Is ageing reversible? Harvard expert Dr Sinclair explains at HTLS 2020
Dr David Andrew Sinclair, professor of genetics and co-director of the Paul F Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School, discussed the various aspects tied to human ageing on Friday. While in conversation with HT’s health editor Sanchita Sharma, on the sidelines of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020 on Friday, Sinclair said that the burden of looking after older people is very high. “The older the population gets, it’s harder for the younger generation to look after them,” he said.
So, is ageing reversible? This and many more questions were tackled by Dr Sinclair in his presentation that spanned 30 minutes in the last session of the summit on Friday. He said ageing-related issues need to be addressed and tackled to live substantially longer.
Dr Sinclair said that 80 per cent of our longevity and health is determined by our epigenome and by not our DNA.
“We can change our epigenome by how we live,” he says. Dr Sinclair talked about some minor dietary and lifestyle tweaks that can help promote longevity and good health.
“For the last 25 years, it has been my quest to find out why do we age, if there is something to slow it down, or if we slow it down, do we live longer,” he said.
Dr Sinclair said that the goal of his research is to extend youthfulness and have more productive members of the society till the very end.
“Animal studies that have been going on for the last 20 years showed that we can compress the last few years of life and remain productive,” he stated.
He said that ageing is by far the largest cause of most of the diseases in the world.
“This is where we haven’t been successful. We need to address ageing itself which leads to several diseases,” he added.
Dr Sinclair said that great strides have been made in curing heart-related, cholesterol and other disease but “the brain still ages”.
Sinclair was speaking on day 6 of the HT Summit which also saw Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and YOOX Net-a-Porter Group’s Federico Marchetti in participation.
While the finance minister discussed the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, she was quick to point out the recovery that has been marked across various sectors. Marchetti, on the other hand, admitted the boom in online purchases amid the pandemic but said that it will not eclipse physical stores and shopping.