Thursday, March 29, 2007

Longevity- What needs improvement?

S. Jay Olshansky, Robert N. Butler, and Bruce A. Carnes ask a simple question, What if Humans were designed to last? in the latest issue of The Scientist.

A coordinated network of molecular processes providing cells with nearly flawless surveillance, maintenance, and repair capabilities exemplifies the "perfection" of the human body. Living things need this precision in order to survive to reproductive
maturity in the face of a hostile environment and the toxic debris that the
cellular machinery of life generates. Meanwhile, subtle changes and imperfections at every level of biological organization give rise to the diseases and disorders associated with aging and impose limits on the duration of life, but ultimately, these changes and imperfections drive the evolutionary process itself. The juxtaposition of Michelangelo's perfection and Darwin's flaws embodies the linked stories of reproduction and death.

I particularly like that the authors say,

Our goal is not to create new methods of combating disease, but rather, to
spark an idea, trigger a thought, and inspire others to think outside the box by
first imagining a new future of human health that is better than the present -
and then working to make it so.

What do you think? If you could embark on making a long lived perfect human what would you change and why?



bongopondit said...

To make a long-lived human, don't we first have to think about a sustainable planet ? Or at least, arrest the growth rate.

Not sure you wanted a discussion in direction.....

Sakshi said...

Well, You are right. We would need more sustainable planet and rethink reproductive rights.
But what I was aiming for the imperfections in human body that could be corrected. The blind spot in the eye, regeneration .. something along those lines.

atma_tripta said...

I read sometime ago in a magazine where they talked about the 'design features' of a human for longevity.
The article mentioned that as such humans are designed to reach the age of maturity, reproduce as fast as possible and then ..its all downhill from there!
On the contrary one designed for longevity would have different physical features such as more calf muscle (for supporting the body weight better in old age), longer nose(I don't remember why),etc.

wonder what other things could be useful? perhaps a resistance to muscular degeneration or even better regeneration capabilities of muscles, nerve cells, better DNA repair capabilities on a cellular scale.
And better color vision, keener sense of hearing..would also be good if we could afford it!

Anonymous said...

Something this group might be interested in:

Cataloging the errors in 'a brief history of nearly everything'... one to get you started:

speed of shock wave that escapes the earth as it gets impacted by a comet was described as "c". its obviously much less than that. a few thousands of meters per second.

Dr. Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related story interesting to you:
Longevity Science: SENS

Selva said...

If you have a subscription for Technology Review, this is worth a read:

Deals with some of the scary issues with life extensions (In future, will we farm babies to harvest organs, for instance).

FSNB Online Banking said...

Longevity is going to redefined in coming years...I can't wait for immortality.

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