Catching up with Methuselah

Methuselah is the biblical character who happened to also be Noah’s grandfather and we’re told he lived to be 969 years old.  If Aubrey de Gray is correct, living as long as Methuselah may soon be within humanity’s grasp:

 A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to “cure” aging — banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

“I’d say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I’d call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so,” de Grey said in an interview before delivering a lecture at Britain’s Royal Institution academy of science.

“And what I mean by decisive is the same sort of medical control that we have over most infectious diseases today.”

De Grey sees a time when people will go to their doctors for regular “maintenance,” which by then will include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, immune stimulation and a range of other advanced medical techniques to keep them in good shape.

De Grey is reluctant to make firm predictions about how long people will be able to live in future, but he does say that with each major advance in longevity, scientists will buy more time to make yet more scientific progress.

In his view, this means that the first person who will live to 1,000 is likely to be born less than 20 years after the first person to reach 150.

“I call it longevity escape velocity — where we have a sufficiently comprehensive panel of therapies to enable us to push back the ill health of old age faster than time is passing. And that way, we buy ourselves enough time to develop more therapies further as time goes on,” he said.

“What we can actually predict in terms of how long people will live is absolutely nothing, because it will be determined by the risk of death from other causes like accidents,” he said.

“But there really shouldn’t be any limit imposed by how long ago you were born. The whole point of maintenance is that it works indefinitely.”

The search for the fountain of youth has gone on for ages and this I think to be a modern day version of those bygone searches so color me skeptical nevertheless there will be many who see this as a panacea.

Count me with the Apostle Paul on this.

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