Professor to speak on key to long life


You might want a long life but do you want to live to be 120? If so then a Stanford University professor on a visit to Trinity College Dublin tomorrow believes he can tell you how.

Prof Walter Bortz is a clinical professor of medicine at Stanford’s school of medicine and is a scientific expert on ageing and longevity. He focuses on the importance of physical exercise if you want to live to a ripe old age.

He is also someone who practises what he preaches, pounding out an average of 16 miles running per week with no thought about the fact that he is 82. He has clocked up 41 marathons…so far…including the 2008 in New York and the 2010 in Boston.

His talk, 'The Plasticity of Human Ageing', has been organised by Trinity’s Tilda research group, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Tilda is a long-tem study of more than 8,500 people living in Ireland and aged over 50.

It will chart their health, social and economic circumstances over a 10-year period and looks at a wide range of issues including physical and mental health and their cognitive function as they age.

If you want to know where Prof Bortz is coming from then look at the titles of his books and publications: The Roadmap to 100: The Science of Living a Long Life; We live too Short and Die Too Long; Dare to Be 100; and Living Longer for Dummies to name a few.

He argues that our potential life expectancy is about 120 years and the advice he will give about reaching a ripe old age comes from serving as a primary care physician for dozens of 100-year-old patients.

Prof Bortz believes that the maxim “use it or lose it” is what makes all the difference. The negative effects of ageing are due to disuse, he says, not disease. And like any guru he will offer a 99-step plan for keeping active physically, mentally and spiritually.

More information about his work is available at his web site:

Prof Bortz’s lecture takes place on Wednesday 18th July at 4pm in the Schrodinger Lecture Theatre in the Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin, adjacent to the rugby pitch.