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If you want a longer life, you should be thinking about the top causes of death.  In particular the first focus should be on avoiding atherosclerosis

 

 

-Gordo

 

This is the core of my own approach.  I jokingly refer to it as "Live forever by not dying ...", and it includes a lot of really mundane stuff (keep an eye on the top ten causes of death and pay attention to how my lifestyle might help me avoid them, use sunscreen, be really careful while driving ... or better yet, avoid driving at all when possible, arrange my house so that the danger of slips and falls are minimized, exercise, choose food carefully, etc.)

 

At 65 I'm not altogether optimistic that medical technology is going to cure aging in my lifetime, but since my parents lived to 88 and 94 years-of-age with terrible sedentary lifestyles, I think I can eke out a decent healthspan into my 90s, and hopefully get to see what the world looks like in 2051.

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I've gone through a similar loosening up (obviously). For example, compare what I ate on my recent Niagara Fall trips with the fact that I was so anal in 2002 that I brought all my own food in a rolling cooler on the plane

Ha ha! Dean, you slacker ;) .

 

 

Life is too short and there are too many interesting places to go (like Costa Rica!) to always be pinned to the same diet.

Life is indeed too short — but of course, there are two sides to that ...

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Speaking of "two sides to that", regarding:  "I might well have their aging and premature death on my hands" 

What about the flip side? The possibility of inadvertently leading some (perhaps careless) people down a road that ultimately screws them up either physically (frailty/bone loss, muscle loss, suseptibility to infection, malnutrition, etc) or psychologically (eating disorders including orthorexia, anorexia, bulemia)?  

 

I wonder at what point the "science will be settled" with respect to severe CR in humans vs. "healthy lifestyle, health promoting diet, and obesity avoidance".  I also sort of wonder if, through no fault of their own, the people participating in CR research have actually caused more harm than good - what I mean by that is certain researchers like Fontana have sung the praises of CR but may not have properly considered confounding (if you are studying 'health fanatics' doing severe CR you should be comparing them to other 'health fanatics' that don't do severe CR).  I exhibit nearly all of the benefits ascribed to severe CR such as low blood pressure, calm demeanor, lower testosterone, low LDL -- all without doing severe CR, in addition to that I have what I'd consider better muscle tone and blood sugar control than most doing severe CR and possibly a healthier immune system (WBC), better sleep, and I'm guessing better bone density.  Interestingly, my BMI today is EXACTLY to the decimal point the mean from Dean's survey.

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Hi Larry, and welcome back!

 

I jokingly refer to it as "Live forever by not dying ...", and it includes a lot of really mundane stuff (keep an eye on the top ten causes of death and pay attention to how my lifestyle might help me avoid them, use sunscreen, be really careful while driving ... 

 

Very good approach. If you haven't seen it, we've got a thread where we have tried to list all the mundane good habits and advice we could think of to "live forever by not dying". It's called Sensible Diet and Lifestyle Advice for Longevity. You and others might want to check it out if you haven't seen it already, and please contribute whatever advice of your own that we've missed!

 

Ah Michael...

 

Ha ha! Dean, you slacker ;) .

 

Yup - guilty as charged. You clearly are no slacker yourself, and I admire your continued devotion to bringing your food along with you when you travel (e.g. to the CR Conference - where you made a good call since the catered food left much to be desired...).

 

But is the difficulty of micromanaging your diet while traveling, particularly overseas, part of the reason you decided not to join us in Costa Rica? If so, I think that is unfortunate, both for us and for you. I suspect the hassle of trying to maintain your rigid CR regime while traveling might have been part of your reason, although I can't rule out that your decision to stay home was simply a matter of extreme aversion to spending time with me☺. It is interesting to note that even Mr. Creature of Habit himself (Saul) is loosening up enough to come to Costa Rica with us. Yeah Saul! Heck, Saul and I are even sharing a cabin together! It's going to be a rockin' time, and we're sincerely going to miss you.

 

You wrote in response to me:

Life is too short and there are too many interesting places to go (like Costa Rica!) to always be pinned to the same diet.


Life is indeed too short — but of course, there are two sides to that ... 

 

Michael, you may indeed be right, and your gamble on maintaining rigid dietary meticulousness will pay off in the end. One day you may be (metaphorically I hope) gloating over the dead and decaying bodies of us foolish non-believers, on your way to unlimited lifespan.

 

But having learned some difficult lessons lately about life and loved ones passing me by while I was making other plans, I've come to view the small chance of a big payoff from CR (relative to a healthy, obesity avoiding diet and lifestyle) as not worth the sacrifice.

 

I'm very conflicted over whether or not I wish that you'd come to the same realization. Certainly not in the way that I did. I wouldn't wish that on anyone... And I'm very curious how things will work out for you. I'm also curious how you and I, and by proxy, our approaches to diet & lifestyle, compare when it comes to the pursuit of living forever. I hope you'll consider that little challenge. So part of me doesn't want you to loosen up. And heck, if you did loosen up there'd be nobody left for me to wrestle with, and that would be no fun.

