Scientist Aubrey De Grey Claims Humans Can Live to 1,000

The anti-aging expert claims that the secrets of eternal youth are just a few scientific discoveries away.

Most of the time, when you see a man with a scraggly foot-long beard muttering about humans’ potential to live to the age of 1,000, you’d toss him a dollar or two and back slowly away. But when that man is Cambridge-educated biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Gray, you might just want to listen to what he has to say.

Dr. de Gray is working to develop a cure for the disease he calls “senescence” – which the rest of us might refer to simply as “the aging process.” In Dr. de Gray’s mind, aging is not inevitable: He attributes the process to seven factors, which include the accumulation of “junk” within and outside of the cells, cell loss, and cancer-causing cell mutation. Dr. de Gray believes that, if each of these specific areas can be addressed, and solutions can be found to keep the cells healthy and functioning, there is no end in sight to the lifespan of the average human being.

“It’s a repair and maintenance approach to extending the functional life span of a human body,” Dr. de Grey told the Washington Post. “It’s just like maintaining the functional life span of a classic car, or a house.” As long as we all get our regular tune-ups, he claims, our bodies will stay in service for hundreds of years.

Do Dr. de Gray’s extreme views make him the laughingstock of the science world? Surprisingly, no: In 2005, a prestigious scientific publication offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who could definitively disprove Dr. de Gray’s theories. Though many came forward, no one was able to provide the necessary evidence to discredit his anti-aging philosophy.

Sure, it sounds out there to us, but who knows? A hundred years ago, putting a man on the moon was just a fantasy. Now that we’ve got him there, maybe we can give him an extra thousand years or so to poke around.

Learn more. (Washington Post)

Want to judge Dr. de Gray’s sanity for yourself? Check out his book, Ending Aging, or watch his TED Talk (below).

From the archives - originally published November 2007, reposted with updates