Human Exceptionalism

Live to 150? It Ain’t Necessarily So

Yet another article about how scientists–who are often chumming for research grant money or otherwise have a direct stake in the research–claim we can live to be 150 or more. The latest in the Sunday Telegraph. From the story:

Drugs that could help people to live to 150 by slowing the ageing process are being developed by scientists. The drugs are synthetic versions of resveratrol, found in red wine, an organic chemical believed to have an anti-ageing effect, by boosting activity of a protein called SIRT1. GSK, the. pharmaceutical firm, is testing them on people with particular medical conditions, namely Type II diabetes and psoriasis, a serious skin condition David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard University, said ageing might not actually be an “irreversible affliction”. 

He said: “Now we are looking at whether there are benefits for those who are already healthy. “Things there are also looking promising. We’re finding that ageing isn’t the irreversible affliction that we thought it was. Some of us could live to 150, but we won’t get there without more research.” He explained that increasing SIRT1 activity improved how well our cells operated, making them less sluggish. In previous experiments, mice, bees and flies given the SIRT1-boosting compounds lived longer.

Ah yes, we never stop looking or the Fountain of Youth. 

Oh, and guess what:

Prof Sinclair is a consultant and inventor on patents licensed to Sirtris, the GSK company running the trials.

This brings to mind the great Porgy and Bess song, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” in which Sportin’ Life sings:

Methuselah lived 900 years/Methuselah lived 900 years/Who calls that livin’/’When no gal will give in/To no man what’s 900 years.

Talk to me about human immortality when children in Africa aren’t dying of measles and malaria. 

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