Eccentric Biomedical Theorist Aubrey de Grey puts an Expiration Date on Aging
With more than 3.3 million views, it’s clear people are taking notice of Aubrey de Grey’s “A Roadmap to End Aging” TED Talk where he guides us down his path to relative immortality.
De Grey wants people to let go of the “irrational” notion that dying of old age is inevitable. It’s what he calls, ‘The Pro-Aging Trance.” To de Grey, aging is a curable disease. But, not all at once, of course.
“Most people, when they hear that I predict that a lot of people alive today are going to live to 1,000 or more, they think that I’m saying that we’re going to invent therapies in the next few decades that are so thoroughly eliminating aging that those therapies will let us live to 1,000 or more,” De Grey says.
“That’s not correct.” Instead, he asserts, “The rate of improvement of those therapies will be enough. They’ll never be perfect, but we’ll be able to fix the things that 200-year-olds die of, before we have any 200-year-olds. And the same for 300 and 400 and so on.”
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De Grey focuses on repairing seven types of aging damage to increase longevity. These include:
- Cell loss/atrophy
- Death-resistant cells
- Nuclear mutations and epimutations
- mtDNA mutations
- Protein crosslinks
- Junk inside cells
- Junk outside cells
He proposes if healthy, 50-year-olds begin these age therapies there is a chance they could “start becoming biologically younger in a meaningful sense, in terms of your youthfulness, both physical and mental, and in terms of your risk of death from age-related causes.”
The likelihood of success increases drastically the younger you begin. “If you’re a bit younger than that, then you’re never really even going to get near to being fragile enough to die of age-related causes.” He explains this with the help of a graph he cheekily calls the “‘Longevity Escape Velocity.”
When questions are opened to the audience, one person asks about de Grey’s appearance: “Since you’ve been talking about aging and trying to defeat it, why is it that you make yourself appear like an old man?” To which de Grey confidently replied, “Because I am an old man. I’m 158.” (He’s 54.)