Ageing presents one of the greatest socioeconomic and biomedical challenges of the 21st century. There are numerous dietary and pharmacological treatments which can extend healthspan and delay the onset of age-associated disease. Remarkably, the effects of these treatments are extremely well conserved across the tree of life, from mammals right down to single celled organisms such as yeast. In this talk I will review these treatments from the perspective of life history, discussing how the effectiveness of a treatment can differ dramatically depending on the age of the organism. I will explore how, in both single celled organisms and animals, many anti-ageing interventions are ineffective if applied during later life, whilst a transient application during early life can have an effect lasting the remainder of the organism’s lifetime.
StJohn Townsend, PhD Student UCL