Dr. Roy Walford was born on June 29, 1924 in San Diego, CA. While still in high school, Dr. Walford
became aware of the limiting brevity of human life, and has devoted his own life to the study of
gerontology. Walford remains motivated by the idea that the deteriorating aspects of aging might
not be inevitable -- that by carefully controlling diet, aging can be slowed and a vastly longer human
lifespan might be achieved.
Dr. Walford is continuing his work as Professor of Pathology at the UCLA school of medicine, a
position he has held since 1966. He has 3 children, one of which (a daughter) is herself practicing
a calorie restricted diet inspired by her father's work.
The most famous experiments conducted by Walford and his team are those involving caloric restriction
in the diets of mice. The mice in the experiments showed increased activity, and were still fertile
at ages when the non-restricted mice were dead! Walford believes that perhaps caloric restriction's
benefits stem from the fact that fewer free radicals (which can cause cancer and other problems)
are created when a lifeform's diet is nutrient-dense but calorie-sparse.
Far from being a "crackpot", Dr. Walford has a degree in medicine from the University of Chicago,
and is licensed to practice in both California and Arizona. From 1991 through 1993, Dr. Walford
allowed himself to be sealed into Biosphere II, where he had the role of primary physician.
Dr. Walford's work has led to his authoring numerous books, ranging from collections of hard research
such as The Isoantigenic Systems of Human Leukocytes: Medical and Biological Significance to
cookbooks such as The 120-Year Diet. Recipes for his calorie-restricted diet are available
online (http://www.walford.com) and contrary to what one might think, do not consist entirely of
"rabbit food". Rather, we are offered such delights as Mussel, Potato, and Roasted Pepper Salad,
Marinated Broccoli Salad with Toasted Walnuts, and Vegetable Pate with Velvet Sauce! The key to the
restricted diet, says Walford, is to make sure that the food one does eat has a high density of
vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. "Empty calories" are to be avoided.
Unfortunately for Walford and for the scientific community, Roy Walford died at the age of 79 on April 27, 2004 in Santa Monica, CA due to complications from ALS. It is possible that the "nerve damage" Walford claimed to have suffered because of oxygen deprivation in Biosphere II was actually the beginnings of the dreaded motor neuron disease. It is also possible Walford's restricted diet allowed him to escape the ravages of this disease for longer than he might have otherwise. Nevertheless, Walford's dream has not died with him -- his work helped to spark an interest in gerontology research that has implications to help treat many human diseases and lead us to a greater understanding of the aging process.