A startling chronicle by a brilliant young scientist takes us onto the frontiers of the science of aging, and reveals how close we are to an astonishing extension of our life spans and a vastly improved quality of life in our later years.
Aging - not cancer, not heart disease - is the true underlying cause of most human death and suffering. We accept as inevitable that as we advance in years our bodies and minds begin to deteriorate and that we are ever more and more likely to be felled by dementia or disease. But we never really ask - is aging necessary? Biologists, on the other hand, have been investigating that question for years. After all, there are already tortoises and salamanders whose risk of dying is the same no matter how old they are. With the help of science, could humans find a way to become old without getting frail, a phenomenon otherwise known as "biological immortality"?
In Ageless, Andrew Steele, a computational biologist and science writer, takes us on a journey through the laboratories where scientists are studying every bodily system that declines with age - DNA, mitochondria, stem cells, our immune systems - and developing therapies to reverse the trend. With bell-clear writing and intellectual passion, Steele shines a spotlight on a little-known revolution already underway.
What the critics say
“During medical school we were taught that aging is a natural process and that people can simply die of old age. The thinking was that age wasn’t just a turning of the clock but an accumulation of mutations, cancer, arthritis, heart disease and dementia. Have you ever wondered, however, if it was possible to address those diseases not just individually, but collectively, by addressing the underlying process of aging itself. Sound far fetched? Well, It’s this audacious way of thinking that propelled Andrew Steele to write Ageless. In this new book, Steele highlights therapies being developed to stymie aging, from rebooting the immune system to repairing DNA to removing senescent cells. This is a fascinating look at how scientists are working to help doctors treat not just one disease at a time, but the aging process itself, helping us all to lead longer, healthier lives.” (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN)
“Writing with the vim of a Bill Bryson and the technical knowledge of a scientist, Steele gives us a chance to grasp what’s at stake in this dazzling, daunting age where big data meets human biology”. (The Independent)
“Whether or not readers are persuaded that ageless humans could ever be more than a theoretical possibility - and it is a stretch - this book will convince them that discounting the theoretical possibility altogether is based on nothing but prejudice. . . [Scientists] have many tools at their disposal, [and Steele] evaluates them expertly and with verve.” (The Economist)