Caption: Woman taking apple of youth (Image credit)
This article first appeared on the blog of Intentional Insights, a nonprofit organization that empowers people to refine and reach their goals by providing research-based content to help improve thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be young and healthy forever? What a wonderful dream! Envision a body that stays strong and fit and beautiful, a mind dynamic, flexible, and sharp - for decades, centuries, even millennia.
That would be so great! Yet it seems like a pointless dream. We all know that death is inevitable. Our wishes about a different world are just wishes.
Well, this is not what the scientists at the Major Mouse Testing Project believe. They, along with other researchers on longevity, are doing innovative research to enable us to update our beliefs about aging, as this video shows.
Perhaps their most fundamental innovation is not in the science itself, but in their approach to aging. Our medical system treats aging as simply an inevitable process, not something to fight against. Aging is not seen as a treatable medical condition, so mainstream medicine is not addressing it as one. After all, since aging is not seen as a disease, insurance companies won't cover costs associated with treating aging, so there is no financial incentive for companies to address aging.
However, what would happen if we approach aging as a disease? Recent research describes how the very processes that are necessary for us to stay alive produce various toxins. The accumulation of such toxins in the body causes the physiological processes that we term "aging."
Fortunately, we now have biotechnological capacity to reverse aging. Studies on mice have shown much promise for aging reversal. The crucial part is removing the toxins produced by the natural metabolic processes that occur as part of what our bodies do for us to live. Removing these toxins would enable us to stay young and healthy forever.
Yet since the medical system does not treat aging as a disease, there is very little research funding going into this area. First, most research takes place around health issues that are facing people right now and that people care about in the moment. Second, the lack of acknowledgment of aging as a disease makes it very hard to get grant money to address aging.
Now, there are some scientists who are arguing for aging to be defined as a disease. Yet without mass support and lack of recognition from the medical system, they are fighting a very uphill battle.
What would happen in the ideal world if this battle is won and we invest substantial resources into fighting aging? Well, once you start to grow old, you can get medical treatments to cure you from aging. You would go into a rejuvenation center, where the accumulated toxins would be removed from your body, and your tissues would be repaired from the damage done by the toxin accumulation. You would go back to looking, feeling, and thinking like you are 25.
Such rejuvenation technology would transform us as individuals. How differently would we live our lives if we knew we had many millennia to live? What kind of plans would we make for the future? How much more would we care about improving our physical fitness and our mental fitness? Imagine the kind of long-term plans we can make and the goals we can achieve!
This technology would also transform our society! How much more would we care about the environment if we knew we would suffer the consequences of global warming? What about nuclear proliferation and other forms of existential risk? It would truly change the world as we know it, perhaps even more so than the internet changed the world.
How exciting would that be! And you can be a part of this new world. If you want to advance this mission, you can help by supporting longevity research and getting involved in longevity advocacy. May we all stay young and healthy forever!
Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky runs a nonprofit that helps you reach your goals using science to build an altruistic and flourishing world, Intentional Insights, authored Find Your Purpose Using Science among other books, and regular contributes to prominent venues; and is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State. Consider signing up to the Intentional Insights newsletter; volunteering; donating; buying merchandise; and/or support him personally on Patreon. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.