NR-1-243. Born Nov. 5, 1978. She is, or was, the oldest mouse in history. She was raised in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Roy Walford, a man who, at age 62, believes that his life is only half over. Walford is a pioneer of "undernutrition." He has enjoyed repeated, well-documented success keeping mice alive for extraordinary lengths of time, literally doubling their life spans by simply modifying their diets. And he makes few bones about what he believes this could mean in human terms. "If you took 100 people and put them on this kind of diet, some of them--not all--would live to be 135 to 145 years old." That's to say, some 25 years longer than the oldest living man in recorded history.
A fit, thin, soft-spoken man who, with his shaved head and drooping mustache, resembles a studious buccaneer, Walford practices what he preaches. For nearly three years, he's been on a restricted diet, consuming a maximum of 2,000 calories a day and adhering to a regular program of exercise and weight training. A lifetime dedication to a similar program, he believes, would yield average life spans in the 100- to 110-year range.
To charges that his theories have yet to be demonstrated in an animal more complicated than a mouse, Walford responds: "That is simply not true. Recent studies of Okinawans on similarly restricted diets show that they have, for instance, 60% lower heart-disease and cancer rates than corresponding Japanese on neighboring islands."