Want to live forever?

It may not be quite as far-fetched as it sounds.

Just take a look at this attention-grabbing lead from Reuters:

If Aubrey de Grey’s predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger.

A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to “cure” aging — banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

Read the rest.

Comments

  1. I think he is on to something but I believe his longevity predictions are way over-inflated. I think you would have to completely change the way we eat, the substances we are exposed to, etc., before regeneration could begin to be as effective as he claims.

    He is also talking about genetic manipulation when he is talking about introducing enzymes to change the way the cells deal with the ‘garbage’ that accumulates and that is a potential horror unleashed.

    It is so typical of scientists to rush ahead with research and build a demand for their products before having the ethical debate on whether we should even go there. Can society support people routinely living well into their 100s, especially if the change happens quickly? We don’t have enough jobs now for the under 65s. What would we do with people who could be productive for decades beyond the norm? Already we are seeing some people living in retirement almost as many years as their entire working career. How is that sustainable? It raises innumerable questions that we have not even begun to address as a society, let alone solve.

    But finally, no I don’t want to live ‘forever’ even if I could be healthy. Frankly, life as a Christian is hard and I look forward to the day that God has decided it’s my time to come home and rest.

  2. Jim Dotter says:

    But finally, no I don’t want to live ‘forever’ even if I could be healthy. Frankly, life as a Christian is hard and I look forward to the day that God has decided it’s my time to come home and rest.

    Well said!

  3. de Grey is a very smart man, and I’ve had a chance to read some of his work, but I wouldn’t count on universal immortality just yet. There are innumerable technical details which have yet to be solved and a few fundamental ones. 1,000 year lifespans (or even 150) would raise some very interesting prospects for better and worse for our race. On the other hand, I think a more attainable and immediately useful goal would be to forestall or even reverse the kinds of degenerative changes which now impair the quality of life and impose absolutely astronomical costs on our economies. Life expectancy and lifespan have already increased dramatically. At the start of the 20th century, late 40s or 50s was about the end of the line for most folks, though there were always notable exceptions. Now were pushing well into the 80s. Problem is, about half that time, or more, people are in serious physical decline and very often unemployed or underemployed. We need a fundamental rethink of the biology and culture of aging.

  4. de Grey’s science is impeccable, and he’s right about what these advances can and will do. Economics and the eugenic/euthanasia culture, combined with staggering national debts will combine to prevent this realization of molecular therapy from developing as rapidly as it might otherwise.

    de Grey, meet John Paul II.

  5. This kind of science crosses a very thin “ethical line.” Sure, let’s use science to provide better quality of life, and most certainly to sustain life when possible. Adult stem cells have the potential to provide for much of this, and molecular medicine is mind blowing.

    The problem comes in when we start to “manipulate” human life, not because of illness, but because of an “entitlement” to live beyond normal years. It’s one thing to treat an illness, quite another to “recreate” life as we know it.

    FYI, the western world up until this point has lived longer than any other. However, this will be the first time (already predicted in the medical literature) that the “younger generation” will be outlived by the “older generation.” The reason is our eating habits. Processed foods , over eating, and a sedentary lifestyle is a killer, with Type II Diabetis (not to mention all of the other realted diseases), being the leading cause in early death in a generation that had every opportunity to outlive it’s ancestors.

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, our kids’ recess times and PE classes have been replaced by bisexual ed, Manderian Chinese, and the fear of lawsuits. Welcome once again to man “self destructing man.”

    While high tech medicine has it’s due, what America needs more than anything is back to the “simple life”, limit the TX and computer time, get the kids outside with a jumping rope, a hopscotch, and a kick ball, screw the political “correctness”, and look both way before crossing.

  6. My daughter and I are still waiting for flying cars! She is 9. I am 46. I told her how when we were little watching the Jetsons we all thought there would be flying cars by now. So much for that.

  7. Yup. Immortality has been fifty years away for the last five hundred years. The science is always impeccable for the day, and the goal always recedes.

    I’m not saying “never will happen before the Lord comes”, but don’t hold your breath.

  8. If lifespans reach 150 years, would adolescence expand correspondingly into one’s 50s? Would we be required to study bisexual ed and Mandarin for decades until we are Yoda-like masters at both?

  9. “Don’t hold your breath”; exactly.

    Actually, I think adolescence already extends well into the 50s! Just look at the way people dress.

  10. As usual journalists are distorting scientific news. This happens all the time in physics as well (which is my field).

    Journalism and science DEFINITIVELY do NOT mix.

    This is like ‘Nuclear Fusion’ (hot fusion not cold one)… they have been saying ‘we’ll have fusion power in the next 15 yrs’ … for the past 60 years!!

    Besides defeating old age is no trivial matter. I can see people living 150 years… perhaps…. but a thousand? Not likely, non in such a short time, if ever.

  11. Dr. de Gray states that we are on the verge of successfully controlling aging as we have controlled infectious disease. If we are, we are in a bad way, because we may be about to lose control of infectious disease due to antibiotic resistance and emerging viral diseases. Life expectancy was limited to the 40′s and 50′s largely because of infectious diseases–and civil engineering (clean water/sewage management) and public health initiatives (eg: vaccines) did more to lengthen life span in the 20th century than medical advances in the treatment of rare and chronic diseases ever did. We like to think we can cure aging and live forever–and the public is always interested in funding it–but even medical technology can’t evolve as quickly as bacteria or viruses. :-)

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