Do we, as humans, really want to live forever? Conflicting thoughts about this.
With theorists’ and their gloomy predictions cast in the shade, at least for the time being, experimental biologists are pushing confidently into the tangle of linkages that evolution has woven among food intake, fertility and life span. “My rule of thumb is to ignore the evolutionary biologists — they’re constantly telling you what you can’t think,” Gary Ruvkun of the Massachusetts General Hospital remarked this June after making an unusual discovery about longevity.
Excitement among researchers on aging has picked up in the last few years with the apparent convergence of two lines of inquiry: single gene changes and the diet known as caloric restriction.
In caloric restriction, mice are kept on a diet that is healthy but has 30 percent fewer calories than a normal diet. The mice live 30 or 40 percent longer than usual with the only evident penalty being that they are less fertile.
People find it almost impossible to maintain such a diet, so this recipe for longevity remained a scientific curiosity for many decades. Then came the discovery of the single gene changes, many of which are involved in the body’s regulation of growth, energy metabolism and reproduction. The single gene changes thus seem to be pointing to the same biochemical pathways through which caloric restriction extends life span.
[Click to continue reading Tests Begin on Drugs That May Slow Aging – NYTimes.com]
Our planet is already pretty stuffed to capacity, if life expectancy continues to grow, and First World citizens live to be 150, what then? Will there be enough water? Space? And if we live to be 150, will our minds be as robust too? My worst fear is to be an old geezer with a significant loss of brain function.
One the other hand, who wants to die? Who wants our loved ones to die? Part of the lure of religion is promising a life-after-life-is-over, which is a powerful siren call for many otherwise intelligent humans. Understandable that research scientists would focus their resources trying to solve the puzzle of aging.
3 thoughts on “Tests Begin on Drugs That May Slow Aging”
It appears that our cells are programmed for a life span between the range of 60 to 120 years.The trick is to find a way to have the cells ignore the terminal instruction as they are approaching the upper limit and keep going.
Since cancer by definition is an anarchy grow of the cells,it is possible to use this principle in research regarding aging process and immortality.
Right, but should we? Do we really want to deal with a planet where a large percentage of the population lives to be 120? Seems like this could cause a host of societal repercussions.
I absolutely love the guys in your photo. (I think I told you that before.)