Much research interest, and recently even commercial interest, has been predicated on the assumption that reasonably closely-related species – humans and mice, for example – should, in principle, respond to ageing-retarding interventions with an increase in maximum lifespan roughly proportional to their control lifespan (that without the intervention). Here, it is argued that the best-studied life-extending manipulations of mice are examples of a category that is highly unlikely to follow this rule, and more likely to exhibit only a similar absolute increase in maximum lifespan from one species to the next, independent of the species’ control lifespan. That category – reduction in dietary calories or in the organism’s ability to metabolize or sense them – is widely recognized to extend lifespan as an evolutionary adaptation to transient starvation in the wild, a situation which alters the organism’s optimal partitioning of resources between maintenance and reproduction. What has been generally overlooked is that the extent of the evolutionary pressure to maintain adaptability to a given duration of starvation varies with the frequency of that duration, something which is – certainly for terrestrial animals and less directly for others – determined principally by the weather. The pattern of starvation that the weather imposes is suggested here to be of a sort that will tend to cause all terrestrial animals, even those as far apart phylogenetically as nematodes and mice, to possess the ability to live a similar maximum absolute (rather than proportional) amount longer when food is short than when it is plentiful. This generalization is strikingly in line with available data, leading (given the increasing implausibility of further extending human mean but not maximum lifespan in the industrialized world) to the biomedically and commercially sobering conclusion that interventions which manipulate caloric intake or its sensing are unlikely ever to confer more than 2 or 3 years’ increase in human mean or maximum lifespan at the most.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.