The Latest Episode of Point of Inquiry: Can Science Extend Human Life?

By Chris Mooney | September 11, 2010 5:21 pm

olshansky_headshot_02My latest hosted episode of Point of Inquiry just went up: you can stream it here. Here’s the write up:

At a recent conference in Lake Tahoe, demographer S. Jay Olshansky presented a roomful of technologists with an exciting prospect. Through a concerted scientific attack on the problem of aging, he suggested, we might be able to extend human life by as much as 7 years on average.

Olshansky’s strategy is not simply to keep battling individual diseases, like cancer, in isolation. Rather, it’s to go after the underlying process that brings on those diseases to begin with.

The field of aging has long been beset by questionable claims—by hucksters try to sell us the fountain of youth. By contrast, Olshansky suggests there may be a modest, but scientifically attainable, version of human life extension that would benefit us all. On this episode of Point of Inquiry, he discusses how it might be possible, and what a world in which we all live significantly longer would look like.

S. Jay Olshansky is a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work focuses on estimating the upper limits to human longevity and pursuing the scientific means to slow aging in people.  Dr. Olshansky is the author, with Bruce Carnes, of The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging.

Once again the show is here, and you can stream it over the web here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Announcements, point of inquiry

Comments (6)

  1. Anthony McCarthy

    Immortality sounds like an awfully long time to go with my teeth and back.

  2. It already has. 40 used to be old.

  3. ChH

    “40 used to be old”
    Actually it’s more like “you used to be lucky to live past 40”.
    It is true that the life expectancy of humans through most of history was less than 40 – but people were not dying of old age before 40 – they died of old age more or less at the same age we do. The difference was massive infant and child mortality, plus many adult deaths from now easily preventable / curable diseases.

  4. Dan

    sounds like a bunch of HACKS and little kiddie experiments by grad students.

    there’s no focused, massive Trillion dollar a year effort to save us American Humans from our awful deterioration.

  5. I agree with Lab Lemming, why is this a question when it’s already been done? You might want to try again with the title, something like ‘Can we slow ageing in humans?’ At least the title would then make sense, even if the idea still has huge flaws.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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