Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caloric intake and aging

The concept that a calorie restricted diet could extend lifetimes and reduce major diseases like cancer has been around for a while and has been tested in a number of lower organisms with promising results. However, a 25 year long calorie restriction trial in our cousin the rhesus monkey failed to show such effects (see URL below). Animals  fed a diet with 30% less calories than controls, while healthy, did not outlive their fatter peers.  It is too bad that this simplistic approach to longevity did not work. However, twiddling one dial seldom works in complex biological systems. The pursuit of human enhancement, including enhanced lifetimes, will no doubt go on and no doubt there will be some successes. Perhaps we need to start thinking more about the societal consequences of such efforts before we go too far down that path.

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