 

But at the same time I just wonder if at some point you might have your own road to Damascus, Saul → Paul (or Paul → Saul?, or is it [saul & Paul] → Dean☺) moment, when you wake up and realize that important parts of your life have passed you by, that you're not getting them back, and you're probably not getting that many extra years tacked on the end to compensate for lost time spent with loved ones. As you said in your IdeaCity talk, you were (and still are) a lot more optimistic than Aubrey about CR longevity benefits, but also a lot more pessimistic than Aubrey about the SENS timeline. You've got to realize that longevity escape velocity is still several decades off, and none of us are getting any younger

 

Do you really think it's worth forgoing the opportunities life has to offer here and now by clinging to rigid CR in hopes of slightly improving your very slim chance of achieving immortality?

 

No need to respond. All I ask is that you humor a guy who's been through a few hard knocks recently and is trying offer some perspective. Just think about it for a few moments, before returning to your regularly scheduled programming...

 

--Dean

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All:
 

Hi Larry, and welcome back!
 

I jokingly refer to it as "Live forever by not dying ...", and it includes a lot of really mundane stuff (keep an eye on the top ten causes of death and pay attention to how my lifestyle might help me avoid them, use sunscreen, be really careful while driving ... 

 
Very good approach. If you haven't seen it, we've got a thread where we have tried to list all the mundane good habits and advice we could think of to "live forever by not dying". It's called Sensible Diet and Lifestyle Advice for Longevity. You and others might want to check it out if you haven't seen it already, and please contribute whatever advice of your own that we've missed!

 


That thread rambles a lot; it would be good to have the opening post contain a (curated — maybe poll-based) list of the list of examples that are not trivial and have achieved consensus status. I don't know if these Forums allow a single post within a thread to be "pinned" ; if not, the list could be repeatedly back-edited into your (Dean's) opening post, suitably blocked off from the rest, or maybe a new (pinned — this can be done) post containing the results could be started, allowing no further posts but giving a link to the existing thread for discussion.
 

 

Ha ha! Dean, you slacker ;) .

 
Yup - guilty as charged.

 


Dude: that was a joke. Yes, you've certainly "slacked off" compared to the height of your rigor, but your diet (nutritional breakdown, pics and proceduresthank you for providing so much documentation!), Cold Exposure regimen, dental care regimen, exercise regimen beyond those bits specifically tailored to CE, etc, etc ... Well, "slacker" is not exactly what comes to mind ;) . (To be clear, this is absolutely not criticism).
 

You clearly are no slacker yourself, and I admire your continued devotion to bringing your food along with you when you travel (e.g. to the CR Conference - where you made a good call since the catered food left much to be desired...).


It did? It looked excellent to me, and was praised by my tablemates (I don't recall if you and I ever had the pleasure). What did you find sub-optimal?
 

[sNIP — Blah, blah — Dean increasingly becomes a broken record ...]

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Gordo,

 

I hope posting this immediately below my attempt at a thought-provoking response to Michael doesn't lessen that one's impact. It's much more important, so people look up and read that one if you haven't already. I really hope it has a chance to sink in... [in retrospect, now that Michael has snuck in a post in between, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears for him. But I'm hoping it might touch others though.]

 

But I just wanted to clarify / correct one thing you said:

... certain researchers like Fontana have sung the praises of CR but may not have properly considered confounding [factors?]

 

I'm not exactly sure what Luigi says when he's speaking to the public these days. Lots of people say things in the heat of the moment in public talks that they later regret and wish they hadn't said. No not that person. I was thinking of Donald Trump, who one would hope would regret some of the things he's said...

 

But regarding Luigi, in private one-on-one conversations with me, he has at times expressed quite a bit of concern about the degree to which several of us CRONies (that's what he calls us, we hate that name) have taken CR.

 

I specifically recall one conversation he and I had during my visit to WUSTL in 2013, when my weight was at it's all-time low (112lbs, BMI 16.8) and I was doing CR full-bore. Luigi expressed clear and heartfelt concern that several of us (in addition to me he mentioned several others in our cohort) were likely taking CR too far, and were quite possibly shortening rather than lengthening our lives. He was (and I believe still is) concerned that having very low IGF-1 and testosterone for long term could be bad for our health, despite their association with increased longevity in rodents. He pointed to the fact that long-lived CRed rodents live in sheltered, germ-free environments, and have a homogeneous genetic background. They don't have to worry (much) about frailty / sarcopenia, osteoporosis, infections, accidents, hospital stays, etc. And he pointed to the disappointing CR primate results, which had just recently come out. Based on this and his observations of us "CRONies", he felt the vicissitudes of life in the real world and the variability from one person to another (genetics, life history etc) makes serious CR in humans quite a risky gamble. He came right out and suggested that I eat more and gain some weight. I didn't listen to him at the time. Little did I know that some of those real-world vicissitudes of life would come to bite me big time just a few months after I returned from my visit to WUSTL...

 

So at least in private, Luigi isn't quite so sanguine about the likely benefits of serious human CR as he may appear to be in public forums and in his papers. He has an overall societal health message and agenda, and he realizes that only a tiny fraction of the people who hear him speak about the benefits of CR will take it to the sort of extreme that some of us do.

