We May Soon Have Pills to Keep Us Healthy and Living Longer: Join the Livingto100.Club
Researchers studying age-related decline have been pursuing drugs that inhibit a pathway that regulates growth and metabolism in cells. What they have discovered is that besides regulating cell growth, this pathway, referred to as the mTOR pathway, is also associated with revved up aging, and consequently, age-related health problems. So, research is now showing that drugs that slow down or throttle back this mTOR pathway seem to be bolstering immune systems and reducing risk of respiratory disease.
In an article distributed to several health magazines, Sari Harrar, a widely-published health and medicine writer, interviews several of these researchers, including Joan Mannick, Chief Medical Officer at a Boston drug company, resTORbio. This company has now conducted several double-blind studies and have found that a drug they discovered, RTB101, inhibits the mTOR pathway. In one study, in a sample of 900 subjects, the drug bolstered the human subjects’ immune systems, reduced risk for respiratory disease, and for some, lowered the risk of urinary tract infections. In a second study, 264 subjects took RTB101 and results showed 31% fewer respiratory infections (colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia), and 52% fewer severe infections than those in a control group. And for those subjects with asthma, 68% fewer subjects reported infections. The findings basically revealed that for those subjects taking this drug, anti-viral defenses were turned up. Even more striking was the benefit for those in the 85+ age group: 67% had fewer infections.
The researchers highlighted the potential importance of this for the older subjects because respiratory infections are the 4th leading reason for hospital admissions and the 8th leading cause of death for the 85+ age group. Mannick reports that the drug is still under review by the Food and Drug Administration, but could be available by 2021 and approved for treatment of winter colds, flu, and respiratory infections.
Can We Arrest Aging?
Is RTB101 the magical elixir, the true anti-aging drug that will remove all risk of age-related health problems? Not likely. Researchers in this field are quick to caution that most anti-aging compounds are usually unproven rejuvenation gimmicks. However, they also point out that in the U.S. in 2017, people spent $194 Billion on anti-aging products so the craving is there for answers to putting the brakes on aging itself. They also point out that, in a sample of 55,000 Americans over age 65, only 48% rated their health as very good or excellent. But, scientists in this field are also emphatic about the need for rigorous, reproducible studies, and avoiding premature, questionable offerings to the public.
This article also highlights the effects of aging on a cellular level, trouble spots that used to keep us healthy and now change on a cellular level with advancing age: inflammation (natural defenses now stuck in high gear), speeded up metabolism, reduced ability for the body to heal itself due to free radicals or “zombie cells” (i.e., cells that refuse to die and end up glomming up our joints and pumping out inflammatory compounds), reduced ability to activate stem cells, and physical and emotional stress taking a greater toll on the body. We will soon be hearing more about senalytics, drugs that kill senescent or “zombie” cells.
And, the good news is that until we have a life-extending pill, there are ways to slow down the aging process: fruits and vegetables containing phytonutrients that fight age-related cell damage; lean protein that helps us to hold onto muscle better; strength training because it improves metabolism and mobility by maintaining muscle; aerobic exercise; sunscreen and shades that reduce sun exposure that activates free radicals and damages DNA; weight loss to reduce inflammation; and the easy to understand vacation/relaxation time to offset chronic stress.
For those interested in reading the original article, see Can a Single Pill Keep You Healthy to 100? By Sari Harrar.
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CEO and Chief Curator of the Living to 100 Club, Dr. Joe Casciani, has been invited to speak at the upcoming Successful Aging Expo, sponsored by the San Diego Union Tribune, on November 2, 2019. This is the 10th annual Successful Aging Expo, for anyone "wanting to make the most of life after 50". It features free admission, and the latest information, services, and products geared to active older adults. It is being held at the San Diego Convention Center. The title of his talk is, Fresh and Inspiring Perspectives on Living to 100. If you're local, be sure to come by and enjoy the event.
Weekly Radio Talk Show
The Living to 100 Club is all about staying positive as we age. Our blog articles and our weekly live Radio Show emphasize longevity, successful aging, risk management, and handling setbacks whenever they occur. Now, with over 6,000 listeners to our live episodes or on-demand recordings, be sure to tune in to our weekly live Radio Talk Show on VoiceAmericaHealth, every Friday at 2pm Pacific, with your Host, Dr. Joe Casciani.
Missed the live event? Recordings of all episodes can be accessed on the Club website. Scroll down on the audio player and select “Episode Listing” to display the selections. And now, you can see the schedule of upcoming guests - take a look. We have an exciting lineup of guests for the fall, and hope you will continue to join us.
Handbook for Club Members
Be sure to see the Club's Handbook, 9 Principles for a Positive Frame of Mind, available for free download on the Living to 100 Club website. This Handbook is our guide to creating and maintaining this positive frame of mind. The principles help the reader examine our usual thinking patterns about aging and encourage us to consider a different perspective on what we can accomplish and what we can expect of ourselves. This is no time to sit back and muse “what will be will be” – it’s time to re-define ourselves as strong and capable, and to shape our future as much as we can.