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.
... getting on in years doesn’t have to mean becoming elderly, Steele argues — and in his new book, Ageless, he does a surprisingly effective job of decoupling the two ... In precise and sometimes dense detail he lays out the means by which science could effectively eliminate human aging ... when it does occur, then what? Herein lies this book’s flaw. Steele does not begin to grapple with the deeper implications of the project he champions so enthusiastically. Aging, much as we may dread it, is an essential part of the human experience. It can’t simply be excised, snipped out by science, without causing enormous disruption to our social structures and practices, and without plundering the meaning we make of our lives ... The question of what it means to age — and what it would mean not to — goes entirely unaddressed in Ageless, a book that is technically impressive but morally and emotionally shallow.
Whether or not readers are persuaded that ageless humans could ever be more than a theoretical possibility—and it is a stretch—this book will convince them that discounting the theoretical possibility altogether is based on nothing but prejudice ... This prejudice held back the field of biogerontology for a very long time, but in the past few decades some scientists have cast it aside ... Now they are trying to understand that process in all its extraordinary complexity, and to intervene much earlier. They have many tools at their disposal, and Mr Steele, who has a background in computational biology, evaluates them expertly and with verve.
FOR a book about how humanity now stands on the cusp of beating the scourge of ageing, I felt pretty damn old by the time I’d finished this work by Andrew Steele ... Steele uncovers just how close we really are to cracking the curse of old age. We’re within a few generations of being able to slow and arrest the ageing process, prolong lifespans and eradicate a host of biological evils which have haunted humankind throughout our existence. For that alone, Steele deserves plaudits ... There are some incredible revelations in this book. The science is fascinating despite the dry delivery. Laboratory breakthroughs are now being made in genetics and medicine that will presently herald a new biological era. Humanity could soon see average lifespans expand astonishingly – 120-plus might shortly be a not uncommon age to live to, with all your physical and mental faculties crucially intact ... what matters is the degradation of the body caused simply by being alive ... The human body really is a machine and we’re currently working out how to repair it indefinitely ... What Steele says is both revolutionary and important – life-changing in the true sense of the word. His thinking is bold, visionary, utopian ... What struck me most about this book, though, was the sense of personal disquiet it gave me. Middle-aged folk like me, and our children, might be the last two generations to really live with the fear of the grotesqueries of growing old. If Steele is right, and we really will soon be able to keep the human body in a state of almost constant good maintenance, both mentally and physically, then my grandchildren may well inherit a world without cancer, stroke, heart attack and dementia; where diabetes and Parkinson’s are beaten; where the simple wear and tear on the human body and brain can be repaired with stem cells, gene therapy and medicines being invented in the lab right now.
An ambitious and energetic new book by the scientist and writer Andrew Steele. While he’s not peddling some holy grail of immortality, he does give a startling round-up of the biological factors that make us age and the emerging techniques to tackle them, offering the prospect of both longer and healthier lives ... The science has a long way to go: as Steele points out, most of the research is in its early stages, bristling with the potential for pitfalls and unintended consequences. But there are a number of approaches that hold promise, with today’s huge advances in computing spurring new therapies. Steele posits that senolytics, or drugs that destroy senescent cells, could be with us in the next few years, albeit to tackle age-related conditions rather than ageing itself. After that, 'more advanced treatments like gene and stem cell therapies could be available on timescales measured in decades'. Ultimately, instead of tackling the individual symptoms of ageing – a creaky knee here, a furred-up artery there – we will move towards “systems medicine” that stops us falling to bits in the first place ... Writing with the vim of a Bill Bryson and the technical knowledge of a scientist, Steele at least gives us a chance to grasp what’s at stake in this dazzling, daunting age where big data meets human biology.
Steele doesn’t consider the potential consequences of halting physiologic aging, particularly social and economic outcomes, making for an intriguing but overly optimistic forecast for the possibility of postponing age.
An optimistic exploration of aging ... Readers searching for secrets of long life must absorb Steele’s explanations of the hallmarks of aging, but it’s worth the wait to understand the sad litany: DNA damage, malfunctioning mitochondria, deterioration of our bacterial microbiome, declining immunity, disappearing telomeres, etc. In a long section on preventing or reversing aging with drugs, transplants, procedures, and genetic manipulations, the author shows how many succeed—in the lab and small human studies ... A diligent scientist, Steele does not ignore flops and fads; antioxidants flopped, but health food enthusiasts have not lost faith. The author concludes with a list of proven life-extenders, few of which will surprise readers—e.g., don’t smoke, exercise, get vaccinated, take care of your teeth ... Good science in service of a convincing case that vast life extension is inevitable.