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TOPIC: "Living for longer has its problems" (IrishTimes.com 10/21/10)


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"Living for longer has its problems" (IrishTimes.com 10/21/10)

Read @ IrishTimes.com

Living for longer has its problems


Lifespans continue to lengthen. It is estimated that more than half the UK babies born in 2000 will live to see 100 years of age. Research is shedding much light on the natural mechanisms of wear and tear in our cells that cause ageing and debilitation. Interventions to slow ageing down will inevitably be developed and, combined with new stem-cell therapies, it may eventually be possible to nudge average human lifespans up towards 150 years. But it seems extremely unlikely that it will ever be possible to prolong life indefinitely – the human body is too complex. (Emphasis added)

Full article @ IrishTimes.com

I have seen this coming for a while.  Not long ago (sometime within the past year) we read in and heard on NPR the phenomenal groundbreaking progress in gene therapy that has every chance of dramatically extending life.  It is tremendous news for humanity.

On the flip side, there are tremendous costs associated with healthcare's new options and life-long implications. With aging, there are frequent and further complications.  I doubt highly if the actuarial models of Medicare/Medicaid have been considering the most recent scientific advances that have such mega implications.

On top of this if the 30 to 40 Million Americans without health care insurance end up in hospital, I wonder how they decide on what healthcare options are/are not available to them if such life extenders become easily available.... but the extension of life has huge health care implications. There are many ethical implications in such decisions.  Who will shoulder the responsibility for such major decisions?

Earlier today, I saw the video clip that aired on CBS 50 Minutes that showed that in 1906, life expectancy in the US was 47 for men and 50 for women. Source: Historic Film: Market Street 1906 - CBS News 60 Minutes
We are pushing 50 additional years to reach 100 additional years over that life expectancy.  Just think about it and its major implications.   [BTW, I wanted to share this video with my kid, but the advertisements on it stopped me from sharing.  I have decided to contact my reps with a demand for stopping those ads from day time viewing shows and from videos.  Hmmm.. I wonder why Republicans are not all over these advertisements.. ]

Back to topic... We are at considering all kinds of "medicines" to extend life and keep life "enjoyable" for "mankind" (lol) and I really wonder about the healthcare cost implications.  Regardless of who pays, all costs go into computation of acturial model and will eventually hit our pocketbooks for all people...

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