“Aging is such a profound part of not only the human experience but all life on Earth,” says Salk Vice President/Chief Science Officer Martin Hetzer. “It’s one of the big, untapped opportunities in biomedical research, particularly around questions on what role exercise, nutrition and cognitive stimulation play in staying healthy throughout life. It is important not to forget that getting older also comes with benefits; we want to take a holistic view of human health at all ages and understand it from all angles.”
Scientists want to answer intriguing questions: Why are some people able to “age well,” trekking up mountain ranges or rafting through white water in their nineties, while others live just as long, disease-free, but grow inexplicably frail decades sooner? Worse yet, why does advanced age sometimes diminish cognitive ability or even lead to dementia?
In numerous diseases, age itself is the major risk factor. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many other afflictions become profoundly more likely the older we get. Aside from extending our life spans, scientists want to know how we can also extend our health during advanced age. What is emerging from research is that aging–loosely defined as a systems-wide deterioration of our cells, organs and genetic material that results in disease or damage–is a collective and complex process in the body.
HARVARD MAGAZINE (SEPT – OCT 2020): From the book EXERCISED: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel E. Lieberman, to be published on September 8, 2020 by Pantheon Books:
‘….many of the mechanisms that slow aging and extend life are turned on by physical activity, especially as we get older. Human health and longevity are thus extended both by and for physical activity.’
Exercise is like scrubbing the kitchen floor so well after a spill that the whole floor ends up being cleaner. The modest stresses caused by exercise trigger a reparative response yielding a general benefit.
In order to elucidate the links between exercise and aging, I propose a corollary to the Grandmother Hypothesis, which I call the Active Grandparent Hypothesis. According to this idea, human longevity was not only selected for but was also made possible by having to work hard during old age to help as many children, grandchildren, and other younger relatives as possible survive and thrive. That is, while there may have been selection for genes (as yet unidentified) that help humans live past the age of 50, there was also selection for genes that repair and maintain our bodies when we are physically active.
Daniel E. Lieberman is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the human head and the evolution of the human body.
Hundreds of miles south of Japan’s main islands, in the East China Sea, is a Jurassic Park of longevity, with a higher percentage of centenarians (people who live to 100 years old) than anywhere else on Earth.
Greg Dickinson visits the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa to discover the secret to long life.
Following the important publishing of “The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting” study by Johns Hopkins in the New England Journal of Medicine on December 26, 2019, the 60-year old editor of Boomers-Daily.com (“B-D”) will launch, participate in, and document a decade-long, 18-Hour Intermittent Fasting Diet on December 30, 2019. The following protocol will be followed:
All daily food consumption will be between 10 am and 4 pm
Diet will be followed 7 days a week
High fiber, nutrition-dense foods will be favored
Gluten-free and Lactose-free foods will be favored
Eating will NOT be calorie-restricted
Bedtime target of 7:30 to 8:30 pm (or earlier) every night
7-8+ hours of sleep per night a PRIORITY
Early morning vigorous exercise daily of 1 – 1 1/2 hours targeted
All readers of Boomers-Daily.com are encouraged to communicate with B-D and launch their own 18-hour Intermittent Fasting Diet (the 6-hour eating period can be varied 1-2 hours later or earlier). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the study, comment or inquire about this or your own 18-Hour Intermittent Fasting Diet. We will be looking to start an online chat room and other online platforms to increase the size, scope, visibility and transparency of the study over the next decade.
The Grand Challenge Prize is looking for bold, audacious innovations, ideas that can really change aging. We’re looking in science, in technology and engineering, in policy, social sciences, behavioral sciences, economic policy, in traditional medical science and health care, and in work focused on specific diseases. It’s really very broad. We’re looking for innovative thinking that can have global impact. The prizes are going to roll out on three levels. There will be 450 Catalyst Prizes awarded over a three-year period. The first of the three yearly calls will be in January 2020. Once it’s announced, there will be six weeks to submit your idea — just the idea, it doesn’t require any pilot work — and a two-page application. They’ll be reviewed within four months and prizes announced by July. The Catalyst Award is intended as seed funding to get the idea into its earliest stages of development. They’re relatively small in dollar amount, about $50,000 each, but they will give access to an annual meeting bringing together world experts in these fields.
The world’s aging population means there will be an increasing number of older and sicker people at a time when declining fertility will saddle a smaller working population with the burden of supporting them. One solution is to keep people healthier longer, living independently, and contributing to society. In pursuit of that goal, the National Academy of Medicine is mounting a $30 million Grand Challenge contest to foster innovation in science, medicine, public policy, the workplace, and elsewhere. Sharon Inouye, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and head of the Aging Brain Center at Harvard-affiliated Hebrew Senior Life, is a National Academy member and a member of the planning committee for the Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity. She spoke to the Gazette about the contest and how she hopes it changes the nature of aging in the decades to come.
Our results further suggest that optimism is specifically related to 11 to 15% longer life span, on average, and to greater odds of achieving “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to the age of 85 or beyond. These relations were independent of socioeconomic status, health conditions, depression, social integration, and health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diet, and alcohol use). Overall, findings suggest optimism may be an important psychosocial resource for extending life span in older adults.
Participants with highest versus lowest optimism levels had 1.5 (women) and 1.7 (men) greater odds of surviving to age 85; these relationships were maintained after adjusting for health behaviors. Given work indicating optimism is modifiable, these findings suggest optimism may provide a valuable target to test for strategies to promote longevity.