Eternal youth attracted the minds of people — I dare say — thousands of years. But imagine that we have finally reached this goal. What's next? In the 1850s the life expectancy in many countries was only 40 years old. Today, that number has steadily reaches 78. The latest medical studies tease us with the promise of further extension of human life. What will be the consequences if the medicine gets its way? How will society change?
The First thought that comes to mind when trying to answer this question, — dark, pereselenie future in which taken decisive steps to combat overpopulation and, in fact, a population struggling for scarce resources. The need for strict control over the population — is not pure fantasy: until recently, China had acted the one-child policy because of a rapidly growing population in the 1970-ies.
It May seem that more long-lived society would increase population, but the reality is the opposite. Population growth is determined more by fertility and mortality, when the first exceed the second. "In the short term, the decline in mortality leads to population growth," says Jane Falkingham, Professor and Director of the population Center at the University of Southampton. "In the longer term it is the fertility is the engine, not mortality".
Recent clinical trials in mice showed that animals with diabetes who took the drug metmorfin, first introduced in 1957, are living longer than adiabatic who did not take the drug. It has been suggested that metmorfin can protect it from the main ageing, not just from type 2 diabetes.
However, there are several possible pharmaceutical treatments, which can not only protect against aging, but actually reverse the effects of aging.
It Was discovered that almost vampiric practice of elderly people who transfused the blood of young donor has some medical validity. This hobby is potentially life-giving properties of blood was first taken up by the German doctor Andreas Libavius in 1615, when he tried to connect the arteries of a young man and the old man.
Libavius was sure to succeed, and the experimental results of 2005 showed that the idea is promising. Old mice have become healthier with young blood, and young mice, which poured the blood of older mice, startled. However, one should not ignore the risks associated with blood transfusions, such as trauma and pulmonary infections.
And yet the methods of treatment that are not so controversial and often proved effective in laboratory tests.
The Mice that deleted the older cells — those that can no longer divide, creating new cells, is with an injection of Foxo4-DRI, lived longer. This compound significantly interfere with the normal process that causes cells to stop dividing. Now these mice at 30 months, equivalent to 100 human years, and they remain active, proving that the effect is not temporary.
"If you aim for the so-called bad aging cells that are not needed because you are old and irreparably flawed, to some extent, possible to extend and even to restore health," explains Peter de Keyser from the Department of molecular genetics at the Medical centre of the Erasmus University. "Targeting these cells, you can not only postpone aging, but also to some extent to pay".
Meanwhile, Calico, a division of parent company Google, Alphabet, intends to apply advanced technologies to understand the biology that controls lifespan, and to use this knowledge to interventions that will help people lead longer, healthier lives.
So what will be the consequences if all of these methods will succeed in radical life extension? One potential problem of people living longer is that problem of overpopulation and, in General, a growing population, which has escalated in the XXI century, it does not solve.
In 2015, the number of births to mothers in England and Wales averaged approximately 1.8 digger. As society becomes more educated, health improves, the biological imperative for families to be large families to compensate for the problem of the survival of excess population. In addition, the average age of women giving birth increased to 30.3 years, and a growing number of women who do not want children. "Many countries have turned to these indicators," says Sarah Harper, Professor of gerontology at Oxford University.
There are also ethical puzzle, according to which, if the treatment of aging become available to all, aggravated the danger of creating a two-tier society of those who have access to treatment and who is not. We live in a society of serious social inequalities. "A child born in the slums of Nairobi, has much less life than a child born in Kensington (London)," says falkinham.
If the treatment of aging will be distributed evenly, we are faced with the growth of the elderly population.
The oldest living person who ever got into the lists, was lived to 122 years (1875 to 1997) Jeanne Calment. As since medical care is constantly improving, it is surprising that this record has never been beaten. However, it seems we are genetically predisposed to die at a certain age. "In 2016 there was an article in which asserted that we cannot live past 120 years," says de Keyser.
Others think differently. Aubrey De grey, Professor of SENS Foundation, says that the human lifespan can reach 1000 years. But very few agree with him.
Many older people struggling with diseases such as cancer, heart problems, dementia and others. Most current medical research is devoted not to live longer but to live healthy longer and delay the ailments. "Much better to put all resources to a long and healthy life," says Harper.
Anti-aging treatments can affect the physical aspects of aging, but they do not affect the mental and neurological features, such as Alzheimer's and senile dementia, that is dementia. The number of registered cases of dementia is reduced. One theory is that just as we keep our bodies active, our bodies are slowly destroyed, so there is an argument that if we are able to maintain an active mental activity and dementia get rid of, says Harper.
Another aspect affecting long and healthy life, is that our chronological age is meaningless in determining our lives. We see 40-year-old women who first give birth, and see 40-year-old women who are becoming grandmothers. Despite their common age, their lives are completely different.
Despite the fact that we live longer, our 20-ies and 30-ies remain demographically dense because we still have children and begin a career in these years. "Prolonging life expectancy, we do not change your biological time," says falkinham. "Women still have babies in 20-30 years."
The cancellation of aging and also the road. Even if the treatment Foxo4-DRI is approved for use on humans, it will cost several thousand euros per 10 mg. And blood transfusions? Here is pretty limited. Not many people from the population, as a percentage, become blood donors. And certainly they do not want to donate blood to someone else canceled their old age.
The Shortage of supply also increases the possibility of a black market where young people are forced or bribed to give their blood, as well as unlicensed dealers selling fake the blood plasma or unsuitable for transfusion. Do not forget that the healthcare industry has become a lucrative sector for organized crime. Especially dangerous is the proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceutical products on the Internet.
We need incredible progress in the understanding of the science of man, in order to completely prevent the aging of people and to maintain their quality of life at a good level. Will have to carefully discuss the ethical, cultural, and sociological issues of eradication of aging.
"Part of being human is that our lives are not infinite and we divide it into segments," concludes Harper. "It is much better to invest all our resources in that they all had a long and healthy way of life, instead of a few people can live a little longer than the rest."...
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