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The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution
     

The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution

by David Stipp
 

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Living longer is closer than we think.

Even before the first person set off to find the Fountain of Youth, we were searching for a way to live longer. But promises of life extension have long reeked of snake oil, and despite our wishful thinking—not to mention the number of vitamins we pop—few of us believe we’ll live to see one hundred,

Overview

Living longer is closer than we think.

Even before the first person set off to find the Fountain of Youth, we were searching for a way to live longer. But promises of life extension have long reeked of snake oil, and despite our wishful thinking—not to mention the number of vitamins we pop—few of us believe we’ll live to see one hundred, much less set a longevity record.

But now scientists are closing in on true breakthroughs in anti-aging. Compounds that dramatically extend the health spans of animals, including mammals, have recently been demonstrated in the lab, and gerontologists now generally agree that drugs that slow human aging and greatly boost health in later life are no longer a distant dream.

David Stipp, a veteran science journalist, tells the story of these momen­tous developments and the scientists behind them, providing a definitive, engaging account of some of the most exciting (and sometimes controversial) advances that promise to change the way we live forever.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
According to former Wall Street Journal science and technology reporter Stipp, scientists are coming close to achieving the goal of using "the powerful new tools of molecular biology" to "shrink death's dominion."Since the turn of the 20th century, the life expectancy of Americans has increased dramatically, thanks to major improvements in sanitation, decreased infant mortality and the introduction of antibiotics, but only now are gerontologists beginning to make significant headway on the causes of aging. In his intriguing debut, Stipp delves into the story that began in the 1930s with the discovery that a calorie-restricted diet increases life expectancy, and continues with the current effort to develop safe drugs that will mimic the effect of a CR diet. The author begins with his 2006 WSJ front-page story about how daily doses of resveratrol, found in red wine, not only protected rodents from the effects of a devastatingly rich diet, but apparently rejuvenated them. Add to this the fact that a genetic mutation causing dwarfism, which suppresses growth hormones, is also a life extender, and the basis for a new comprehensive theory is emerging. A group of genes that normally control the production of cell proteins can be switched to activate cell-repair mechanisms, causing them to absorb the "accumulation of harmful crud . . . thought to play a major role in aging." Scientists have now established that the rate of aging in widely diverse organisms is not only amazingly plastic but controllable. The same CR mimetic drugs that are being developed to ward off the ravages of old age can also help counter the effects of obesity. To rival the advances of the 20th century in increased life-expectancy, Stipp estimates that the federal government will need to launch a federal program on par with the 1960s Apollo project. "Sadly," he writes, "comparative gerontology . . . has long been one of biomedicine's poor cousins. Indeed, it's arguable that most of the lines of research covered in this book are lamentably underfunded."Though increased funding will be difficult to come by, Stipp makes a convincing argument for more widespread anti-aging research. Agent: Lisa Adams/The Garamond Agency
From the Publisher
"An engaging account of the burgeoning field dubbed gerontology." ---The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617230004
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/08/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
9.34(w) x 6.44(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher
"An engaging account of the burgeoning field dubbed gerontology." —-The Wall Street Journal

Meet the Author

David Stipp is a former senior writer for Fortune and a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered science, medicine, and technology. In 2006, he wrote a front-page story for The Wall Street Journal that broke the news that resveratrol, and ingredient in red wine, induces anti-aging effects in mice. He lives in Boston.

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