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    Is a 1000 year old human a possibility?

    Can Humans Live to 1,000? Some Experts Claim We Can.

    Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey has famously stated, “The first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today …whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.”

    Perhaps de Gray is way too optimistic, but plenty of others have joined the search for a virtual fountain of youth. In fact, a growing number of scientists, doctors, geneticists and nanotech experts—many with impeccable academic credentials—are insisting that there is no hard reason why ageing can’t be dramatically slowed or prevented altogether. Not only is it theoretically possible, they argue, but a scientifically achievable goal that can and should be reached in time to benefit those alive today.

    “I am working on immortality,” says Michael Rose, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, who has achieved breakthrough results extending the lives of fruit flies. “Twenty years ago the idea of postponing aging, let alone reversing it, was weird and off-the-wall. Today there are good reasons for thinking it is fundamentally possible.”

    Even the US government finds the field sufficiently promising to fund some of the research. Federal funding for “the biology of ageing”, excluding work on ageing-specific diseases like heart failure and cancer – has been running at about $2.4 billion a year, according to the National Institute of Ageing, part of the National Institutes of Health.

    So far, the most intriguing results have been spawned by the genetics labs of bigger universities, where anti-ageing scientists have found ways to extend live spans of a range of organisms—including mammals. But genetic research is not the only field that may hold the key to eternity.

    “There are many, many different components of ageing and we are chipping away at all of them,” said Robert Freitas at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, a non-profit, nanotech group in Palo Alto, California. “It will take time and, if you put it in terms of the big developments of modern technology, say the telephone, we are still about 10 years off from Alexander Graham Bell shouting to his assistant through that first device. Still, in the near future, say the next two to four decades, the disease of ageing will be cured.”

    But not everyone thinks ageing can or should be cured. Some say that humans weren’t meant to live forever, regardless of whether or not we actually can.

    “I just don’t think [immortality] is possible,” says Sherwin Nuland, a professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. “Aubrey and the others who talk of greatly extending lifespan are oversimplifying the science and just don’t understand the magnitude of the task. His plan will not succeed. Were it to do so, it would undermine what it means to be human.”

    It’s interesting that Nuland first says he doesn’t think it will work but then adds that if it does, it will undermine humanity. So, which is it? Is it impossible, or are the skeptics just hoping it is?

    After all, we already have overpopulation, global warming, limited resources and other issues to deal with, so why compound the problem by adding immortality into the mix.

    But anti-ageing enthusiasts argue that as our perspectives change and science and technology advance exponentially, new solutions will emerge. Space colonization, for example, along with dramatically improved resource management, could resolve the concerns associated with long life. They reason that if the Universe goes on seemingly forever—much of it presumably unused—why not populate it?

    However, anti-ageing crusaders are coming up against an increasingly influential alliance of bioconservatives who want to restrict research seeking to “unnaturally” prolong life. Some of these individuals were influential in persuading President Bush in 2001 to restrict federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. They oppose the idea of life extension and anti-ageing research on ethical, moral and ecological grounds.

    Leon Kass, the former head of Bush’s Council on Bioethics, insists that “the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual”. Bioethicist Daniel Callahan of the Garrison, New York-based Hastings Centre, agrees: “There is no known social good coming from the conquest of death.”

    Maybe they’re right, but then why do we as humans strive so hard to prolong our lives in the first place? Maybe growing old, getting sick and dying is just a natural, inevitable part of the circle of life, and we may as well accept it.

    “But it’s not inevitable, that’s the point,” de Grey says. “At the moment, we’re stuck with this awful fatalism that we’re all going to get old and sick and die painful deaths. There are a 100,000 people dying each day from age-related diseases. We can stop this carnage. It’s simply a matter of deciding that’s what we should be doing.”

    One wonders what Methuselah would say about all this.

    Reader Comments (96)

    Hi Friend,

    It's really amzaing if one could thing over it to live 1000. I think the days passed away and considering todays scientific growth. It is possible what you have said here. Because, 2 days back, here is the live example I have seen that in India, a man having age of 127 yrs. old doing his regular activity nicely. The area belong to rural one. So, the day not ahead that the imagination of 1000 years proven to be true.

    Nice article. Now with curiosity I have read out all the articles on your site and got very good and curious information about many things which are known and also unknown to me.

    Thanks for the good and effortful information.



    Actually, there's been very promising results achieved from using reveratrol, a compound found in the skins of red grapes and thus present in red wines. It has extended the lifetime of every test animal used thus far, such that Aubrey de Grey himself takes it daily. However, no study regarding the long term side effects have been made, so it may not be the magic pill we're looking for yet.

    it's a long time, maybe i could be boring live such a long time

    Well, i wont want to wants it impossible.. But maybe.. but not anytime soon.. 1000 years is really madness.

    While it would be nice to live to 1,000, how many people would really want to? The state of the world is a great unknown. Cool blog!

