While I hate to sound overly critical I believe there is a responsibility for people writing about science of any kind, and especially that which relates to human health, to be responsible in how they report studies such as the one you cite in your article. I worked at the Buck Institute for a few years and as such have some reasonable amount of domain knowledge when it comes to biochemistry and the (many complex) factors behind human ageing.

A few important things to note: (i) no study using c elegans has ever translated into a clinical application for humans. The tiny worm (half a millimeter long) has around 1,000 somatic cells compared to the billions in a human. Their pathways are far less complex than ours. Something that’s relevant for the model animal is almost always irrelevant for us. Remember: fungi use estrogen to signal to plant roots, but that doesn’t mean their application of estrogen and the pathways involved have any relevance to ours despite the genes that code for estrogen being the same in humans and fungi.

(ii) the idea that one can alter a particular metabolic function or series of functions without having an impact on other important metabolic functions is naive. Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to function for around 30 years or so (the average human lifespan for most of our history has been less than this) and so while we can extend life with better sanitation, nutrition, and antibiotics, we’re likely almost at the edge of what can be achieved. While there are wild-eyed writers out there like Aubrey de Gray and Ray Kurzweil, the reality is that their knowledge of complex biochemistry is limited and they base all their core arguments on the assumption that biology is like technology — a deeply flawed idea shared by precisely no one in the field of biochemical research.

Larry Ellison (of Oracle Corp fame) spent over $350 million searching for realistic ways to prolong human life and came up empty-handed. This is one indicator of the fact that life isn’t like a computer program or a piece of hardware.

So when we write about these matters it would be very helpful not to use hyperbolic titles and simply create puff-pieces. Non-specialists are easily confused and misled; when we write about these topics we ought to aim for a more factual, informative, and nuanced approach that more adequately conveys the real complexity and difficulties inherent in this topic.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.