Lifespan – A Quick Review — 1-10-2020

I bought the ebook edition of Lifespan by David Sinclair on the recommendation of a friend. It is a subject that I for some reason or other am very interested in and as I sail towards my 63rd birthday it is a subject that becomes more relevant each year.

This review is definitely one written by a non-scientist and is my very lay person’s non-scientific view of this book and its contents. I recommend reading Lifespan, it introduces the reader to some pretty interesting work that is going on in the area of longevity and some ideas on where that work might lead.

Below is my review that I wrote for Amazon:

I thought the book presented the subject matter in a very readable manner. While the science was a stretch for me at times, I believe that I followed it well enough to understand most of what Dr. Sinclair was sharing with readers. I do believe that longevity as described in the book is achievable, but at the same time wonder who will actually benefit from the discoveries and methods that will be discovered or improved upon. 

Sinclair’s view of the future is definitely Star Trek based, but even they have issues and class distinctions, not everything is wonderful. It comes down to your willingness to trust that science as Sinclair describes it is the best/only course. However, what happens if our future is more 1984 than Star Trek, what then? 

Science is not infallible and sometimes money and/or power talks much more than ideology. We will see if his view of the future pans out, but I am intrigued with some of things that we can do right now that “might” help. As a friend said, it might mean that I just have expensive pee. Time will tell who is right and who ultimately benefits from his research. I hope we all do.

I am no Luddite by any stretch of the imagination and without any doubt, I am sure that Dr. Sinclair is certainly more in tune/touch with the mores, attitudes, possibilities and blind spots that exist in the scientific community than I ever will be. That being said, there was an undertone tone or attitude of certainty in some sections of the book that concerned me about the directions that we “should” or “have to” go and relying on science to solve many of the issues confronting us.

Unfortunately, the obstacles to this reliance on science will be political, corporate, financial, misinformation by the media, conflicts of interest, research inconsistencies or conflicts of interest, and you can probably add in religion, along with more than a little ignorance as well. We already are seeing significant blockage or re-interpretation of scientific “fact” in the world today by all of the above.

However, some of the book’s views on bioethicists, GMO products, plant-based diets, statins, some vaccinations, that the answers may lie primarily in a pharmaceutical solution and whether it is skepticism or “shouldn’t” go there since some answers shouldn’t be questioned seem to be meant to cut off discussion and present them as closed issues that have already been resolved by those who matter. That may not be completely accurate since researchers in other disciplines do question the answers to those ideas, products, and believe that they are still in the category of further research is needed and have not been completely accepted the current “facts” as the only correct answer – if there is one.

I tend to guess many questions are often, but not always answered by “follow the money” and who benefits.

Then there is the question of what are the side-effects and who do they affect. 1 in 100 or 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 1,000,000 might not sound that bad, but what happens when you are that one? Yeah, it really sucks. Gene mapping may help the odds and using the belief that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one is just how it is possibly justified the risks. Do they? I don’t know the answer, especially if I or one of my family needed to be the one in however many.

As for me while I plan to keep an open mind and plan to look closer into some of the things that are discussed in the book, I prefer to maintain a healthy skepticism regarding many issues in the world today. We are all experiments of one and it is up to us to live our lives well and be somewhat knowledgeable of differing opinions and hypotheses that science will have.

Mr. Smith – I can’t believe I just said that – you would be proud of your prodigal student, “Mr. Shaw” never Harold in class, you know the one who never listened during class and was often asked to get back on task, take a seat, take the pencils out of your ears, turn the burner down so you don’t melt the ceiling tiles and all those other things that teachers tell students who minds are elsewhere during class.

Mr. Kenneth Smith was my high school biology teacher and that is basically what he said all those years ago during our first day in his class. Yeah, maybe the prodigal student, listened more than than you thought.

However, Lifespan did get me back to reading something that made me actually think about what I was reading while I read it. I had to stop and look up words, research a little closer on some of the statements and actually read for understanding, not just skimming over words.

It is a book that I will want to go back and re-read a year from now then again in 10 years or so to see how it stacks up to what I learn over that time and come back to update this post then. Who knows maybe Dr. Sinclair will be spot on – time will tell.

I do hope that he is right when it comes to more of a Star Trek future world and I hope that any comparison to 1984 is completely wrong…but when leadership proclaims a post-truth world, I do worry about what is truth and what is propaganda or perspective and who’s.

The biggest thing is that I plan to keep learning more about what is written in Lifespan and other studies and books that I will be reading on this subject and adding them into my life where they seem to fit.

Here is to a long life and I hope that the prediction that I made when I was joking around with some friends so many years ago, that I was going to live to 120 and be shot by a jealous boyfriend come to fruition.

Originally posted on Aging & Retirement – My Thoughts, written by Harold L. Shaw, Jr.

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