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Surprising Science

Why People Don’t Want to Live Forever, Even if They Could

Despite the promise of budding medical technologies, which could extend the human life span significantly, people are generally wary of living much longer and firmly reject immortality. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Despite budding medical technology that promises to overcome age-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and thereby greatly expand the human lifespan, most people are extremely wary of living a lot longer and nearly everyone rejects the idea of immortality. But why? That is the question science writer David Ewing Duncan has put to nearly 30,000 people from all walks of life since beginning his research into radical life extension technology. Most people, says Duncan, do not want to be “old and infirm” any longer than they have to be, even if an immortality pill were created.

What’s the Big Idea?

Since 1900, the average American life span has grown to 80 from 47 years. Several procedures may soon inflate the number even more: A compound called SRT-2104, which treats inflammation and other diseases associated with aging, has successfully slowed aging in mice and other animals; researchers believe stem cells may be used to repair essential tissues such as heart cells that have been damaged by age; further development of bionic implants, which researchers currently use to control tremors in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, may also augment or replace many of our biological functions.

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