Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Ologies with Alie Ward / – Smologies #28: AGING with Caleb Finch

Ologies with Alie Ward – Smologies #28: AGING with Caleb Finch

Share this summary


In this episode of “Ologies with Alie Ward,” host Alie Ward explores the fascinating topic of aging with special guest Dr. Caleb Finch. They delve into the mysteries of aging, the impact of environmental and genetic factors, and the importance of understanding the mechanisms behind aging.

Main Takeaways

The Science of Aging

  • Aging is the exponential increase in mortality risk after the age of 40, with a parallel risk in chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Only 20% of the individual differences in humans and other animals can be attributed to inherited genes that influence aging.
  • Environmental aspects such as air pollution and diet can influence outcomes of aging.
  • Air pollution shortens lifespan and accelerates almost all diseases of aging, including the risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Our molecules don’t regenerate as fast, and some molecules in our body undergo molecular deterioration as we age.

The Complexity of Aging

  • The myth that we are a new person every seven years is not scientifically true.
  • Different parts of our body age at different rates, with some parts turning over every few days and others never turning over.
  • Each species has its own pattern of aging, with mice not getting Alzheimer’s or heart disease but being prone to cancer and arterial stiffness.
  • Aging is still a mystery, and there are unknown basic mechanisms that need to be worked out.
  • Blood vessels are the part of the body that age the quickest, even before puberty.

Factors Affecting Aging

  • Women are living five years longer than men, but the reason is unknown.
  • Eating energy-rich foods and not exercising is the major health concern across the country, shortening life expectancy.
  • Inflammatory responses are deeply built into our systems and the processes of aging, involving the molecules of inflammatory responses.
  • Blue zones are places where people live the longest, prioritizing family, smoking less, eating a lot of veggies and legumes, having constant moderate physical activity, and good social engagement.
  • Global lifespan is increasing due to reducing infectious disease, but obesity, tobacco sales, and air pollution are hindering progress.

Fascinating Discoveries

  • A portion of the podcast income goes to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Almost nobody reaches beyond 100 years old, with only one person reaching over 120 in the last 30 years.
  • Jeanne Calment, the oldest human on record, quit smoking at 117 years old, proving that it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf.
  • People living in the Bolivian Amazon, under conditions of 200 years ago without medication, have arterial aging 25 years slower than in North America and almost no heart attacks or strokes, with researchers trying to understand what aspects of their environment, diet, and genes contribute to this.
  • Dr. Caleb Finch’s research on the Bolivian Amazon’s slow arterial aging and low rates of heart attacks and strokes.


The Complex Nature of Aging

Aging is a complex process that involves an exponential increase in mortality risk and the development of chronic diseases. While genetics play a role, only a small percentage of aging can be attributed to inherited genes. Environmental factors, such as air pollution and diet, also influence the outcomes of aging. Air pollution, in particular, accelerates the aging process and increases the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Our body’s molecules deteriorate as we age, and different parts of our body age at different rates, with blood vessels aging the quickest. Understanding the mechanisms behind aging is still a mystery, and there is much work to be done in this field.

Factors Affecting Aging

Various factors contribute to the aging process. Women tend to live longer than men, but the reasons behind this are still unknown. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a diet high in energy-rich foods and lack of exercise, shorten life expectancy. Inflammatory responses play a significant role in aging, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, like those found in blue zones, can promote longevity. While progress has been made in reducing infectious diseases, obesity, tobacco sales, and air pollution continue to hinder overall lifespan improvement.

Fascinating Discoveries and Research

There have been fascinating discoveries and research in the field of aging. The podcast supports the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, contributing to research on Alzheimer’s disease. The number of individuals reaching beyond 100 years old is extremely rare, with Jeanne Calment being the oldest human on record. Her decision to quit smoking at 117 years old highlights the potential for positive changes even in advanced age. Additionally, the Bolivian Amazon population exhibits slower arterial aging and lower rates of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers are investigating the environmental, dietary, and genetic factors that contribute to their exceptional health.


Understanding the complexities of aging and the factors that influence it is crucial for improving overall health and lifespan. While there is still much to uncover, ongoing research and discoveries offer hope for a better understanding of aging and potential interventions to promote healthy aging.

You might also like