Monday, December 4, 2023
Mitochondrial Health

Making Methuselah: Can we live to 150? | Professor Perminder Sachdev

The twentieth century saw a steady increase in human life expectancy, and an inexorable increase in the number of individuals reaching the age of 100. Individuals over the age of 90 comprise the fastest growing segment of the population in all technologically advanced societies. This demographic ageing of society has resulted in an epidemic of age-related diseases, in particular neurodegenerative disorders. At the same time, there is evidence that successive older cohorts are healthier than those preceding them, and the incidence of dementia may be declining. There is also an exponential increase in our knowledge of the ageing process. The question is therefore asked whether humans can all age to 100 and beyond in good body and brain health, and can the maximum human life span be substantially increased, possibly to 150? There are many examples in the plant and animal kingdom of extreme longevity, with excellent powers of regeneration. We are beginning to understand the mechanisms underlying the ageing process. Genetic modulation has resulted in an increase in lifespans of fruit flies and mice. Regenerative medicine is beginning to examine strategies to replenish, replace and rejuvenate cells in humans. Parabiosis and senescent cell removal are being explored. However, the goal of exceptional longevity beyond the world record of 122 years still remains elusive. This talk will draw upon data from the Sydney Centenarian Study and other similar studies of exceptional longevity to discuss what is known about healthy longevity currently and what lies beyond the horizon. While the goal of reaching 150 will require a technological miracle, we can reasonably hope to live to 100 and be independent well-functioning individuals in our 90s.


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