Why and how we age is such a fascinating subject. We're grateful to Garth Willey of the Spiritual Kinship Society Trust, a CHO Associate Member in Melbourne, Australia, for this synopsis of "Lifespan: why we age and why we don't have to" (2019) written by David A Sinclair.....
David Sinclair heads the research lab at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. He was 50 years old when he published Lifespan in 2019 after 10 years working on it – no doubt with many revisions as giant steps forward in DNA research progressed and technological hurdles fell away. For his full credentials, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Andrew_Sinclair
Following an Introduction, the book proceeds into 3 Parts:
Part I What we know (the past)
A treatise on medical progression over the millennia and centuries - and how surprisingly slow some advances have filtered into practice. And yet how fast the advances have seemed to come within our living memories.
Part II What we’re learning (the present)
The Age of Innovation, in particular in development of computing technology and in genome sequencing, understanding and rapid progress in genetic engineering. Breakthroughs and their developing effect towards extending mankind’s longevity.
Part III Where we’re going (the future)
The shape of things to come and ramifications of increasing life expectations for all humanity. Economic considerations, lifestyle, sustainable population increases, food supply, living conditions, etc
A Concluding Chapter is followed by equally interesting Acknowledgements (impressively detailed), Notes, Disclosures, The Scale of Things, Caste of Characters, Glossary, and Index.
Lifespan is cutting edge stuff – and yet very readable by a layman like myself. No doubt more scientific hurdles have fallen since 2019 – the pace of change is so fast; and, of course, we are now experiencing COVID-19. But it is very much reality for us NOW… to open our eyes to the changes arising from these exciting leaps and bounds in medical science.
The course of medical practice, both at specialist and general practitioner levels, will inevitably lag the sciences – as Sinclair points out, has always been the case: a whole generational change has been needed for some general practices/practitioners to adopt change in the past.
So, what are these major changes? In my layman’s interpretation from a single reading of the book: the human genome has now been fully sequenced (except for some miscellaneous dead ends… which subsequently are proving to be of some relevance!). And the cause of diseases can be traced to specific genes – which may have an inherited fault cause or may be the result of a mutation. Diagnosis by reading the patient’s genome is now fast and accurate; and may be determinable by simply strapping on a wrist band such as presently used by athletes and gym-goers to monitor physical levels, etc. Treatment may then be conventional or by tweaking (my terminology!) the errant gene.
Sinclair says the aging process should be classified as a disease. Dolly, the cloned sheep, was ‘as new’ – not as per the age of the donor ewe. Thus, the blueprint of youth was still available.
Sinclair does not talk of immortality – rather, in Part III, he talks of the right to die… when one has had enough! Nor does he talk at all of spiritual (or energy) healing; but I think I recall mention of the placebo effect somewhere in the book.
And Sinclair also expounds that cost will not be a factor – DNA tests may be a matter of pence – and the savings in misdiagnosis and current high treatment costs will result in much lower overall medical cost burden to national health. Sustainable world population levels will plateau out about 12 -14 billion (from my recollection without going back to look for the specifics). Food and water supply will be resolved; but he does not get into climate change, potential earth upheaval and other unknowns.
Lifespan is a very easy read and fascinating stuff. I got a copy from my local regional library here in Victoria, Australia… but likely will buy a copy for future reference.
A case study in progress:
The gist of Lifespan is of particular interest to me since a close friend has a relevant medical problem/condition, which he says I can share as a case study right now:
Regular blood tests have shown that his platelet levels have exceeded the maximum desirable range for at least 5 years now and were creeping up. But recently they began accelerating. He was referred to a haematologist about 3 or 4 months ago and was sent for specific pathology testing to try to determine the cause. Six weeks later (the specialist was fully booked out) he got the results – all negative. The haematologist explained that that eliminated 50% of causes and sent him for further tests, including a DNA test, for another 20% of possible causes; otherwise a bone marrow biopsy would be needed. Another 6 weeks later: Bingo! The haematologist found what he was looking for: A mutated gene! (Nothing hereditary.)
He has been prescribed a pill to combat the problem (Hydrea family) and more blood tests fortnightly in case of side effects. So far, two blood samples later, no apparent side effects have arisen.
Does all this entail changes for spiritual/energy healing, alternative medicine, etc.?
Inevitably, yes, it must have a bearing on all forms of medical services. So better to be informed and ready for change!
Spiritual Kinship Society Trust