November 15, 2009

Doubling Life Expectancy by 2030?

HEALTH/TECHNOLOGY - According to American scientist Ray Kurzweil the world "may" have the technology that immortality will be within our grasp by the year 2030, but it will only be available to people who can afford it.

Kurzweil hypothesizes that nanobot technology will have made such a breakthrough they will be able to swim through human arteries, warding off diseases and repairing damaged cells. Kurzweil himself is 61 years old and quite an expert on regenerative health and increasing life expectancy. The goal is to create the technology that doesn't just ward off diseases, but eradicates them / repairs the damage done by them.

Thus the causes of death would be accidental.

Or sheer decrepitness. Let me explain. As we get older we injure or break things. We chip our teeth, our bones break or become brittle (the latter could be solved wi

th diet and exercise) and a myriad other things that either can't be fixed after they happen or fixing them is expensive (ie. a new hip).

So lets imagine then that our life expectancy is DOUBLED, instead of becoming infinite. Say about 144 years, give or take a few decades.

British futurist Aubrey de Grey says "the first 1,000-year-old is almost certainly alive already." De Grey is the head of the SENS Foundation, an American group that tracks regenerative medicines such as stem-cell therapy. His theories are widely considered to be "fantasy" and actually hurts the legitimate scientific community because his ideas sound too much like those of a crackpot scientist. Even his critics however support more anti-aging research and government funding.

In October the Nobel Prize in medicine was given to three American scientists for research on the "immortality enzyme" which allows cells to multiply without damaging themselves. It is a considered a breakthrough in the fight against cancer and could also be used to regenerate old tissue.

So there is a lot of reason for scientists to be optimistic. In all the fields related to aging, huge progress is being made. Indeed we're already in position to extend life expectancy, but doing so would be both expensive and require people to make changes in their diet and exercise lifestyle.


+ Eye surgery.

+ Heart pacemakers.

+ Heart transplants and transplants of other major organs.

+ Cloning organs, skin and muscle tissue.

+ Organ thieves.

+ Neural implants for Parkinson's patients.

+ Therapy & exercise programs for Alzheimer's patients (exercise and problem solving puzzles have been proven to stave off Alzheimer's).

+ Human Growth Hormones that helps to regenerate old muscle tissue.

+ Artificial pancreas.

+ Free health / dental care (countries with free health/dental care have dramatically higher life expectancy rates).


+ Younger clones that are set aside in stasis for future brain transplants. (The plot from an old Twilight Zone episode and also the film "The Island".)

+ Regenerating necrosis (premature dead tissue), the repair of dead tissue (caused by exposure to toxins or trauma) using nano bots.

+ Restoring life to the recently dead, before their bodies begin to decompose.

After all we live in a world now where we carry computers (cell phones) in our pockets that have a thousand times more computing power than the room sized computers from the 1970s. Twenty years from now we could see dramatic changes in both computing power, nano technology and advances in health care.

Or maybe we will still be chasing the Fountain of Youth.

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