- The average life span of humans continues to lengthen, and some scientists have begun to ponder whether this trend will continue indefinitely.
- Not every species ages, and some research suggests that drugs or changes in diet may slow metabolism or alter basic aging processes so that we can live longer. All proposed longevity strategies remain unproved, however.
More In This Article
If you were given a free hand to plan how your life will end—your last weeks, days, hours and minutes—what would you choose? Would you, for example, want to remain in great shape right up until the last minute and then go quickly? Many people say they would choose that option, but I see an important catch. If you are feeling fine one moment, the very last thing you would want is to drop dead the next. And for your loving family and friends, who would suffer instant bereavement, your sudden death would be a cruel loss. On the other hand, coping with a long, drawn-out terminal illness is not great either, nor is the nightmare of losing a loved one into the dark wastes of dementia.
We all prefer to avoid thinking about the end of life. Yet it is healthy to ask such questions, at least sometimes, for ourselves and to correctly define the goals of medical policy and research. It is also important to ask just how far science can help in efforts to cheat death.
This article was originally published with the title Why Can't We Live Forever?.