I’ve been reading a lot about longevity research which, if the gatekeepers of medicine were to allow it, could turn into a biotechnology boom. There is a little bit of growth in that sector now but it is still not accepted in the mainstream. It should be. Most of the diseases we suffer from now – the main killers – are the result of the steady damage accumulated over years - dementia/Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer etc - while the drug companies search for fixes for symptoms and the quickest way to a profit. We need to fix root causes. In the last fifty years these maladies have been added to by ‘metabolic syndrome’, specifically bringing type II diabetes to that list but exacerbating the rest. An awful lot of metabolic syndrome could be eliminated by changes in lifestyle, and ignoring some incredibly bad advice from ‘medical professionals’ 40 to 50 years ago (like Ancel Keys). But in the end all is still that steady accumulation of damage.
I myself have made quite a lot of changes to my lifestyle in recent years. I quit smoking (using an ecig), I’ve reduced and would like to eliminate alcohol. I recently quit most carbohydrates and sugar and eat a close to ketogenic diet – the only reason I say ‘close to’ is because I can’t be bothered to weigh and check on the carbs in things like broccoli. I exercise a lot. I use various supplements (which I have researched), have used fasting to lose weight and increase autophagy etc and have experimented with fisetin megadosing to kill of senescent cells. I am now, I am damned certain, healthier and fitter than I was 10 to 15 years ago. But there are limits to what an individual reading up on this stuff can do and, if we are to defeat ageing, we need that biotechnology.
One upshot of all this reading is a novelette called ‘Longevity Averaging’. This is a visualization of that biotech industry in the near future, and what treatments it might use. This also covers some of the social issues involved – the title concerning state pensions. It is now published in the May/June issue of Analog Science fiction and Fact.