Maximum Lifespan Has Met Its End

Courtesy+of+World+Health+Organization
Courtesy of World Health Organization

Courtesy of World Health Organization

Courtesy of World Health Organization

Hannah N. '17, Webmaster

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A study in the journal Nature released in early October determined that while human beings can increase their average lifespan, 79.3 years in the United States according to the World Health Organization, the maximum lifespan has met its limit at 125 years. But I can still hear the one sect of the scientific community groaning in reply that it can be possible; there is or will be surgeries, bionic parts or pills that will solve this unnecessary problem. This is the obsession with the longevity of human life, and even with the knowledge that at some point our bodies have to break down and decay, it still seems over-hyped.

From 1875 to 1997, Jeanne Louise Calment lived the longest human life ever recorded, and, according to the journal, one of the few longest lives that will ever be recorded. From the first call on Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone to the first SMS text message, she lived through it all. But the writers of “Evidence for a Limit to Human Lifespan”—Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland and Jan Vijg—posit that her span of life shouldn’t be taken as a surety and the limit we’re all able to meet. According to these researchers, only one in 10,000 will live up to 125 years old. It might sound defeating when put into a number, but it shouldn’t be taken as a downer statistic.

I’ve seen pill commercials that say word-for-word “a pill to live longer” and I think that selling point is a misconstrued appeal with potentially harmful effects. It would be great if that pill improves health and fights against diseases that could cause irreversible organ failures in the body, such as cancer or other incurable illnesses, but the solution shouldn’t be packaged in a way that could be taken as a cure to age out of context. To advertise as such fits correctly in with the claims of trickery and lies pills pull in today’s money-making pharmaceutical world.

But outside of the lies, or exaggeration to put it in a better term, the problem I have deals with the perception of old age as an illness. Old age is a basic fact of life, something we’ll all hopefully meet in the approaching days. People shouldn’t be trying to trick biology and the basic fragility of our bodies with extraneous pills in order to outrun it. Any extra medication should be more concerned with the quality of life than the quantity of life we are given. Changing our outlook from quantity to quality before we get into treatment would serve the pharmaceutical, medical and civilian community best.

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