Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The 1,000 year old man (or woman) is alive and well

I've been thinking about a blog regarding aging and the science of aging for about a week now... I received a link in the mail about this very subject today, and that got me writing.

Life expectancy is:
White women: 81 years
African-American women: 76.9 years
White men: 76 years
African-American men: 70 years
(These numbers were published by the CDC in Feb., 2008)

Each year, new drugs, treatments and research extend our lives. Breakthroughs, like the one I'll reveal today, make it seem possible that the cures for what kills us will be there before we get sick, or at least, before we die from them. The thing about these numbers is that they include accidents, murder, war fatalities, drug and alcohol abuse/overdose, etc. If you are 60 now, your numbers are higher than the chart above... unless you have dangerous habits and have just been lucky so far.

We live in a time where it's possible that we could survive almost indefinitely.

From Gizmag:
A region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome called a telomere, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration, is thought to be the "clock of aging" contained within the human body. Many scientists believe that the limit on lifespan and decline in health is imposed by the gradual shortening of our telomeres that occurs with every cell division. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that a human cell that does not undergo telomere shortening will divide indefinitely and is, by all available measurements, immortal.
Now researchers at Sierra Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues at TA Sciences, Geron Corporation, PhysioAge, and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), have discovered the first compound that activates telomerase – an enzyme that lengthens telomeres – in the human body, potentially opening the door to arresting or even reversing the aging process.
So there it is.
Take good care of yourselves and you may just get to live a lot longer than you thought possible; I suspect funeral directors look at this subject with mixed emotions.


1st Mate said...

Before they get too far into this life-extension thing, they'd better find an accurate diagnosis and cure for Alzheimer's, which now seriously affects the quality of life for at least 50% of adults over 80, or we're going to have an awful lot of demented people running around.

MxSailor said...

Also from Gizmag: Epidemiological studies have shown that short telomeres in humans are a risk factor for diseases including, among others, atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and cancer. Also shown to boost immune systems, as a possible cure for HIV.