Engineering Immortality: the End of Aging?

Humans are now living longer than ever before. In just a century American life expectancy
has gone from forty seven to seventy nine years. In one century. Today scientists are growing hearts in the
lab, creating organs with 3-D bioprinters, body organs and eliminating cells that shorten
life. Eliminating them. Will this new technology yield another dramatic
increase in life expectancy? Is it a good idea? That’s a question that some people are asking. So let me introduce our guests. Our first guest is the director of regenerative
medical research and director of the Center for cell and organ biotechnology at the Texas
Heart Institute in Houston. Please welcome Doris Taylor. Our next guest is the director of the Robert
and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic and Noaber Foundation Professor of
Aging Research. Please welcome James L. Kirkland. Our next guest is a novelist, a blogger, a
syndicated columnist and media commentator and expert in international affairs and biotechnology
policy. Ladies and gentlemen: Jamie Metzl. And our final guest for this evening is the
William E. William Davis Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and chief of the division
of medical ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College, Please welcome Joseph Fins. And we’re going to start with the question. What is biological aging and why should we
study it. Let me start with you Doris. Well I think biologic aging is really a function
of the age of our cells. You know I may, I may act twenty some day
but my cells know they’re not. That being said I think biologic aging is
really a culmination of stress, emotional, mental, physical parameters that impact every
aspect of our body and including not just ourselves, but our organs and tissues. James I think one of the views in the field is that
there are a number of processes which determine your physiologic age or your biologic age
as opposed to your chronological age which can be quite the distinct. So when you think of children they’re really
quite similar at a particular chronological age you know a kid in kindergarten is very
much like another kid in kindergarten and they view a kid in grade one as being a lot
older than they are almost the same age as their parents. When people are in their twenties they’re
becoming a little more distinct but they maybe at the same level of university and but there
are some differences appearing. When you get to people in their eighties and
nineties because I’m, among other things, I’m a geriatrician, I see these people. You know many of us are approaching that age
in our parents and grandparents have been through this, there are some eighty five year
olds who are out there playing thirty-six holes of golf a day and others who have twenty
different conditions and are in thirty different drugs. So biologic age and chronological age diverge
quite a bit as you get older and really what biological age predisposes to are the major
age related chronic diseases. The highest risk factor for having a heart
attack for example is your age and it’s more specifically your biological age. And a brief one sentence definition then of
biological age? Well at the fundamental level there are, you
can bin or group these processes in various different ways. But one way I simplistically like to think
of it that applies across many organisms is a degree of inflammation of tissues, cellular
senescence, which we’ll probably talk again about later. Problems with large molecules like DNA, proteins,
lipids, sugars and also organelles within cells and then stem and progenitor cell disfunction. You find these processes are highly linked
to each other. You use drugs that target one, you tend to
affect the others or single gene mutation. And they tend to be conserved across many
species although not every process is conserved in all species. All right. We’ll come back to that. Jamie? Because aging is very complex and multi-factorial,
it’s really hard. There’s no standard definition of what biological
age is. We know, as Jim said, that different people
age at different rate. We know that different parts of our body age
at different rates. And so while there are these two things, chronological
age and biologically, one of the big challenges in this field is to establish some kind of
uniformity for what biological age is. And the reason that’s important is because
we’re going to talk about these different types of interventions, but we need to be
able to benchmark what is succeeding and what is not succeeding. And so biological age, we can understand it
conceptually but really making it real in a way it’s going to allow us to compare different
types of treatment, that’s the gold standard and we’re not there yet. Joe? I think age is not just a biological construct;
it’s a social construct. And when you start expanding the life cycle
and you start interrupting one person’s life with another life in a sequence of generational
issues I think we’re going to have to talk about what it means for social disruption. And… What do you mean social disruption? Well I mean you know, you know as a faculty
member in a medical school you know the tenure age keeps on going older and older and older. There’s a whole cohort of adjuncts who want
my job, right. So. So that’s what happens when you expand the
life expectancy of professors. And is that a good thing for the Academy? Or is it a good thing for society? So I think my sense of it is, I’m a big fan
of the work that folks are doing here, but I think a useful construct is what we call
fair innings. You know that if somebody has a life that’s
shortened because of a premature illness and they’re not going to get their full nine innings
you want to, you know, extend the life to fair innings. But when you start getting into extra inning
games the next day is really difficult when you have to play again. So I just think you need to think about the
context, the broader context of what when we change individuals and we change a lot
of individuals what are we doing to the group? What are we doing to society? I think that’s a really important point about
social constructs. Absolutely. But how do we think about what the social
construct is? At the time of the Roman Empire the average
life expectancy was twenty-five. As you said Bill in the introduction, a hundred
years ago it was forty-seven. Right. And everything was benchmarked against that
expectation. It’s like in Roman times, ‘oh my god you’ve
made it to 40!’ That was like a huge accomplishment. And so I also think we have all of these structures
that are just based on this one historic moment. And as things change those structures will
also change. I think that just quickly I think there’s
a question of radical disruption and how fast can you accommodate the change. And the other question is who will get the
enhancement? I was just going to say that I think a lot
of what many of us are trying to do is not necessarily extend life for those extra innings. It’s to extend health through those fair innings. That really the aspects of longevity that
we want to talk about are living healthy longer, as well as you know, the kids who call me
and say, can you keep my mom alive or the parents who call me and say, can you help
my son right? And I totally agree but the title of this
session is “Engineering Immortality” right? So you know I think we need to understand
that there’s a there’s a kind of a medical sort of Hippocratic intent and that how it’s
understood that we’re going to live far longer than. It’s true. But Doris said in the green room, which isn’t
actually green, but death sucks. And I think that we have been socialized to
accept death and I don’t think immortality is going to be possible for a very long time
if ever. We’ve been socialized to accept death. We’ve been socialized to define our lives
in relationship to death. But according again to Doris, death sucks,
and when you think of all the wisdom, all the love, all the poetry, everything that
goes away when somebody dies if we had the opportunity to extend healthy lifespan, and
all of the demographic projections suggest that around 2050 we’re going to start shrinking
again as a global public and we would need to change social constructs. But how wonderful if people, people could
meet their great grandparents and maybe we’ll have, you know you lose your tenure at sixty
or seventy or whatever but let’s solve for that problem. Not say that we have this infrastructure based
on our current life expectancy, therefore everyone’s parents and grandparents have to
die when there’s a lot of extra potential. So to get more specific, to move to another
topic. Where are we now, you guys who are specialists
in this, as far as targeting the aging process? The idea in the field is if we can target
fundamental aging processes, can we delay the, can we delay prevent or alleviate this
constellation of age related diseases as a group instead of targeting these things one
at a time. If you cure heart attacks for example you
are choosing to die instead of few months later of Alzheimer’s disease or some cancer. It’s a whack a mole situation. So why not go for these things as a group. As a clinician what I’m worried about is my
patients having poor quality of life having onset of these age related disease that cluster
within individuals. If you get one age related disease your time
for the next one is two and a half years. The one after that is a year. The one after that is six months. They cluster in people. We’ve all seen that. We need to target that and delay it and that’s
what some of these drugs do that seem to work in mice. Maybe, if we can get them to people. I want to ask you about that in a minute. Doris? So I think that makes sense though endogenous
repair fails and as it fails it doesn’t just fail in your heart, doesn’t just fail in your
liver, it fails everywhere. And part of that is because the capacity for
repair that we have, these cells come down as we age and those cells, the more hits you
take, the more you use those cells the fewer you have the more likely one two three four
five set things are going to fail. But I think that’s part of this. I think the other thing that happens is you
have damaged cells that don’t, that aren’t gotten rid of so there’s failure to remove
cells you don’t necessarily need to replace them in some instances, they’re damaged cells
that don’t get removed. They can become cancerous. They can produce things, senescence cells,
very small numbers of them produce factors that caused widespread systemic dysfunction. Do if only one in ten thousand of your cells
is senescent after, when they’re transplanted, you get, in mice you cause frailty for six
months. Causes diabetes, What happens when you take out senescence
cells? Well you get improvements in some of these
things. There are there many ways of targeting fundamental
aging processes now. There at least you know there are well over
a couple of dozen drugs now that target fundamental aging processes in mice and there are many
more coming. The question will be, can we say in an older
person who’s got five different medical conditions can we improve slightly three out of five
of those conditions with a single agent. Why is slowing or stopping aging a goal? Why is it a goal? Well I can answer that in two words. Why not? I mean if we can live healthy, longer that’s