 

In service of his societal agenda, Luigi is very much in favor of staying slim via a healthy diet and lifestyle, and does believes there is a chance CR will extend lifespan in people. But the risks and tradeoffs are such that he personally doesn't practice CR himself - although I have little doubt that he could, he's got the discipline. He (like Aubrey) says eats as much as he wants. But unlike Aubrey (as far as I know), Luigi eats a very healthy, very mediterranean diet (especially during the 6 months / year he and his family spend in Italy!), and stays very slim through dietary moderation and lots of exercise (he's a cyclist). So his practice is not too much different from yours and mine.

 

Plus he's a really nice guy. We shouldn't criticize him, or besmirch his main message (almost everyone eats too much and is too fat!), unfairly. 

 

--Dean

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Michael,

 

That thread [on practical health & longevity advice - DP] rambles a lot; it would be good to have the opening post contain a (curated — maybe poll-based) list...

 

Good suggestion. I'll take it under advisement. Or you're welcome to do the curation on that one yourself, with your moderator superpowers. ☺

 

...you made a good call since the catered food left much to be desired...).
It did? It looked excellent to me, and was praised by my tablemates (I don't recall if you and I ever had the pleasure). What did you find sub-optimal?

 

I guessed you missed my discussion of the lack of healthy fat and vegan protein options in the post-conference debrief thread. Serving soda as the beverage seemed a incongruence for our group as well, although the pop was easily avoided. But in fact you're right. The food wasn't all that bad, and in the end I made do just fine. I didn't regret not lugging my food with me. I was actually trying to be nice with that comment, suggesting you'd made the right call by packing your own food since what they served wasn't anything to write home about. I guess I shouldn't have bothered trying...
 

[sNIP — Blah, blah — Dean increasingly becomes a broken record ...]

 

Seriously?! Oh well. I gave it a shot...
 
--Dean

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Dean said: "Luigi eats a very healthy, very mediterranean diet", but when I spoke with him he described his diet as a macrobiotic diet.

 

I believe Luigi is very well qualified to assess the health of CR Society members whom he has met, and his assessment aligns more with the views of Michael (and myself) than yours, Dean.

 

With regard to my answers to your <Motivation for Practicing CR?> poll questions, my reply status and answers, on the left and [comments] are:

 

I am male and 69 years old and have a BMI of 18.1 and exercise moderately and practice quite severe CR.

 

Description of the 10 CR Motivations included in the survey:

 

I said    Motivations
 

Minor    CR Optimism - Continued optimism that the CR primate studies were a fluke, and that the rodent CR results will scale directly to humans (i.e. 20-40% extension of remaining lifespan = 10-20 human years).

 

[Actually, I like the http://www.crvitality.com/2014/04/calorie-restriction-in-rhesus-monkeys/view of human CR results as an indication of our health status "Participants of the study also had extremely low blood pressure, equivalent to that of a 10-year old" and "people on CR had hearts that were similar to those who were 15 years younger.(17). And those on the diet also had the heart rate variability of a person 20 years younger. (18)" and "so far none of the calorie restricted monkeys have developed cancer (CR 0/40 vs  6/64 AL)".

 

Very    Longevity Amplification - The amplification effect discussed above which might turn a small (e.g. 2 year) life extension into something much larger.

 

[My view is that conventional medicine improvements have been amazing in my cognizant life span and will all more healthy life and life span in addition of those provided by CR.  Heart disease and cancer risks are big time risks in our family and were my big motivation to initiate and continue CR.]

 

Very    Healthspan Extension - even if CR doesn't add extra years, it will keep us healthier during the years we've got.

 

[As above.]

 

No    Physical Benefits - We like the way CR makes us feel here and now, including things like increased energy, stamina, heat tolerance etc., regardless of what it does for our long-term health and longevity.

 

[i feel I have much less muscle power and endurance with CR.]

 

No    Appearance Benefits - Some people are happier with the way they look practicing CR. Obviously this one will depend on the severity of one's CR practice, and the weight one starts at.

 

[Having started CR with a BMI in the low 20s, skinny provides negative appearance value.]

 

Moderate    Psychological Benefits - While I and others have come to question the lifespan benefits of CR relative to a healthy, obesity-avoiding diet, many of us (including myself) have always appreciated the "calm abiding" demeanor and outlook on life that long-term, serious CR seems to evoke, perhaps as a result of reduced testosterone.

 

[How else could I have endured you guys' slings and arrows.]

 

No    Self and Others' Perception - We've built an identity around our practice of CR, both in our own eyes, and in the eyes of friends/families/colleagues. That, coupled with the reputation we've fostered as being smart and hyper-rational, makes it hard to acknowledge we may have been mistaken, particularly when friends, family and colleagues would love to be able to say "I told you so", when/if we back away from our practice of serious CR. If we back off, we fear we'll either be viewed as having caved, and therefore are weak-willed just like everybody else, or perhaps worse, as having been wrong, which nobody likes to admit to themselves or to others.

