The Methuselah Foundation, and the goal of greatly extending the healthy human life span, has been in the media again of late. Yesterday, Foundation chair Aubrey de Grey appeared on the Colbert Report:
In other news, the latest Popular Mechanics also includes an article on the goals and research program of the Foundation:
We’ve long regarded aging as something almost mystical or supernatural, and it’s easy to see why. … But research demonstrates that aging isn’t a supernatural process; it’s a physical one that gradually occurs as systems wear out beyond the body’s ability to repair them.
Biogerontologists like Aubrey de Grey, author of Ending Aging, believe that living longer is a fairly straightforward engineering problem: Find out what breaks and fix it. De Grey promotes an approach he calls Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, or SENS. It identifies seven specific breakdowns and attempts to attack each of them in turn. He and others are researching longevity with support from nonprofits and an X Prize approach aimed at extending the life span of mice.
Americans now live longer, healthier lives by several decades than the majority did a century ago. Most of us think it’s a good thing. Would extending this phenomenon by several more decades be good, too? Seems like it to me.