• Should humanity be afraid to live longer?

    Posted November 1, 2011: by Bill Sardi

    Commentary: futurist Sonia Arrison and author of 100 PLUS, writes a cogent movie review about the new sci-fi thriller IN TIME and used it to bring a major question to the fore. Should humanity be afraid to live longer? Arrison brings up the reality of longevity — it is a rich man’s game, at least so far. In the movie IN TIME people are allotted a few years to live and then must work to earn more time on the earth or be exterminated. Maybe an anti-aging pill would be dispensed after a day’s labor to keep people alive.

    However you don’t need an anti-aging pill to produced dramatic increases in life expectancy. What is needed for most of the world is public hygiene, clean water, available food (hopefully fortified with essential nutrients) and small number of medicines with antibiotics at the top.

    Now, to extend life beyond 80 years or so, that is a challenge because the quality of life drops off drastically. About 1 in 4 octogenarians are in nursing homes being over-medicated. Another 1 in 4 will suffer with shingles (herpes infection) in their 80s. A grave (yes, I said that word) problem is that the closest thing humanity has to an anti-aging pill is largely being ignored by the public. Certainly, pharmaceutical companies don’t want any such pill on the market as they are in the business of selling a pill for every age-related disease instead of a pill that would avert or delay all of them. One Harvard doctor recently wrote a report asking why there isn’t one human clinical trial for a red wine resveratrol pill for cardiovascular disease 8 years after this molecule gained attention of the scientific community.

    The greater problem is this. There is a tribe of people in South America who don’t need any pills or diets to live exceptionally long. They have a gene mutation that alters a growth-factor gene that should confer unusual longevity upon this group of people. So how long do people in that South American group live? Answer: not very long. They die in their 40s from traffic accidents, falls, pedestrian deaths, etc. Why you may ask? Answer: largely because of inebriation.

    Humanity is doomed. Chasing an anti-aging pill is for the few. Even if convinced, most seniors want someone else to pay for it. Ironically, seniors will pay more for cat food than a pill that might extend their useful years. What seniors want is to be unrealistically young again. Give them a choice of a pill that will restore dark thick hair, smooth skin and viagra versus a pill that will prolong their lives another decade or two. I can tell you which pill they would pick. — Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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