 

[i chose my health decisions on my present perceived value of them not what I thought of them previously.]

 

Quite    Habit / Momentum - Many of us are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. Momentum keeps us going with our practice of CR, even when we have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be serving us (any longer).

 

[What do you think of your weight when you step on the scale every morning?  I have felt pleased with losing weight from what I previously thought was more than I wanted the weight to be.]

 

Minor    Sunk Costs - We figure we've been practicing CR for so long that whatever damage (if there is any damage) to our physical body and to our social relationships has already been done, and so we might as well stick it out at this point, in hopes it will pay off.

 

[Not higher, because I think that I have benefited and had a net gain from CR.]

 

No    Uniqueness / Exploration - We enjoy being different, or believe there is genuine value in exploring new possibilities, and pushing the envelope of human potential.

 

[Actually, this should be "Very" instead.  As a scientist, the desire to "Go where no human has gone before" burns brightly.]

Edited by AlPater

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Al,

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights about CR motivations. Your devotion to the CR list, these forums, and the science of CR over the years has been amazing. It goes without saying that it is much appreciated by me and by everyone else around here.

 

Dean said: "Luigi eats a very healthy, very mediterranean diet", but when I spoke with him he described his diet as a macrobiotic diet.

 

Hmmm... I don't know Al. Seems to me your memory might not be what it once was.

 

I've never been quite sure what a macrobiotic diet really is. It sounds like it involves a lot of brown rice, avoiding nightshades (including tomatoes), and eschewing most fruit and not much oil. That doesn't sound anything like what Luigi told me. Below is the first of several excerpts from my report on my visit to WUSTL, shared with the CR list on 3/26/2013 from my hotel room in St. Louis just a couple hours after I'd spoken with Luigi in person (For anyone interested, here is the text of that message in its entirety - he says in the interest of full disclosure, something Colin Powell should have done from the start - ouch...).

 

Here is what Luigi told me about his diet:

 

Luigi's diet sounds pretty much classical Mediterranean as conceived of when people refer to such a diet. Lots of veggies, quite a bit of olive oil (from olives  he growns himself at his home in Italy and takes to the press himself! He doesn't know with any precision how much EVOO uses - he just drizzles it on), just a little in the way of nuts (in a morning smoothie he makes with a variety of mostly fruit ingredients), whole grain bread he bakes himself, lots of pasta, some meat (~once per week) and fish (~ once per week), and maybe an ounce or two of very good quality Italian cheese per week.  He didn't know even the approximate macronutrients of his diet, but it sounds like low protein, relatively high in complex carbs, moderate fat, mostly from olive oil. He likes to vary his diet a lot - says its healthy to challenge the body with a variety of foods over time - so that it doesn't get used to the same thing over-and-over.

 

Does that sound like a pretty classically Mediterranean diet to anyone else? Like, he freakin' presses his own olives and just drizzling it on without worrying about how much?

 

Next Al wrote:

I believe Luigi is very well qualified to assess the health of CR Society members whom he has met, and his assessment aligns more with the views of Michael (and myself) than yours, Dean.

 

Oh the height of irony.

 

I'm not sure if anyone caught it before I changed it, but in an early edit of the post Al is referencing, rather than current language describing what Luigi told me as this (new emphasis):

Luigi expressed clear and heartfelt concern that several of us (in addition to me he mentioned several others in our cohort) were likely taking CR too far, and were quite possibly shortening rather than lengthening our lives. 

 

I had written something along the lines of (new emphasis):

Luigi expressed clear and heartfelt concern that several of us (in addition to me he mentioned Al Pater and several others in our cohort) were likely taking CR too far, and were quite possibly shortening rather than lengthening our lives. 

 

Al, I deleted the explicit reference to you out of concern for your privacy. But given your latest statement suggesting Luigi agrees(ed) with you and Michael more than me, I thought it was only fair to share the fact that Luigi singled you out by name as someone he thought was taking CR too far.

 

Here, from that same 2013 post the CR email list, is how I characterized Luigi's concern for us "hard-core" (at the time) CRONies (and remember, I was practicing hard-core CR and a "true believer" at the time I wrote this):

 

When I asked questions about "how low is too low?" (with regard to IGF-1, BMI, or any biomarkers of successful CR) he repeatedly said that we just don't know, even for rodents, to say nothing of people... But if he had to guess, he said I'm taking a risk being as low as I am in some of the markers (particularly IGF-1), and thought it would be wise to gain some weight. He said it would be safer, and referred, for example, to difficulty I might experience recovering from an accident (e.g. car crash) that might make it hard for me to volitionally gain or maintain weight necessary to heal (e.g. if in coma or otherwise impaired state).

