Longevity researchers will tell you that aging itself is a disease that we can understand and treat, cancer and heart disease and dementia are only symptoms of it. They will tell you that the first person to live to be 150 has already been born. In a way it sounds absurd, the dream of biotech billionaires, fueled by denial and fear of death and the illusion of control. But on the other hand, here’s the real science. So I let myself imagine. Maybe he’ll get to that high school graduation after all.

To be able to entertain just this reality, and even more so to think that it is somehow under our control, is a privilege—as was the choice to start a family after my 40th birthday. The wealthiest among us live an average of about 10 more disability-free years than the poorest. As the data behind the anti-aging science becomes more robust and actionable, the gap is likely to deepen even further.

In the hospital, we see it firsthand. I recently cared for a 50-year-old man, a long-time smoker and drinker on dialysis, who collapsed in his bathtub at home and waited there for a day or more until someone woke him up. Did not hear calls for help. As we stood outside his room in the hospital, his nurse and I noted his age—just a few years younger than the nurse, not even 10 years older than me. “An old 50,” remarked his nurse, to describe a body punished by disease, by decades of chronic stress, by factors within and outside our control.

If you could measure my patient’s physical condition instead of chronological age, what would you find? We talk about measuring weaknesses – weakness and fatigue and decreased physical flexibility. It is more meaningful than chronological age when it comes to making medical decisions about what interventions a patient may face, but the metric is ambiguous and without a gold standard.

At the forefront of longevity science, there are companies providing simple answers. Prick your finger and send a few drops of blood, and in return you’ll receive a report that provides your own estimate of your genetic age, based on the impurities in your DNA and the length of your telomeres—the protections at the end of our DNA that age over time. It gets smaller and worn out along the way. Perhaps this value is meaningful, but it is not entirely clear whether being genetically younger than chronological age confers a longer or better life.

But it can happen. And so there’s a part of me that’s tempted to send my blood, but I’m not sure I want the information I’ll get in return. Maybe it will worry me; Maybe it will give me false reassurance. Either way, as I tend to my patients in the intensive care unit and feel the occasional stir of the baby growing inside me, I know that even if we can slow down the clock, it’s not enough time. Is.

A few months ago, I found myself in a panic about a mole on my back, convinced I had melanoma. It’s not an incredible scare – we see stories start like this all the time in the intensive care unit. I could imagine the patient presentation: A 41-year-old woman with no significant previous medical history was six months pregnant when she was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. I scheduled myself an immediate appointment with a dermatologist, who took one look at my back and declared I had no reason to worry. These were simple “age spots”. For a moment I was speechless. age spots? but I’m

#opinion #antiaging #science #fascinating

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *