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tv   Andrew Steele Ageless  CSPAN  August 31, 2021 12:49pm-1:55pm EDT

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>> some of these authors have appeared on booktv and you can watch their programs anytime at >> after attaining phd from your version of oxford, andrew steele to set agent was most important scientific challenge of our time and switch feels to biology. he was at the institute using machine learning to decode rdna predict heart attacks using patient's records. he's now full-time signed e writer presented based in
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london. he's appeared on discovery and the bbc. tonight he will be guiding us on a journey to the work being done to w understand and combat the cause of these much human death and sufferings, aging itself. while we've come to accept its deterioration is inevitable part of growing older, . [inaudible] and then to target those biological factors for own frailties. fascinating stimulating practical guide and how we could been those arrows to improve and then says to be few issues can be more important for future to explain the extraordinary achievement and research along
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longevity. we are so pleased without further ado the digital podium is your. >> thank you so much take you for having me. and then to raise the profile of the issue of aging. and it taking this through computational biology before deciding that aging was so important under recognized even in biology i had to write a book about it. as you heard my book is ageless. the thesis of the book is just a natural process but it is the single greatness humanitarian challenge of our time. that sounds like a strange claim to make but also aging
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is inevitable. we think it is the unavoidable side effect to be alive and our pets and farm animals seem to follow a similar trajectory of decline but we know that is not universal at all. and we have these experiments. dozens of different ways to slow down and reverse the process of biological aging it is this combination that makes it most exciting as a humanitarian challenge on one hand and then the science to rise to that challenge. and since the discovery of antibiotics. as we heard already i change my career and there are reasons because of a graph.
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i will start by showing you this graph in a convention of the importance of this topic. and then the risk of death not that more people are more likely to die but if we look at what the curve looks like and then to see to really make sense of this go to the numbers when you are born you have.5 percent chance of not making your first birthday fewer in modern times. you can be born with genetic issues but if you're lucky to make it to the first year then your risk of death goes down throughout your childhood and tell you are about ten years old. current ten -year-olds have a fantastically important distinction. they are the safest human beings in the history of humanity.
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lesson 1001 not one —-dash one in 10000 chance not to make the 11th birthday. but then it's all downhill or uphill from there. at 18 it is one of 3000 chance come in your thirties it's around one in 1000 per year but to transpose those numbers into your life if i could somehow continue with that same chance throughout my life and then just based on how long we expect people to live but unfortunately as an adult your risk of death doubles there is the exponential growth in the last year so we see that huge power to get very big very quickly by the
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time you reach 65 of 1 percent challenge and then if you are 65 and you make it to 165 on average 1 percent is a fairly significant challenge severe are lucky enough to make it to 80 of one and 20 chance if you make it to your nineties it's about one out of six per year. it is like the role of the dice. so you think this is terrifying because i have this mortality racing towards me but as a scientist you think this is fascinating with a sudden increase with your seventh or eighth decade was at the cause of the
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synchronized change all at once so the question we have to ask ourselves is what is aging when most of us think about aging we think of a variety of effects when aging happens things like wrinkles and gray hair that is just the external side. but the scarier things are the risk of diseases like cancer or heart disease and dementia this is that we characterized by the aging process the single biggest risk factor is just getting older. we have a whole range of other changes. so i group these two together loss of hearing or muscle or vision. there is the umbrella is the loss of independence you are less able to get around the
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house, socialize, bed the seed away at your independence and you can't do the things you would like to do. finally things that are not directly related to the aging process but significantly worse to an older age. like infections and injuries if you are young person if you broke a bone it would heal but then in your seventies or eighties as like breaking a hip and then you're stuck in a bad for weeks and weeks muscle wastage and contract as secondary infection it may not kill you that dramatically effect the future course of your life something shrugged off in a few weeks as a young person can affect you as you get older. these constellation of changes for the aging process. now we can see these poor
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changes underlining the deck and what causes this now it slightly changes the graph but now you have the risk of getting a particular d's like cancer, heart disease, stroke, dimension have a similar exponential looking risk that rapidly increases and it goes higher. it's basically caused by the underlying aging process. is represents chest infections that this is deep into your lungs and you still have a reasonable chance one or 2 percent even at your lowest risk at any point in your life but if your immune system starts to decline because of aging you're more likely to get one of the's diseases.
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because if you protect yourself against one of these infections but then one thing over the last year or so if you look at your chance of death are to be infected like infection of the coronavirus that's a terrifying exponential increase rising at an even faster rate of risk overall if you catch it in your twenties literally hundreds of times less likely to die than someone who catches it in their eighties. now a lot of 80 -year-olds are vaccinated. that nonetheless it shows a huge impact on the ability to fight off infections. >> there is a myth you can die of old age and then one night you passed away peacefully with no suffering. the vast majority get a disease that advances over
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years or decades sometimes the treatment is hard work and then it comes to take your life whether heart disease and it robs independence when you are sick with that and then you die from that as well. we have multiple diseases at once. the average radio has five different diagnosis and takes those medication to counteract. it's a serious effect of quality of life overall. that's why aging causes so much suffering that you may think this is my favorite graph. if we live long enough to experience these, normally in the trees in the world i have given this audience quiz so i'd like youto think about this . what do you think global life expectancy is now in every
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country in the world and the reason i like to ask this is a lot of people think it's significantly younger than is the case. some guess it's 10 or 20 years lower than the actual number and because a lot of us are taught in school that much of the developing world are poor countries that have no access to sanitation, all kinds of issues and what that means is much shorter lives than in the rich world but there's been a huge acceleration in living standards and what that means is global life expectancy is caught up with a lot of the richer excountries over the last 50 years and i'm going to put you out of your misery now. global life expectancy in 2019 was 72.6 years. this is a double edged sword and on the one hand it means people living under healthier lives than ever before and on the other means as people in most countries are living long aenough to get significantly up this curve. living long enough to ask experienced side effects of growing old and deciphering the diseases and causes of
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death. what this means is we break this down looking at global death statistics is there's hundred 50,000 peoplewho die every day on planet earth . i think thousand people. over 100,000 of those people died because of aging and more than two thirds of the deaths around the world are caused by aging and this fundamentally is why i think aging is the world largest humanitarian challenges. their causes by far the majority of death but the majority of suffering because as we've seen they drag out. over years and can suck your quality of life even inks that kill you can reduce your independence and aging is this enormous tsunami of death andsuffering and it's something we should be looking at as a global community to do something about . this can be quite a depressing thing and it's much more interesting and what can we do about it so one more time, like i said our risk of death doubles in about every seven or eight years but what i like to do is look at other animals and
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this is a strikingexample, there's a creature called hydrometer freshwater animal about a centimeter long . and the first reason the hydra came to the attention of the scientific community is because it got incredible regenerative powers. you can chop off any end of it and it will grow into a second only functioning hydra and the original will grow back whatever you chopped off . it's got this power of regeneration but something else amazing about them, their risk of death doesn't do what humans does as they get older and their risk of death looks something like this. it's just completely flat and this is something called negligible essence, effectively never get old. they just carry on throughout their years and we obviously haven't done this experience because we haven't been looking at these hydra for long but their risk of death stays as is that .2 percent per year into the indefinite future when it's around 10 percent of these tiny beasties will still be alive
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after 1000years which is incredible . but what's most amazing isn't that fantastic longevity, it's the fact that their risk of death doesn't change as they get older so we can learn from these creatures and become like hydra ourselves. you might think how can we learn to apply this to human beings? there are creatures much closer that have this property to read this beautiful beach is a around 177 years old and again, these creatures are negligibly essence so there are closer to humans and hydra. their chance of death changes as they get older and we have become frail, they don't lose any of their powers to heal, none of their reproductive capacities and there's a fantastic story a few years ago about jonathan who there's a slight difference, he's the oldest known tortoise in the world. he is coming up on his ce hundred 90th birthday and apparently he still likes to get it on with the ladies. they're enjoying life right
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until the end so the same with the tortoise, the tortoises are not close relatives of ours. this is a much closer relative, it's actually somethingcalled a naked mole rats. it's about the size of a rattle or a mouse but even mice lifted two or three or four years if you keep them in the lab and this can lead into his 30s . it's not lost its capacity even though this looks incredibly wrinkly, it stays healthy and reproductively healthy until late in their life. we even thought these creatures were immune to cancer until a few years ago when scientists did find a handful of humans in them. they been resistant and these are creatures that as they get old without becoming elderly. the question is how can we learn from their biology? take some of these ideas and turn them into medicine for human beings though we return to this question what is aging in these countries are sort of cheap, they're not helpful answers.
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two different reasons and the first is these are really very large categories and every single one of these has tens of hundreds of subtitles and hundreds of different kinds of cancer. we talk about memory loss, there are so many different ways your brain can lose its capacity to store memories and at different levels of insight biology and also we tend to treat them one at a a time so you get cancer, you go to an oncologist and they might give you chemotherapy or send you for surgery but there hardly ignoring everything else that's wrong you and if you got heart disease at the same time which a lot of people have is treated by a separate doctor and we treat all these differently in a way that's treating the end causes of muscle loss, we don't try and improve the state of your muscles, we often give you a walking stick so the problem is these are root causes, their end stages and there are loads of them reach attempt to treat them in a very silent way. so i'm going to try and ask
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this in a slightly different way. if you ask an aging biologist they might give you an answer like this, these are the 10 hallmarks of aging and they have quite science assigning names and they're not going to go to every single one of these but there are a variety of different ways, it's much like siding in the slides that i showed you now in the first reason is these are on the mental cellular and molecular underpinnings ofwhy we age . most diseases and be chalked up to a a variety and there are a handful of changes so the idea is if we go after these changes we can slow down or even reverse the progression of all the different things fromwrinkles and gray hair to muscle loss to dementia, all of them caused by these various different things . and i think the reason i talk about it more as the discovery of antibiotics is you can go after one of these hallmarks and potentially had several or even all of those changes at the same time i'm not going to go through the whole list, just a couple of the highlights . thefirst is this number two ,
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the reason i'm going to talk about his is one of the most common questions you get when you write a book about aging biology. the answer is yes, it's a bit complicated. so let me explain how. this is a beautiful fluorescent microscopy image if you look inside the nucleus. of the dna, legitimate instruction manual for constructing a human being or another animal and what you can see here is this blue stuff is larson died on the dna. it's showing you the chromosomes. these little red and green dots at the ends of the chromosomes are telomeres, they're the start and end of those chromosomes and they act as the end of our dna. if you were to zoom in on one of those and simplify the picture would look a bit like this. it's just a string of repeated dna methods over and over again so you know dna is made up of four letters and telomeres are just tta, ggg and on and on, hundreds and
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thousands oftimes . the question is why are chromosomes, these incredibly detailed instruction manuals for building a human being, how do these rings of repeated numbers on the end of each of them and the answer is they been constructed this all some really rather ridiculous problems that devolution has left us with and the first is a project ends of our chromosomes from our dna repair systems and if styou flail dna around anyone of yourselves that means that dna has beendamaged so your try to fuse those bits of dna together and stick them back and fix whatever the damage was . we don't want our chromosomes built together so telomeres say this is what it looks like. they also correct the strange mistake. when a cell divides they have to copy all that dna and make sure both elves and people repertoire of dna to keep on doing what they do the problem is when our cells
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duplicate that dna the duplication moves along but can't quite make it all the way to the end of the chromosomes so it ends up having to chop something off every time a cell divides and you can see the problem here. if this was chop enough critical dna it was a gene coding something important, but every time your cell divides you lose a little bit of dna and yourselves lose their function so the good news is you copies telomeres, hundreds of thousands of numbers which mean then dna can shop it off at the end and nothing important gets lost. but you can see this is a temporary reprieve from the situation because you stick a few thousand bases on the head but every time your cell divides loses a few tens or hundreds of these bases and eventually you are going to get down to the dna. that'snot a long-term solution . this you can see why this could be a problem , why it's one of the causes of aging because as we get older our
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cells divide and replacecells that have been lost . you lose those that meet the telomeres shorter as you get older. so how much shorter did they get? this is the page on thebottom and got the bottom , the telomeres on the last year and every single one of these is an individual person and the letters are measured in their blood. you can seethere is a trend but it's not the greatest trend in the world . some particularly 1990 or older have telomeres as long as some unfortunate 30 years old. there's also some particularly problems on their allies and otherwise it must be telomere wolverine because it's got incredible regenerativepowers . if we draw a line of best fit you can see the average decrease in telomeres is something like 20 bases, 1020 dna letters every year. there is a gradual decrease but it's not the best in the world. it does seem like an obvious candidate for the cause of aging and if you look at the data in humans people who
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have shorts telomeres 10 to worse and worse health and they die sooner basically. so clearly there's something going on. and again the quite depressing thing apart from that we have something we can do about it and what we can do is use this enzyme. it's just discovered back in the 1980s and actually it garnered a nobel prize for elizabeth blackwell. and together what they did was they discovered there's anenzyme that can add extra letters to the end of these . add more of those responses and build those backup . and it's actually deactivated in most adult cells. so the question is can we turn next back on and then your aging western mark we can increase and allow them to carry on replacing our old selves and thus manifest in improved longevity and health. now, it might seem a bit bizarre that evolution hasn't already done this but that's
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a cancer defense mechanism. but think about what cancer is, cancer is what happens when a self gained the ability to divide an infinite number of times in a cell carries on dividing and if tit's got the right combination of mutations can keep doing that indefinitely and grow big enough to become a tumor, it can grow big enough to spread around your body . and the first experiments in mice where the mice were given telomerase they were told to carry on using the gene much more than they would do naturally and it was a very unfortunate side effect and the mice basically got a lot of cancer so when they dothese first experiments in the late 90s , they burst and excitable documentary that i watched when i was at school saying it was a fountain of use and it was telomeraise. it doesn't create cancer but it means the cells have got a way to extend their telomeraise. so yto burst the bubble partly because it's my cynical
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narrative of the amount of times that is more complicated. but fascinatingly much more recent research has shown there are a variety of ways you can get around this problem in the first is back in 2008 when mice were given an extra copy not only of telomeraise but of this dna, of this increasing enzyme and there are other three other genes, i don't want to go into the details of what these do but there genes that convinced cells they should maybe commit suicide or maybe go stop dividing. these cells will come back in the next talk but the point being if you've got so telomeraise you might take these boxes on the list but you got these anti-jeans and what that means is it in combination these mice actually lift 40 percent longer than mice that haven't been given this genetic modification . so a nacve genetic manipulation and add
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telomeraise that doesn't work but if you add in a few extra jeans you hope will prevent that cancer does seem to improve last life and give them longer healthier lives in amore recent experiment which is more optimistic for the rest of us , you haven't had ourselves modified from birth is that mice put in temporary telomeraise, they're injected with a gene therapy for a short time but extended their telomeres but didn't check this checkbox they lift 20 percent longer when they were given this injection. it's about 40 years old in human years and it will convert to the human age but they were also living slightly longer but also healthier. they had higher bone density and better performance walking a tight rope. so this is the reason i'm excited. we've got these different therapies and have slightly more nuanced approach and extending a lifeline and the next stage ndis to translate these into human areas and that's what we're working on doing rightnow . but back to the hallmarks, i said i wastalking about a couple of things .
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the other thing is cells which i mentioned during the course of talking about telomeres. one of the ways a cell can come back to this status is when it's telomeres get too short so let's talk about cells. it's just a biological word meaning old and what that means is as our bodies age we if you like more of these aging cells and one of the reasonsi've mentioned is when our cells get short , they basically think you divide a number of times and then your risk of cancer so the sell stop dividing and there are various other reasons as well. it does hdamage to its dna because it looks like it might be a risk of cancer so putting on the brakes seem like a sensible move. that means you can't divide content into a cancer but these cells don't just sit there not dividing, their benign elders but what they do is they pump out itthe toxic cocktail of molecules and its
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primary purpose is to tell the immune system to come clear of these cells because they don't need them in that way. they come over double up and get rid of them but unfortunately as we get older our immune system gets less effective at clearing these cells and we get more ways we can acquire them . the telomeres are getting shorter so that means they accumulate with time and the other effect these molecules can have is they can accelerate the aging process and what's exciting is we got drawings that can kill citizens cells and leave the onsets cells unharmed. we've given mice these drugs and let's talk about an experiment that was done five years ago and it's an experiment where they took mice who were 24 months old, these are quite full by most y standards . you give the mice this drug and it gets rid of some of the cells and what they found was basically maximized biologically younger. they get less cancer, less heart disease, more cataracts but they also lived longer which is suggested of a
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slowing of the aging process, they a couple of months longer on average. but they're not just hobbling on, not dying but still in the geriatric late stage of life. they're living biologically younger, they can run on a mouse treadmillin these experiments and their more serious when you put them in a maze . they even have better birth so these mice,they look fantastic . by targeting something like shortening telomeres or senescent cells you can reverse the aging process. not make these mice live longer but actually improve their health for the rest of their life and make them live longer. in a fantastically exciting news and what's cool about these analytics is there even closer to human realization. we've actually got about 20 or 30 companies trying to attorneys treatments around
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and things happening in the clinic and the first human trials are starting in 2018. the way this will pan out is that the first treatments will be for people who got particular diseases ilwhere we know these cells are causing these diseases, things like arthritis, things like lung fibrosis that occurs in older people but if these clubs work obviously and if they proved most importantsay we can start thinking about giving them preventative way to people are in their 50s and 60s . you don't have any particular disease that we currently diagnosed but they were just born a long time ago and they accumulate a lot of these cells and by clearing them out we can prevent those people from getting it in the first place that's the thing around medicine that can slow down certainrespects of aging and stop us becoming ill . so i just talked and talked and asked the question should we cure aging and it's a strange question for me because if i just give a talk about cancer research i've never get anyone asking in
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the end shouldn't we be concerned if we are all these , were going to have a sudden increase in population and that's going to mean that we're going to have trouble dealing with the environmental consequences . but when you're aging researcher you often get these kinds of questions at the end of thoughts and we really seem to think of aging research as a moral ethical category so wearing i'm going to give a generic answer. there are loads of questions in population, whether they will be only available to the rich. questions about when dictators live forever, it opens a whole can of worms that the way i like to think about these is to turn the question around. imagine that we live in an ages civilization, a society that didn't generate it where people live healthy long life and just basically lift to a certain age and died. we could prevent aging to solve any of these problems so literally we lived on earth where we had 20 million people and we had climate
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change, huge resources resource use. there's an environmental catastrophe going on and this is the way to solve that problem is to invent aging. would you condemn people to decades of low degeneration and suffering and these horrible diseases in order to try to alleviate our environmental challenges? i think you've exhausted every other possibility, you try to reduce the environment, try to meet people and none of these things are working so the only thing you could do is kill them and i suggest that the option of last resort. you wouldn't do anything incredibly inhumane like cause them to generate and lose their senses, their independence only after years and years before finally succumbing to an anomaly of horrible diseases, you want to give them a painless lethal injection if that's the route you had to go down and this applies to all the different questions you might ask whatever the problem is, would you invent aging to solve any quality or a
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dictator, i just don't think you have the words of the moral case is to prevent aging in a certain civilization where you're trying to solve a problem. you can transfer that across the reverse question, it is morally acceptable to try to spend medical research this all other kinds of problems . the final thing i like to talk about what he was funding and that's because i really want to raise research in order to make sure we fund it in proportionat the scale of the challenge and i'm going to give some figures here, the cost of various diseases in the us . things like cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia. these are my favorite diseases because they are the four leading killers in the modern world. but if you look at those things these all cost hundreds of billions of dollars a year and if you add these together these aren't all age-related issues . it's quite close to $1 trillion so if you all the costs of aging is going to come to an in or missed some.
