Evolutionary aspects of ageing with Steven Austad

This episode is with Steven Austad. He is the Protective Life Endowed Chair in Health Aging Research, a Distinguished professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Steven has been at the forefront of unraveling the mysteries of why some individuals live longer and healthier lives than others. His work covers a diverse array of topics, from the cellular mechanisms of aging to the evolutionary aspects of longevity in various species. In this conversation we talk about what is ageing?, biggest challenges in the field of ageing, evolutionary aspects of ageing, chronic illnesses and how to increase human life span? 

Guest info: 

Website Amazon Twitter

Episode links: 

Website Youtube Spotify Apple podcast Google podcast

Follow Reason with Science: 

Website Youtube Spotify Apple podcast Google podcast


00:00:00 Introduction 

00:01:08 How did you decide to work on ageing? 

00:03:21 Why some species age faster than others? 

00:03:56 Evolutionary perspective of ageing 

00:05:42 What is ageing? 

00:06:13 Challenges in studying ageing 

00:09:49 What is longevity and longevity quotient? 

00:12:18 How does flight affects ageing? 

00:17:21 Correlation between habitat of animals and their lifespan 

00:19:07 Factors affecting lifespan of animals in the wild or in captivity 

00:20:59 Importance of regeneration for the survival 

00:22:58 Flight independently evolved four times 

00:25:55 Temperature dependent change of sex 

00:27:10 Wisdom- the oldest confirmed wild bird 

00:28:58 What are the challenges to get the age of an animal correctly? 

00:37:12 Relationship between size of the animal and longevity 

00:40:42 Vampire bats 

00:41:41 Lifespan of naked mole rats 

00:44:31 Impact of high altitude on human health 

00:46:37 Lifespan of hummingbirds 

00:49:22 Lessons for human longevity from evolutionary biology 

00:56:04 Steven's work on Restrictive eating 

01:02:04 It is important to couple restrictive eating with weight training 

01:04:40 Comment on diets 

01:06:58 There are no biomarkers for ageing 

01:08:27 When can we have a good consensus on healthy lifestyle? 

01:10:10 Life at the age of 77 

01:11:28 Ethical implications of increasing human lifespan 

01:13:53 Thank you

Music by: Ahmed Hassan (https://www.youtube.com/@2ays577/featured)