just a pure good. And extending health span and extending lifespan
are correlated, so even if we say our goal is extending health, and that will very likely,
at least in the early years, extend overall lifespan and anybody who’s been at the deathbed
of a loved one or a child or a parent and asks the question ‘why can’t we have more
time?’ I think that if we can do that if we can that
was the purpose of health care is alleviating suffering. And one of the failures of all that miraculous
work that’s been done in extending lifespan is that we have more and more people who are
in miserable conditions in geriatric centers or wherever. But if we can have people live longer, healthier
lives, that’s in my mind just a pure good. Now you said at the beginning of our conversation,
you said something about we’ve been conditioned to accept death. Explain that a little bit. Well you’re born and we have all these rituals,
and we when people talk about death I would imagine most people in this room would say
what’s the purpose of death? Many people would say what gives meaning to
life. But would you like to have so much meaning
in your life that knowing that you’re going to die two days from now would that really
focus your love of your of your life and the answer would be no. So we have all of these rituals and we think
about death and we have all these words that we say but if any of us had an individual
choice of getting ten healthy years with a parent, more healthy years of a parent or
a child then everybody would take it. Let’s just toss an idea here. I’ve noticed that many cultures have different
ways of categorizing and surrounding the notion of death and putting it somewhere safe. People who focus on death who are not trained
to do so can get very depressed and it can increase suicide rates in fact. So is there anything, isn’t there something
good about having ways to put it off in a safe place? Joe you deal with this? Well this great book by Ernest Becker from
the seventies “The Denial of Death”, right? And it reminds me of what a European colleague
of mine once said about Americans, he says “they don’t die they just underachieve.” And we are a fundamentally death-denying culture. And I think that there’s you know I think
no one is against this in a kind of medical way to kind of compress morbidity and decrease
the burden of living with chronic disease. But I think there’s a there’s a fundamental
illusion of control here that we’re not going to get rid of death. You know it will eventually catch up with
us, death and taxes and I think it is part of the human fabric and frankly I think that
the fact that we will die gives us some meaning to take seriously the time that we have because
it’s not an unlimited gift. We want it to be a little brighter and shinier
but it’s not unlimited And I think we haven’t been sold it. It is who we are. And mortality is part of our lives. Yeah I agree. I don’t think anybody here is, I don’t think
immortality other than downloadable brains, which may or may not happen is what anybody
is talking about. But if we can extend healthy lifespan, then
great. But let’s, let’s for a moment. America especially is noted for this you say. What is it about American life that has made
us deny death? I think it’s extreme individualism. OK. Almost a kind of Libertarianism. Control. Control. Control. And in fact the people who seek assisted suicide
in say Oregon it’s not pain, it’s wanting to be in control of the timing and manner
of their death. Everyone thought it was for pain and symptom
management. It’s an existential crisis and it’s a fundamental
loss of control and I would say that this is this this effort here is part of that same
social urge to have you know control dominion over one’s life, one’s death and how long
one lives. From a psychological point of view, you’ve
got new ways of describing to us when it becomes unhealthy to deny it. Right, I think, I think what we see this you
know in clinical life where people are asking for care that at this day and age is impossible. And you know issues of medical futility. Interestingly the word futility comes from
the Latin futilis which means a leaky sieve, you know it no longer serves its purpose,
it doesn’t hold the fluid. And you know it’s amazing how we seek to extend
life. And people just can’t accept the finality
of it and it leads to tremendous grief. And so you know I think we have to be less
dichotomous about this and appreciate that there’s a benefit here in compressing morbidity
but we’re never going to get rid of our mortality. I think we have to talk, to continue to talk
though about quality because, because a number of the medical devices that exist at least
in the cardiovascular field, there are a lot of people who would say ‘yes I want a device
and I want to live longer.’ And they get that device and they realize
the quality of their life is not as good as they thought it was going to be and all of
a sudden the conversation changes. And I think we have to be able and willing
to discuss quality. And I mean you see it, this it what you do. Don’t you deal with people who have quality
issues all the time? Yeah, as a geriatrician what I see is what
people fear the most is loss of independence and control. And, you know, myself and my colleagues in
geriatrics were sick of providing better wheelchairs, walkers and incontinence devices. So finally the biology of aging in the last,
you know, since around 2009 has moved very quickly to developing interventions where
we might be able to enhance healthspan even if it’s a few months or a couple of years
or something like that. It would probably add a lot more in some ways
arguably than curing heart attacks because if you cure, if you cure heart attacks you’re
choosing instead to die, as I mentioned before of Alzheimer’s or some horrible cancer,
because these conditions cluster. So our goal is to figure out a way to delay
these things as a group, even if it’s a small amount, and to try to compress morbidity. And these are potentially achievable goals
over the next decade because we can do it now in mice and other lower mammalian species. And the question is can we get this to people
in an incremental way, in a safe way where we’re dealing with targeting multiple conditions
at once instead of one at a time. And that’s a really important issue because
right now we have a fundamental problem of the misallocation of resources. We’re doing what Jim called the whack-a-mole. Maybe somebody has cancer you go after the
cancer. Then they have cardiovascular disease, we
go after that. But if one thing, if we eliminated all of
these diseases even then people wouldn’t live that much longer. But if you get rid of one get rid of all cancer
in the world it’s about 3.3 years extended lifespan. And so the question is why are we spending
so much on the diseases of aging and so little on understanding and targeting aging itself. Which is the main risk factor. Yeah exactly. The upstream cause in a way of these conditions Exactly So right now, and every one of these diseases
are, they’re all terrible and they all have pressure groups and they all have an infrastructure
for cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, whatever. And what needs to happen, at least in my view,
I think some people up here would share this view, is we just need to shift some of that
spending into understanding the basic science of aging. Because from an evolutionary perspective,
we all, everybody has this sense of what is and isn’t natural. But the things that we think of as being natural
actually aren’t natural at all. It’s not natural that we live to 80, its just
that our ancestors didn’t do it, it’s this one is the period of time. There’s nothing about evolution that has decided
that we live to 80 because frankly evolution could care less how long we live. If babies are getting eaten by tigers babies
would grow armor. If parents were getting eaten by tigers and
they couldn’t raise their babies, babies would become more independent like Komodo dragons
do. But if an old person got eaten by a lion,
it was bad for the old person but it didn’t really touch our evolution as a species. So there’s a lot of fluidity in how we’re
going to be able to age, in my view, how we’re going to be able to impact and target the
mechanisms of aging and animal models are showing as you guys has been mentioned that
there are a lot of things that that can be done and I think should be done. But I want to speak about animal models, I
feel really strongly about this. We can cure anything in mice. We can cure cancer in mice. We can cure aging in mice. We can cure heart disease in mice but we can’t
cure any of it people. And that’s because those animal models are
healthy until we give them a heart attack. Or they’re healthy until we do whatever. We don’t have models that let us look at old,
sick, taking all these drugs, also have cancer, also have all these other things. Models where we have to test these things. So I think part of really figuring out how
these work is testing them in real life situations. And I think it’s important to understand women
live longer. It varies across species to the gender differences
so that female mice don’t outlive male mice. They do if they have heart disease. It is very situation dependent. Generally female mice have the same life span
as male mice. In other, some other species males outlive
females for example and some birds. So this varies and it’s peculiarity. What, one thing that does seem to be fairly
constant are some of these fundamental aging processes from yeast through worms, through
flies, through mice. Unlike something like Alzheimer’s disease
which is a uniquely human disease or unlike arteriosclerosis, which is almost uniquely
human, does occur in some other species. Aging, fundamental aging processes tend to
occur across species so there’s some hope and I think we have to have a lot of skepticism
as you’re saying until we do clinical trials. There’s some hope that they might be translatable. But as you’re saying we have to do the clinical
trials and we have to show this in people because you know showing things in mice or
rats or dogs or monkeys doesn’t necessarily translate. Let me see if I can get my aging brain just
to summarize what we’ve generally been saying so far. You’re saying that more than going after individual
diseases, go after aging. That’s what you all are saying. Yes. What is, what is the future is it regenerative
medicine? Or is it a new kind of medicine? I think, I think it depends on what you’re
trying to do. If you walk in the door and your legs. you’ve cut off your legs at the knee and you’re
bleeding everywhere obviously you have to deal with that first before you can think
about how old you are and what you got to do. And I think I think some of the disease states
that we’ve been talking about heart disease that you know other chronic diseases we have
to get under control. And as we develop new hypotheses about aging
and understand aging. I think there’s two things. I think this falls generally under the rubric
of prevention. Right Right. But it’s a kind of secondary prevention. After you know that process has already begun. People who were you know in their forties
