Living Longer

man with spock ears waiting in doctor's office

Living Longer

At an age that lies somewhere between Kid Rock and Mr. Spock, any talk of extending my stay with the living gets the immediate attention of my good ear. While waiting in a crowded clinic for a flu shot, I overheard two people discussing an article one was reading about "living forever".

This immunized me from terminal boredom by injecting my thoughts with several interesting questions. Will medical science develop a fountain of youth in my lifetime? Will these life extending treatments be available for everyone? How much earlier do I need to get here next flu season to get a better magazine selection?

Scientists are close to unlocking the genetic secrets that could allow us live for centuries, maybe forever. Researchers around the world are learning more about how and why we age.

Advances in biotechnology, tissue regeneration, artificial organs, diagnostic procedures and life saving drugs will make it almost certain that we will enjoy longer lives as time progresses. Some scientists predict that by the year 2075, medical technology will have slowed the aging process to a crawl and eliminated most life threatening illnesses.

But don't buy your tickets for the 2080 Summer Olympics just yet. There may be a high price to pay for living longer. Will health plans cover treatments that extend lives past their "natural" end? What will manufacturers charge for a drug that promises eternal life? The obvious answers are; "Not likely." and "As much as they can."

For the sake of society, especially my small part of it, I hope that life extending breakthroughs will be available for all. Perhaps in the years that it takes for us to develop these advanced medical techniques, we will also learn enough about ourselves to become more fair and compassionate.

Jack Hanson

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