But to test the same treatment in humans, we would have to conduct clinical trials for decades, which would be very difficult and very expensive. So the search is on for chemicals in the blood or cells that could reveal how fast a person is aging. Quite a few “aging clocks” have been developed that purport to show a person’s biological age rather than their chronological age. But none of them are reliable enough to test antiaging drugs — yet.

When I leave to head back at my own slightly less fancy but still beautiful hotel, I was handed a gift bag. It’s filled with anti-aging supplements, a box with a note about what an AI longevity assistant contains, and even a regenerative toothpaste. At first glance, I have absolutely no idea if any of this is based on solid science. They may be nothing more than a placebo.

Ultimately, of all the supplements, drugs, and various treatments promoted here, exercise is the one most likely to work based on the evidence we have so far. It goes without saying, but regular exercise is the key to a healthy life. Exercises designed to strengthen our muscles appear to be particularly beneficial for maintaining our health, especially later in life. They may even help keep our brains young.

I’ll be writing a related piece about the conference when I get home, so if your curiosity has been piqued, stay tuned for that next week! In the meantime, here’s some related stuff:

  • I wrote about what clock aging can and cannot tell us about our biological age earlier this year.
  • Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid. The idea is that by rejuvenating the immune system, we could protect vulnerable older people from serious illness.
  • Longevity scientists are working to extend the lives of domestic dogs. Animals and their owners will benefit, but the ultimate goal is to extend human lifespans, as I wrote in August.
  • Saudi royal family could become one of the biggest investors in anti-aging research, based on this piece by my colleague Antonio Regalado. The family’s Hevolution Foundation plans to spend a billion dollars a year to understand how aging occurs and how to extend healthy life spans.
  • While we are talking about funding, most of the investment in this area has been made in Altos Labs—a company that focuses on ways to fight aging by reprogramming cells to a more youthful state. The company has received financial backing from some of the richest people in the world, including Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner, Antonio explains.

From all over the internet

An experimental Alzheimer’s drug appears to slow cognitive decline. This is big news, given decades of failed attempts to cure the disease. But the full details of the study haven’t been published yet, and it’s hard to know what impact the drug might have on the lives of people with the disease. (STATITE)

A bionic pancreas can successfully treat type 1 diabetes, according to the results of a clinical study. A device about the size of a credit card, worn on the abdomen, can continuously monitor a person’s blood sugar and deliver insulin when needed. (MIT Technology Review)

We are approaching a dementia epidemic in US prisons. The number of elderly inmates is growing, and the US penitentiary system lacks the resources to care for them. (Scientific American)

Unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to get monkeypox than those receiving the Jynneos vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the organization does not yet know how the vaccine affects the severity of the disease in those who feel unwell, or whether there is a difference in protection for people given fractional doses. (The New York Times $)

Don’t call them mini brains! In last week’s review, I looked at organoids – tiny clumps of cells designed to mimic full-fledged organs. They were mainly used for research, but we started implanting them in animals to treat diseases, and humans are next. Perhaps the most famous organoids are those made from brain cells called minibrains. A group of leading scientists in the field say this mistakenly means that the cells are capable of performing complex mental functions, such as the ability to think or feel pain. They ask that we use the less catchy but more accurate term “neural organoid” instead. (Nature)

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!

– Jess

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