may not have had a heart attack but they may have arteriosclerotic changes and could you
reverse that for some you know anti-aging intervention versus an earlier public health
intervention that that changes the built environment, puts calorie counts on the food, teaches people
about you know high fat diet. So I think it’s important to realize the built
environment has a lot to do with the process of aging. Some of it’s going to be genetic; some of
it’s going to be environmental. This is all under the rubric of a kind of
prevention and I would hate for people to think they could they could live whatever
life they wanted to live and then when they’re 45 they could go check into the anti-aging
clinic and get some kind of magic bullet. When if fact it’s better to have a kind of
a multifaceted approach to prevent any morbidity that’s downstream. What’s the biggest intervention that I can
do right now because I really want to live as long as possible? It’s all these things. You need to eat healthy. You should exercise 45 minutes a day. Don’t smoke. There’s a lot of work on what they call Blue
Zones, which are part of the world where people live longer and Dan Buettner and others went
and said well what do they all have in common? Is it that everybody had that physical activity
built into their lives, they were in communities? They had a sense of common purpose and for
whatever reason they ate they all seem to eat a lot of beans. But having said that everybody should do all
those things. But it’s also true that in some of the metformin
studies for example they have the two groups of mice. One with mice the they ate crap and didn’t
exercise. And one with the mice that they ate good food
and exercised. And they gave metformin to the non-exercising,
lazy, fat mice and they outlived the healthy mice, so I think that you should do all of
those things. But then there will also be very likely be
in my view other types of interventions, that you’ll be better off if you lived a virtuous
life, but will help everybody. It’ll feel like you’re living for seven thousand
years if you’re only living a virtuous life, right? Which some of us enjoy. Some of these interventions will see their
first light in early clinical trials in roughly a half dozen areas. And some of these trials are under way at
the moment. So one of the areas is going to be looking
at multi-morbidity. So if you’ve got an eighty five year old who’s
got five or six different conditions, can you partially alleviate three of those conditions
with a single agent? So that’s one approach. The second is going to be in conditions where
they are accelerated aging like states. So trials are beginning and people who have
bone marrow transplants and have massive doses of chemotherapy and acquired this accelerated
aging like state in three to five years, or the kids with progerias who look old when
there when they’re young. Another area is going to be where there are
localized accumulations of changes that are associated with aging like states for example
pulmonary fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which is normally fatal without a lung transplant. Again we at Mayo recently published a paper
showing that these drugs that clear senescent cells radically improve mice in that particular
model and clinical trials are going to begin. On humans. Yes. How soon. Very soon. Will these kinds of drugs reduce the amount
of chemotherapy that has to be given or reduce side effects of chemotherapy or enhanced recovery
after surgery or enhance recovery after pneumonia? Will they, and some of them do this now, one
trial’s already been done showing that we can improve vaccine response in elderly individuals
to flu vaccine by giving these kinds of drugs, in this case a drug related to something called
rabomicin, for a few days two weeks before they got their flu shot. And these were communing, living, healthy
elderly individuals who normally have bad response to flu vaccines, and it was greatly
improved by targeting fundamental aging processes. So there are a bunch of clinical trial scenarios
that have been gained out over a three-year period by a large group of aging centers across
the country and involving Europe that included the NIH and the FDA. And so they’re very short-term trials that
could be done in a short period of time with subjects involved in the trials for two to
six months to look at these kinds of interventions and see if they work and those trials are
beginning. Well this comes to the next question I wanted
to ask about, is have all of you give us a sense of what the next twenty or thirty years
in this field look like. Where are we going? Well, I’m the only science fiction writer
here so I feel the freest to just make stuff up which I will do. So I think in the near term, I’ll do it in
three buckets, in the near term all of the kind of work that we mentioned to this point,
I think some of that will bear fruit. Some of it seems very promising now and it
turns out it won’t work. But there will be a lot of things whether
it’s rejuvenating stem cells or pruning senescent cells or using blood plasma transfusion to
trigger certain cellular responses or all kinds of small molecules. I mean a lot of these things that are undergoing,
some of them will be realized. That’s the short term In the medium to longer term, I think things
are going to get more…. It’s going to be more, maybe ethically challenging
and the kinds of things which people, I think everything about these interventions, my guess
is most of you in the audience will say well that’s pretty good if I’m aging and you
can do this kind of an intervention. But in the medium, in the medium term we’re
going to use genome sequencing and we’re going to understand different genetic combinations
that give you a greater shot of living longer. I have written a book on the future of human
genetic engineering and embryo selection but I think that there will come a time in the
not so distant future when all children, the majority of children will be born through
IVF and those embryos will be screened and they will be screened for certain outcomes. And your possibility of living a long and
healthy and robust life will be one of those outcomes that will be screened for at the
time when decisions are being made about which embryos, early stage embryos to be implanted
in the mother. That would I think that is medium term. And longer term, if we’re talking hundreds
of years, and again I’m a science fiction writer so take this with a grain of salt,
if we do get to the point of downloadable memory and we can transfer our minds into
some other medium then we’ll just have this fundamental question, ‘is that us’? So if somebody has today has locked in syndrome
and the only way that they can communicate is with their eyes you would say is that a
person? I think the answer that everybody would say,
the answer to that is yes. But if you said that if you transfer that
person’s brain into a functioning robot and now that person could walk and speak and do
all of the things that they couldn’t do when they had locked in syndrome is that the same
person? It’s an ethical question but at some point
that may be the kind of life, if we’re really talking about immortality, that may be the
question or asking. I sense all kinds of potential red flags going
up in the back of my brain. As you should. And in the front of Joe’s. Well you know I think but let’s start in the
short term. I think you know the history of medicine is
littered, you know, with the more failure than success. And so you know the classic immortal cell
is the cancer cell. Right. OK, that doesn’t stop dividing. So I think that the risk of iatrogenesis and
doing harm, Primum non nocere, above all else do no harm to be probably at the forefront. I think the skepticism about translating from
animals to humans is indicative of that concern. You know longer term I think that that there
are issues of social disruption you know changes in longevity, health disparities I think are
a really big issue. There’s a concern about you know changing
expectations, the science getting ahead of social norms, social constructs and this would
be a classic story that we do all the time. We have a scientific advance and then we’re
trying to catch up with it. You know we have a hard time with genetic
testing. And I’m worried about sort of the eugenics,
you know, flavor of selecting embryos. I think we’re you know we’re strengthened
by our diversity and there are many people in this room who are probably heterozygote
for something bad. I would say everybody in this room is heterozygote,
have a good gene and a bad gene you know. So if we were selecting for that for the good
genes, a lot of good people will be left out. And I think that that really worries me and
that hasn’t worked out too well with history. So you know and again last point, you know
all these people cite enhancement. People who are in favor of enhancement, the
philosophers, some of whom were mostly in Oxford you know, are the people who need to
be enhanced the ones who were going to decide how we’re going to be enhanced? Again it’s the humans. So I’m very concerned. I have no trouble with the medical you know
utility compressing morbidity and improving the life span and I think that’s all terrific. But I start worrying about us engineering
our future as a species in a way that’s incredibly disruptive. And this comes in the field of new understanding
of post neo-Darwin thinking about what evolution is. The old view, which was not Darwin’s, was
that it was just simply random mutations and struggling for survival of the fittest and
fighting tooth and claw. The new view, from what I understand from
what I’ve been reading lately it’s much more complex that we are a species that gets ahead
by not just by having winners or losers, but by cooperating. A lot of cooperation and sharing is what maybe
makes us so much. Plus epigenetic factors there are environmental
factors, which are not inheritable. Right. So Lamarck was right. Acquired characteristics should be inherited. So this leads to a very difficult, I’m glad
you used the word eugenics because we should be reminded eugenics was very popular in America
in the tens and twenties and thirties and then when they were sterilizing people who
seemed to be imbeciles and a lot of that was going on legally. Eventually became illegal. But people who liked it went over and joined
Hitler’s groups who carried out experiments in Auschwitz for example. Yeah but I think the science is advancing
and the science, it’s not coincidental that Jim was talking about that big advances over
the last decade. We are at an inflection point in our science
and we are at an inflection point in our evolution as a species. And so for four billion years our ancestors
have evolved by the forces that you that you’ve mentioned. But right now our science is beginning a process
and of allowing us to guide our own evolutionary path. Utopian thinkers have been saying that for
centuries. For sure It’s not a new story. Yes, but our tools are so much more advanced And they’ve been saying that too. And that they’re getting more advanced. And so but we will still have the same ethical
challenges. But the decision-making has not gotten more
advanced is what I was saying. We’re still human. And the people who are in power and the people
