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Do We Really Want To Live Forever Young?46:57

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Silicon Valley is throwing big money and brainpower into the quest to live forever. We’ll dig in.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks with his wife, Priscilla Chan, as they prepare for a presentation in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
In this Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks with his wife, Priscilla Chan, as they prepare for a presentation in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

News on aging and staying young this week.  NASA, leaning in to a new treatment that could keep astronauts from aging out on the long trip to Mars.  Space travel accelerates aging. On Earth, there may be no more rapt audience that the billionaires of Silicon Valley. "Super-longevity," even immortality, has become an obsession of the rich tech set. They want it all, and are investing big brains and bucks to get it. This hour On Point,  Silicon Valley’s drive to make death “optional.” — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tad Friend, staff writer at the New Yorker. (@tadfriend)

David Sinclair, professor, principal investigator and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Labs for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School.

From Tom’s Reading List

New Yorker: Silicon Valley's Quest to Live Forever -- "For decades, the solution to aging has seemed merely decades away. In the early nineties, research on C. elegans, a tiny nematode worm that resembles a fleck of lint, showed that a single gene mutation extended its life, and that another mutation blocked that extension. The idea that age could be manipulated by twiddling a few control knobs ignited a research boom, and soon various clinical indignities had increased the worm’s life span by a factor of ten and those of lab mice by a factor of two. The scientific consensus transformed."

Science: A conserved NAD+ binding pocket that regulates protein-protein interactions during aging — "Although the reason NAD+ declines with age is unclear, this work provides a plausible explanation for why DNA repair capacity declines as we age, pointing to NAD+ replenishment as a means of reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, protecting against radiation exposure, and slowing the natural decline in DNA repair capacity during aging."

WIRED: Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death Than Make Life Worth Living — "Silicon Valley is coming for death. But it’s looking in the wrong place. After disrupting the way we love, communicate, travel, work, and even eat, technologists believe they can solve the ultimate problem."

This program aired on March 31, 2017.

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