Lifespan: By David A. Sinclair, PhD with Mathew D LaPlante
Every once in a while, a book comes out with an easy to read narrative involving a complex system. Here is such an example. The human genome is easily considered, in an elegant way, complex and difficult to understand. Its influence upon our lifespan cannot be overstated. Dr. Sinclair, gently leads us through a systematic review of the current field of Genetics and its nuances with regard to human lifespan.
Throughout the book, Dr. Sinclair weaves his own life experiences with those milestones achieved in his research laboratory(s). For those who wish to learn more about the aging process in humans (and yeast for that matter) and the interventions that might very well slow down the process, this book is a good read. The science behind many genetic research achievements described in this book is not only interesting, but practical.
Without getting bogged down in too many details, the overall function of our genes and the “Epigenome” as it relates to DNA repair and function is well described. One would come away from reading this wonderful book with a very solid basic understanding of the vast interplay of our genes and the Epigenome. The general summation of research to date, around the world, in regard to protein function, DNA sequencing, and cellular life expectancy is well described. Dr. Sinclair nods graciously throughout the book to the many contributors within the field of genetic research, as well as those doing research in seemingly unrelated fields who have helped propel our knowledge of genetics.
The preponderance of data that he expertly reviews reveals much about our current and probable future situation in life extension. After weaving the research results of not only yeast, mice, rats, fruit flies, and humans, the real possibilities of prolonged life for humans becomes ever more clear. He shows, with logic and well written analysis, that within a few short years, we indeed might very well be able to enact interventions which will significantly extend our lives.
Dr. Sinclair also introduces many of the ethical concerns which would ultimately be raised by the distinct possibility of extending our lives by “slowing if not halting” the aging process. Along with those issues, Dr. Sinclair also raises the enticing idea of our ability to cure many cancers utilizing the same cellular pathways involved in aging, and, some of the social implications of such achievements.
The book overall is optimistic in its gestalt about the direction we are going. It was interesting that Dr. Sinclair revealed what he currently does to help him remain young in both physical as well as emotional age, based upon the research he’s accomplished. A good read for those of you wishing to enhance your knowledge of current thesis of cellular, as well as whole organism aging. You will age but a few hours to read the book, but, after reading it, you’ll most likely feel compelled to try some of his suggestions and feel good about your own aging.