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now compare that to how much we spend researching aging in the us there is an organization called the national institutes of aging. just to emphasize this little square is in proportion to the scale of money spent. it's really quite an enormous cost of research compared to the $4 trillion a year spent on healthcare in the us. less than 1000s probably goes into the nia. there's a running joke and bio gerontology that the nia stands for the national institute of outsider disease because the budget goes to neuroscience, close to 2 and a half billion goes into outside disease and there's various other stuff that counts for 1 billion or so and if you get down to aging biology is $350 million a year so that's five dollars per american goes into researching why we age and how we can stop it and you
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look at this huge cost on aging to our society doesn't make any sense that it should be quite so small so i want to raise the profile of this field and i want politicians to be thinking about increasing the size of this research budget. i want people to read the book, to tell them how important this is and i want scientists to realize the huge importance of this. the economic case is already at an incredibly powerful thing.if we can spend more achieving this enormous cost to society and that's before you get into the enormous challenge. that's why i wrote this book, i want all people to be talking about this in bars and dinner parties. i want policymakers to be talking about this and the biologists and medics who don't get aging in their education to understand how important it is. i've got a couple of pictures here and i know most of you are watching in the us and it looks like other people in the rest of the world and that's the uk coveras well .
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if you want to find out more about the book there are you can also get from the harvard bookstore so think about checking that out and if you want to call on twitter to find more about it, i think that's about all i wanted to give a quick introduction to the book overview and now i think it's time for a few questions. >>. >> thank you and you so much for that informative talk. for that beautiful visual. i'm eager to get into these questions, we've got great ones from the audience . please your questions in the q&a box and we will get to it . i'm just going to start off with this question from an anonymous attendee. what things do you think we need to do in an attempt to live longer . >> there's a chapter of health advice in the book and i call it how to live long enough to live even longer and the reason i did that is because anybody can live long in health, i can be alive in
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time or more of these treatments to be developed and that's really exciting. it compels me, it really compelled me to give health advice. some oof it surprisingly is obvious, things like not smoking, eating a variety of different foods . gettingenough exercise and sleep . and what i found was i found these more compelling because i get to experience some of these treatments but because once you understand something about the biology of aging you realize that actually this health advice it effectively slows down the aging process and will go into some details why it is these things work . it's not just preventing a single disease, it's not like exercise only benefits your muscles, it has this on aging process and it's exercising potential brain brainpower, your powersof decline and reduces your risk of cancers . you have that wrist reduced and it's incredible these global benefits that accrue . so i'd highly recommend it and i know it sounds boring but it's really important.
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the other thing is there are less conventional bits of health advice understanding aging biology that can illuminate and one of those is that brushing your teeth, this is my favorite example. we now understand if you have good dental health and can slow down the aging process and the reason is a lot of aging is driven by something called inflammation so sort of rewind what inflammation is, it's the normal process by which our bodies fight disease or heal wounds.the ways that are by his call attention to injury and fight infection, the immune system. solve that problem. and in young people that's a good thing. it's often called acute inflammation insulation is brief and it solve the problem and dies away again. that means that it doesn't sort of fizzled away in the background the whole time. as we get older inflammation becomes chronic and it's a constant paranoia of our immune system and it's one of those things that accelerates the whole process . ifyou've got poor dental
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hygiene , that constant standoff in your mouth between these bacteria and the various parts of the immune system, that's the driving cause of inflammation so there's good evidence that a link between poor dental hygiene and heartfelt. heart disease and stroke and is improving evidence that starting to come in that it might be linked to declining dementia and it's incredible to realize that brushing your teeth potentially can reduce your risk of dementia but lythat'sreally encouraging. if i brush my teeth and floss every day is to ensure i'm slowing my aging process down . >> do you feel really good about investing for the first time? i'll move on to this question . will some medical problems with these age limits prevent people from benefiting from aging . >> i don't think they will because a lot of these drugs have this really local
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effect. obviously there are always certain health conditions that way you can take a particular drug or there are certain health conditions or drugs you take that might interfere with another drug but there's so many different options on thetable i'm confident some will happen in the next few years . some of these things will happen in time and some of it is already in human trial so you could be searing seeing these four specific conditions in the next few years. it's not inconceivable that a few years after that we can start rolling them out and there's another drug i didn't talk about called forming which is a diabetes drug that we think might slow down the agingprocess . and there's actually it was supposed to start more recently. it was supposed to start a while ago related to covid called pain which is targeting the aging platform so the idea is they try to use this platform and slow down the aging process and give half the people placebo drops. but it's a really commonly prescribeddrug we been
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getting up in the uk since the 1950s . there are huge safety records and it cost times and if that trial works out we could roll out instantly immediately, so that's when i think we can be very confident if it works it will arrive in time or many many people i don't think there's any reason for pessimism unless you're sitting on death's door and this stuff will arrive in time for you . >> it's good to hear and that addresses a couple of other questions we have and the other question was asked about so i'm going to give you bruce's question. someone else asked about this to and nicotine verified thread. >> it's a great question and that's a really exciting preliminary lab data about these .li there are various studies where there are things that can improve muscle function and in particular place of these compounds seem to have the most effecting greatest
