David Sinclair has been reverse-engineering the aging process for two decades. As the co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, Sinclair and his colleagues have identified several key enzymes and interactions inside cells that cause them to “lose their identity” over time, making our bodies more susceptible to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
But what if aging itself is the real disease?
“Aging is the one disease that we all get if we live long enough,” Sinclair told Seeker. “I define it as a disease. Most doctors are trained that aging is something separate from disease. But the only difference in the medical textbooks is that if the majority of people get an age-associated disorder, we call it aging. If less than half of people get something over time, it’s a disease.”
Sinclair is part of a growing movement of “geroscientists” who believe that aging is not inevitable. What we once thought of as a natural process is in fact a degenerative condition — a condition that cannot be cured, but can in fact be slowed. With greater understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of aging, they insist, we can delay the onset of age-related diseases, keeping us healthier longer.