Jul 29, 2017

Manipulate metabolic health to live longer

Our Expert Voices conversation on DIY biohacking.

People in 2040 will be manipulating themselves and their gene expression across four general categories: genetic disease, vanity, physical and cognitive performance, and metabolic health and longevity.

The first three categories will align with an individual's innate genetics and cultural preferences. Clearly, if one carries hereditary disease markers for something like cystic fibrosis or Huntington's, those genes will be eliminated, akin to vaccination at birth now.

Appearance will be controlled from the genetic level, but instead of converging into a single, universal beauty standard with the same set of gene manipulations, the multitude of subcultures today — with their own dress, hairstyles, and aesthetic standards — will further differentiate at the genetic level. Similarly for physical and cognitive performance standards, each subculture will optimize for different, and likely antithetical, outcomes. Using sport as an example, powerlifters will choose to up-regulate fast twitch muscles, while marathon runners will further optimize for slow twitch muscles.

Metabolism is how our body's cells produce energy, and longevity is heavily predicated on the efficiency of our metabolism.

Bottom line: Manipulation of genes controlling central metabolic regulators like IGF-1, FOXO3 and sirtuins will allow us to live longer. Biohackers today are already targeting some of these pathways through ketosis and fasting.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

In photos: How coronavirus is impacting cities around the world

Revellers take part in the "Plague Doctors Procession" in Venice on Tuesday night during the usual period of the Carnival festivities, most of which have been cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has spread from China to infect people in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, killing over 2,700 people.

The big picture: Most of the 80,000 COVID-19 infections have occurred in mainland China. But cases are starting to surge elsewhere. By Wednesday morning, the worst affected countries outside China were South Korea (1,146), where a U.S. soldier tested positive to the virus, Italy (332), Japan (170), Iran (95) and Singapore (91). Just Tuesday, new cases were confirmed in Switzerland, Croatia and Algeria.

See photosArrow2 hours ago - World

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.