02 Feb 2018
How much longer before humans conquer ageing?
Countless researches, superfoods, cosmetics and exercises claim to have found the way to achieve human's most wishful desire - to enhance longevity or at least our health spans.
But how significant are the successes that science boasts of and how farther along is the road ahead? Is controlling ageing even a plausible prospect?
Here, we look into all of it and more.
Parabiosis: Using the young to induce life among the old
The technique was discovered by Paul Bert, a Frenchman, in mid-1800s. He stitched together young and old mice so that their bloodstreams could be shared.
Soon, he found considerable improvement in old mice with respect to their memory, agility and healing.
Though several scientists consider the process lunatic, there are start-ups such as California-based Alkahest, that are working on applying parabiosis on people.
Can not eating enhance lifespans?
Fasting is healthy, we know, but according to HVMN, a start-up manufacturing products that allegedly boosts the results of not eating, staying hungry can reverse ageing.
It claims that fasting secretes ketones in our body, which turn stored fat to fuel, thus enhancing metabolism, cognition and longevity.
However, HVMN's research is controversial and ketosis can cause headaches, dizziness and dehydration due to low-carb intake.
Considering current research, we may soon have anti-ageing therapies
New South Wales researchers have identified that metabolite NAD+ present in our body cells can regulate DNA damage caused because of ageing.
Since 2014, they have been trying to turn NMN (a NAD+ booster) into a drug and have already begun with human trials.
If successful, it could be used in anti-ageing therapies, and to treat female infertility and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Can Google help?
The one answer that even Google doesn't have yet
In 2013, Google founded Calico, a biotech company focused on understanding and controlling ageing.
With $1.5bn funding, it aimed to treat growing old as a disease and defeat it.
However, it's been five years but Calico's work so far is still a mystery.
At its launch, Google CEO Larry Page had said that results might take 10-20 years. Going by it, there's still time.
Our children might live young for longer
Though we have had a few successes, they have been anecdotal. We still lack solid research.
However, with global giants, great minds and large sums of money invested, humans might just be able to discover that which can fight ageing, and bottle it.
Optimistic researchers predict that it might take another decade to identify effective age-defying agents that could be orally administered.