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effect is mitochondria which are often the powerhouse of the cells. there's these organelles that generate all the energy but they're hoping to try and improve performance. what we're really lacking is theselong-term lifespan data so i think actually that was a recent , there's a very big trial program for the intervention of testing programs and three different research labs in the us. what they do is they have very rigorous protocols and try to determine which interventions can prolong the lifespan of mice. i can't actually remember if it was eminem precursor that you mentioned or it was an 80 itself was in the last round tof testing. i think they showed it had no effect. which isn't to say it isn't working. you can change the dose, it's you can't completely write it
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off but we haven't got the solid data to show that we do improve health in the long term. we have some tempting studies that showed they can do things on cells and improve the health of mice in late life. the question is today slow down aging. hopefully will know soon because files are ongoing but right now it's not enough. i wouldn't tell it just yet. >> i guess the next question is from stephen. what else i remember lifespan increased due to science and medicine but what impact has pollution made aswell ? >> that's a fascinating difficult question to answer. i think good news is in most countries expand continues to increase but you might know that in the us and the uk as well there's thbeen quite a lining oflifespan and in fact in the us there have been certain interest where lifespan has been declining . and particularly people in
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middle age so it's just an incredibly, located picture because there are so many things going on and another big headwind for increasing lifespan is obesity and these things are subtracting from lifespan but it seems improve medical care and health generally can improve diet and exercise and lifestyle but preventative medicine seems to counteract those effects. but i do think these are serious problems and there's good evidence pollution, it's a bit like smoking and a primary effect of pollution on mice, clearly that's going to bear the brunt of these disease and get some stuff that you breathe in but they do seem to cause inflammation and potentially changes all around the body that seem to accelerate the process so i hope alongside developing antiaging medicines where going to carry on with our attempts to reduce pollution is clearly it has a negative increase the rate of aging. thankfully for now there's things and can't counteract wider effects but we should do everything we can to improve people'shealthy lifespans .
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>> is aging intentional from an evolutionary perspective? the fact that it's linked to life standards are imagined in many species isn't holding something back and sometimes they're good? >> that's a great question. intentional is the wrong word but it's clearly , it's not an accident that a lot of species age. the simplest way to understand why aging involves is i think the thing is people often say evolution is survival so you might be looking at aging and this is a process of gradual deterioration. it's theorizing about growing old, becoming frail, losing your senses, becoming slower, getting diseases. the fact is in the wild animals die of all kinds of other things that aren'taging related . let's think about short-lived specieslike mice . there are loads and loads of predators, there, disease and
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mass populations and even death from exposure. mice can just get really cold andthey've got small bodies and small small reserves of energy to keep themselves warm . there are loads of different things that can cause a mouse to die and therefore what evolution has done is decide rather than investing in extensive countermeasures, rather than making sure our mice getheart disease , evolution has invested resources in making mice grow up quickly, get to reproductive capacity and pump out kids as fast as possible in hopes that the mouse can live before it gets killed by something else. that means evolution basically doesn't care what happens after that mouse has reached its lifespan. if a mouse gets cancer h3 it doesn't matter because most mice in the wild are already long dead at the time they get to that page. then if you think about other animals of similar size and let's talk about the naked
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mole rats because that's something i mentioned, make and more ratsare similar . there biologically similar to rats and mice that they live in these colonies underground and burrow into tunnels and that means they're much less risk of predation and much safer down these tunnels then cats traveling through them. what that means is they've got the opportunity to mature much more city because there is less risk of other kinds of death so it's far more important to the naked mole rat. it's quite likely they will still be alive so they've invested much more in these defenses against the cognitive decline in that kind of thing. they're still going to be going. this is something we find throughout the animal kingdom. the animals have less extreme mortality that we gave to this death from outside of its body. they will then compensate by having a lower risk of intrinsic mortality so basically delayed aging. and an as was asking the question the dietary restriction does seem to be a measure of that and there in your mouse and there's it's
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really low food supplies. at the moment in time for some reason or other and the best thing to do isn't to have that exact moment because your kids will be born into a world with no food and basically starve themselves. so it's far better at that point for evolution to redirect that energy that t would normally go into reproducing as quickly as possible into maintaining the body of the animal and trying to help it survive into the next season when hopefully there will be more food so that's why we think of simplistic restrictions, but the rates on aging to some extent so it does appear to be the sort of complicated relationship betweenevolution and aging and dietary restriction is a window into that . and yes, next question. >> i think that was very illuminating, thank you. this is a question from andres. how can i a constitutional biologist help solve aging. >> that is absolutely loads they can do, one of the great advantages is that it's almost universally needed and
