[ExI] [GRG] Olshansky vs. Vaupel Debate
L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D.
scoles at grg.org
Wed Sep 25 04:30:06 UTC 2013
To Members and Friends of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group:
Olshansky vs. Vaupel debate. I am clearly on Jay's side...
-- Steve Coles
>"Disagreements on the Current Trajectory of Life Expectancy"
> Here is another article in a popular science
> on the history of human longevity and related topics.
>This looks at a mainstream disagreement in aging research, among
>researchers who do not see
> as a near-term possibility:
> One of the most fascinating debates in life science these days
> is between <http://sjayolshansky.com/sjo/Background.html>S. Jay
> Olshansky and
> Vaupel of the <http://www.demogr.mpg.de/>Max Planck Institute for
> Demographic Research in Rostock, GERMANY. They disagree
> fundamentally about whether and how average life expectancy will
> increase in the future, and they've been arguing about it for 20
> years. Olshansky, a lovely guy, takes what at first sounds like the
> pessimistic view. He says the public health measures that raised
> life expectancy so dramatically from the late 1800's to today have
> done about as much as they can. We now have a much older
> population, dying of age-related diseases, and any improvements in
> treatment will add only incrementally to average life expectancy,
> and with vanishing returns.
> On the other side of the ring is Vaupel, who
> s that people are living longer and healthier lives all the time
> and there is no necessary end in sight. His message is cheerier,
> but he takes the debate very seriously; he won't attend conferences
> where Olshansky is present. His charts are heartening; he takes the
> records of the longest-lived people in the longest-lived countries
> for each year and shows that average (maximum?) lifespan has been
> zooming up linearly from 1800 to today. One wants to mentally
> project the regression line into the foreseeable future.
> Olshansky says the only way to make major improvements in life
> expectancy is to find new ways to prevent and treat the diseases of
> aging. And the most efficient way to do that is to delay the
> process of aging itself. That's something that some people already
> do - somehow. Olshansky says, "The study of the genetics of
> long-lived people, I think, is going to be the breakthrough
> technology." Scientists can now easily extend lifespan in flies,
> worms, and mice, and there's a lot of exciting research on genetic
> pathways in humans that might slow down the aging process and
> presumably protect us from the age-related diseases that kill most
> people today. "The secret to longer lives is contained in our own
> genomes," Olshansky says.
> However, Olshansky favors a mainstream high-level research
> strategy that could
> largely futile: a slow, expensive process of building treatments to
> alter human metabolism to look more like that of long-lived people,
> or to replicate the effects of Calorie Restriction (CR). It will
> produce a great deal of knowledge, but is unlikely to have much or
> an effect on lifespan; this is an approach that may slow aging
> slightly, not create rejuvenation, and not directly address
> root causes of aging. If we want to see real progress in human
> lifespan in our lifetimes, decades or more of healthy life added,
> even for those already old, then we have to look toward serious
> investment in biogerontology and synthetic biology.
L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder
Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group
E-mail: scoles at grg.org
E-mail: scoles at ucla.edu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
-------------- next part --------------
To UNSUBSCRIBE or for ADMINISTRATIVE REQUESTS send an E-mail to jadams at grg.org or scoles at grg.org, or call (949) 922-9786 USA.
*** Do NOT send an UNSUBSCRIBE message to the entire list. ***
GRG mailing list
GRG at lists.ucla.edu
More information about the extropy-chat