Extending the Good Years

I found this article a few months back and have just got around to posting about it. Science has come a long way and humans are living longer lives than ever before. It certainly is nice knowing that the average lifespan for humans is well into your late 70’s and early 80’s.

That all sounds well and good, but there is one scientist that wants to die at 75. Below is the article.

 

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141021-why-i-want-to-die-at-75

 

“I think by 75 you’ve lived through the full arc of life… You’ve worked hard as an adolescent, you’ve made a career and had a family. That seems like a great life to me, so why run the risk of dementia, drooling, and being a burden to your family?”

 

I agree with him actually, but I will also say that I do not want to go ahead and plan my funeral for my 75th birthday. Although, I have told my girlfriend, jokingly, that I would like to be laid out for people to view me in my Manchester United jersey, both of my watches (I always wear a watch), my favorite Red Wing boots and my favorite college team’s shorts. Yeah I’m weird I know, just didn’t see the point of wearing a suit. I don’t think I will be going on a job interview, or interviewing to get into heaven (if you believe in that sort of thing). I always thought it was a your in or you’re out sort of thing, no room for negotiating. So I thought I should at least be comfortable.

Anyways, I think this guy has some good points. I am guilty of getting caught up in the immortality talk as well. I even read Long for This World by Jonathan Weiner, and I think I have talked about this book in another post. The book talks about the possibility of living for hundreds of years and how a few scientist believe it is possible. What they did not talk about was the quality of life during those hundreds of years. I would like to live a very long life, but only as much as I could get around and not have to have someone constantly take care of me. I do not want to be a burden on anyone.

Obviously the perfect medium would be to extend your good years by 20 maybe even 50 years. If science could figure out how to do that then I am on board with this idea. I see no point in prolonging the inevitable while sitting in a bed unable to do anything myself. The real questions is if science can do this or is it all talk? Below are a few other articles that show some breakthroughs.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/katie-couric-aging-mice-harvard-researcher-david-sinclair-035336385.html

This one talks about how a new molecule can slow aging, in theory extending our golden years.

 

http://io9.com/cellular-toggle-switch-could-herald-an-anti-aging-break-1638079628

This one is a bit more complicated and if you are more interested in the science behind this idea you will enjoy this article. I will attempt to explain what the article says. I am sure I have missed quite a few points and I am sure I am wrong about others, but it is something along these lines. There are these things called Telomeres, that are very important when it comes to aging. What happens is when a cell divides it shaves off a little of this Telomere, which is the thing that keeps the cell dividing and making sure all the genetic material gets copied. So as the cell divides it gets shorter and shorter making the possibility of mistakes a greater and greater possibility. More mistakes mean more problems with the cell that can eventually lead to a malfunction cell which can lead to cancer and a whole other host of problems. It is pretty interesting to think about and in the book mentioned above they talk about these Telomeres extensively.

Manik

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