View the archive of my 90-minute class and discover the Five Things I’ve Learned about scientists’ remarkable recent efforts to slow aging and improve our chances of a healthy late life.

I’m Gordon Lithgow, a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, located just north of San Francisco, CA. I very much hope you will join me for upcoming live class, Five Things I’ve Learned about How to Live Better Longer.

The Buck’s mission is to end the threat of chronic diseases of aging for this and future generations. My work there puts me in regular contact with scientists around the world who are making exciting inroads into efforts to slow aging or improve the chances of a healthy late life. I’m eager to share with you the implications of some of our most important discoveries.

Let this be the first thing I’ve learned about how to live better longer:

Health disparities usually come from wealth disparities. Where you live matters.

I know this first-hand because grew up and was educated in Scotland (yes, I still have the accent!). Even as a child, it was clear that health disparities were a major issue. Simply put, wealthy people enjoyed good health and poorer people didn’t.  

I got my PhD in genetics in Glasgow where people’s lives are particularly cut short (“The Glasgow Effect”). Life expectancy (that is, on your day of birth, how long you are expected to live) is dramatically different between richer and poorer districts of the city. For males in Glasgow, life expectancy at birth is just over 73 years. Here in Marin County, California, men can expect to live nearly 82 years – that’s nine years difference!

In our time together, I’ll get into some of the reasons behind this depressing disparity. I’ll also share some of the thrilling results of my work at the Buck, where researchers in my lab recapitulate diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in tiny nematode worms and help move potential treatments into mouse models. We work to uncover genes and discover small molecules that promote molecular stability, something that declines with age. We are also studying numerous “natural” compounds for their effects on healthspan and lifespan.

It’s thrilling work, and our research has immediate implications for how and why we age. Some of our scientists are trying to understand why aging seems to be very slow in other species. Surely, we can gain insights from long-lived creatures such as clams and naked mole rats; we can also learn from physicians who study human centenarians to confer the same longevity to all of us. It’s gratifying to see potential treatments based on their efforts already being tested in rigorous clinical trials.

We’ll talk about all of this during our time together. Our conversation is also sure to include these other essential things we’ve recently learned about how to live better longer:   

  • Denial is not a sustainable strategy. Aging is not theoretical, it happens – but it’s never too late to pay attention and take action.
  • It’s important to understand that aging and disease are intertwined. At this point, much of what goes on in adult medicine is “whack a mole.”
  • Stress is not always a bad actor.
  • Aging is plastic. There’s a lot you can do to shape it. (Genetics do not equal destiny).

There’s much to share! Please join me and the Buck’s own Kris Rebbilot for this exciting class.

  • Gordon Lithgow