Kane Tanaka is 118 years of age. She lives in Fukuoka, Japan. There is a dramatic increase in the number of centenarians in all countries.
Science is discovering new ways to prolong life and possibly reverse aging. That’s the good news.
Previously, until the middle of the 18th century, life spans rarely exceeded 35 years. Luckily Shakespeare lived to age 52. The world benefited from his longevity so he could write, publish and produce his plays.
Between 1920 and 2020, the average human life span doubled. That was a good start at prolonging life.
Now, the science of regenerative medicine with the objective of growing new hearts and kidneys and other organs from pluripotent stem cells will be a major factor in extending life spans.
Other advances such as the new drug elamipretide which helps to restore function to failing mitochondria which are the power plants for our cells will be important in keeping the elderly energized. There might even be a marathon for those over 100.
There are life enhancing supplements such as alpha-ketoglutarate that can extend the life span of mice. A clinical trial is underway to test its effect on biomarkers of aging in humans.
Unique micropeptides that boost fitness levels and prevent obesity extends life spans in the lab. Micropeptides are also moving into human trials.
And the new m-RNA technology used in the m-RNA COVID vaccines will be used to treat aggressive cancers such as melanoma, colorectal cancer and breast cancer. If these disease can be treated effectively, then more of the planet’s occupants will possibly reach that magic number of 100 or even higher.
Source: New York Times Magazine May 2 2021.