From Google’s Calico to the Human Longevity Inc., co-founded by J. Craig Venter and Peter H. Diamandis, the pursuit of defeating aging once and for all has become this century’s new “space race”. The movement for indefinite life extension is certainly a formidable one, but one in which has caught the eyes of the scientific community throughout the world.
One scientist in particular is 29-year-old Maria Konovalenko, whom is currently studying the biology of aging in a joint PhD program between the University of Southern California and the Buck Institute. With her background in molecular biophysics, she has made it her life’s mission (literally!) to defeat aging – a facet of life in which she believes is no different from a disease in need of a cure. The problem, however, isn’t the science of life extension, but rather the culture of death in which people have become so accustomed to.
In response, in the form of a book known as the Longevity Cookbook, she’s decided to make the leap to help educate people on the current scientific research on aging and the best ways at which people can change their lives to help them combat their mortality. This book doesn’t claim to know the answer to longevity, but it will certainly convince you that achieving indefinite life extension is much closer than you might think.
She needs your help, however. While her book promises to help you live long enough to benefit from the radical achievement of indefinite life extension, the Longevity Cookbook is in need of funding. Using Indiegogo as her crowdfunding platform, you can now ensure this book sees the light of day by donating and sharing with your family and friends. I was able to speak with Maria about her new upcoming book, and have provided our conversation below:
Q: First and foremost, what inspired you to start writing the Longevity Cookbook?
A: My goal in life is achieving radical life extension. For it to happen a large group of people must agree with the idea of slowing down aging using the advances of science and technology. Books are very effective at persuading people, therefore, writing a book is a necessary action for me.
Q: It’s no secret that several health fads have come and went, claiming to know the secrets of longevity, over these last few years. What makes you believe that the Longevity Cookbook will stand out from the rest?
A: The secret to longevity hasn’t been found yet actually. We don’t know it yet. However, we know what we need to do to find it. That’s exactly what the Longevity Cookbook is going to be about. Our focus is to talk about what we must do to move forward. We will present a clear and strictly scientific approach to longevity.
Q: What can you tell us about where we currently are in terms of anti-aging research – the movers and shakers of longevity? After all, not long ago, most scientists ignored trying to find a cure for aging, with the one exception being gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey.
A: The position of the scientists coincides with the position of the people or organization that is awarding grants. The kind of topics that are supported with grant money is the kind of research being done. If you say you are giving $10 billion to fighting aging, the scientific community will reply: “Ok. It’s about time!” Fighting aging lies mostly on the social level. Larry Page, [easyazon_link identifier=”0988616114″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”seriou03-20″]Zoltan Istvan[/easyazon_link] and Brian Kennedy are the people who are the main influencers right now.
Q: Looking at your Indiegogo page, I noticed that you somehow managed to include electro house musician Steve Aoki with your project. How did this come about and who else is involved?
A: [easyazon_link identifier=”B00UZ2RBBO” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”seriou03-20″]Steve Aoki[/easyazon_link] has been a transhumanist and supporter of fighting death for a while now. I offered him to participate in our project, because I think we can achieve synergy if we join forces. We have more than 300 contributors to the Longevity Cookbook campaign, and I think these are the people together with whom we can change the situation. Longevity Cookbook is not just a story about food, it’s an organizational solution in the area of longevity.
Q: For whatever reason, if someone weren’t able to purchase your book, what advice would you give them insofar as to ensuring they live a healthy lifestyle and effectively combat aging – diet, exercise routine, etc.?
A: Treat your life as a scientific task. In order to remain alive you need to become a little bit of a scientist. This means treating the information critically, analyzing the situation, propose hypotheses and experimentally test them. Personalized science – that’s my advice. Simply put it includes walking a lot, a diet aimed at reducing senescence and inflammation, increasing your knowledge in the area of biology of aging and detailed check-ups. Plus, supporting research in the area where you are prone to having problems, whether that’s diabetes or cardiovascular disease. You can learn about the risks by gathering molecular data about your body.
Q: Now that anti-aging research is starting to explode throughout the scientific and technologist community, what do you envision in the next decade or so to come as a result of this explosion?
A: Immortality. It’s just that we have to facilitate that “explosion” first, because I don’t think it’s there yet.
Q: Do you have any final advice for our Serious Wonder readers?
A: Every one of us has a chance to live hundreds of years and we will be the biggest fools if we spend our time not on implementing this possibility into real life, but on the discussion on whether we generally need longevity.
Let’s act rationally. It is in our immediate interests to stay alive. The main reason of death is our problem. It is aging. Aging brings pain, suffering and loss of cognitive abilities. Let’s take a look at what we can do about this problem.
Photo Credit: Maria Konovalenko / Indiegogo