Senior Focus | August 5, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- August 5, 2022

Senior Focus

EXTENDING LIFE ... The emerging field of "geroscience" is based on the premise that scientists can target the aging process itself , rather than treating diseases one at a time, medical researchers said in a July 26 panel discussion on longevity. Eric Verdin, president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Marin County and professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, was among the speakers on the panel discussion "Extending Life," sponsored by the Longevity Project in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity . While new drugs targeting aging hold great potential, Verdin said lifestyle factors like exercise, diet and social connection also have profound effects on longevity. If healthy lifestyles were broadly adopted, "an average lifespan of 95 at this stage for the American population is not a crazy thing to say that we can do," Verdin said. That's well beyond the current average U.S. life expectancy of 78. Another panelist, Nir Barzilai, is assembling a nationwide study on whether the FDA-approved drug metformin, long used to treat diabetes, can target the biology of aging itself, including diseases for which age is a major risk factor such as heart disease, dementia and cancer. The TAME Trial (Targeting Aging with Metformin), is a series of 6-year clinical trials involving more than 3,000 seniors at 14 research institutions around the country. "People are realizing that aging is something we can target, that we can modulate, and we can extend the (healthy life span)," said Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research and professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The third panelist, Kate Batz, managing partner at the investment firm Longevity Capital, said longevity-oriented businesses that show potential include companies using artificial intelligence in drug development, wearable technology that lets people monitor their own health and "age tech," involving use of technology to target problems of aging such as loneliness. The panel was moderated by Ken Stern of the Longevity Project.

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Items for Senior Focus may be emailed to Palo Alto Weekly Contributing Writer Chris Kenrick at


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