No subject has inspired more hype and wishful thinking through the ages than life extension. Not surprisingly, our inner skeptics tend to counsel extreme caution when the talk turns to anti-aging elixirs. For many of us after a certain age, the skepticism is reinforced each morning with that first grimacing glance in the bathroom mirror, showing once again that no matter how many vitamins we've popped, cups of ginkgo tea we've downed, or miles we've jogged, we are melting, melting—oh, what a world!
But our mirrors are no longer sound counselors. Scientists have firmly established that the rate of aging is malleable, and now a well-founded quest for drugs that brake aging is rapidly unfolding. Peace, inner cynics: The compounds under study won't confer immortality. But they promise to usher in a new era of preventive medicine, one in which novel medicines arrive that can delay or avert just about everything that goes wrong with us as we age— dementia, cancer, osteoporosis, and, yes, jowls too—in the same way that medicines that lower blood pressure and cholesterol fend off heart disease today. That would change the practice of medicine, and our lives, more than any other biomedical advance on the horizon.
"Improvements in technology, particularly the ability to sequence DNA quickly, have made the serious study of ageing possible. All this is carefully chronicled in "The Youth Pill" by David Stipp, a former medical writer for the Wall Street Journal and an able guide to this young science. His book draws readers down the blind alleys and experimental dead ends that are an inevitable part of scientific research, as well as explaining the advances that have been made and the hunches that led to them."
"An engaging account of the burgeoning field dubbed gerontology-the study of aging and of medicinal tools to block its unwanted effects"
--Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA deputy commissioner, Wall Street Journal
"The recent headway made in anti-ageing is exhilarating (and a little unsettling) in its implications. What Stipp shows is that the pursuit of endless youth is anything but a futile pipe dream; it is no longer a Wildean fantasy, but an imminent reality."
--The Financial Times
"From the title of the book, I expected hype about resveratrol or some other miracle pill; but instead it is a nuanced, levelheaded, entertaining, informative account of the history and current state of longevity research. It makes that research come alive by telling stories about the people involved, the failures and setbacks, and the agonizingly slow process of teasing out the truth with a series of experiments that often seem to contradict each other."
--Dr. Harriet Hall, Science-Based Medicine
"From the history of attitudes and philosophies on old age and various nostrums that have been pitched to the hard science of the cellular mechanisms of aging, genetic studies, and dietary variables and finally to what is becoming the big biotech business of life extension, Stipp covers the field admirably...This tour de force is recounted with insight, authority, and a somewhat breezy style reminiscent of the best of Natalie Angier's works."
--Gregg Sapp, Evergreen State College, Library Journal
"With wit, newsiness, and gingerly optimism Stipp leads the reader through laboratory assaults on the prime suspects of age-related decline: free radicals (and their nemeses, antioxidants); genes implicated in the aging process; telomeres (snippets of DNA that keep chromosomes from unraveling prematurely during cell division); and many more...a lively survey."
--Curt Suplee, AARP Magazine
"Stipp does a great job of explaining the scientific research and why it’s important with humorous qualifiers like “mom-wowing gerontogene discovery.”
--The Daily Beast
"Stipp's experiences as a popular Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine writer have blessed him with a singular style, crafting complex explanations of scientific discoveries (and failures) into eminently enjoyable reading. Whether or not the notion of living energetically to the age of 150 appeals, Stipp makes the research compelling."
--Donna Chavez, Booklist
"...a well written and documented journey through all the theories, animal studies and human observations since the 1900's about the attempts to find the fountain of youth...Mr. Stipp delivers a detailed exploration of the complex quest for youth with humor and thoroughness. He entertains with details of intrigue and one-up-manship in the research world as well as everything you ever wanted to know about the naked mole-rat."
--Suzan M. Streichenwein, M.D., FAPM, Medical Front-Page