In a recent podcast, Peter Attia, MD decried some coverage of aging biology as ‘sci-fi’, and said it was impossible to ‘biohack your way to 150’.
I think he’s right.
But I made a video about it because I think he’s missing something very important!
If you’re gonna believe that someone my age, ie someone who’s 50, is gonna be around in 70 years [ie live to 120], you have to believe that, in the next dozen years or so, someone is going to come up with a way to completely halt aging, and/or reverse it.
But we don’t need to magically halt aging in the next decade—otherwise I’d agree with him, this is super-unlikely. Far more likely is a series of smaller breakthroughs, each of which adds a little to life expectancy, buying scientists more time to make the next one, and so on.
This isn’t sci-fi—in fact, it’s why many of today’s older folks are still around! They were more likely to survive childhood thanks to improved hygiene, childhood vaccines and antibiotics, and then modern cancer and heart disease treatments were developed during their lifetimes.
One of the most astonishing things I found out while researching Ageless is that CPR—cardiopulmonary resuscitation, where you pump someone’s chest to restart their heart, used in every movie and TV show ever—was only developed in the 1960s! This means a kid born in 1950 and saved by a vaccine lived through a revolution in cardiac care—CPR, but also stents, statins and more—so, if their heart stops today, they’re far more likely to live to fight another day than had medical progress been frozen in their childhood.
This could happen to Peter too—as a 50-year-old man in the US doing all the right stuff health-wise, he’s probably got a good 40 years of life ahead of him…which is a lot of time to do science! Especially if he lives longer still thanks to the first generation of anti-aging meds.
In his book, Peter expresses a similar sentiment:
[There] are those who are convinced that science will soon figure out how to unplug the aging process itself, by tweaking some obscure cellular pathway…or “reprogramming” our cells so that we no longer need to age at all. This seems highly unlikely in our lifetime.
But I think this negativity is reducing his life expectancy! With a platform as big as his, he could be campaigning for more money for aging research, which would make the breakthroughs more likely to come sooner—soon enough to matter for 50-year-olds like him!
If you’re reading, Peter, I’d love to come on your podcast to make this case in person! But, in the meantime, please do all check out my video which goes into this in more depth, and explains how Peter could see in his 150th without invoking biohacking magic…