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  • Matthew Ahlers

Increasing The Maximum Lifespan of Humans

The age-old question of how to cheat death has vexed humans for centuries. However, modern day science has shed light on the possibilities of increasing the maximum lifespan. The general consensus among Americans today is that longevity comes from exercise, a healthy diet, and practicing good self-care. Scientific evidence supports the notion that physical activity contributes to increased longevity [4], and a nutritious diet is associated with a remarkable 20% decrease in mortality [5]. While these facts are widely known, the intriguing prospect arises – could newly-developed pharmaceuticals pave the way for individuals to surpass the centenarian mark (living past 100)?

Enter Rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug for cancer and kidney transplant treatments recently approved by the FDA. Studies on mice revealed that Rapamycin could extend their lifespan by up to 60%, accompanied by improvements in muscle strength and motor coordination [1]. Notably, this drug has consistently demonstrated its longevity-enhancing effects across various model organisms, including yeast, worms, and flies [2]. However, some caution is advised, as the potential side effects include infection, the development of lymphoma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, mouth ulcers, and the loss of kidney function [3]. Some sources speculate whether certain side effects are influenced by other factors [2]. 

Yet one main issue revolving around drugs that increase longevity is that it is difficult to accurately measure their effects in humans as there are so many factors at play. Such studies would likely have to involve many subjects and last entire lifespans [3]. Instead, there currently is a crucial clinical trial of the drug’s effects on man's best friend: dogs [6]. Overall, this fascinating drug shows great promise, underscoring the need for further research to unravel its secrets and weigh the delicate balance between its benefits and potential side effects.

Edited By: Eric Wang

Designed By: Heiley Tai


[1] Bitto, A., Ito, T. K., Pineda, V. V., LeTexier, N. J., Huang, H. Z., Sutlief, E., Tung, H., Vizzini, N., Chen, B., Smith, K., Meza, D., Yajima, M., Beyer, R. P., Kerr, K. F., Davis, D. J., Gillespie, C. H., Snyder, J. M., Treuting, P. M., & Kaeberlein, M. (2016). Transient rapamycin treatment can increase lifespan and healthspan in middle-aged mice. eLife, 5, e16351.

[2] Blagosklonny M. V. (2023). Towards disease-oriented dosing of rapamycin for longevity: does aging exist or only age-related diseases?. Aging, 15(14), 6632–6640.

[3] ​​Janin, A. (2023, May 1). Can a Kidney Transplant Drug Keep You From Aging? The Wall Street Journal.

[4] Reimers, C. D., Knapp, G., & Reimers, A. K. (2012). Does physical activity increase life expectancy? A review of the literature. Journal of aging research, 2012, 243958.

[5] Lubell, J. (2023, February 16). Diet patterns that can boost longevity, cut chronic disease | American Medical Association. American Medical Association; AMA.,white%20people%2C%20the%20study%20says

[6] Anthes, E. (2023). Could a Drug Give Your Pet More Dog Years? The New York Times.



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