who are making those decisions have not necessarily gotten more advanced either. That’s one hundred percent correct. In fact we’re in a post-Enlightenment age… We are we are heading in the wrong direction. We don’t believe in fact, we don’t believe
in science. We don’t believe in vaccines. There’s no doubt about that. A plus B equals catastrophe. I agree. I completely agree with that. And yet the science is advancing exponentially
and so the onus, that’s why these kinds of conversations are so important, is the onus
is on all of us. Because you can either stop the science and
let’s say you stop it here it’s going to happen someplace else or you can say well we better
really get our act together and if we value diversity, let’s have a conversation about
diversity Back in the 90s I was doing stem cell research
when, when then President Bush said we’re going to we’re going to eliminate embryonic
stem cell research. And I remember getting called by the media
and asked how I felt about that and I basically said the problem is, if we’re only going to
use the established cell lines that were all established from rich white people who can
afford in vitro fertilization, guess what? We’re only really about twelve of those that
are any good. So we’re going to make all our decisions about
stem cells going forward based on twelve rich white people? That scares me because diversity is what we
need to understand biology. If you look at every one of just us, who aren’t
that diverse, we’re going to be different. Another axis of diversity is people who have
disabilities. I couldn’t agree more about diversity. Diversity is our sole survival strategy as
a species and has been from this from the beginning. So if we lose whatever people think is good,
it’s good now it won’t be in in the future. And with these ethical questions that’s at
the essence of the debate that everybody needs to be part of. This is not a debate for experts it’s not
even a debate for just one for one day or one weekend. I mean these are the questions are the fundamental
questions about the future of our species. And that that should be the top of everybody’s
minds. But we can’t close our eyes to where this
technology is heading because again we could shut this down in the United States. It will be good or bad whatever your views
are for the United States but it won’t have any impact whatsoever on the advance of this
technology. The fact that reproductive cloning happens. The fact that CRISPR technologies that you’ve
all heard about where you can you can actually, you can actually edit someone’s genes in real
life says, and it is happening in humans outside the US now, is something we all ought to be
discussing and what we, whether we embrace that or don’t. And if you had a time machine and you went
a hundred years into the future and people were saying, oh we have this thing, it’s made
of code. The code is writable, it’s readable, attackable
you’d say oh yeah I got you. It’s computer code and they’d like look at
you like you’re crazy. No it’s biology right? We are we are developing the tools to write
and rewrite the code of life. We may be wise or not wise in those applications
but we will have those tools. And forgive me for asking this question, but
we’re talking about people who are lucky enough to know about all this stuff. Do you think it will be something that can
be spread to all humans everywhere without a lot of the expense eventually? Eventually. Or will leave a lot of humans just dying and
in terrible health? I think that again it depends on what our
values are. Right now we have all of the food to feed
everybody on Earth. We have the clothing to clothe everybody on
Earth. We choose not to do so. If we maintain the bad values that we collectively
have now that will be the case. But there is, there are financial incentives
because eliminating, as Jim was saying, if we can eliminate or reduce the occurrence
of these co-morbidities associated with aging that’s going to be a huge amount of savings. If people are living healthy hundred year
lives and then and then die relatively quickly, that’s going to free a lot of resources that
can be invested in all sorts of things. There’s a phenomenon, there are people who
are what we call super centenarians. These are people who live to a very advanced
age that tends to be inherited in families. And one of the interesting things about these
people who are dying at one hundred and five, one hundred and ten, is that when you look
at large numbers of them they live very, very healthy and independent and they tend to be
dead within six months of their first visit to a doctor, so they die very quickly. We also notice this in experimental animals
that are treated with some of these kinds of interventions where a single gene mutations
have been used that have an effect on lifespan. There are also some data from about twenty
years ago that came from studies of health utilization. That the last two years of life are the most
expensive. They’re three, the last two years of life
of a person who dies at seventy cost three times the last two years of life of someone
who dies on a hundred. And that may in part because of this rectangularization
of morbidity. So I’ve got a shorter-term view of some of
this. I’ve got patients here now. My view is I want to extend their healthspan
and delay the onset of these diseases. And it’s turning out now that these interventions
will actually treat some of these diseases once there’s established including fragility,
in animals. Sorry to interrupt. Healthspan. You’ve used that term twice. A lovely phrase, healthspan as opposed to
lifespan. Yes, so healthspan is a period during life
when people are living independently, free of pain, free of disability. You know basically able to do what they what
they want to do. So the goal of the field, as far as I can
read it from my vantage point, is that we want to improve healthspan and if lifestyle
is increased that’s a side effect. So a question about the fact that these things
seem to run in families, parents, grandparents going back that way. But is it necessarily something that runs
in families because it’s passed down genetically, or genetically and epigenetically, or both
of those plus culturally, and just something about the lifestyle? This has been noted across populations in
different countries and I’m talking about people who live beyond, way beyond a hundred. So there are several trials looking at these
kinds of populations going on around the world. There’s a high heritable component but it’s
not everything, so of course they’re going to be epigenetic and social and other kinds
of factors involved. But some of the genetic changes that account
for or contribute to this increased longevity within families are beginning to be worked
out. There are about a dozen, a dozen polymorphisms
we call them that have been found so far and they make sense because they follow the same
pathways of food restriction which extends lifespan in many species and they contain
the targets of these kinds of drugs that are being developed that affect lifespan. So that sounds hopeful. Eventually you may be able to get to understand
this well enough to be able to spread the knowledge to everybody. That’s the idea. And as we were talking about before, some
of the early drugs that may have an effect…and don’t take these drugs. Don’t take them. We haven’t done the trials yet. Don’t take these drugs. They’re all taking their paper out. It happens every time somebody says where
do I get this. Don’t don’t. Some of them are very, very cheap like Metformin
we were talking before, two to five cents a pill. So if we are able and in the next iteration
after we do these short term kinds of studies and look at individual indications and see
if they in aggregate line up, with the possibility we’re targeting fundamental aging processes,
we may move to kind of preventive strategy. And if that happened to work, if that happened
to work, it would by projections that have been done by a variety of groups, reduce health
care costs enough that the intervention itself would be relatively much cheaper for any society. Could I just, Maybe you guys could just talk
a little bit about the role of inflammation in aging because I think that that would be
really interesting to kind of get on the table. Well chronic, what we call sterile, that is
in the absence of bacteria or viruses, low grade inflammation is something that you find
in many tissues and sites of age related disease. So this is where immune cells go and release
factors that cause dysfunction. Senescent cells act in part by producing a
lot of inflammatory factors and also attract cells from the immune system in. And these kinds of factors will also poison
stem and progenitor cells and cause them to dysfunction and can contribute to macromolecular
dysfunction comes with DNA and proteins so all these things are sort of interlinked. But this kind of inflammation is very special
inflammation. It’s not the kind of inflammation you would
treat with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or with aspirin. Although aspirin does in mice and related
drugs, salicylate, does have some effect on median lifespan at least in lower mammals. What we’re talking about is inflammation that’s
much more specific and of a particular type and Metformin is one of the drugs that targets
that kind of inflammation, rapamycin is another one that does it. So these are these are inflammatory mediators
produced by senescent cells, something called senescence associated secretory phenotype. Long word, we call it SASP. That form in part works by targeting that
pathway. Doris? So I want to speak to that though because
I, my worldview is slightly different which is that acute inflammation is a good thing. Acute inflammation is when an injury occurs
and basically your body is producing a signal saying ‘hey there’s an injury’, and I
need repair, whatever that repair happens to be. And I happen to believe part of that is these
cells that you recruit, they’re not all stem and progenitor cells, some of them are immune
cells, so you get those cells there. A number of years ago we started look….and
if you get those cells there you turn off the inflammation. If you don’t, your body ramps up inflammation
and I think it’s like your body saying ‘I said I’ve got an injury send me cells!’ And you start recruiting the wrong cells and
getting a secondary pro-inflammatory effect. A number of years ago we started when people
started doing stem cell therapy trials, that were primarily bone marrow derived stem cells,
many of you may have heard you get bone marrow from your hip, you take the cells and you
give ’em and you’re giving stem cells. Well only three percent of the cells in our
bone marrow are stem cells, the other ninety seven percent are not stem cells they’re immune
cells or other types of cells that are going to give rise to blood cells or etcetera. And when we started measuring those and said
which cells that are present associate with repair, guess what? It wasn’t the stem cells, it was the immune
cells. So there’s a whole response to inflammation
that is, I mean, stem cells and the cells we give turned down inflammation reproducibly
acute inflammation is great long term In a moment I’m going to open this up to questions
from the audience. But I want to ask one question, is it possible
