According to a United Nations report,
soon there will be more 60-year-
olds than 15-year-olds in our society.
It’s the result of fewer births and lengthening life
span. The U.S. Census shows more and more people
are living to age 100: the centenarian population
has increased 65. 8 percent in the past three decades
(1980–2010). America has more than 55,000 centenarians; close to 6,000 live in California. Yet with this
extended longevity comes a series of questions on how
people living more years can have quality of life. With
old age comes uncertainty. As evolved humans, we
don’t just want to live longer, we want to age well.
If you’ve been tuning in to the topic of optimal
aging, you might be wondering: how do we protect
our cells’ proteins from mutating, folding inside out
and creating sticky toxic plaque? How do we keep the
microbiome in our digestive tract in balance? How do
we prevent our immune system from running amok
and declaring unnecessary battle on our body? How
do we ensure that we can remember our grandchil-
dren’s names when we are 90?
When it comes to chronic illness (like cardiovascular
disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s), age itself is one of the
most powerful causative factors. Thankfully, doctors,
scientists, researchers and great minds around Marin
County and throughout the world are studying the mechanisms underlying aging and developing potential ways to
reverse the processes that lead to chronic disease.
“The work being done at the Buck Institute for
Research on Aging increases the possibility of intervening in the aging process,” says Brian Kennedy,
Ph.D., president and CEO of the institute. “Aging is
the biggest risk factor for many diseases; therefore,
success in slowing aging will likely make people
healthier later in their life span.” Here are some of
the compelling findings on cognitive ability, gut
health and immunity, telomere lengthening, cellular homeostasis and longevity — all processes that,
if optimized, can result in graceful aging.
Preventing cognitive decline, optimizing digestive health,
taking care of telomeres and extending life span.
BY ANN WYCOFF • ILLUSTRATION BY TRINA DALZIEL