in death, now can be stretched out from ages 70 to 98.

Will this initiative double the amount of time that we've got the full capacity of our 20s and 30s? Or will it just allow people a prolonged, half-century tour of the twilight years, from 70 to 120?




The trend of the past is the result of medicine and medical development that did not in any way attempt to address the causes of aging. Benefits have resulted from either (a) inadvertently slowing down the damage accumulation, or (b) compensating in some way without addressing the damage. In either case the benefits are small in the grand scheme of things. 0.1 years of life expectancy at 60 with every passing decade is not a large outcome, and we should not be surprised to find it small given that treating aging as a medical condition hasn't been the goal of research or implementation.

Trying to keep a damaged machine running without repairing the damage is expensive and futile. How far does changing the oil in a car or pressing the accelerator harder get you if you never fix anything that goes wrong in the engine? Similar situation.

The future will be radically different because researchers are now resolved to treat aging as a medical condition, to investigate the causes, and to intervene. The debate now is over the best way to go about it, and alas most of the research community remains fixated on the path that will cost a great deal and achieve next to nothing, which is to say efforts to alter the operation of metabolism so as to modestly slow down the aging process. Calorie restriction mimetics, autophagy enhancement, and etc.

If you want better results, you have to look to the rejuvenation research of the sort carried out by the SENS Research Foundation, the Big Pharma groups clearing amyloid, the new senescent cell clearance startups, etc. Slowing aging by altering metabolism is the expensive road to nowhere. Repairing the causes of aging is the more efficient, faster road to rejuvenation of the old and the prevention of aging.


You can have pretty much the same mental condition when you are 70-80 years old as when you are 20-30. But to have that you need to keep using your brain and challenging it. Old people usually have much less opportunity to stay mentally active. And less motivation.

Statements above are based mostly on The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge[1] which I highly reccomend. Plus just listen to some old folks that you can tell are still quick - Warren Buffet 86, Chomsky 88, James Harris Simons 79 and so on.

1. https://www.amazon.com/Brain-That-Changes-Itself-Frontiers/d...


Listing old, famous intellectual people that have retained their wits is poor a excuse for evidence, since we don't know the ratio between old and famous intellectuals that have lost their wits vs that have retained them.


We also don't know the ratio of those who could retain it if they would keep thinking hard every day. It's really a lifestyle choice. You can still be wise, but when you have a lot of money you can just relax and enjoy the nature without wondering how it works. Some people just love thinking and studies suggest that it keeps them good at it (refs in that book).

I didn't mean to show by these examples that this is the default, or even that it's common. I don't think it is. But I hope it's getting better, mostly thanks to the technological progress which can be stimulating for those who choose to make use of it.


I like your optimism, and every octogenarian who can stay sharp is an inspiration to us all.

But if you look at aggregate data on chess players' ratings as they get older, or university professors' publication rates (and citations on the papers they do publish), it's really hard even for strong-willed thinkers to stay on top of their craft in their 60s and beyond.

For every Warren Buffett in business, there are a lot of Sumner Redstones ... holding on to power, but quite erratic as age takes its toll. Getting old is nasty stuff.


>Warren Buffet 86, Chomsky 88, James Harris Simons 79

Wow 3 of them! And it helps to ignore the (likelihood of) older people who kept using their brains and now have mush upstairs.


Maybe those folks were so sharp in their youth that their reduced mental capacity in old age is still a sight to behold?




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