If your life depends on someone other than yourself, that would be Brian Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy is the President of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a world’s leading research institute that brings together outstanding scientists who work together on solving the mystery of aging and revealing the ways of increasing our health span. Basically, it’s up to the successes of the large team led by Brian Kennedy whether you will live a long and enjoyable life, or not.
An excellent example of my words is the most recent amazing work done by Dr. Pankaj Kapahi and his research group, who was able to extend nematode’s lifespan 5-fold. The trick was to switch off two genes in one worm simultaneously – the TOR and the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (named daf-2) genes. It has been known that turning off TOR in a worm gives it a 30% longer lifespan, and turning off daf-2 doubles the lifespan. One could think that 100% + 30% = 130%, but Dr. Kapahi’s worms decided they know Math better and lived 5 times longer, proving that sometimes 100% + 30% = 500%. What happened is the synergy between blocking the two aging mechanisms – the TOR and insulin/IGF-1 signaling. I have always said that there are so many things we know that extend lifespan – let’s try the combinations of those things. Indeed, this proved to be a fruitful strategy. I am looking forward to seeing more and more papers combining different interventions in aging mechanisms and getting synergistic results.
Regardless of the country where you live, it always makes sense to vote for someone who may increase the chances for extending your lifespan. Of course, Dr. Brian Kennedy is not participating in the presidential elections, however it would be excellent if the politicians fought for our lives. I think it’s up to us to demand that the politicians include increasing funding for aging research as part of their programs. We have to show it matters. A lot.