Longevity Madness: The Missing Piece

Image from an Intro to Zoology Textbook from 1889. Tortoise is one of the longest living creatures on earth,

The tech giants are investing in research labs that are focusing on finding novel new treatments to extend life. You have a new set of billionaires who want to live forever. I don’t blame them. Given optimal health, most of us would choose to extend our lives if we could. I know I would.

Besides this fact, the science is really fascinating. I am aligned very much with the founder of the Life Extension Foundation when he says that there are diseases of aging and if that is the case, isn’t biological aging a type of disease? I know how this sounds to some of you, like one is trying to reverse the natural order in some kind of perverse egotistical direction.

But let’s think about that for a moment. Just from a financial perspective, there are changes, like the loss of muscle called sarcopenia, that if that one thing were delayed would have enormous savings to our medical system. Obviously exercise is helpful but if other biological factors are identified that contribute to this wouldn’t it behoove us to treat that to prevent the enormous cost of broken hips and its subsequent sequelae. The same can be said for many different pathways in the body that start to go awry as we age, why must it go awry? Is it even ethical to allow to do so if we have treatments or lifestyle interventions that would help and would obviously lessen suffering?

Let’s just hope that along with the advancements and extension of life that come that along with the blessing of long life, that we have a corresponding increase in wisdom and people we can call sages. The last thing we need is 150 year olds who just want to be teenagers forever. A balanced approach would seek to not just work on the body but to correspondingly work on growing the depth and wisdom of the mind. Those teachings have been with us all along and they wait for the person who wishes to learn them. A blessing of greater life would give us more time to immerse ourselves in those teachings and to teach others, that to me would be an extended life worth living.

Published by

Jonathan Carp, MD

Dermatologist, health food entrepreneur, beach addict, and health teacher.