 

Apparently my memory is still pretty good, since that matches quite closely with how I described that conversation with Luigi in the post above. I've got a particularly good memory for food-related stuff, as shown by my vivid dietary recall regarding the food at the CR Conference. ☺ 

 

And I'm not alone among people to whom Luigi expressed this concern about taking CR too far. It was in private off-list email to me at that time, so I won't name the person. But I will share what he wrote me in 2013, and tell you he remains an active reader and occasional poster to this forum. Perhaps he'll read this and come forward to identify himself and chime in. In response to my report about my WUSTL visit in 2013, this hardcore (at the time) CR person wrote the following in private email to me. First he quoted my post to the CR list:

 

Dean wrote: “But if he had to guess, he said I'm taking a risk being as low as I am in some of the markers (particularly IGF-1), and thought it would be wise to gain some weight.”

 

And then added his own anecdote about Luigi's feedback when he'd previously visited WUSTL to participate in the study, reinforcing my impression that Luigi is concerned about people taking CR too far:

 

Yup.  I got the same thing, even more emphatically.  That was back when I was about 118lbs.  (I’ve been right at 100 or 105 for about 4 yrs now, and close to 110 for years prior to that.) 

I didn’t gain weight, and did not get invited back.

 

Interesting - at least according to this person, it sounds like there was some degree of non-random selection happening on Luigi's part. I've also heard about self-selection - i.e. Paul McGlothin dropped out voluntarily because he didn't like the suite of tests Luigi was planning to perform during one of the follow-ups. As I recall, he balked at the OGTT, which is ironic, given he emphasis on the importance of glucose control, his position (at the time IIRC) as science director for the CRS, and our continuing concerns and discussions about glucose. It's a topic that keeps on giving...

 

I should also note this formerly hardcore CR person has also moderated his CR practice considerably since then, gaining weight and even taking up cold exposure. No more hints though...

 

In short, people can judge for themselves whether Al or I am right - does Luigi follow a macrobiotic or a mediterranean diet? Does Luigi agree with Al and Michael that serious CR is the way to go or does he harbor considerable reservations about the wisdom of serious CR in humans? I think the answers to both are pretty clear.

 

Now moving on to your survey responses.

 

You rated yourself as practicing "quite severe CR". Michael seems to disagree. Michael doesn't think it humanly possible for anyone to voluntarily practice severe CR. Here was Michael's comment from survey regarding his own CR practice:

 

I practice extremely RIGOROUS CR, but no free-living organism can voluntary <sic> adhere to "severe CR" of the sort imposed by rodents on 40% CR. 

 

So sorry Al, according to Michael, you shouldn't labor under the misconception that you are practicing "severe CR", to say nothing of "quite severe CR". That was my bad for wording it that way in the survey. Apparently not even Michael, with a BMI under 16, is doing CR severely enough to mimicking the sort of CR imposed on rodents. In fact, he (reluctantly, knowing what I meant but objecting to the term "severe" and/or the scale's implicit calibration) rated his own degree of CR as only "fairly severe", not "quite severe". In fact, you were the only person of the 30 who responded to characterized their practice as "quite severe".

 

It seems to me that if nobody is doing CR like the rodents, not even someone with a BMI < 16, then nobody can hope for anywhere near the CR benefits that the rodents enjoy, even if you ignore the unfortunate fact that CR benefits drop precipitously and in inverse proportion to a species lifespan, which Aubrey loves to keep pointing out. In short, it seems that CR won't work very well in humans both because (according to Michael) nobody doing it anywhere near as severe as is imposed on the rodents who enjoy the substantial longevity benefits and because according to all the available data across species (as highlighted by Aubrey), "CR doesn't work all that well in long-lived organisms, by any measure that we do have in terms of health and in terms of longevity."

 

Yes I know - Michael will see this as me continuing to sounds like a broken record. Don't worry Michael, you won't be hearing it for much longer. Think of this post as (one of) my last salvos...

 

Onto your elaborations about your answer to the survey questions about motivations. Note anything you said inside a quote I've bolded and anything that comes from the text of the survey (which I wrote) I've italicized:

 

Minor    CR Optimism - ...

 

Wow Al. I've been happy to see you've gained a considerable amount of weight in the last few years, but you still perceive yourself as practicing "quite severe" CR. So I'm surprised you rate this one so low. I figured you must be placing pretty heavy weight on the lifespan extension potential of CR, particularly since you seem to place very little, if any stock in the here-and-now benefits of CR, such as health / physical benefits, psychological benefits and appearance benefits (see below).

 

You further elaborate:

"Participants of the study also had extremely low blood pressure, equivalent to that of a 10-year old" and "people on CR had hearts that were similar to those who were 15 years younger.(17). And those on the diet also had the heart rate variability of a person 20 years younger. (18)" and "so far none of the calorie restricted monkeys have developed cancer (CR 0/40 vs  6/64 AL)".

 

It is certainly nice to see healthy biomarkers among CR participants, and little cancer in the CR monkeys. But what counts is longevity. The CR monkeys at the NIA didn't live any longer than controls when compared to a healthy, obesity avoiding diet. And more relevantly, sure CR folks have good biomarkers, but that is in comparison with the average (unhealthy) population. And for some biomarkers, like glucose metabolism, testosterone, IGF-1, white blood cell count a strong case can be made (see Luigi above) that certain CR folks are going too far relatively to a healthy, obesity-avoiding diet & lifestyle, and so are as likely to be shortening the expected lifespan as they are to be lengthening it. Further, many of us have retained those same positive biomarkers you point to (and improved on others), while eating an impeccably healthy diet and lifestyle but with a much lesser degree of CR. So do you really think the (mostly) positive biomarker changes observed in CR folks are reserved for only those practicing serious CR? That seems rather counter to the facts. 

