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TIME The Science of Living Longer

TIME The Science of Living Longer

TIME The Science of Living Longer

Living to be 100 years old! As that possibility becomes more and more common, it brings with it both the excitement of longevity and the anxiety of just how to extend physical, neurological, and even financial health. Now, the editors at TIME address these riveting and complex realities in their special edition on the science of living longer. Begin with the body, exploring “The Science of Youth;” how to “Age More Slowly, All Over;” “23 Surprising Things That May Extend Your Life;” and even “Long-Life Secrets.” Then, consider the most recent powerful breakthroughs and insights about the mind. Learn the ways in which a long, healthy life is “A Matter of Mindfulness,” plus: “How to Give Your Brain a Workout,” “How to Live to be 100,” and to keep in mind that “It’s Never Too Late.” Last, explore the complex and vibrant subject of life itself with a practical look at “The Best Places for Aging Well,” the challenge of “Paying for a Long Life,” and valuable “Advice from Gurus.” With the latest scientific data and insight made clear and useful, this TIME special edition goes to the heart of what it takes and means to live a significantly longer life that is both healthy and happy.

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United States
Meredith Corporation

in this issue

6 min.
the new age of much older age

WE LIVE IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES. AND THANKS to medical and scientific advances that even a generation ago would have sounded like science fiction, our lives are getting longer. An American born today has a projected average life span 20 full years longer than one born in 1925, and we are, as a society, growing old. In fact, the older population has been experiencing growth since about 2012. And by 2035, adults age 65 and older are expected to outnumber children under 18 for the first time. Long life is a remarkable achievement. But our aging society presents challenges every bit as fundamental and pervasive as climate change and globalization. If we, as a society, address the reality of longevity, we can avoid a crisis altogether—and improve the quality of our lives…

1 min.
chapter one

The latest research from anti-aging scientists is upending the way we think about getting older. No longer is it being treated as a dreadful inevitability but instead as a puzzle that can be solved—as a disease with a cure. That’s because cutting-edge science is beginning to make it possible to replace worn-out tissue, and there’s tantalizing evidence that aging might someday soon be reversible. Plus, if none of that works, there are also scientists experimenting with ways to quite literally pluck out aging cells like they would gray hairs. We might not be able to live forever (yet), but thanks to mind-boggling advances in science, we can begin to expect to live longer and—perhaps most important—live better too.…

11 min.
the science of youth

IF THERE WERE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS DEDICATED to high-achieving rodents, Mouse UT2598 would deserve a mention. The average life span for a mouse is 2.3 years—so having lived 1,259 days, or about 3.45 years, before her death in 2010, Mouse UT2598 had an improbably long life. In fact, she had a shot at beating the record for longest-lived, which stands at about 4. Translating that to a human life span, she hovered around the centennial mark, but on the outside, she looked no different from her much younger brethren. Her fur was glossy black, she was lean, and while she was a bit on the small side, she was scrappy and surprisingly active as she explored, sniffed and poked around her cage at the University of Texas Health Science Center…

1 min.
pushing the limits of longevity

1925 Turn-of-the-century health regulations, requiring improvements such as clean water and better sewage disposal, curb outbreaks in the U.S. that are particularly deadly to children. 1955 Thanks to vaccines for smallpox, diphtheria, polio and other highly contagious—and often lethal—viruses, average life expectancy goes up. 1985 Public-health campaigns on heart health and the dangers of smoking reduce heart-disease deaths. Medical advances also help extend life. 2015 Improved drugs, diagnostic tests, surgeries, disease treatments and other medical advances reduce fatality rates for cancers and other illnesses. 2045 Regenerative medicine may interrupt aging. If not, conservative estimates put life expectancy at 81 as high obesity rates offset other gains.…

3 min.
age more slowly—all over

AS SUDDEN AS AGING CAN FEEL, no one wakes up in a 90-year-old body without getting some warning signs first. But if you know what’s coming, you can plan to give certain parts extra care early on. Already in the throes of aging? (Trick question. We all are.) Says Ronan Factora, a geriatric-medicine expert at the Cleveland Clinic, “You’re never too old to do anything to help to maintain wellness of your body.” 40 EYES Your eyes begin “like a multifocal camera,” says Rachel Bishop of the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute, but by age 40, range of sight declines. To prevent eye disease, don’t smoke, and wear sunglasses to keep out UV radiation; sun exposure and smoking accelerate cataract formation. 30 LUNGS Lung function begins dropping 1% a year at 30…

1 min.
the best diet isn’t what you think

YOU PROBABLY ASSOCIATE THE WORD DIET WITH weight-loss schemes and tasteless food. But your diet is everything you eat or drink: good or bad, healthy or indulgent. And when it comes to how long you’ll live, many experts say, nothing matters more. “Approximately 25% of your risk of death is due to genetics,” says Luigi Fontana, a physician and co-director of the longevity research program at Washington University in St. Louis. Of the remaining 75%, diet is likely the most important factor—even more so than exercise, Fontana says. That your DNA alone is not your destiny should come with some comfort—after all, you can’t change your genes, but you can control what you put in your mouth. But it also means that if your diet resembles the average American’s, you have some…