Study Claims Humans Can Live to 150 Years Old? But What’s the Catch?
A new study on longevity says humans could live up to 150 years old. But does the science back up this claim?
A recent study by Singapore-based biotech firm GERO, examine the changes in blood cell counts and the number of steps taken by test subjects in the US, UK, and Russia. By studying these variables they found that people did not steadily decline as they age, but their resilience, or ability to bounce back from illness, stepped down over time. And barring disease or accidents, the maximum lifespan would be 150 years old when the body’s capacity for resilience would be exhausted.
Bill Andrews, president and CEO of Sierra Sciences, has studied anti-aging and telomeres for 30 years and is skeptical about this new claim.
“There have been at least five publications, and often times when I speak at conferences I’ll show those publications, in the last 25 years they’ve done a much better job of narrowing it down, and they’ve all come down to somewhere between 120 and 125 years,” Andrews said.
“Ok, so this new study that’s come out that claims 150 isn’t actually saying they’ve extended it out from 125 to 150, the accuracy of their data is not allowing them to give narrow answers. And when they contacted the press to make this press release about their study, they focused on the 150.”
Telomerase May Be The Secret to Anti-Aging
Dr. Bruce Lipton invites us to consider this: “contained within our bodies is what so many have studied, sought after, and dreamed about—the fountain of youth.”
What he’s talking about are telomeres; sections of DNA found at the end of each chromosome that can offer us insight into how we can “create a long-lived biology,” filled with wellness and meaning.
Telomeres And The Genetics of Aging
The science of genetics was formed in large part because of the human need to grapple with a limited lifespan. Central to this discussion is the role telomeres play in understanding the genetic coding of our aging. Telomeres have two essential functions:
- To allow DNA to be replicated without losing genetic information
- To prevent the double helix of DNA from unraveling
The process of DNA replication involves a shortening of our chromosomes from their original version, reducing the length of the original DNA molecule. This process invariably leads to aging, depression, and disease.
The role of the telomere is to extend that replication time by adding a piece of DNA at the end of the strand that doesn’t code for anything and acts as a mechanism to prevent the degradation, or unwinding, of the double helix structure.
Lipton uses the analogy of shoelaces to bring the concept of telomeres to life. At the end of shoelaces are little plastic caps known as “aglets,” which make the process of lacing shoes simple and fluid, while holding the strands of the shoelace material together. And the same concept can be applied to the telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes.
While the role telomeres play in retaining the integrity of a DNA strand is important, Lipton stresses they have an even more important function—telomeres form an extension of the DNA that allows for replication without affecting the gene programs, allowing for an extended amount of divisions before running out; the implication of this on our longevity is profound.
For many years, it was believed the lifespan of an organism was directly proportional to how many times a cell can divide before losing the telomere extensions and cutting into the DNA program.
Leonard Hayflick, a scientist in the 1960s calculated that a human could live approximately 90 years before telomeres were lost. However, in 1984, research scientist Elizabeth Blackburn made a truly life-changing and life-extending revelation with the discovery of the enzyme telomerase, which extends telomere length. Her discovery made an exciting impact on our understanding of the human lifespan.
But as interesting as Dr. Blackburn’s discovery was, the enzyme’s ability to be activated or inhibited is dependent upon a number of external factors. The inhibition of telomerase can be caused by improper nutrition, childhood abuse and neglect, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as a lack of self-love, love from others, and life purpose—factors that can all have a negative impact on our lifespan.