The day is not far when just popping a pill could make you live longer and healthier, a Harvard Medical School professor believes.
Associate Professor of Pathology David Sinclair said his work to activate the sirtuin genes, which control ageing "could expand lifespan by five to 10 healthy years."
It wouldn't stop you getting old, he said, but instead would push back the point at which you become impaired before "hopefully, [you] immediately drop dead," reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
He suggested that activating the sirtuins increases memory and endurance but also slow ageing and alleviate the impact of a high-fat diet.
"If the animal studies are borne out in humans, you would have a pill for arthritis that would prevent Alzheimer's, cardiac arrest, would slow down heart disease and even protect you against cataracts," Sinclair said.
"Within scientific circles this is as cutting edge as stem cell research," he added.
Sinclair also pioneeered the use of resveratrol - and now synthetic compounds up to 10,000 times more potent - which have been shown to slow the ageing process and prevent the onset of many diseases in animals.
However, he admitted that there was a risk because the effects of long-term doses in humans were not known, but no side effects in either animals or humans had been found.