ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Extending Life, Fact and Fiction

Updated on July 10, 2011

Living Longer

In recent times, stories about people living extremely long lives in regions of Pakistan, Ecuador, and Russia, has caught the public’s eye. Naturally, these areas have undergone extensive study by the scientific community.

Findings showed the areas had much in common. People living in these remote areas endured hard physical labor and had diets low in low in calories, protein, and fat. However a closer inspection revealed the age of individuals living in these areas was highly exaggerated. Individuals claiming to be between 120 and 170 years old were in fact under 108. Most were in their 80s.

In 1979, Charlie Smith, an African American, was reported to be 137 years old…he was 104. So, if humans don't live to 130 or 170, how long do they live? The oldest documented human was Jeanne Calment of France who lived 122 years. Calment was born Feb. 21, 1875 and died Aug. 4, 1997.

When seeking to find ways to extend our lives, basically we are looking for answers to several questions. How long can we live…and how well? However, living a longer life would be valueless without good health and a reason to live.


Increased Life Spans

While people are generally living longer today, several things must be considered. Many believe increased life spans are a result of scientific advances in medicine and elimination of many fatal diseases. While this is true in many respects, some claim it isn’t the case at all. But rather the decline came about primarily because of improved housing, sanitation, nutrition and other lifestyle measures.

By the time antibiotics began being used in the late 1940s, deaths from disease declined more than 98% in the first 80 years of this century.

People still die prematurely, but it’s what we are dying from that has changed. Today, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, emphysema, and cirrhosis cause more than 80% of deaths and 90% of disability. The number of Americans expecting to live to age 60 in the early 1800’s was only one-third. Today, the number is over 80%.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain once proclaimed, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics.” Twain’s viewpoint can plainly be seen in today’s commercial market.

The sale of anti-aging products such as nutrition, physical fitness, skin care, hormone replacements, vitamins, supplements and herbs has become a profitable global industry. However, medical experts state using such products has not shown to affect the aging process. In fact, they have spoken out against them.

Much theory and conjecture has marred the clarity of what causes aging and what, if anything actually can slow down or even stop the aging process. One problem lies in study methods.

Obviously, humans can’t be subjected to testing before positive evidence is obtained for commercial purposes. Testing is done on laboratory animals such as mice, which have a life span of about 4 years, unlike humans who average 70-80 years. The correlation here is evident.

On the other hand contradictions abound as to what causes aging. Genetic differences between humans and mice accounting for these different aging rates include efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant enzymes and free radical production.

On another note, some contend there are health benefits for coffee with studies indicating decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even health conditions like Parkinson's disease and colon cancer.But, some studies say drinking caffeinated coffee is associated with an increased risk for heart attack and stroke in people having heart disease.

The American Heart Association concludes studies linking caffeine to health risks is conflicting. The group concludes, however, moderate coffee consumption, defined as one or two cups a day, "doesn't seem to be harmful."

Most researcher agree during the aging process of an organism accumulates damage to cells, tissues, organs and macromolecules through free radicals which attack them. The free radical concept proposes antioxidant supplements in certain vitamins might prove beneficial, but results from some clinical testing infer high doses of B carotene and vitamin E actually increase mortality rates. So, apparently any conclusions one may reach are subject to change by another study.

Many studies today focus on nutrition, diets, exercise or supplements, although few of these have been sufficiently tested for substantial longevity effects. The results on numerous diets promoted by anti-aging advocates are often contradictory and some have proved extremely dangerous. Hormone treatment therapies have also been criticized by the AMA for possible dangers and lack of supporting evidence.

The United States, in an effort to protect consumers, claims on food and drug labels are strictly regulated. Manufacturers also provide informational publications on their products, but they are subject to monitoring and enforcement.

Advances in nanotechnology also shows promise for life extension by repairing processes thought to be responsible for aging. Some advocates believe the field of nanorobitics could completely stop the effects of aging by 2030.

Many other strategies for extending human life span have been proposed, all controversial. Such as cloning, stem cells, cryonics and combining existing biochemical and genetic techniques. One philosopher pointed out, any technological advances in life extension must be equitably distributed and not restricted to a privileged few.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thank you H P. I do try.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      The hub carries good information.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)