LifeSpan written by David A. Sinclair Report

 David Sinclair‘s book Life Span was well presented by Sanjay Phadke.

  • Vinay Kaul

Sanjay Phadke took on this daunting task of reading a book on genetics and complex bio-chemistry to an audience which was accustomed to review books on fiction. I think he did a marvellous job of it.

In his book titled ‘Lifespan’, David Sinclair challenges the idea that ageing is inevitable and attempts to connect ageing with errors in genetics and epigenetics and suggests some lifestyle changes to slow down ageing. Finally he predicts the use of chemical molecules to not only inhibit ageing but also reverse the deterioration in our health over a period of time.

While all this seems in the realm of sci-fi, it raises many questions about the economic impact of longevity. The question of jobs for the younger population and whether the benefits of longer lifespan will be limited to the affluent sections of society and thus alter the economic class divide.

Many thanks to Sanjay for deftly handling this complex subject.

  • Kusum Gokarn

Presentation of David Sinclair‘s book Life Span was well presented by Sanjay Phadke.

Sanjay was lucid in his detailed coverage  of the four chapters of the book. He explained very clearly Sinclair’s analysis of Ageing in human beings. I liked his comparison of the Piano player(man) and the piano keys (life span) that gets damaged over the years due to wrong life style.

In modern times longevity is increasing due to various medical aids and facilities available. But it  is upto each individual to manage his own lifestyle by taking proper care of  his daily diet, exercise and  sleeping pattern .Human body is like a machine that needs constant attention, repair and maintenance to keep it in good shape.

Sinclair advises Naturopathy as the best method for maintaining a healthy body. He mentions intermittent fasting and adjustment of diet to change in weather/season . Smoking is to be avoided totally.

Sinclair talks of certain drugs that help in longevity. For example, Radamycin, Metformin and Reservatrol to increase one’s lifespan. There is also a new wonder drug named NP & MN, an anti ageing vaccine  that marathon runners take .

Finally Sinclair rounds up his  book with a chapter on the Future of Longevity Funds &  Insurance problems. He poses some valid questions as follows -How long can a person go on working if he lives too long?

Moreover, what is the purpose of living too long?

Sanjay Phadke’s talk was followed by a question/answer/comments session among the members present.

*Mohini Khot commented that taking drugs like Metformin  for longevity may cause adverse side effects.She mentioned a Japanese book which talks of the spiritual method of maintaining a healthy long life e.g. Ikigai.

*Satish Joglekar said that the immune system should not misfire as in some current vaccines given to prevent  Covid.

*Gopaldas Dawara mentioned Anti Oxidant drugs to regenerate the  cells in the human body .

*Kapila  said that ageing starts from the age of ten and not in the later stage of one’s life as is generally believed.

*Vinay Kaul  said one must avoid mental stress to lead a long and healthy life. But what is the purpose of living too long?

*Satish Khot had a valid question to pose and said this was a matter of ethics. What will happen to the needs and responsibility  of the younger generation if the older generation lives too long? Aren’t we senior citizens being selfish?

Mohini Khot summed up in conclusion that one can re- invent some new purpose in life to make long life fruitful. There is always a scope for a lot of new  possibilities. On the whole she found the book interesting. And so did most of the other members, I am sure, as the topic of longevity is close to the heart of most human beings. I recall the mythological character of Yayati who asks for a boon  to become immortal. But in the end he becomes so old and decrepit that he regrets having asked for the boon of immortality.

However most of the members agreed that following a natural life style of healthy food at the right time, exercise and proper sleep pattern are safer and better than depending upon drugs that may cause adverse side effects.

  • Mohan Madiman.

“Lifespan” was presented virtually by Sanjay Phadke to the Book Club Pune on 17th January 2021. Sanjay is a Financial Services professional and an author (his first book is on Fintech) with interest in Biology.

Sanjay divided his presentation into four parts: Information Theory, Natural Longevity, Medication, and the Future.

Information Theory: Aging occurs both at genetic and epigenetic levels, i.e. there is deterioration both in the DNA as well as in how the response to the environment takes place. A parallel may be drawn to an old piano with sticky keys and an old pianist who also presses the wrong keys, resulting in noise instead of music. Sinclair believes humans could easily live till 100 to 150 years if we can find the underlying cause of aging at the genetic level rather than merely treat diseases like diabetes or blood pressure. Initial research has yielded promising results in yeast and animals. These causes can be tackled by both natural and medical means.

Natural Longevity: There is an ancient survival circuit at play in us. Surtuins (longevity genes) along with enzymes called NAD which we all possess can give us longer life. These can be enhanced by eating less, eating right, or fasting; exercising every day; undergoing unusual stress occasionally (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and live longer); and avoiding self-harm through radiation and smoking.

Medication: Some medicines have been found that work on aging. Examples are Rapamycin (an anti-fungal drug that has been found to be an anti-suppressant and also extends life); the flower-based Metformin (a diabetes drug); Reservatrol (which comes from grapes / wine), NR and NMN (new wonder drugs that help older people become highly active, post-menopause women restart the menstrual cycle), etc.

The Future: Sanjay raised issues that may arise relate to Funding, Insurance, Activity, Working Life, Managing financially with inflation, Changes in Social Structure, and the Purpose of Life.

Sanjay summarized the book in his allotted 45 minutes on the dot, and took many questions thereafter. Some points that came up during the Q&A follow. He clarified that the focus is initially on preventing aging for the future, and later on reversing the clock. He differentiated between intervening variables like disease, anti-oxidants, telomeres, etc. and root causes at the genetic or epigenetic level. He also cited comparative practices in Indian culture (like blessings to live till 100 years, which implies it was not unusual) that fit in well with Sinclair’s fundamental approach.

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