Harvard genetics professor ignites debate with assertion on reversing aging in canines

In a groundbreaking yet controversial announcement, renowned Harvard geneticist and longevity researcher David Sinclair claimed the creation of the first pill designed to reverse aging in dogs, stirring widespread skepticism within the scientific community.

Short Summary:

  • David Sinclair’s bold claim about reversing aging in dogs.
  • Outrage and skepticism from the scientific community.
  • Lack of published research to support Sinclair’s assertion.

In a recent assertion, David Sinclair, a leading Harvard geneticist and researcher in longevity, announced what he described as a revolutionary breakthrough: the first pill proven to reverse aging in dogs. What caught the scientific community off guard was not just the claim itself but the delivery method—a soft, beef-flavored chew.

Sinclair shared this news with his 438,000 followers on X (formerly known as Twitter), directing them to Animal Bioscience’s website to purchase the product. Animal Bioscience, a company founded by Sinclair and run by his brother Nick Sinclair, highlighted the supplement in a press release, stating it was “proven to slow the effects of aging.”

This announcement triggered a wave of criticism and skepticism from other scientists, generating a heated debate online. It also brought the matter to the upcoming board meeting of the Academy for Health & Lifespan Research, an organization of leading experts in the field chaired by Sinclair himself. The controversy centers on the absence of published scientific research to back up Sinclair’s claims. Despite being available on the market for over a year, there is no evidence that the compounds in Animal Bioscience’s supplements slow or reverse aging in dogs.

Sinclair is no stranger to the spotlight. He is widely recognized due to his bestselling book “Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To,” which introduced the broader public to aging science and life extension ideologies. In his subsequent work, “Lifespan II,” he intends to offer more practical advice on maintaining health and longevity.

His fame in the longevity sphere also stems from appearances on high-profile platforms such as Joe Rogan’s and Peter Diamandis’ podcasts. Despite his celebrity status, Sinclair continues to conduct groundbreaking research at Harvard. He is known for practical applications of partial cellular reprogramming, a technique he has demonstrated to regenerate crushed optic nerves in mice and non-human primates.

Sinclair’s “Information Theory of Aging” is a keystone of his work. This theory posits that epigenetic information—the chemical instructions governing DNA expression—degrades over time due to cellular stress and damage. He suggests that a “backup copy” of this epigenetic information exists and could potentially be used to restore cells to a youthful state.

“Epigenetic changes that disrupt gene expression patterns as we age are driven by cell stress and damage, such as DNA breaks,” Sinclair explained. “This process causes cells to lose their function and identity, to become ‘exdifferentiated,’ and this may be a cause of many of the changes seen during aging, including some major age-related diseases.”

Despite all the enthusiasm, Sinclair’s claim has significantly disrupted the community. Last week, he resigned as President of the Academy for Health & Lifespan Research after fellow scientist Matt Kaeberlein criticized his behavior as “personally and professionally unacceptable.” Sinclair’s resignation was announced by co-founder Nir Barzilai, who expressed regret over the circumstances that led to Sinclair’s departure.

David Sinclair’s personal regimen further stokes public intrigue. He maintains a strict diet and lifestyle approach to maintain youthfulness, incorporating practices like intermittent fasting, avoiding sugar, and taking supplements like resveratrol. Sinclair contends that these habits contribute to his biological age being ten years younger than his chronological age.

“I think a lot of us think that when you’re in your twenties, you’re impervious to aging and illness, and what we now know is that the epigenetic clock starts ticking from birth,” Sinclair told GQ. He regularly consumes polyphenols, found in foods like berries and green tea, to bolster his health.

Sinclair’s opinions on aging and longevity continue to spark debate and inspire many. He’s optimistic that advancements in aging research will one day allow us to significantly reverse the aging process. “I don’t see any reason why that won’t be possible,” he told Fortune. “It’s just a question of when.”

His research aligns with broader longevity strategies, which emphasize lifestyle changes and interventions targeting the hallmarks of aging. While his assertions have left the community divided, Sinclair’s contributions to the study of aging and his advocacy for life extension remain influential.

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