For decades, we have been seeing advertisements of so-called magical creams and products that will reverse all signs of aging. If you visit any supermarket, you will easily find shelves full of anti-wrinkle products. According to P&S Intelligence, the anti-aging industry is believed to blow up to an amount of more than $300 billion.
With people seeking a cure for aging woes from wrinkles, crow’s feet, and sagging facial skin to balding, the anti-aging industry has become a goldmine. Owing to this, researchers are going above and beyond to not only remove aging signs; they are looking for ways to slow the aging process itself.
New England Centenarian Study
Dr. Thomas Perls, a geriatrician and director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston Medical Center says, “The idea of slowing down aging, and decreasing risk for aging-related diseases, is tremendously on the minds of a large group of people,”
Perls is the lead researcher at the New England Centenarian Study; with 600 seniors over age 105 and 200 “supercentenarians” over age 110 participating in the study. This is one of the greatest studies on anti-aging that have been conducted until now in the world. The study has not only analyzed the lifestyle of the participants, but it has also discovered the strong genetic link in certain families with members that seem to age very gracefully.
Perls believes that anti-aging therapies could be developed if the genomes of these people were sequenced to reveal hidden potent proteins or drugs. While studying the lifestyle factors influencing life expectancy, the study collected data on diet, religion and wealth of each participant. The study has hopes to discover the mechanisms by which these particular people are doing what they’re doing naturally. “It’s going to be many, many genes, and the right combination associated with getting to these extreme ages”, says Perls.
The secret behind each senior’s longevity
When the seniors participating in the study were questioned about what they believed to be the secret behind their longevity, each had a different answer. Some believe their secret to be a healthy diet, while some say they owe it to their belief in god. And one senior even stated the secret is a glass of whiskey every night. And strangely enough, according to Perls none of them seemed to be overly concerned about looking old or having wrinkles. In contrast, a recent study in JAMA Dermatology questioned above 500 patients looking for cosmetic procedures about what stirred their interest in getting the procedures. Most of them had similar answers. Appearing good professionally in a youth-oriented workforce and in social media photos were the top answers.
Lasers and Lights for anti-aging
Cosmetic laser surgeon Dr. Dianne Quibell of MD TLC in Wellesley states a well-known fact “We’re in the selfie generation”. Her patients frequently visit her office with a desire to look younger and fresher for forthcoming social events such as a child’s impending wedding or a class reunion. “If they’re going in two weeks, we don’t have a lot of options; if they give me three months lead time, that helps”, says Dr. Dianne.
In the past, patients had to go to far lengths to achieve a younger look. Getting advanced surgeries with lengthy downtime and staggering costs were the only choice back then. But thanks to newer emerging technologies, preparing for a wedding no longer has to extend to radical lengths such as going under a knife. In the past decade, laser technologies have evolved drastically; from ablative CO2 lasers, fractional lasers, erbium lasers to micro needling.
And now the latest technology with minimal downtime is the radio-frequency ablation, which uses radio-frequency waves on facial skin to increase elasticity by stimulating increased collagen production. Not only does this treatment have minimal downtime, but the pain is also minimal with the overall procedure being completed with 30 minutes. Perhaps the only downside is the cost, which starts from $300 for a single treatment. Additionally, you may require up to 3-4 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart to get your desired result.
How to achieve longevity?
All these aesthetic treatments are targeted towards appearing younger, but what about living longer? Is there any treatment or laser that could possibly make you cross your 100th birthday as healthy and youthful as you were on your 30th birthday? Although there is no guaranteed method to achieve this, there are some promising researches that show employing calorie restriction could be the solution. Studies have shown that reducing calorie intake could significantly prolong lifespan. Cutting down on 30% of normal calorie intake could add decades to your life, according to a recent study.
The maximum human lifespan is reported to be 122, but would people be willing to go to such extreme lengths and starve themselves their whole life to live so long? Most would say no. Thankfully, there are other ongoing researches on paths to longevity. NAD+, CD 60 oil and HGH supplements studies are showing realistic results on slowing the process of aging. Although not yet approved for use, in a few years we might have these supplements as a remedy for aging.