Yale Medicine Review of Longevity Decoded


We all age. As the years go by, we get grayer, develop new wrinkles, and
feel less spry than we once did. It is just part of life, right?Well,
what if there was a way to dramatically slow down the aging process?
According to Stephen Schimpff, MD, MACP, there is. In his new book, Longevity Decoded: The Seven Keys to Healthy Aging, Schimpff identifies the seven “keys” to living longer and healthier lives.

Before
you roll your eyes, you should know that this isn’t some New Age,
woo-woo mumbo-jumbo. Schimpff’s longevity “keys” are both practical and
deeply rooted in science.

In fact, you’ve probably heard most of
them before: Eat a healthy diet, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid
tobacco, manage stress,stimulate your brain, and engage socially. These
so-called “keys”aren’t necessarily new or groundbreaking, Schimpff
concedes, and many are intuitive. Taken together, though, they can have a
real and measurable effect on your life.

“We’re always told to
start saving for retirement when we’re young because it will compound and
our investment will grow,” he says. “What I wrote about is the same
message: If you start early, the benefits will compound over time.”

Longevity
is more than just a list of what you should and should not eat or do as
you get older. It’s an accessible and entertaining overview of the latest
research on aging, detailing what scientists currently know about the
process at a cellular level and what they’re studying in laboratories
around the world.

Is aging caused by free radicals? The structure
of our DNA?The health of our gut microbiome? Turns out that while
there’s compelling evidence about each of these things, the science just
isn’t there yet.

“There are a lot of ideas about why we age; yet,
when you get right down to it, we really don’t know. We don’t know what
turns it on,and we don’t know what turns it off,” Schimpff says. “For
all of our biomedical research since WWII, not that much has been spent
studying the aging process.”

As more and more people live beyond
65 years of age–an estimated 19 percent of the world’s population will
be older than 65 by2030–that is changing. What’s more, as research
increasingly shows that our bodies begin to decline as early as
30-years-old, concerns about aging are no longer just relegated to the
elderly.

“Everybody knows that we should eat better, exercise,
soon, but most people don’t know why,” Schimpff says, adding that
people often think superficially and in the short-term when it comes to
health.

“We need to get away from that and talk about our
health and keeping healthy for the long-term. And if there’s a message in
this book,it’s that we have it within our power to make a very
significant change in our life… can we prevent every disease?
Absolutely not. But as individuals, we can have a huge impact.”

Condensed from a review by Miriam Wasser in Yale Medicine, April, 2018 

 

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