 

If you do harbor the belief that those biomarker benefits are unique to CR - come join us in some citizen science on one of those biomarkers you point to - heart rate variability. I'd be very curious to see how yours is doing now, years after it was (presumably) first tested at WUSTL. As you say below, contributing to the science is a big part of why you continue to practice. How about putting your biomarkers where your mouth is and test HRV with us to see who's still aging well, and who's not?

 

Very    Longevity Amplification 
 

... Heart disease and cancer risks are big time risks in our family and were my big motivation to initiate and continue CR.

 

That's fair enough. It isn't exactly what I had in mind as the definition of "Longevity Amplification" but it is a fair interpretation, and one I think several people made. What I really should have included was an 11th item, called something like "Specific Disease Avoidance" - which I think would better characterize your motivation as you describe it, and would fit what several other people described in the "other" box where they could fill in the blank about why they practice CR. There are certain specific diseases that different people are particularly afraid of, and believe / hope that CR will help them avoid or postpone falling prey to them. That is quite a reasonable motivation, but again it suffers from same objections I raised above - namely:

  • Is CR the only way to avoid said diseases?
  • Might other approaches (i.e. healthy, obesity avoiding diet & lifestyle) work just as well or better? (my answer - probably), and
  • Might taking CR to the degree you and other currently practice it expose you to other risks that might be avoided by pursuing a different, less risky way of avoiding the feared killers, which in your case (and most people's!) are heart disease and cancer?

Very    Healthspan Extension - even if CR doesn't add extra years, it will keep us healthier during the years we've got.

 

[As above.]

 

OK Al. I don't want to just hurl "slings and arrows" at you, but let's stop for a moment to seriously take stock of your specific situation regarding health and healthspan. Sorry if this hurts.

 

You're a 69 year old man, which isn't that old. Yet you've lost 7 inches (18cm) in height due to the fact that you're spine decided it wanted to become an accordion when it grew up. You've lost all your teeth, making it difficult to chew your food, a known risk factor of malnutrition and sarcopenia. In the past you've suffered terrible lung infections & pneumonia lasting many months that several of us thought were going to kill you. You've recently had double cataract surgery and suffered at least one, maybe two, detached retinas. You wear glasses as thick as Coke bottles. Those are just the maladies you've told us about that I can remember off the top of my head.

 

Candidly Al, you aren't the poster child for a healthy 69 year old. Sure you've avoided CVD and cancer so far, but don't you think that some of your health challenges may have resulted from your severe / serious CR practice, and might have been avoided, while still keeping you free from CVD and cancer, by practicing a bit more moderation when it comes to CR, and at the same time focusing more on a healthy diet and lifestyle?

 

I'm honestly asking and hoping you'll answer. This isn't a rhetorical flourish. But I've asked you the same question before and you've never answered, which is an all-too-common "One and Done" posting style that makes it hard to have a dialog with you and a few other people around here... Please seriously consider seriously addressing the question this time. I really do want to understand better your thinking on this.

 

No    Physical Benefits - We like the way CR makes us feel here and now, including things like increased energy, stamina, heat tolerance etc., regardless of what it does for our long-term health and longevity.

 
[i feel I have much less muscle power and endurance with CR.]

 

Huh... That's puzzling. I thought I once heard someone say:
 
...You'll feel so good. People will tell you you'll feel lousy on CR. It is such nonsense. You'll feel so fantastic I wish I had time to get into it...
and
...You'll spend a lot more time on the golf course and tennis courts in the meantime [while waiting for the SENS longevity miracle to come along - DP]
 
Been playing much tennis lately Al? Apparently, your mileage may vary. Maybe you're just not taking your CR to the right level. Remember:
 
jRrXWY.gif
 
Sorry Michael. You asked for it. I actually couldn't decide which I liked best - that one, or this one or this one. Remember, final salvo...
 

Moderate    Psychological Benefits - While I and others have come to question the lifespan benefits of CR relative to a healthy, obesity-avoiding diet, many of us (including myself) have always appreciated the "calm abiding" demeanor and outlook on life that long-term, serious CR seems to evoke, perhaps as a result of reduced testosterone.

 
[How else could I have endured you guys' slings and arrows.]
 
Touche' ☺. And again, we all really appreciate your dedication to the diet, to the science of CR, and for your willingness to put up with what get's slung at you. Same goes for Michael ☺.
 
But have you considered the possibility that the psychological benefits of CR can be achieved through a healthy, obesity-avoiding diet that keeps you quite slim, but not emaciated, and maintains the hormonal milieu that is likely cause of the psychology benefits associated with CR? Of course everyone's mileage may vary, but I've found it to be the case for me, and maybe you would too.

