“Middle age” as we know it today could soon be shifting to much higher digits if our average lifespan reaches 110 to 150 years. According to Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a British biomedical gerontologist, “there is a very good chance of us getting about 30 more years of extra life” by identifying those things that cause human tissue to age and designing remedies to combat them. “There is no conceivable limit as we get adept at reparative medicine technologies.”
Addressing the Cushing community via video conference from Geneva, de Grey joined Dr. George Leeson, Deputy Director, Oxford Institute on Ageing, James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford and Headmaster James Tracy in the Academy’s second Oxford-Cushing discussion, “21st Century Challenges and Opportunities: Our Aging Global Population.”
Thinking about such ideas may sound like science fiction, but according to Leeson, it forces us to think about the impossible and outside the box. “What would that world be like? Rather than thinking of it as a word of older people, think of it as a world of people living longer. If we think of life as a box with lots of parameters and you take one parameter out – life expectancy – and we take out nothing else, we are misleading ourselves. If we are able to master aging, all other parameters change… How long will you educate yourself? When will you marry? When will you have children? When will you retire? You have to take that box, throw it up in the air and see where those parameters fall.”
Moderated by Dr. Tracy, the discussion allowed for questions and answers from students and faculty. How would an extended lifespan affect religion? World population? Human creativity and our productive contributions to this world?
When is youth in a world where we are living to 150?
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