It’s a question that, well, never seems to die: Can science significantly extend the human lifespan, and if so, how?
Scientific American delves into the questions with an intriguing series in its September issue, beginning with varied views on process: Do we try to stem aging itself on the cellular and molecular levels, or do we take a piecemeal approach to curing disease and replace worn bones and organs?
A pre-eminent voice in the fray, Aubrey de Gray, chief science officer of the SENS foundation, spoke at TEDMED 2009 on the former approach:
While Anthony Atala, of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, showed mind-blowing advances in the same year of growing organs for transplantation in the laboratory.
Meanwhile, as SciAm points out, we continue to increase lifespan nevertheless thanks to better nutrition, maternal care and sanitation, though government stats show that life expectancy varies greatly from country to country, with the U.S. lagging behind other industrialized nations.