bridgeplan - a writeup on things one can actually do to increase lifespan

by MartinB1 min read4th Aug 20119 comments

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I've looked through a few pages, and the Charlatan section is worth reading if you don't already have good skeptical memetic defenses already. But it doesn't seem very interesting overall - these recommendations would help people living an unhealthy lifestyle, sure, but not as much as, say, caloric restriction currently would seem to.

Downvoted. This sets off my crank alert. The things he says might be true, but without arguments or citations or any introduction by you, how would I know? The prior probability that any specific action increases lifespan usefully is quite low, so I need strong evidence to read anyone's advice.

I found it referenced on the GRG homepage, where I occasionally check on the current supercentenarians. It looked usable enough to me to mention.

Theories and recommendations for longevity practices are ten a penny. Here's another, with a book behind it. Summary: eat what you like when young but switch to paleo in later years, because the selection pressure to cope with grains and legumes is necessarily stronger on the young, so the older you are, the less well you are adapted to them. This will help ensure that aging, which is actually known to stop at a certain age, will stop earlier. As both of those links are pay-to-read, here's a free related web site, which I have not yet looked at.

I guess we've all heard of calorie restriction.

Right? Wrong? Well-supported? Ill-supported? Serious? Crank? They can't all be true. Paleo is very much opposed to the regime linked by the OP. Of course they all make convincing-sounding cases in their own cause -- it's only the causes than can, that come to public attention. Is anyone collecting stats on the lifespans of people following the various longevity diets?

The most interesting (to me) finding reported in the New Scientist article I linked is that aging stops. Expected remaining lifespan declines up to a certain age, then levels out. A 99-year-old has about the same life-expectancy as a 92-year-old. The finding has been replicated in multiple species -- drosophila stop aging in the equivalent of middle age, instead of in decrepitude, as humans do. First noted in humans in 1992 (citation), but this is the first I'd heard of it.

They didn't say aging stops, but rather the death rates stop rising further after a time, which means that a 90 year old is as likely not to make it to 91 as a 99 year old would be not to make it to a 100.

But by then the rate of death per year is high enough that it doesn't matter much, and within a few such years such a person will be very likely dead due to the cumulative probability of death over several years.

They didn't say aging stops, but rather the death rates stop rising further after a time

They (Rose and his colleagues) do say that aging stops, and that is what they mean by it.

From the article: "The existence of an age at which human aging stops is no longer questionable, nor is its potential malleability." The point about that malleability is that if you can get aging to stop at an earlier age, this will substantially extend lifespan, and this may be a more productive research avenue than trying to make elderly bodies live longer.

Ok. Age-related death rates converging asymptotically is a known fact since at least 1939. P(death) was estimated to converge to about 0.439 per annum for women and 0.544 for men. That's a 99% chance to die after 8 years for a woman.

I'm not sure this translates into a cessation of aging. Even if P(death) was a hundredth of that, people would still die over time. They would just not die as fast as they do now. What is the definition of aging there anyway? For me, I'd say an intrinsic biological tendency to die over time does not qualify as being freed from aging.

http://longevity-science.org/Greenwood-Human-Biology-1939.pdf

[-][anonymous]9y 0

I'm not sure this translates into a cessation of aging.

A neutron has the same probability of decaying in the next second no matter how old it is, and neutrons definitely don't age.

Thanks for your comments about The Bridge Plan.

"The things he says might be true, but without arguments or citations or any introduction by you, how would I know? The prior probability that any specific action increases lifespan usefully is quite low, so I need strong evidence to read anyone's advice."

There are 120 citations for the recommendations (http://www.bridgeplan.org/?p=458), but I agree that it would be ideal to have data that enables us to look at each recommendation separately. That is part of the reason for the recent site update including a ranking system that includes factors such as Life Expectancy Benefit, Maximum Lifespan Benefit, Convenience, Affordability, and Scientific Rigor. An added benefit is that readers can see profiled the "Top Interventions", which folks like jsalvatier could readily use to identify only those interventions that are most likely to enhance life-expectancy or maximum lifespan.

"...these recommendations would help people living an unhealthy lifestyle, sure, but not as much as, say, caloric restriction currently would seem to."

Extreme caloric restriction is actually listed on the site as an Emerging Intervention (http://www.bridgeplan.org/?p=1025), though not part of Dr. Coles's Bridge Plan. He doesn't deny its likely benefits, but doesn't follow it personally because of it being "tedious and onerous" (i.e. very low on the Convenience ranking).

BTW - A good read on the cessation of aging (and much else) is Chapter 6 of The Future of Aging by Dr. Greg Fahy. Here's a review of the book: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/sep2011_The-Future-of-Aging-Blueprint-for-a-Longer-Life_01.htm