that that death has an advantage for the evolution of the species because it means the young
have to take over at a more frequent rate. There are some situations where that’s true. To use technical terms, there are three kinds
of late life history. One of them is no senescence basically or
no sort of classic biological aging. And the other is what we call semelparity
that means giving birth once and another is iteroparity that means giving birth multiple
times. So in some plants and some animals if you
do the right things evolutionarily or the environment changes the right way you will
find individuals die upon reproduction. So dandelions do this and a lot of annual
plants do this. Pacific salmon species do this, where the
rainbow trout, which is actually a salmon, doesn’t. And so very quickly in evolutionarily terms,
you can turn a species from being an iteroparity, it is giving birth multiple times and then
having a senescent phase and dying, to dying upon reproduction. And you do that one of the ways you can do
that in fruit flies which normally are what we call iteroparous you can make them semelparous
and force evolutionary experiments in the laboratory by restricting their food. So there’s an advantage to having post reproductive
individuals die very quickly under that special circumstance and you can find a cause of death. For example in salmon they get massive production
of corticosteroids from their adrenal glands which kills them after they start, after they
spawn, upon going up a stream. You remove their gonads and their adrenals
and they’ll live twenty years instead of two to four years. So it can happen. So this raises this sort of gives us new framework
to think about where we may be going with the science that you all are specialists in. If we, if you’re giving us, as humans the
choice about what we want to make our particular lifespan we might choose to want to have necessarily
a younger generation take over every one hundred fifty years. Well two points to that. One just to follow up on Jim’s very interesting
point. If you want to live longer eunuchs live longer
than non-eunuchs Women who get pregnant one two or three times
actually live longer, beyond three times mortality goes up. It’s a J-shaped curve for mortality. Yeah and I like to put in a plug for wisdom. I mean again there was some recent research
about killer whales where they found out that it was the oldest woman in the pod was the
leader because she had she had had all this information that had been stored up over the
years, so if we have a thing where people are living longer then that’s great. If we have a social issue of tenure or whatever,
let’s solve for that issue. But, how much investment goes into every human,
a lifetime of experience and knowledge and if we could unleash that capacity of all these
older people who now are having dementia, they can’t communicate and they can share
and we find a structure that allows us to have any…. Let’s go back to the Blue Zone though, it
was community that associated to the greatest degree with longevity. Yeah Alright. Questions. There are some futurists who think that the
singularity is near. Namely that we are approaching the stage where
AI, artificial intelligence is going to take over. It’ll become more involved than we are. And some of them, Ray Kurzweil, for example,
you know think that that is really near. So it is possible that biological intelligence
is a relatively short lived phase in the life of civilization, only to be taken over by
some form of AI Any thoughts here? Let me be the first to respond to that and
just because like I said I’m a science fiction writer. My last book Eternal Sonata has a blurb from
Ray Kurzweil on the cover. And, but what he means by Singularity is just
that machines become self-replicating and so that doesn’t necessarily mean that the
machines will take over. It just depends on what the code says. So we better write that code carefully but
you can choose Yeah. Consciousness So we will for sure, our biological evolution
is a way station in our overall evolution. We will call co-evolve with our, we are already
co-evolving with our technology. We will continue to evolve and we will become
a hybrid species. That doesn’t mean we won’t have values that
doesn’t mean we won’t be asking these ethical questions but we are going to have to do it
in the context of a changing world that will be very much but not entirely driven by technology. Question? If you have heart disease. Maybe you could change your heart or maybe
you could change your kidney. But I could see a limitation related with
your brain because I can see the cells in your brain are different. You can’t regenerate these cells. So you know like when you when you are 60
years old, or around this age, they can get the process started to go down. So it was in the future about immortality
brain is burden. So what is happening right now? How in the future could you improve your brain? These drugs are improving cognitive function
in old mice. It’s the same story different target organs,
you know it, it’s all there all, all of our organs are affected our brain just the consequences
are different. And there’s been cognitive enhancement using
deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease in some patients as well. And stem cells for traumatic brain injury
and stroke. We haven’t talked to that parabiosis but that
they have these things that these people have been doing for hundreds of years actually. We get an old mice old mouse and the young
mouse you cut it open and stitched together. And then after over time the old mouse becomes
young in many ways the young mouse becomes old in many ways and it’s skin it’s muscle
but also, sadly for these mice because it’s not pleasant, but when they biopsied their
brains the young the old mice’s brains have become younger. So pregnancy is the ultimate parabiosis. And that’s part of why we think that there
is a benefit for a few pregnancies because you share all of things but then over time
the stress of pregnancy, it wins. It’s the thing, we all, it makes sense intuitively
to people that you’re like an adult and you can have a baby But it’s when you think about
it it’s like that’s really weird. Like I’m whatever thirty years old and then
you’ve created a thing that’s zero. And that’s why women’s immune systems have
to be different and inflammation is different. Its meiosis, the genius of meiosis right that
rescrambles the deck and its not engineering. So we have that capacity within ourselves. All right his gentlemen right here. This might be for Jim, but there’s a lot
of impressive research going on in terms of regeneration of tissue and organs. But I was wondering, you know, is the population
just predisposed to have a certain percentage of people with Alzheimer’s? What’s being done with gray matter in the
brain during the expanding quality of life? Well funding for Alzheimer’s research has
taken off recently. That is an area where there’s been a considerable
injection of funding. And the areas has become, I mean under the
surface there’s a lot more progress being made than people realize that there’s a very
interesting clinical trials one of which they’ll be some results from next year so that that
field is moving faster than I think the public realizes. We have to bear in mind that the brain is
part of the body is not a separate thing. And so some of these processes that affect
other organs or have general systemic effects are also going to affect a predisposition
to Alzheimer’s and related disorders. But I think a lot could happen soon. I hope This gentlemen in the back who is so patiently
waiting. So to circle back to kind of what we’ve opened
with, talking about where the last hundred years have gone in terms of age, what is the
community or individually your personal opinions about where the next one hundred years will
leave us or you know what are you going to expect the numbers to increase to? Let’s get an answer from each of these panelists
and that will be the way then we’ll end. Doris? My sense is that that tools are going to get
more, tools are going to get cheaper. Hopefully we’re going to disseminate things
more broadly. And the ethics are going to have to come in
to it. I think once you go beyond five your predictions
you start getting into a muddy water by ten years, you’re often wrong. By twenty years predictions, you’re just about
always wrong. So I hate to think of making predictions about
what will happen a hundred years from now. I’m in the business of making predictions
about what’s going to happen a hundred years from now I’ll take a swing at it. So over the last hundred years an average
lifespan has extended by three months per year. So let’s just say we keep that going for another
hundred years. Then that’s plus twenty years of average
life expectancy. I think again we look at the exponential increase
of all of these technologies with biology becoming information technology in a hundred
years, the amount of change between now and a hundred years from now will be fifty, sixty,
a hundred times more than the change over the last one years, and that’s only going
to get faster. So I again I can’t say specifically what’s
going to happen but we are going to see life and biology and a lot of things very differently
in a hundred years than we do know. One of the things to also be cautious of is
scaling. So although we can increase a mouse’s lifespan
by seventy-five or eighty percent, that translates into a certain number of months, you know
when. If we go to people, would we, would we have
an effect on life or health span that would be a seventy-five or eighty percent increase
or would it be a ten-month increase. So there are a lot of scaling issues. Go online and look at a medical journal from
1917 and read how confidently they thought that there new innovations, what they were
going to do for our generation. And I think with that that sort of retrospective
does, it gives us to give us all a sense of humility, great encouragement of the promise
of this work, but going forward with a sense of humility about the mystery and the complexity
of this biology that we’re just beginning to unpack. And yet when you compare the whole suite of
technologies available now to one hundred years ago it’s unimaginable. And so I think… A hundred years from now there will be a panel
just like this and a guy just like me and a guy just like you and we’ll be having
the same debate, I’m sure. No, but this guy is going to be plugged into
the cloud and have all kinds of super intelligence So what that argues is that technology continues
to increase like that, biology is kinda, a lot slower. But I think those trend lines are going
to merge. They we’re going to turn, as I mentioned,
our biology into a form of IT and then all bets are off. We’ll I’d like to acknowledge that we’ve
had an astonishingly great panel, great depth of knowledge and the experience.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. My great grandpa is 97 an looks young my grandpa is 76 an he looks like my dad lol they have America Indian blood from Mexico an my great grandpa is an alcoholic an has been drinking for over 50 years but he does walk a lot in fact all he does is walk he walk in between towns an hunts snakes 🐍 sale the skin for beer 🍺 no joke

