HTLS 2020: Extra years of humans are not very healthy, says David Sinclair
Longevity is giving rise to more cases of dementia in the world, Dr David A Sinclair, co-director, Pail F Glenn Centre for Biology of Aging Research, Harvard Medical School said at the Hindustan times Leadership Summit on Friday.
“As human lifespan is growing, there are more cases of dementia. So these extra years are not very healthy,” he said. “The WHO planning to consider announcing ageing a disease.”
Sinclair said there is a need to address ageing which is the largest cause of most disease.
“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,” the biologist said.
He said that cells and genes in older people simply don’t work as well as they do in younger people.
“In young people, cells and genes work beautifully, like a piano. In older people, it’s like the pianist is playing very unpleasant sounds almost like a cacophony,” Dr Sinclair said.
He went on to say that the younger generation is finding it difficult to care for a growing older population.
“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. Older the population gets, it’s harder for the younger generation to look after them,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair said he had been trying to find out if slowing down life would make people live longer.
“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 and live healthier,.” Sinclair said.