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It May Be Possible To Live To 200

If you happened to be listening to the Ray D’Arcy show earlier today, you would have heard him musing about what life would be like if we all lived for more than 200 years. Ray was interviewing Aubrey DeGrey, a geronologist, who reckons it may be possible for people to live to be 1000 years old! When you consider that the average age of death in Ireland is now 87 years, that’s a significant increase.

DeGrey believes that if cures could be found for all of the age-related illnesses, we would all live for much longer. Of course, prevention of these illnesses would be even better. Having inherited a sizeable fortune, he invested much of it into biomedical research and is clearly passionate about improving the quality of life for everyone as we get older and also extending the longevity of our lives as we would be healthier.

DeGrey sees ageing as the main cause of death, to the extent that ageing is responsible for two thirds of all deaths. I thought this was an interesting way of looking at it as when you think about it, if someone dies of ‘natural’ causes due to old age, it is generally seen as an enviable and peaceful way to leave this earth. However, DeGrey sees ageing as a cause of death as rather negative and something that could be prevented or certainly delayed significantly.

Ray was clearly bemused by the prospect at some stages of the interview as he seemed to be wondering about the population increasing vastly in size and if people would actually want to live for centuries. He wondered if the argument with nature by delaying death to that extent really is possible or even advantageous.

Would you like to live to 1,000 years old or even 200? I think, for most people, the answer would be that they would like to live for as long as possible with a good quality of life – living independently with some caring help would be viewed as having a good quality of life. As Ray says, when aged 20 or 30, we may see living to 200 as a ridiculously long time and as something that may not sound that attractive. However, if someone aged 98 is asked if they would like to live for another ten years, they are probably likely to say yes.

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