A chronicle by a 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.
Andrew Steele sees it as a condition not unlike an illness, which can be 'cured' – and quite possibly will be ... This is an enthralling book, the essential message of which is that advances in science and medicine mean that increased longevity in humans is on the horizon. The author seems to take if for granted that everyone wants to live for as long as possible. Given that he means they want to combine longevity with health and fitness, I think he is probably right ... Most of Ageless is concerned with recent advances in scientific understanding of the ageing process, the prospects of a cure for ageing, and a plea for more funding for the underappreciated science of biogerontology. And although he writes that the longer we manage to hang on the more likely we are to be around for new cures, like Pollock he includes a chapter giving tips which may help in the meantime ... Ageless is a rich and exciting exploration of that surprisingly intriguing topic we’d rather not talk about: old age.
. Because Steele’s objective is not to entertain you, so much as to mobilise you. His big thought — and it is a very big thought — is that what we call ageing and see as inevitable is in fact just disease and can be prevented ... Steele sees our attitudes towards ageing as fatalistic and fundamentally mistaken. We think the tottering old — like the poor — are always with us. That’s the natural way of things. We must eventually become sans eyes, sans teeth, sans undisturbed nights, sans everything. During the pandemic there has been an active anti-lockdown movement which pretty much openly suggests that old people dying a little early is no great disaster. Steele could not disagree more ... So don’t expect a philosophical debate about the nature of humanity or a demographic chapter on the population effects. And don’t expect an easy read. For a manifesto it’s tough going for the layperson. It’s not really the casual reader he wants to convince.
[An] entertaining and thoughtful book ... Ageless follows biologist George C. Williams’s simple evolutionary explanation for why we age, based on a phenomenon called 'antagonistic pleiotropy.' ... Put simply, genes selected to facilitate early successful reproduction may have detrimental effects as we get older. In Mr. Steele’s words, it looks as if evolution has traded our 'future health for increased reproduction.' Were we able to roll the clock back and redesign ourselves, we would doubtless find alternative genetic circuits that did not have these unfortunate consequences.