August 20, 2009


Via the Puppy-Blender comes this post from the FuturePundit regarding the rise in the average U.S. life expectancy:

75.3 years for men and 80.4 years for women.

U.S. life expectancy reached nearly 78 years (77.9), and the age-adjusted death rate dropped to 760.3 deaths per 100,000 population, both records, according to the latest mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2007, was issued today by CDCs National Center for Health Statistics. The data are based on nearly 90 percent of death certificates in the United States.

The 2007 increase in life expectancy up from 77.7 in 2006 -- represents a continuation of a trend. Over a decade, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years from 76.5 years in 1997 to 77.9 in 2007.

We are making gains against some of the big diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Between 2006 and 2007, mortality rates declined significantly for eight of the 15 leading causes of death. Declines were observed for influenza and pneumonia (8.4 percent), homicide (6.5 percent), accidents (5 percent), heart disease (4.7 percent), stroke (4.6 percent), diabetes (3.9 percent), hypertension (2.7 percent), and cancer (1.8 percent).

If you want to cut your own risks read my archives Aging Diet Cancer Studies and Aging Diet Heart Studies. A lot of the dietary factors heart disease risk reduction also slow brain aging. But you can also read Aging Diet Brain Studies for more ideas.

Conventional drugs and diet can only take us so far. What we need for bigger steps toward longer lives: Rejuvenation therapies. We need stem cells, gene therapies, immune therapies that remove accumulated junk, and nanodevices that do repairs. When do these therapies start hitting clinics and hospitals in substantial numbers? Hard to say. But experiments on animals with some of these therapies make me think most of us will live to see these therapies hit the mainstream.

(Go on over to get the links embedded in this post.)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that while I think it's swell that lifespans are increasing through diet, exercise and sensible living, it strikes me that we cross some kind of line when we start talking about "rejuvenation therapies" and the like. I haven't really mulled it out into a coherent moral, ethical and spiritual argument yet, but I have always found something disturbing about the quest for the Fountain of Youth.

I'm hardly the morbid sort, but I wouldn't want to live forever. Or even beyond the span naturally programmed into my body, for that matter. Enjoy what time you do have. Memento mori and be at peace with it. And look forward (dare I say it?) to the next world. Eternal life resides in the soul, not the body.

Posted by Robert at August 20, 2009 02:50 PM | TrackBack

Amen. Why would I want to spend even more time in an imperfect body in a sinful world, when I have a perfect body waiting in an eternally sinless heaven?

Posted by: Diane at August 20, 2009 03:27 PM

So, we are informed that we are Getting Fat, and this is evil and bad for us and the Wise and Bountiful Government needs to do PSAs and maybe ban McDonald's or something, tax soda pop... and the average age at death is rising??? something does not add up here. dave.s.

Posted by: dave.s. at August 21, 2009 08:23 PM