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Memories of the 28th Century

Potential Life Expectancy

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The One Who Dies Last Wins

I realize that I wrote about this a while back, but it might be a good time to revisit the matter. As I am sure you know, one of the foremost experts in longevity declared a few years ago that the first person who would live to be 1000 years old probably was already alive. I donít know whether he was right, but that may turn out to be true; Iíll let you know in about a thousand years.

Even if humans donít start making it to a thousand, there are no major reasons why humans shouldnít regularly live to be a few hundred years old. Someone calculated that accidents will become a major problem, and it might be that the odds of a fatal accident of some kind will make it impossible (or very unlikely) to live beyond three hundred years. I donít know who or when that was from, but the NY Times article has some of the same points. Luck is a large part of longevity.

I just came across an article about a man who may have lived to 256 years. Living that long in China starting in 1677 would require very good luck. There were no powerful antibiotics, except alicin from garlic, during his lifetime, but he survived. The fact that he was a professional seller of herbs might be relevant. The article I read doesnít give much information that might be relevant to living that long, but that might be recorded elsewhere.

The NY Times article points to randomness in determining who will live to be very old, and that makes lots of sense. In addition, a bell-shaped curve is the usual shape of a graph of random effect, but there are differences when there is a defined limit at one end while the other end of that axis is unlimited. There tend to be many more data points near the limit, which is age zero. At the far end of the age scale there should be some outliers, and the Chinese man I mentioned above is one such. I recall reading of a woman in India who could remember events that occurred in the 1790ís, which at that time indicated that she was at least 170 years old. There probably are other recorded examples, but some such people would have made it a point to avoid letting many people know how old they were.

I recall having read of an apparent roadblock to aging at 113 years. People who seemed quite healthy and ready to live a few more decades would hit their 113th anniversary but not make it to the 114th. I can't find anything on that effect right now, so it might not be in effect any more; although there are many mentions of people not making it beyond that age.

One missing link in longevity is a specific genetic switch that relates to longevity, but there may not be a single genetic code involved. But it is thought that shrinkage of the telomeres related to the age of a cell, and overall longevity depends on cells remaining alive. This is what Aubrey de Grey of SENS Research has been concentrating on, but he hasn't come up with any good way to restore telomeres, but he has only been working on it for a couple of decades. I was looking for de Grey's diet; the Longevity Diet would be a good addition to the other diets that I have written up. This article mentions diet, so it might be the one I wanted:
I wonder if a beard like his is part of the longevity regime.

Considering how many people live to be two hundred years old, I suspect that it requires a combination of factors. I think that those include: good genes, luck, and avoidance of chemicals that damage the body. A reasonable diet and a reasonable amount of exercise would also be required, and those would vary from person to person. For many people it is clear from a relatively early age that the person will not live especially long; such people include those with chronic diseases, chemical dependencies, obesity, etc. I find it shocking to see how old some people of about my age appear to be. It remains to be seen who will live the longest, but some of the ideas that have or will emanate from the SENS Institute may be relevant, and I have read that longevity researchers believe that some of their findings are good enough that using suitable supplements is worthwhile. I wonder what those supplements are. The SENS Institute website mentions the Mediterranean diet and the ketogenic diet (whatever that is).

It is ironic that some of things that will help one to live long will cut short a life, if they are used in excess. I am thinking of alcoholic beverages in particular, but dietary extremes of all sorts will have similar effects. It is sobering for me to see someone who looks twenty years than his chronological age as a result of excessive alcohol, and worse when someone dies from degenerative disorders as a result of excessive alcohol. The worst part is that it gives alcohol a bad name. Other psychoactive drugs also contribute to early deaths. It is ironic that opiates, which can assist in longevity, often result in premature death, largely because they are illegal in most places.

I'll look a little more into the longevity diet, and I may add that later.

Part luck

256 year old man



  1. Dark Muse's Avatar
    I don't see the appeal in living to be a 1000 or even a 100 years old. I have never been an inmortality seeker so to speak. I am quite comftrable with my own mortality and the possibility of death. I never viewed death as some sort of nemesis that one needs to fruitlessly attempt to defeat. Death is an old friend.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    I am also comfortable with my mortality. Death is just another part of life. But I have thought for some time that my lifetime would be rather long, and, like the thoughts of some I've known who thought they would die young and did, my impression may be correct.

    I don't think that anyone will try to drag you into much greater age than you natural years; although the medical types seem to think that every death should be deferred as long as possible, even if the person is in a coma.