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A daily dose of rapamycin
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Vee26
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Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:07 am      Reply with quote
I read this article in the Guardian today and thought it was quite poinant...


"In Jeanette Winterson's excellent novel The Stone Gods, which is partly set in the not-too-distant future, the protagonist, Billie, refuses to get herself genetically "fixed". She continues to age naturally while everyone else fixes at 25 or younger, creating a frighteningly bland world of smooth foreheads, bright eyes, gravity-defying breasts and perfect smiles.

This dystopia may be closer than Winterson expected: the journal Nature reported last week that a drug, rapamycin, extended the life of mice by up to 14%, even if it was administered at the mouse equivalent of 60 years old. The scientists involved suggest that they may have an effective anti-ageing drug fit for human consumption in 10 years (at present it suppresses immunity severely and has been linked to cancer).

Even without considering the consequences for an over-populated planet, this is not a good thing. Our obsession with how old we look has already reached ludicrous heights: on the underground there are posters of a smiling young woman, perky breasts virtually floating in her vest, captioned: "Get ready for summer ... with cosmetic surgery", along with others for teeth-whitening, non-surgical enhancements and weight loss.

We spend more money on cosmetic surgery in the UK than anywhere in Europe and well over £16bn a year on beauty and anti-ageing products. We rarely see older people (particularly women) on television and if we do, they rarely look like normal older people - hence the witless cruelty that erupted when Susan Boyle appeared on Britain's Got Talent, and probably why award-winning choreographer Arlene Phillips (66) has just been replaced by singer Alesha Dixon (30) as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

The older women who do turn up aren't ageing like anyone else: Madonna is 50, Kylie Minogue is 41 and Jennifer Aniston is 40, and yet their cheeks are peachier now than mine have ever been. Surgery and Botox are rarely owned up to - neither the fact that luscious hair extensions are a matter of course for most celebrities (it must be so uncomfortable to be famous: unable to feel your face and an itchy weave glued to your scalp).

We're not stupid and we know that, at the very least, looking like a modern celebrity, male or female, takes hours and pots of cash, but none the less many of us are not above taking to the scalpel, syringe or home treatment kit to look "better". Let's not forget, as well, that while they are presented as equivalent to a haircut, these are radical and often dangerous things to do to the body.

If you do get the pillow-faced look that's in vogue, you don't look better, you just look like someone who's had fillers in your cheeks and lips, injections in your brow, and perhaps a tiny little face-lift. And maybe some microdermasion to refresh the skin, or a chemical peel for dewiness.

If you've really got money to burn you can get the skin on your neck dealt with, and plump up that dead giveaway, the backs of your hands, before starting on your chest, buttocks and stomach. But you still won't actually be younger, which is why if rapamycin ever works, it will be a tremendous, terrifying hit.

In the west, we have an ageing population who now have a choice: to accept that they are getting older and then get on with something more interesting, or to obsess about how to look younger. With their significant spending and political power, can't we make ageing more aspirational?

In 30 years' time, when I will be nearly 60, will my daughter want, as Big Brother's Sophie recently admitted, to start having Botox when she's 21, so that she can immobilise her face, and fix herself as forever young?

Will I be a lone wrinkly surrounded by expressionless clones, for whom a touch of surgery and daily dose of rapamycin will be as acceptable as getting your teeth straightened and highlights done is now?"

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LLucy
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Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:28 am      Reply with quote
Interesting article. It's worth noting though that the author writes, "In 30 years' time, when I will be nearly 60..." - meaning she is in her late 20's now. Pretty easy to say you won't mind looking older when you are still young, wouldn't you say? Wink She might have a different viewpoint 30 years from now. Or even 15. Particularly if menopause negatively affects her looks as it has for many of us.

In 10 years,( when this new drug might be available),Iwill be nearly 60. I may want to try it, who knows? Smile
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Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:37 am      Reply with quote
Well, rapamycin is already on the market--but as a cancer drug. By promoting it for anti-aging of the skin, the license holder would get a whole new patent and probably make billions of dollars. So I would guess that they would try to get this sucker on the market within a few years, rather than 10. Interesting!
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Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:11 pm      Reply with quote
I agree with llucy. It is easy to criticize when you are young and wrinkle-free the many effects we "older" women are willing to consider as we age. It's very difficult for us to see many Hollywood starlets our age and older who remain virtually "ageless" due to cosmetic procedures and cutting edge plastic surgeries that the majority of us are not privy to nor can we afford. In the particular world we live in, youth and physical beauty are revered.

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Vee26
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:43 am      Reply with quote
kims wrote:
I agree with llucy. It is easy to criticize when you are young and wrinkle-free the many effects we "older" women are willing to consider as we age. It's very difficult for us to see many Hollywood starlets our age and older who remain virtually "ageless" due to cosmetic procedures and cutting edge plastic surgeries that the majority of us are not privy to nor can we afford. In the particular world we live in, youth and physical beauty are revered.


but isn't it sad though!

I am 27 in two weeks and I have been obsessing about tiny inconsequential wrinkles (in the greater scheme of things!) for a few years now and spend way too much on skin care than my wage packet allows most of the time!

I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac and tbh I don't like being like this but I guess when you have flawless skinny minis parading in all the mags and on TV all the time how can we not compare ourselves to them...even at my age...and not see flaws in ourselves!

It's a sad world Confused

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bombshellbella
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:13 am      Reply with quote
^^Oh, how I agree with you. I am 31 and luckily have nothing to really worry about I look a lot better than people my age. But I find myself constantly comparing myself to girls in their early to mid 20's and then have to remind myself, WAIT a sec there, I am freaking 31 with a baby and I'm pregnant.... my body is not going to get into shape fast anymore, I can't eat whatever I want and look fabulous, I need to take care of myself to ensure I age well, I actually have to THINK about these things.

I still don't know if I would get a liquid facelift or anything else like that, but I sure do not rule them out.

But in my head I do see my self younger, which I think a lot of women do and I do end up weighing my self up with a 20 something and that is the PROBLEM....

Again, I have to say I think this is more of an Amerucab probkem, because I really don't think others look at aging so negatively, although that may be changing.

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