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biology is now becoming a data-driven science and so there are obviously when you imagine a biologist you think of someone hanging around with mice in a lab or putting liquid onto cells but the fact is more and more of those experienced would have huge data readouts because one of the things that i was working on when i was a working computational biologist was looking at dna sequencing data and that's a fantastic example because we went from the human genome project with the first readout of the whole human genetic code. cost billions of dollars. if you'd wanted to sequence the human genome that exact time, it would have cost about $100 million to do that . taken weeks and weeks of work. whereas now since it's a huge whole human genome for less than $1000 in an afternoon, it's routine and what that means is where generatingvast content of biological data . we can look at funnels of people and look at which genes are being used in which cells. we can look at dna to
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determine how our dna is being used and we can do studies where we look at all the different proteins inside a cell and just generating vast quantities of data and what that means is we need computational biologists to analyze this data and the great news is that in computing power has been outpaced by the sheer growth of data we produce but nonetheless it's accelerating rapidly. we got to the point where we can use things like machine learning to form the patents and that is the crucial thing because it's no use having these huge dreams of data we can extract. so what that means is if you've got computational programming skills you go in and help out some of these biologists and turn some of this data and to give a concrete answer to this , it's fascinating breakthroughs about a decade ago now. but the idea is something called an epigenetic clock and this is what happens when you look at the little epigenetic marker there are things that determine which genes are turned off in a
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cell. a biologist is more about there must be some relationship between this and aging. the problem was he couldn't find anyone to get any funding. speculatively what he did was he took advantage of the fact that a lot of biological data is completely free for anybody to download. he downloaded a whole bunch of different things, and epigenetic marker which is a particular thing that sticks your dna and determines which genes turned on and off and he downloaded loads of this data all of which is from a variety completely unlike the experiments, everything from developmental abnormalities to cancer to loads of stuff and dozens of different tissues. his only constraint was the data and to have a marker on it told him how old the patient was and this intake. and he found all those millions of sites they're called, they're all over and scattered in the genome if he could take 350 of them and determine the age of that
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person to within four years, it's absolutely incredible and in fact it was so incredible it took him a while to get that result published because nobody including him believed it could be accurate but it turns out these clocks are one of the most fascinating areas of aging research is if you have an accelerated epigenetic age, the age is higher than your fage or candles on your birthday cake and that suggest you age more rapidly than someone who has a number epigenetic age and where we're finding these quirks all the time and that's purely computational because of this culture of data so it shows you the sheer power of using all this data and find signals that we didn't know if there would be any or not.>> fascinating. i guess the next question is from david who says people are talking about bio hacking and it seems to be entering the mainstream. what do you think about the future of bio hacking when it comes to ordinary people?
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>> i'm fascinated because there's a continuum of self experimentation. there are if you googled this stuff you find there arequite a few but people online . even though they're not diabetics , the order it from some shady online pharmacy house but they take this in the hope it's going to slow their aging. then there are people who take lightly more computational drugs where we don't have any data to go on but think maybe it's based on the cells. all the way up to a biotech ceo. called ms. parrish who went to a clinic abroad because it was in the us and had the gene therapy done to herself. so you got this whole spectrum of people taking this variety of different approaches from relatively risk all the way to having completely experimental unproven gene therapy and i everything in between . because of the fact that biology is becoming so bemuch more open source, something
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you can do in your garage these biomarkers will have more power and i'm really fascinated how this will progress and how we're going to potentially regulate this and try to make use ofthat data . i talk about this in the final chapter of the book because what i hope is that these people are brave. i'm not doing anything like that, i'm not ready for any experimental gene therapy but at some point we will have enough data. maybe someone who is less risk averse to you sooner but what i hope is we can somehow pull together this community who is interested in these experiments but we've got to give them the information first and let them understand what the risks are and potential benefits which is unknown and you don't want people chasing a pipe dream anddoing dangerous experiments .the second thing second thing is to allow them to have places to do this because what we want is 1000 biomarkers in their garage doing experiments which differ slightly from
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each other. they're using different techniques and so on and so forth but what would be great is if these people who are going to self experiment anyway do so in a way to standardize the data. we can make sure they're all getting to the same place and try to do some useful trials and try to understand why these things are happening. it's going to be a fascinating time not just for the bio hacking people willing to give themselves experimental gene therapy but for all of us. we can learn more about all these different things you read about the aging process and the question is when is the evidence good enough you can take the plunge because the ideal scenario is that you're born in the year 2500 and you have decades or centuries of people taking all these different medications. all the side effects and you know what effect it has on various diseases, that would be perfect but the fact is
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most of us but today don't have time to wait 70 years for the perfect experiment to be done so were going to have to take thesedrugs, these treatments when there are various different points in terms of good or bad evidence . i think navigating that will be a real challenge and that's going to be a much wider discussion of most biomarkers and the whole of society so yes, it's a bit of a can of worms. i'm not sure it answers the question because it's a fascinating area. >> i would definitely agree. and that's going to lead us into the last question here i think you've touched on a little bit . the data is asking can you give us some idea how we will see these treatments in our lifetime and how that might be a great example of them. >> i'm a scientist and what that means is it's very hard to tie me down to what you'd like to hear and it's obviously going to be developed in eight years time but what i can say is the way i had my that's is a genuinely think that a lot of these treatments willbe available in time for most people alive today . that's why i say it's not