No    Self and Others' Perception - We've built an identity around our practice of CR, both in our own eyes, and in the eyes of friends/families/colleagues. That, coupled with the reputation we've fostered as being smart and hyper-rational, makes it hard to acknowledge we may have been mistaken, particularly when friends, family and colleagues would love to be able to say "I told you so", when/if we back away from our practice of serious CR. If we back off, we fear we'll either be viewed as having caved, and therefore are weak-willed just like everybody else, or perhaps worse, as having been wrong, which nobody likes to admit to themselves or to others.

 

[i chose my health decisions on my present perceived value of them not what I thought of them previously.]

 

That is a healthy attitude. Don't dwell on past decisions or mistakes. Look at the expected value of various courses of action moving forward, rather than looking back.  
 
But in that regard, you then wrote:

Quite    Habit / Momentum - Many of us are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. Momentum keeps us going with our practice of CR, even when we have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be serving us (any longer).

 
[What do you think of your weight when you step on the scale every morning?  I have felt pleased with losing weight from what I previously thought was more than I wanted the weight to be.]

 

Now this one baffles me. First of all, your rating of "Quite Important" for Habit / Momentum was one of the highest in that category, second only to Saul. I get that, and would have guessed that to be the case for you. But doesn't this contradict what you just said about "I chose my health decisions on my present perceived value of them not what I thought of them previously", which seems to me to imply ignoring your past habits and the momentum you've built up over time. Which is it?
 
Then I'm confused about your comment about weight and stepping on the scale, assuming the first part about "you" (addressing the audience) is rhetorical.
 
I would think you'd be the first to endorse Michael's emphatic insistence that weight is irrelevant for CR benefits, and that it's all about the calories (I'll skip the mantra part...). I'm also confused by the fact that last I knew, you'd gained quite a bit of weight (10-12 lbs?) over the last few years, but here you talk about being pleased to see your weight dropping. You must be aware that weight loss at your age is not very healthy, especially for someone already thin and with your health challenges.
 

Minor    Sunk Costs - We figure we've been practicing CR for so long that whatever damage (if there is any damage) to our physical body and to our social relationships has already been done, and so we might as well stick it out at this point, in hopes it will pay off.

 
[Not higher, because I think that I have benefited and had a net gain from CR.]

 

Really. That too leaves me perplexed. See above.

 

I would have guessed that Sunk Costs (like Habit / Momentum) would be near the top of your list. You've invested a lot in CR. You've sacrificed spine/bones, your teeth, your muscles and potentially your eyes to the CR gods (or at least CR hasn't helped you avoid these debilitating maladies), and sadly, none of them are coming back, at least anytime soon.

 

It's pretty much "too little, too late" to fix most of those things via existing medicine or lifestyle changes. So you might as well stick with the CR program to the bitter end, in hopes that the story will have happy ending for you. Who knows, maybe 3D-printed spines, bone-mending nanobots, new teeth grown from stem cells, brand-new cloned bodies or mind uploading will come along soon enough to rescue you from your predicament. Otherwise, not much else you can do, so might as well stick with the program. Sunk costs...

 

No    Uniqueness / Exploration - We enjoy being different, or believe there is genuine value in exploring new possibilities, and pushing the envelope of human potential.

 
[Actually, this should be "Very" instead.  As a scientist, the desire to "Go where no human has gone before" burns brightly.]

 

Glad to hear you reconsidered your motivation on this one. I was really surprised when I saw your original response, since you are a scientist by profession and so devoted to both digging up the scientific literature on CR for all our benefits, and contributing to the science directly (e.g. in Luigi's study).

 

I apologize for not making the "contributing to the science" angle of this one more explicit in the description. I think that tripped a few people up, including you and Michael who both have now mentioned it your comments as an important motivating factor for you. It is for me too.

 

If we switched you and Michael to "Very Important" from "No Importance" and "Moderately Important" respectively, and then crunch the numbers again, that bumps this particular motivation, which we might call "Uniqueness / Exploration / Science" to the 4th most important motivation among long-timers. The new list of ranked motivations for practicing CR among long-timers, from most to least important, would now read:

  1. Healthspan Extension
  2. Physical Benefits
  3. Psychological Benefits
  4. Uniqueness / Exploration / Science
  5. Longevity Amplification
  6. Habit / Momentum
  7. CR Longevity Optimism
  8. Appearance, Self/Other Perception, Sunk Costs (the three virtually tied) 

That pretty much jibes with my intuition, although I can imagine #4 (Uniqueness / Exploration / Science) overtaking #3 (Psychological Benefits), if everyone retook the survey with the added understanding that #4 also includes "contributing to the science of CR and longevity".

 

So getting back to the idea of contributing to the science. As we're discussing over here, the scientist aren't exactly knocking down our door anymore to collaborate with us on CR science. And when they do, we can't even field enough subjects to get such a study off the ground. So some of us are taking the ball in our own hands, and investigating a citizen science project to measure heart rate variability (HRV). Since you yourself just pointed to HRV as an important biomarker suggesting the "success" of human CR, and were involved in HRV testing with Luigi years ago (I presume?) how about joining us to see just how much you've aged since Luigi's study, and how you're doing against peers your own age these days? Do we still look 20 years younger in this important metric? Or is time catching up with us?