    06.26 | Unregistered CommenterKolly

    I love stuff like this.

    I believe our bodies could do it. Not to be controversial, but look at our world before The Flood. Noah lived to be over 900 years old. 700 years of age was pretty commonplace.

    Now, will it happen? Only God knows.

    06.28 | Unregistered CommenterJim

    Wow, it blows your mind, that it might be possible to live longer. I mean just imagine a retirement of 100 years of golfing, grandchildren and so on without work - just living of the interest of your savings. Perfect situation, I must say.
    So I really hope that optimists like Dr Aubrey are on the right track! :-)

    06.29 | Unregistered CommenterPernille

    Resveratrol has received a lot of attention lately, as has alpha lipoic acid, l-carnosine, acetyl l-carnitine, dmae, dhea and a number of other products. But you're right, the long term effects of taking these supplements haven't been investigated to any great extent.

    07.8 | Unregistered CommenterSparkle

    I wouldn't want to live up to 1000 unless I retain the strength and vigor of an 18-year old. Haha :) Nice article.

    Learn more about things Danish in ASiden.

    OMG, that's insane. I'm sure we can't.

    07.17 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

    I feel this will really undermine humanity for sure. The word "morality will be erased then fro our dictonaries". And yes that example of Indian Man living 127 years and doing regular things quite actively may very well be the first sign of this prediction. Great write-up indeed!

    Hmm very interesting. I am well under 40, so perhaps I will live for centuries. Except, I don't know if that is a good thing or not.

    07.18 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

    I think why not... My mother once said to me (after her father passed away), "It's terrible we do not live very long."

    I worked as a minister for about a decade; one my biggest issues with God was the idea that we should be thankful for the short life span, we human beings have been given.

    If I were a woman, I would all about donating my eggs for research regarding our lifespan. And considering ancient knowledge of 'Starfire' dating back to the first recorded civilization in Sumor we know that longer lifespan is truly possible.

    They had the secret of a long life as well. Hence, the 'Flower of Life' mixed with breast milk which contains 'Telemerase'

    The only institution standing in the way of our right to life... Is Religion and I say, damn all 'religions' that stands in the way of my sovereign right to LIFE.

    -Nick deVere

    Don't you wish instead of Bush spending money on these wars, he can spend them on the fountain of youth? Isn't this the real war? The war within the human race. I like my life, and I don't want to die, not that I'm scared of death. Unlike other people I actually enjoy this life, surely that doesn't mean that I'm rich. But one day I will be if I was immortal. Life is too short, and instead of all this money being spent on wars. They should spend it on Immortally!

    My whole statement is that instead of trying to extend life, let us make the best use of time that is already available. Most of us waste time foolishly and then why get more life so that will also get wasted. Stay with what you have and use it fully first before asking for more.

    I have read somewhere that in Hindu philosophy there are 4 eras (Yugas) equal to Roman Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages... In first era, Krita Yuga, people live for 100000 years and are almost almighty - both their mind and body are perfect, in the second one, Treta Yuga, people live for 10000 years, then in Dvapara Yuga, for 1000, and in the Kali Yuga - human life is only 100 year long... according to this theory, we now live in Kali yuga, Dark Age... We are not perfect enough to allow us live for longer than 100 years...

    07.28 | Unregistered CommenterPolina

    This would be amazing and frightening at the same time. Imagine if our population continued to grow at a rapid rate because there was no more... death.... Amazing post!

    07.30 | Unregistered CommenterGas Cards

    Why would anyone want to live for 1000 years? I can't hardly think that would a pleasurable experience to out live all your children, all your friends and family, all your grandchildren and their grandchildren for that matter. I hope they never figure it out, I don't think that would be good for this world.

    This sounds cool! :D

    It is really a great piece of article. IMHO, every human has their limit. No one can stop it, all we need is to cope with it.
    Death is simply part of human life.

    I look forward tot he day in which I can live til I am 900. It is going to be an awesome day indeed.


    This is quite a fascinating article. I do believe it is possible for us to live much longer than we typically do. In the Bible people lived to be hundreds of years old and it was quite common. I think we have so much disease and poor eating habits that it would be very difficult to live tah long.

    08.17 | Unregistered CommenterDarla

    Question is, should man be able to reach 1,000 years, would he/she still be as dynamic to live each and everyday of his/her life?

    That is amazing. I figure at the rate we were going the average life span would go from 75-85 to 115-125 within the next hundred years but what sort of health would someone be in at say 500 years if they are going to live to be 1000? Will frailty set in at one hundred and live an unhealthy miserable existence until they die? Or will 500 be the new 40?

    Its fascinating nonetheless but we have population issues as it is. If everyone stayed healthy for 1000 years or never aged at all it would cause some sever problems with over population.

    08.24 | Unregistered CommenterBowtrol

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