Life Forever Young? It’s Here Sooner Than You Think

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We’re sorting through the science of living a longer, healthier life with the author of “Spring Chicken.”

As people live longer and longer, questions rise around how to live better, longer. (Flickr / Yuliya Bahr)
As people live longer and longer, questions rise around how to live better, longer. (Flickr / Yuliya Bahr)

Reporter Bill Gifford hit 40 and decided that was about enough aging for him.  Decided he’d rather stay young, or as young as lifestyle and science would allow.  So he plunged into that world of age-defiance to see what he could find.  There is a lot out there, both fantasy and fact.  Starvation diets and manageable diets.  Wild exercise, and routines that work.  Voodoo science and real science that is pretty astonishing in its implications.  He’s put it all together for anyone interested in staying forever young.  This hour On Point:  reporter Bill Gifford looks to put the brakes on aging.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Bill Gifford, freelance magazine journalist. Author of the new book, "Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying)." (@billgifford)

Dr. Nir Barzilai, founding director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg Business: Does a Real Anti-Aging Pill Already Exist? — "One of the most passionate advocates for rapamycin as an anti-aging drug is a Russian scientist named Mikhail Blagosklonny, who now works at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. A native of St. Petersburg, he was working on cancer treatments in the early 2000s when he realized the same qualities that made rapamycin effective at slowing tumor growth might also help it slow the aging process. He became so convinced of rapamycin’s potential, and its safety, that he tried it himself. 'Some people ask me, is it dangerous to take rapamycin?' Blagosklonny says. 'It’s more dangerous to not take rapamycin than to overeat, smoke, and drive without belt, taken together.'”

New Republic: Dude, Where's My Red Wine Pill? -- "If ever there was a drug tailor-made for overweight Americans, this seemed to be it. Six months later, Sirtris—the company Sinclair cofounded to develop resveratrol-based drugs—had its IPO. Eleven months after that, in April 2008, GSK bought Sirtris outright for $720 million, or nearly double its stock-market valuation. Five years later, contra the headlines, there are still no red-wine longevity pills on the horizon. What happened?"

Slate: Will Starving Yourself Help You Live Longer? — "The results seemed to confirm one of the longest-held beliefs about aging: That eating less—a lot less—will help you live longer. Since the 1930s, scientists have learned that restricting diet in many animals, from fruit flies to trout to mice, will extend lifespan, both the average and the maximum. The phenomenon has been known for so long, and observed so often, that it’s been accorded the status of near-dogma in some circles. A devoted group of believers who think the principle should extend to humans has practiced caloric restriction, sometimes eating as little as 1,200 calories per day."

Read An Excerpt of "Spring Chicken" By Bill Gifford

This program aired on February 19, 2015.


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