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vague sounding but the third thing is these cellular treatments, it's going to be a few years for we know which ones work and it could eventually payfive or 10 years before we might think about giving us a ballpark . we all know the answer in five years and if that works we can start handing out the people. things like gene therapy and stem cell therapy, these are more speculative and they sound more futuristic ouwere already doing some gene therapies for extreme diseases for example, these gene therapiesare approved but they've been used in hospitals now . so as you get more use on these things will gradually going to get back to these. we've got severe disease, people have mild disease and eventually we will just get the general public so even if these things are five or 10 or 15 years away it isdecades , not centuries. the other thing, as i sort of talk about all this data and biology during the end of the science i talk about how this publication computational revolution will mean we end up doing assistance to
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summarize that. we need to build computer models for human beings eibecause we're targeting thos in hallmarks of aging . we need to understand how those things interrelate in clever ways. you just don't want to kill cells, you want to do something more subtle and improve our biology in such a way to stop us growingold, to reprogram our bodies to age . i know that sounds like a crazy sci-fi, it's going to be the future. why am i speculating in this way? if you think about this could easily happen inside the next 50 years because if you think about what happened in the last 50 years it's been a revolution in the way we got data. we got a total revolution in computing powerthat double every few months . and so on so to better gain about what's happening in 80 years time would be i think a pretty board that and if you are in middle age and basically in good health you can expect to maybe get some telomeraise gene therapy and so on and so forth and what that means is you can potentially expect i'm in my
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30s and i could expect into my 80s even if nothing else happens and science stands still, if i do get lucky, whatever these first treatments are maybe that they can be five or 10 extra years in good health and that gives scientists more time to develop more treatments so that means even if something sounds like it's 50 years away that's potentially long enough or soon enough for most of the people are alive on the planet today because not only will there life potentially extended almost that time you'd be extended further when the first generations of these antiaging therapies so we're definitely going to see the first of those drugs in the next 10 years and depending on how long the improved lifespan we could be seeing much bigger increases inhuman life . it can continue fast enough that you basically your funeral can carry on receiving intothe future as more technology y is developed . >> thank you so much for
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taking the time to answer all these questions andthanks to all of you . i want to thank them for this fantastic presentation. and thank you to everyone out there. we will learn more about this fascinating book and on behalf of harvardbookstore , and the harvard library. have a good weekend, keep reading. thank you so much. >>. >> harvard university history professor tyler miles looks at three generations of black women through the inheritance of a cotton bag originally given by a mother to her daughter . by slavery here's a portion of that discussion . >> this is where i started. when i was inspired to work on the book that became what we carry. this sect, tote, carryall has
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had a surprisingly impactful life. although it looks on the surface to be quite plain, the sac is known as an ashley sat and it was given that name by a curator. who did the first research that we know of on the sac and who described it in the following way. in the very first description of it. charleston south carolina, 1850. 1921, plain weave cotton ground. hard fabrication. reese trans caught in an embroidery font. tight. 29 feet, 11 by 16 and with 15 and three-quarter inches.
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the sex we this example remains a stable beginning in the late 1840s with the inventionof the industrial sewing machine . the stitching by hand produced by the machine that are seems strong enoughto hold heavy cotton . the spots have been arranged with rectangles, carefully handsewn. and this was the work of a curator as well as her partner some of this is the presumed you attach the name ashley sachs artifacts. so until this past march ashley the sac was on display at the smithsonian museum for african-american history and culture. currently, it is at the plantation which is a
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landmark and a former state that was one of charleston's wealthiest families. it was in plantation operated by the open place foundation which is the owner of the fact and was given to the smithsonian.still it will be exhibited at the new charleston international african-american museum. this sac has taken so many twists and turns along his journey to these various sites in our country. one of the pivotal moments of the sex history took place when our fleamarket shopper just like you or just like me was looking through bins in tennessee. and was combing through racks and came across this sac,
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look like a rag. as with other rags, it went for around $20. we later discovered it was not all what it seems. because in fact, even when the twists and turns that it has taken, are the many sides it can go with, about insulated sides, about women's textile and craftwork . about black families. about inheritances, this was about love and about renewal. mothers and daughters often passed down items that are treasured based on previous generations. that sings a lost loved ones.
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this is a common family practice and it is one that i have been fortunate enough to engage in as well in a number of items given to me with another by my grandmother and by my great aunt. many of us i think hold dear these books, photographs, articles that we received from our grandparents and lovers. i asked the sac is in keeping with that tradition. it is also stands apart. and it's that something that we feel very familiar that arrests our attention, that draws us and allows us to see wealth in a simple cotton fabric. >> to watch the rest of this program visit book and search fortile miles on the a


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