'Fountain of Youth' Coming
"Fountain of Youth" within our grasp, scientists say
By Dick Pelletier
Imagine playing basketball at age 200 with your great-great-great grandchildren, or flying a spaceship to Alpha Centauri in the next millennium. If life extension scientists achieve their goals, regardless of age, your "rejuvenated" body of the future will always remain in perfect health, allowing you to experience the many wonders predicted for this century and beyond.
A growing number of researchers from around the world believe that eternal health and youth will soon be realized. Aging is a destructive biochemical event, scientists say, and we are on the brink of understanding its life-destroying processes.
In a 60 Minutes interview, anti-aging guru Aubrey de Grey said that science will soon develop the means to create indefinite lifespans. "First generation therapies will give us maybe thirty extra years of healthy living," de Grey said; "new therapies will then add another thirty years; always keeping us one step ahead of the grim reaper."
Futurist Ray Kurzweil, in a recent C-Span2 broadcast confirmed that we are in early stages of profound revolutions in anti-aging technologies. "Soon," Kurzweil says, "biotech upgrades will add more than one year of life expectancy to our lives each year."
Futurologist Ian Pearson makes an even bolder prediction. This forward-thinker believes that advances in the next three decades will be sufficient for us to make a realistic stab at ending all deaths from disease and aging processes. "Unless one is unfortunate enough to die from accident or violence, many alive today have a good chance of not dying at all," Pearson says.
Here's a look at what forward-thinkers believe could be accomplished in the near future:
1. Cancer. Genetic and nano-based therapies hold great promise to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. The National Cancer Institute recently accepted a challenge by its director to eliminate all pain, suffering, and death from this horrific disease by 2015.
2. Obesity. 80% of children from obese parents experience weight problems, while only 14% of kids from normal parents become overweight. Genetic breakthroughs expected 2010-to-2020 could provide cures for this frustrating condition.
3. Heart disease. United Therapeutics developed a technique that modifies cells and injects them into the bloodstream to replace damaged heart tissues. This and other research could eliminate this number one killer disease by 2020, experts say.
4. Mind. New memory-enhancing drugs will be available between 2010 and 2015. If clinical trials succeed, not only will these pills banish "senior moments," they could also improve SAT scores by 200 points or more, raising intelligence levels throughout the world.
5. Medical robots. Congress recently passed a $3.7-billion bill to fund research that could lead to non-biological `bots traveling the human bloodstream to fight disease and repair cells. Many benefits from this program will be realized during the next decade and by mid-2020s, these clever machines could be cruising throughout our bodies keeping us forever young.
Kurzweil points out that what humans have always dreamed of the promise of living indefinitely could soon become reality. By 2020, nearly everyone will be adding more than one year each year to their life expectancy. So get ready to enjoy a long and healthy life filled with joys and challenges of what promises to be an amazing "magical future."