At What Age Should We Die?

by Malc on July 21, 2008

Heatlhy agingJust as humans have evolved to have hair, 2 legs and a nose, we have evolved to die at an age between 80 and 120. Currently, an absolute maximum age of 120 is inbuilt due to a component of every cell nucleus called the telomere, which shortens every time the cell divides. Eventually the cell can divide no more.

Interestingly cancer cells are immortal partly because of their ability to repair this telomere. There is a process taking place here which will eventually be understood. It will then be applied to humans; estimates vary from 20 to 40 years before this starts to be possible.

Thank Heaven For Our Brains

Just as evolution has determined, which body processes start to break down as we age leading to death; it has similarly developed our brains. Happily we are now making great progress in understanding these processes.

There is no natural age at which we have to die. Many reptiles, and even most trees, manage to live much longer than we do – and stay healthy in the process.

It is interesting to view death as a disease. Then discovering how to extend healthy lifespan is fundamentally no different from discovering how not to die from infections. This was achieved only in the 1920s with the discovery of antibiotics. To those alive in the 20’s this would have seemed like magic.

Healthy Aging = Delayed Old Age

There is no pleasure in becoming decrepit and frail in old age.

As more discoveries are made about aging we will extend middle-age longer and longer such that old age simply happens later if it occurs at all.

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