What is the current state of life extension research?

Hi, I’m interested in understanding just how much has been accomplished, and what is currently in the works, regarding the slowing down of human aging.

And is it likely that people today will see a median lifespan over 100 or 120?

Wiki thread covers most of the bases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_extension

A great deal depends on when Moore’s Law stops. The longer it goes, the easier it becomes to accurately model biochemical reactions on a computer, instead of needing clinical trials. At some point, if it continues long enough, stopping the aging process will be trivially easy. Accurate computer modelling of biochemical experiments is FAR, FAR cheaper and faster than actual real-world experiments. If computers get fast enough to be able to model those processes easily (which might occur in 20-25 years or so, if Moore’s Law continues), then aging will be a thing of the past…first for the rich/privileged, and then for everyone, after several years.

IMHO.

True, but there is a difference between having the computer power available to model something, and being able to model something.

And for medical trials, ISTM it’s a catch 22. If you don’t simulate a whole body (e.g. you just simulate skin), then you’re still going to need human trials to have full confidence of safety, and the whole thing is pushed back years again (though admittedly, at least the first stage will have been radically sped up). OTOH if you simulate an entire human body, then there would be ethical concerns over whether the simulation itself is a human being.

Having said all that, I do basically agree with you. I’m just saying it won’t be “trivially easy”.

Would you like an estimation of the future increase in average life expectancy? First, the life expectancy in the 72 countries of the world with the longest life expectancies is at least 75 years for each country:

Note that the U.S. is approximately in the middle of those 72 countries.

I suspect that a reasonable estimation of the future increase is that the life expectancy will continue to increase by about .2 years per year (about 2 years per decade) for some time yet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity

You’re right, there is a difference between having the computer processing power, and actually having the software that can do the modelling accurately. I’d guess there will be anywhere from 1-8 years in lag time between the two, roughly-speaking, if I were just totally pulling that out of my butt. I’m sure there’s some kind of corollary to Moore’s Law that refers to the increasing complexity of computer simulations, though.

That’s an interesting point about whether or not the simulation is a person. I doubt it would ultimately be a problem, though–people volunteer and/or get paid for medical studies all the time. Why would a simulation be that different?

As far as “trivially easy”–that’s all a matter of time. Wireless communication for laptop computers was not “trivially easy” 15 years ago. heck, it was still in the experimental stages. :slight_smile: The same goes for almost any extremely useful technology.