In fiction and the popular imagination the quest for youth is associated with a bevy of unsavory characters: pharaohs, vampires, and Saturday morning villains. Yet the real face of longevity research is us, all of us. All of us who have ever had to watch a friend or family member lose everything to an age-related illness, all of us who have had to sit by while a “natural” process executed an innocent person. What sort of perverse imagination could think anyone deserves to die in this way?
Email sent on November 11, 2021
[I’ve had many people tell me something to the effect of there being something wrong with wanting to live for much longer than the currently expected lifetimes. The reasons were varied and none were compelling to me. Probably the best was something to the effect that there needed to be “room” for new people with new ideas to prevent a stagnation of civilization and possibly technological advancement.
The worst was rather personal.
As my mother was sliding away with Alzheimer I had a friend cheerfully tell me I should enjoy the natural aging. As that is what she did as her grandfather as his brain failed and he could no longer recognize family and friends or speak coherently.
I didn’t accept her advice then and I don’t now.
There is evidence scientists are close to effective treatments if not outright cures for dementia. With my family history I see this as a race between scientists and time. I have a rather keen interest in this race as my life has a much higher than acceptable risk of being decided by the winner.—Joe]