15 September 2009

The struggle for life

Fight Aging has a collection of interesting links on the current state of anti-aging research, and makes an important point about the apparently-disappointing rate of increase in life expectancy:

At present, life expectancy is increasing at about one year for every five years that pass - only 20% of what is needed to keep our expected remaining years of life increasing at the same speed with which we age. That said, it is worth remembering that life expectancy is a statistical construct based on past data - it is a helpful measure of progress, but not necessarily an indication of where we are now. I suspect it lags present medical advances, for example, because their effects on mortality rate might not show up for a decade or more.

That is to say, conventional life-expectancy figures aren't a good guide to how long a person who is now middle-aged can actually expect to live, even assuming only present-day technology. It's more a measure of past progress. Remember also, of course, that most such figures are national averages which are pulled down by the obesity epidemic and by the shrinking but still substantial number of smokers. Realistic life expectancy for healthy people is probably much longer, and increasing faster, than conventional statistics would suggest.

4 Comments:

Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Sadly past middle age and moving on to the next category, I'm not really sure I would welcome a big jump in life expectancy - not if my body couldn't keep up.

15 September, 2009 14:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The only way that really significant increases in lifespan can be achieved is by slowing and reversing the aging process and keeping people young amd vigorous -- adding extra years "in the middle, not the end" of life. More here.

15 September, 2009 14:50  
Blogger Sage said...

I hope life expectancy is genetic. My parents are 83 and 83 and they have siblings who are in their late 80's and early nineties. They are all in good health and still drive and take care of themselves.

18 September, 2009 19:33  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Genetics has always been a major factor, but it's being superseded by technology and the improved environment which technology generates -- as the doubling of life expectancy in the 20th century shows.

18 September, 2009 23:30  

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