  2. If people live forever, when would people retire? would you have to work forever? would the government pay your retirement forever? would people 100+ years old be considered elderly? there is a lot that would change in the system, socially and economically… How many children would people have in 500 years, overpopulation would be madness… would we have the urge to reproduce? what other psicological or genetic changes would we suffer?

  3. What about Savant Syndrome?
    From African savanna till NASA space center, it was about getting the control over the external world. But this time the threat is coming from inside, our fragile biology is lagging behind the rapidly changing environment which contains AI on every step like land mines. We need update in our biology/DNA.

    No way is easy and risk free, but nature is also giving us hints. With this I mean the SAVANT SYNDROME, who offer super computing skills in terms of memory and processing power. If we could somehow unlock their algorithms/neurobiology/DNA etc and incorporate into us OR VICE VERSA. Maybe such a generation might lead to Homo Deus what Prof. Harari has envisioned.

  4. <Sigh>
    I wonder about the level of responsibility that WSF has to its audiences when shows like this profess unsubstantiated claims.
    "So, Lamark was right. Acquired characteristics can be inherited." – Bill Blakemore

    I am uncertain what reference materials Bill Blakemore is reading. To the best of my understanding, Lamarckian inheritance (Lamarkain evolution) is not a theory. People do seem to be attracted to the ideas of inheritance for reasons which may have nothing to do with science nor with what we know. I love listeing to these shows. Yet and often, two shovel fulls of grains of salt are needed while sifting through the numerous speculations and nonsense, so as to get to the ideas and to the testible claims which are wondrous and enlightening.

  5. I wont agree that death is good because it give meaning to our lives, force to live the better way… that soo bulshit. it's still forcing person to something, it's some kind of slavery, it makes people hurry up, do something what they don't want to do at this moment because time is ticking.
    Besides nothing on this world suggest that there's something after death.
    I'm really hoping they will invent cure to aging in next 30 years so i can get it 😉 there's no barrier in phisics for immortality (there's one medusa which can reverse it's age) so it will be possible some day

  6. A high profile Program like World Science Festival could have done much better picking a panel for this topic, like for instance, Liz Parish, David Sinclair, Craig Venter and George Church Real experts in this field of age reversal.

  7. This woman on the panel is half wrong on everything she says. And you can tell everyone wants to correct her but they don't. She is educated but not objective. She killed her credibility when she said "I feel." Why are the people with phd's and doctorates, who know the most, are so close minded?

  8. This panel needed Aubrey de Grey. There are some basic mistakes they're making that he would have cleared up. I also don't think bioethicists like Joseph Fins should even get a seat at the table. All they do is object to progress on the grounds that it might result in some minor inconveniences and that those should outweigh the four or five holocausts we suffer every year from age related disease.

  9. I like how people are complaining that scientists are not willing to extend their lifespan and feel entitled 😂
    If scientists discover a cure for ageing it’s not going to public for sure
    Earth is already overpopulated

  10. "I'm worried about us engineering our future as human species" – And what do you think we been doing for past ten thousands years…..seriously this dude, get on a bike.

  11. I'm sorry but it's annoying how the woman behaves. Interrupting and applying uninformed superstitions on every forward thinking ideas.

  12. Some of the conservative types here on the panel are just denying the realities of today. Do you guys really think our cellphone is not part of our being? All human knowledge is available to everybody with a decent and really cheap phone. You guys think they would have predicted this 50 years ago? What about photo-realistic virtual worlds that you can connect up to? How much time that this thing is built in us? There is a pattern of merging. Ethics doesn't matter for development. If not in 'murica (for sure not), it will happen in china (really likely), if not in china, in russia, if not in russia, in a hidden cave somewhere, funded by a billionaire. I'm sorry that 50+ year old "scientists" try to protect their ideas, keep things static, and for sure actively blocking development. But as with all human history, one generation goes away, and a new comes. (well, of-course, until we reach immortality.)