 

Al, the dedication both you and Michael have show to investigating both the science and the personal impact of serious CR has been admirable and much appreciated by all of us. You in particular have served as somewhat of a "canary in the coal mine", at least for me - helping to shape my CR practice, and my personal perspective on CR's pros and cons, particularly as we enter our senior years.

 

I hope both you and Michael will join our HRV citizen science effort to help us to continue to explore the impact of CR and "CR-ish" practices on health and longevity.

 

--Dean

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Dean, thanks for your comments.  Wiki's description of a macrobiotic diet pretty well aligns with an Italian spending a lot of time in Italy eating fresh local foods. 

 

Luigi told me he was concerned about my emaciation and frailty.  My low Vmax, bone density and BMI were concerns.  I was not invited back either.  Luigi, like most of the CR investigators that I can think of do not practice CR, and seem to just practice a healthy lifestyle by and large.

 

I did not know that about Paul balking at doing OGTT.  Funny that there was just that exchange with Saul about him doing it.  I had no trouble, did okay, would do it again and do take the 300 g carbohydrates daily.

 

For the severe CR issue, I think a person who has a BMI of 22.4 and weighed 157 pounds pre-CR and gets down to presently 108 pounds practices severe CR.

 

Re the CR Optimism issue, I think that someone who has biomarkers that improved from less than desirable to excellent is likely to benefit avoiding things like cancer and heart disease and live longer due to CR.  I have practiced CR poorly in the early years and suffer for it.  My CR has been too severe in the past, after initially intending to not take it that far.  The best laid plans of mice and anorexia nervosa subjects.

 

I never said I was a CR poster child.  The people closer in my life have many times thought me to be close to death and I suppose that I have there many times.  My eye health problems started with the fifth grade and have little to do with my CR -- my surgeon said he has done the operation on young children, but my infections and bone health are serious problems that I hope to try to avoid suffering from in the future.  Sarcopenia is something I have little concern about since the first time I was near death I gained 45 pounds and was amazed that my muscles responded as though nothing at all had happened.  And I will leave the tennis to you.  It was always hard on my knees as was downhill skiing -- I am more of a cross-country kind of guy anyway.  But I hate the cold, no offense, always did.  In my teenage years I was in the surf in Tofino for an hour of so and turned blue, not even being able to button my shirt from the shivering, and this was in summer.  I do a moderate amount of walking and always walk up and down the stairs including the 19 flights of stairs in our building once per day.

 

I agree that my responses to the survey are at times contradictory.

 

Re the HRV citizen science effort, I am not a cardiologist so wonder if the below ECG data pertain:

 

18/01/13 ECG: Sinus bradycardia with 1st degree AV block http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-degree_atrioventricular_blockhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20017075
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On 18/01/13 Nov. 8, 2002 my ECG said:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Vent. Rate 57 55 bpm;
PR interval 218 216 ms;
QRS duration 86 100 ms;
QT/QRc 412/401 400/382 ms;
P-R-T axes 72 24 56===76 75 71
Sinus bradycardia with 1st degree AV block===Sinus bradycardia with 1st degree AV block
Otherwise normal ECG?===Otherwise normal ECG?

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HEllo

About what AlPater said:    Dean said: "Luigi eats a very healthy, very mediterranean diet", but when I spoke with him he described his diet as a macrobiotic diet.

 

 

I think that the two things are not excluding each other. For some times in the past I have followed some macrobiotic cooking classes and also taught Taiji classes to groups of macrobiotics people. I don't consider myself a macrobiotics person, but I have to recognize that the macrobiotics diet and the mediterranean diet have many points of contact.

I think that historically macrobiotics has many merits:emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, fermented foods,avoiding white sugars and meat, etc.

The BIg difference is that the macrobiotics is not science based, often in some context macrobiotics teachers and followers are against science-mind approach.

I think that Luigi Fontana could be attracted by the philosophy of macrobiotics: essentially the philosophy of yin and yang, for which every food could be yin or yang in rispect to another. The idea is to avoid extreme yin (for example sugar) and extreme yang (for example meat, eggs) foods.

at confirming my idea Luigi is between the founders together with another Doctor, Dr. Franco Berrino, a noted Italian epidemiologist, now  retired, an association intitled "la grande via" or "The Great Way" http://lagrandevia.it/la-grande-via/ . This association promotes three ways for health: 1) the way of food  2) The way of movemnet 3) The way of meditation   -but with a science based approach.

 

I have to go now -it is breakfast time for my children-, If someone is interested I can after search a presenteation where Dr. Berrino talks about the similarities between macrobiotics and mediterranean diets

Edited by Cloud

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Sounds like I am overdoing it relatively. Too thin bad choices. I take it a step further with cr days and binge days, formal rotation. Motivation besides improving health prospects is mainly everything tastes so good and I can eat way more than everyone else if most of mine is leaves. If you love eating for hours, which I think I do more than you, cr is not cr at all. It's being thin and giving up whatever makes the scale go up.

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