Category Archives: Mind Boggling

Is Life Expectancy Approaching Immortality?

I have never really taken human immortality predictions seriously. It doesn’t seem possible, and also seems undesirable. Would you really want to live on earth for thousands of years? How about a million years? If a million years on earth sounds like a good time to you, you’ll be pleased to see some of the latest medical breakthroughs that are trying to make immortality an actual possibility.

Yearning For Immortality

Immortality has been sought after since the beginning of time. No one has cracked the code yet, but there are fairly new organizations dedicated to the cause. They are utalizing the most cutting-edge technology and actually having some successful breakthroughs.

The SENS research foundation is one of those organizations dedicated to helping all of us live forever. They have several breakthroughs and come to the conclusion that the rate at which we age has not been hard-coded into our existence. This means that theoretically, our aging clock can be slowed down to extend our lifespan for hundreds, or even thousands of years. But can the aging process be stopped indefinitely? That’s the million dollar question and several organizations think they have the answer.

Another organization that pours millions of dollars and thousands of man hours into the task of cracking the immortality code is the Glenn Foundation. Their mission is humbly stated as wanting to increase health with life expectancy, but we know what that means. The Glenn Foundation is one of the biggest funders in this anti-aging industry. Paul F Glenn himself was instrumental in getting the National Institute of Aging formed (1).

One of the most promising breakthroughs came from Harvard, not surprisingly. If there is a scientific possibility of making a huge life expectancy leap, I would expect someone from Harvard to be all over it. The Harvard scientists worked in conjunction with the University of New South Wales to discover a way to reverse the aging process. Their breakthrough was in figuring out some of the genes responsible for fighting ageing. By manipulating these genes with natural compounds such as proteins, they have had success with reversing the ageing process in mice.

Keeping It In Context

Their experiments prove that it is possible to reverse ageing, but don’t prove that immortality is possible. Ironically enough, immortality is one of those things that is impossible to prove by its very nature. Since time doesn’t end, it’s not possible to live long enough to prove immortality. Even if someone were able to live for 500 years, they still wouldn’t have proved immortality possible.

Trying to crack the code to immortality is like trying to prove how the word came into being, it’s not possible since none of us were there. It’s all theory and best guesses backed by data. I’m still a skeptic, but reviewing the research has made me open to the idea that our lifespan could realistically double or triple.

 

Head Transplants Seem To Be Possible

Early research in the field suggests that head transplants are a real possibility in the near future. Right now, Dr. Xiaoping Ren is experimenting on mice and has been for years. He plans on experimenting on monkeys next, them I would guess apes after that. Humans would be the natural next step after apes. Nobody knows how long it will take before the advancing technology will be safe for human use, but it seems like a real possibility.

Head Transplants Are A Thing

Conerns

It was inevitable. Somebody was going to start trying to transplant heads sooner or later. It’s undoubtedly a complex process, but what Dr. Xiaoping Ren’s pioneering spirit has shown us is that it’s possible. The mice have not lived long after the transplant, but they have been able to operate their new body to a certain extent. That means their brain is able to communicate with their new nervous system to execute movements. With a surgery like this, a lot could go wrong.

There are a lot of ethical concerns that can’t be ignored. The most obvious concern would be the high probability of death. A botched head transplant would end differently than a botched nose job (think Michael Jackson). You can live with a botched nose job, but you would not survive a mishandled head transplant. There would have to be some regulations put in place on who could be eligible for a transplant and who couldn’t. Even with regulations, people who were unhappy with their current body would fly to a country that doesn’t have strict regulations to get their new body. This would undoubtedly lead to a slew of deaths and lawsuits.

The next worry that comes to mind for me is, where would the doner-bodies come from? There’s already enough conspiriacy theories about people’s organs being harvested, do we really want to start putting people’s heads on fresh young bodies? There would be a lot of spit-back from all different directions.

Questions That Come To Mind

Would there be age requirements? Could a 90-year-old affluent male have his head put on an 18-year-old’s former body? Or would we start engineering bodies in laboratories? Could a male head be put on a female body or vice versa? Would this surgery be available to everybody or just the ultra-rich? Would insurance cover it? Would employers be forced to get insurance that covers it like they are with birth control?

I could go on forever with these questions but I think you get it. This is a new field that could be a great thing, but also has the potential for abuse. For people who suffer from paralysis, this could enhance their quality of life tenfold. For people who want a recreational body switcheroo, this could be a tragedy waiting to happen. I will keep a watchful eye on the technology as it develops, but I can promise you I won’t be standing in line anytime soon to test this technology out. It is scary and exciting at the same time. Science is advancing so fast that I can’t keep up with all the latest unthinkable achievements.

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