  13. Had to stop watching when the "rich white people" and "diversity" talk showed up. Trying to watch something about immortality and something so petty and unccessary taints it.

  14. One thing I've always wondered: If you live for thousands of years, will you still really be "you?" I imagine that if you have lived that long, your personality and other mental traits that make you up would be so fundamentally different that your friends/family may not even recognize you as the same person if they somehow were to meet your far future self.

    Would it even be possible for you yourself to remember what you were doing/thinking/feeling/being 2000 years ago? Does the human brain even have storage for that many memories?

  15. Maximum life expectancy is no higher than before and the average increase is a result of basic ideas like sanitation, regular fresh food and less war.

    Very little of medicine goes beyond superstition and snake-oil profits. Anti-biotics are outright poison in most cases.

    Stopping eating carbs is about the only useful idea from the medical fraternity. And that has been mostly rejected!

    Replacing alcohol with marijuana would improve things but that would eat into the fat cancerous profits of white monopoly capital.

  16. I think it isn't possible to simply make such a strong prediction like "biological development (or information technology) will continue to grow in the future as an exponential curve does": that is just a model based on the observation of the past, but we're not sure at all it'll continue to evolve in the same way. Just to figure it out, think of Moore's law on electronics.. also the physical reality opposes a wall against this progress: computing processors have followed a strong development path, but now they find it hard to break the limits imposed by subatomic dimensions, while it is actually hard to handle with quantum computing, which would represent a new beginning.

  17. I would have preferred to age until 30 stay at 30 for another x number of years then drop dead. Being old for a long time is going to suck even if you are healthy and old.

  18. I find it funny how easily people can rationalize deliberately letting someone die as some kind of a moral high ground or ethical consideration. it's death. if the cure exists, you give it. what could be more obvious. clearly not using the cure would be the real crime against humanity.

  19. Indeed, we need to spend relative more on how to increase ageing rather than curing individual organs. All body parts acts as a crystal form where each are interdependent. Jim was right that we are successful in mice and soon going to check in human. Also, we need to develop a cure, particularly single, which effect and alleviate problem of multiple organs. One thing more, we must live our life with peace otherwise their will be no use of such research and development by these great people.

  20. Old people seem to be bored talking about their
    hopes that have already been given up. Because
    they can no longer reach immortality themselves,
    they talk about concerns and difficulties.

    Yes, then die after all. And leave those in peace
    who prefer eternity. Good that there are also
    those who rush forward. By the way, Jamie Metzl
    is the admirable of the round.

  21. Does anyone else feel like they've lived multiple lifetimes as different people in this one life they've been given? (I don't mean the sci-fi, "I was Genghis Khan in a previous life.") I'm 35 and I feel like I've been doing this life thing for hundreds of years. I'm not saying I'm tired, aggravated, wise, intelligent or any such assertion. I just feel like my own past has maybe been expanded like the rest of the universe. It seems like such a vast ocean behind me. I'm sure it is in some part a byproduct of our accelerated encroachment on a "technological singularity". Just curious if this is tangible to anyone else?

  22. The big takeaway for those who want to expand their inner locus of control over their mortality: Machismo kills and not just from those "hold my beer" moments.

  23. Jaime Metzl has some very strong points and is at least optimistic about the human factor in all of this. I have faith in humanity and am completely on board with the advancement of all the mentioned techne. Figure out the issues that arise from this and we will prosper.

  24. These guys must not know history well. The low life expectancy was due mostly to violent deaths and infant mortality. If you look at current tribesmen who live as hunter gatherers, many live to 80 and beyond.

  25. Death doesn’t give meaning to life all it does is make you give up on so many things you want to do, so many dreams you have and so many things you you want to learn. What it does is it makes you prioritise things you should focus on bcz you have limited time. Imagine if you were immortal wouldn’t you try your best to go after every dream you have. It is such a curse for people who have interests in many fields but they had to choose one of them because we have limited time. There could be so many polymath geniuses around if we were immortal. BELIEVING IN “Death gives meaning to life” IS JUST A BLISSFUL IGNORANCE.

  26. The title including the word "immortality" makes rejuvenation biotechnology seem like entertainment. Fuck off with your counterproductive clickbate. The more than 100,000 people who sadly suffer to death from age-related illness everyday don't deserve progress to slow down because of such damaging messaging that makes it sound like science fiction.

  27. If there ever was a treatment you could get that would stop/cure aging, I 100% guarantee you that people like us would never have access to it. It would be so expensive to keep it in the realm of the elites. No one wants immortal plebeians.

  28. Aging isn't a social construct, its science fact and biology. Its not made up by society and therefore not constructed.

  29. NOooo! No one knows if we will always die or not! No one knows if God will return andtrans end death and I'm not religious! God may use tech to keep us alive. God may have nothing to do with tech, if God exists! No one knows the future. Last but not least DEATH DOES NOT GIVE MEANING TO MY LIFE, IT REMOVES MEANING! Search Bill Faloon, Eternal Life Fan Club, Zoltan Istvan, transhumanist/science/futurist parties, cryonics, Max More.

  30. Some people have said Roen Horn is crazy but at least he realizes anything is possible and living forever is substantially possible.

  31. Not afraid of dying at all, but man would I love to have a lot more time, especially with the exciting space tech. and astronomy to look forward to. If I die just before we discover the first inhabited planet around another star, or just the miss the first Mars colony, I'm going to be pissed!! (I'm only 46, so I might get to see these things).

  32. They speak about age-related diseases. But none of those diseases like f.i. heart disease, is age-related. They are lifestyle related diseases that peak after decades of wrong choices.

  33. I understand humans must die if they don't we all die imagine a immortal feminist forever young constantly complaining about nothing.

  34. The trouble of gerontologists is that they do not investigate the destruction of the human body, instead they examine the cell's body, therefore, they cannot understand anything. If you look in the encyclopedia, you will not find a kinship between the two organisms – human and cell. It is, but biologists do not know it. Therefore, everyone dies.

  35. 100 years ago, researchers L. Woodruff, A. Carrol, S Metalnikov experimentally determined that the cell has no mechanisms of aging, the process of interaction with the surrounding nutrient medium kills the cell. The human body that has grown out of this cell also has no mechanisms for aging. What do biologists have been looking for for decades?

  36. We need artificial genome repair. Get sequenced as young as possible, then send nanotech bots every 10 years to scan your cells' DNA for errors and perform repairs. It's what our cells are trying to do anyway with telomeres and so on, but they're limited by the fact that the machinery itself is degrading at the same time.

  37. I fully believe that immortality will be achieved within next 5 years!!! But Nobody will say a word about it!!! People are trying to kill each other every day why should they disclose the most important secret on earth sharing it? If it were otherwise the whole human population should have been watching and reporting every day on all channels that we are here or there on the path to immortality! But it's even hard to find a documentary on that subject! Even a simple discussion is a big deal! Are you gonna say our science will make us immortal? No way men!!! No way!!!

  38. These stupid researchers of aging, having a single-celled brain, do not see the development of a deadly disease – skin ischemia. Instead of treating this disease, they tell us tales of how smart they are, about mitochondria, telomeres, flies, mice. Therefore, they die themselves and pull in grave all the people behind them.

  39. With prolonged life comes great overpopulation and stress on the Earth. Improving quality of life results in degradation of overall quality. That's the Irony. Nature made aging for a reason. Maybe after we colonize other planets can we talk about immortality. Till then, Live free and Die.

  40. The thing the panel missed when discussing is this:
    The avg life expectancy is based in part on child mortality rate. With Avg life expectancy of 25 years in roman times as the Fiction Writer said wrongly; It is not that people will die by age 25. And living to be over 40 was an achievement. It means that environmental and other factors are more in favor of people dying by 25 than a later time in life. Doesn't mean people who passed the age of 25 didn't live long. Two very different things. It was not uncommon to live to be old or inherently biological that restricting lifespan after that barrier of 25 years. Even at that time people lived to be 80 or 90 years old. Ben Franklin is an example at 84 years.

