Transhumanists and immortalists hope to find a magic bullet—pardon the metaphor—that will let them live for hundreds of years. One potential hope, not eating much, seems to have been dashed in monkey research. From the LA Times story:

For 75 years, scientists have documented a curious fact: If rats and mice eat 30% to 40% fewer calories than normal, they live 15% to 40% longer than is typical for their species. The observation has offered humans hope that our own maximum life span could one day be extended, enabling people to live well past their 100th birthday.

A new study of monkeys pours cold water on that notion — while at the same time offering some heartening health news. Among a colony of rhesus monkeys tracked for more than 20 years, animals whose calories were restricted to 30% below normal lived no longer, on average, than monkeys whose eating was unrestricted, scientists found. But the diet did offer clear benefits, notably in warding off cancer.

It appears that “we are seeing a separation between what we call ‘health span’ from ‘life span’ — they are not hand in hand,” said Rafael de Cabo, an experimental gerontologist at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore and senior author of the study.

Healthier, eh? Okay.  But is starving yourself gaunt really living?

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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