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150-Year-Old Humans a Possibility With Scientific Advances? Researchers Debate on Issue

Dec 06, 2016 07:19 AM EST

It can be known as a universal desire for all kinds of civilizations to want to live better and longer lives. However, it may be interesting to take note that despite this premise, scientists still debate on the question of where should we draw the line between ethics and pushing biological limits through experimental science.

According to a piece on The National, medical and scientific experts agree that the lifespan of humans is on the rise, but there is little consensus on exactly how much. 

There were comparisons, however. For instance, the average life expectancy for people has doubled since 1900 to 71.4 years. This is long versus the mayfly's lifespan of a day, short versus the 400-year old Greenland shark, and a blink versus the 11,000-year-old deep-sea sponge. 

Aubrey de Grey of the Sens Research Foundation said that society, in fact, has a fatalistic attitude to longevity. The first person to reach 1,000 years old may even be alive, he said. According to Scientific American, Elizabeth Blackburn, who won a Nobel in 2009 for research on telomeres and genetics of aging, said raising the bar for people with triple-digit-spans is not overtly ambitious.

Meanwhile, a study by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine said it may not be possible to extend life beyond the recorded ages, with 115 years likely to be the maximum lifespan of humans.

The odds that in any given year at least one person will live past their 125th birthday are less than one in 10,000. Jeanne Calment was the oldest person alive, having lived 122 years until she died in 1997.

Some argue it may be too soon to dictate a maximum lifespan when experiments tend to do the "impossible" for us. For instance, organ transplant and in-vitro fertilization are two prominent procedures that trigger ethical debates. For instance, organ transplants were initially criticized by some saying that using body parts is like using a robot where gears and parts are swapped.

Meanwhile, just recently, Italian professor Sergio Canavero and his colleagues were able to make the first successful head transplant using monkeys. But since the spinal cord was not reconnected to the monkey, it was euthanized on day one and was left paralyzed. According to BBC, his team plans to carry out the first human head transplant by 2017.

However, the vast benefits and manageable risks of the process has made the process acceptable. However, if we get to answer just what the distinction is between pioneering care and reckless treatments may help the healthcare industry cope with the 30 percent increase in the world's population by 2050 to a whopping 9.7 billion.

While the human lifespan is referred as the "global average" among the world's species, it's important to note that according to the World Economic Forum, the current holder of the world's highest average life expectancy is Hong Kong (with 84 years), and China holding the lowest with just under 50.  

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