  41. People who think it's a good idea for humans to live 200 years or more are hilarious. It's like these people live in some parallel world where humans aren't relentlessly destroying the planet. Increasingly longevity would undo the effect of the falling birth rate on the growing human population.

  42. How long does these people going live? Probably 81 to 82 and die of cancer. Some of them say that they want that. Not me. I want a healthy life for hundreds of years. I have many books and music left to write, movies to do and so on. I am 56 and I won't have life enough to do it all. Death doesn't give meaning to my life, I just get angry about that it is a fact.

  43. Such a difficult word: Immortality. It's useful to future generations that science started looking at aging, easier word, as a disease, but my humble opinion is that nothing will progress substancially in this direction if cures will not be discovered for all common human weaknesses that exist in human organs. Can't be, to be easier to influence such complex processes as these of aging before you get to know our organism inside out. Long will be the road to tame stem cells too.
    IT'S STILL YET UNKNOWN for example, how, immediately after natural death and when other organs are alright, to connect a body to a machine to circulate the blood to keep the person alive, some could live like this a few dozen years more (it's proven that people could live to 120, it has happened, and who knows how much more if the heart didn't fail. Other organs could be replaced too)
    There're scientific, practical and even philosophical matters that no one is answering yet, like for example for immortality, when the person will stop aging, at a body chronological age of 20,30, 60, when ? I personally think but can prove, that in the far distant unpredictable future, it will be easier to keep the spirit alive by 'copying' the brain to something immortal. We see that already they can 'read' rudimentary thoughts by collecting signals.

  44. When guy said about people living to 100 years and dying, would release a lot resources. Well, that depends not on dying but on how large population is.

  45. Instead of watching this discussion, search YouTube for Aubrey de Grey. You will learn much more on the subject and be entertained at the same time.

  46. These traditional biologists are so boring give it to silicon valley and engineers, we will make you live longer, we will create intelligent machines and everything else you want, people of the world..

  47. the reason why we will progress faster is computers, they are reliable, humans are not.

  48. It's a bit misleading when talking about historical life expectancy if there's no mention of infant mortality, or even war fatalities. It's not like being forty in 1200 CE was like it is being eighty now. People lived until their sixties, etc., but lots of people (especially infants and mothers during childbirth) died and it's skewed this number.

  49. Disclaimer: This post contains opinions. One thing they did not mention: Improving life is OK. I can see why the life quality of someone suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke caused disability, etc. is bad. But! There are plenty elderly people, who are mentally OK, physically OK, but their life quality deteriorates as they start to read conspiracy BS, forming "information bubbles" around them, building on confirmation bias (and possibly other biases) and calling other people "sheep", claiming that they have "life experience" and that "you all will find out"… This is what scares me much more than dementia, Alzheimer’s and stuff. Because this BS life values can actually spread from person to person, unlike dementia or Alzheimer’s, which is not caused by some transmissible virus/bacteria/idea, it is a physiological decline. I am really scared, because not only from my own experience, but some of my friends notice this in their aging parents too. And with the internet and "freedom" we all have and share, there is also freedom for BS with no efficient way of controlling it. Anything you do becomes an argument in support of any particular BS. Those things are impossible to fight. And older people tend to be victims of such things much more than young people. (citation needed, I know). And then the question about discussion. No, I do not think that the general public should have the same vote as experts, because the general public is very often represented by those, who are the loudest and possibly, but not necessarily, fall into to the previously mentioned category of conspiracy BS believers.

  50. Typical American BS. None of these scientists mentioned any therapies, explained where we are and how stuff works. Always beating around the bush, i have no idea why Americans do this. It’s almost as though some of these don’t want these therapies to happen. Look at China! They are already doing a lot with stem cells, however in the states it’s all about money. Noone wants to cure disease and stop people from paying.

  51. Instead of talking about how to prolong life, they end up talking about how it is okay to die and we shouldn't be afraid of it! There's no hope of defeating death with such apathetic scientists!!

  52. If they continue ignore invite priests or someone who can speak from religious perspective, it will always one side of medal

  53. Well of course no one is going to live forever, because it's impossible to measure 'forever' instead it would be an extended lifeline, but honestly immortality doesn't mean invinciblity. You can still die.

  54. life expectancy in Rome was 25 but when you talk about life expectancy you have to count infant mortality…so what this guy says is quite misleading….

  55. Death doesn't give life meaning. It ends your ability to find more meaning in life.
    It destroys life, period.
    Why do we have to be so "serious" and in a rush to avheive in our lives? How the hell does that make life somehow better? It's stressful as fuck living like that, which shortens our lives (stress ages you). Would u not prefer to have time to earn yourself a fortune, retire and be perfectly healthy and young still so u can actually enjoy it, then later chose to go into something else?
    This guy is just scared of change.
    No, immortality is the next step in our evolution. It will allow knowledge to be kept forever, it will allow us to colonize space. It would eliminate most fatal diseases…
    If u want people to die, there's something wrong with u.
    U do u, I'll do me. U can kill ur self if u wish, while the rest of us engineer immortality

  56. Great discussion, but there would have to be a sea change within the pharmaceutical companies because they won't be quick to give up their treatment drugs, that don't cure and may only marginally improve symptoms, so they make a lot of money. I am a case in point, a cash cow for such corporations, but they still don't have medications that could get me back into work! I am so very ill that I find it hard to keep going, and if I had no family, I would go abroad and be euthanized. I say this without being depressed, just as a logical decision.

    That said, I have a belief, so I believe in eternal life in any case.

    Getting back to this world however, so much would have to change. Our food and air would need to be pure, but that again doesn't suit the big corporations. Concerning the panel, and on other panels on this forum, they seem a little behind on the current research that is being done. Some scientists are body hacking and having some sucess; not ethical of course, but one person conducted the procedure on herself abroad to avoid the law. The tragic thing is that people could eat well, exercise, never smoked or drank much alcohol etc, but I've noticed that though they may live a little longer until late 80s and 90s, life is still difficult with muscle/joint pain, severe fatigue, cognitive problems, high blood pressure, stroke etc. It seems so sad when they've led a good life! So these day to day things that are not serious, but make life miserable would have to be addressed too. My body is at that point and I'm only 55, suffering most of my life. But don't get me wrong, I love life even in this sorry state, and the problems have made me into a better person, but as I said, I wonder if I had the choice would I really carry on?

    Again, the world would have to be so different for this to work. I worry that instead of retiring at 65 (it will be 74 if our government continues), much like today, we will still be working in some way until we drop. Or society is arranged so that there really is a proper work/life balance. People would no longer work full time rather part time due to AI and automation, and we may be doing community work rather than doing professional work or manual work. We would have to work in some ways however. Studies on groups of mice who were given everything did not turn out well! Thing is that the rich and powerful – who dominate this world – aren't really interested in giving up their luxuries and paying tax so that societies can really flourish, just going to their 'charity' events in order to help. It's good that they do that, but if they paid tax they wouldn't have to organise such events!

    Anyway, very interesting discussion, and so will shut up now!

  57. let the guy in the left die right now. he's antagonizing this human progress with his not so important ideas.

  58. Look I believe this should be for all mankind. Not just for the super rich. I have a good reason to believe if we stopped aging we won't need to breed as often or at all, and eat up all our recourses by feeding all these people. We would have great minds live forever , we wouldn't have need for war. Because why risk your immortality?

    It might be to our benefit though to sterilize some of the genetically flawed humans. Until we find a cure for their deformities. Which our great scientific minds have an infinite amount of time to experiment.

  59. Awesome debate! I wish there was more discussion on inflammatory markers and roles COX-1 and COX-2 have to play when it comes to disease (aging) from the doctors on the panel.

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