There’s a scientist who says we’re all going to live to 1,000 years old coming to Manchester
Does it involve going gluten-free?
You’re going to live to see the next millennium. No, this isn’t a marketing ploy for the renewal of Futurama (Lord knows we can only hope), but a claim from real-life Gandalf and pioneering scientist Aubrey de Grey.
Aubrey, otherwise known as Dr de Grey is a world-leading gerontologist in California, USA. That means he studies the process of ageing and how cells change over time, and he’s got some extraordinary beliefs. For one, he believes we are on the cusp of a dramatic breakthrough in our understanding of how humans age and die. A bit more dramatically, he also believes that the first person to live to 1,000 years old has already been born.
Now, he has yet to explain what this means for our already ludicrous retirement age, or who’s going to look after you when you’re a bit loopy and losing control of your bowels at 95 and you’ve still got 900 years left on the clock. Is the solution magic? Are we all going to have to find one of those amulets that Melissandre has in GoT? Does it involve going gluten-free? And if so, will they ever make a decent gluten-less pizza? Moreover, will they ever make decent gluten-free versions of anything? Is living to see your great-great-great-great-great grandchildren really worth never having another extra large Domino’s and chicken wings combo comedown feast? These are the big questions.
Essentially, Dr de Grey claims, there are seven cellular processes that gradually accumulate and combine to bring about the ‘senescence’ of your cells. These seven processes cause everything from wrinkles to tumours to that weird old people smell that isn’t necessarily bad but it’s certainly not good.
Almost 20 years ago, Dr de Grey and colleagues set up the SENS foundation – Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence – which aims to find ways to combat and negate the effects of the seven cellular ageing processes, thereby slowing and potentially even reversing the effects of ageing. With their £4m in annual funding and a slew of top scientific names on their roster, here’s hoping the next breakthrough is soon so that we all live to eventually pay off our loans.
If we ignore the social and ethical quagmire that accompanies everyone living to 1,000 in a world where we can barely handle everyone living to 85, there’s a veritable smorgasbord of opportunities. You’ll live to tell the sad tale of 2016 to a new century of children, you’ll be one of the first people to have ever seen a meme, and you’ll live long enough to be able to shake your head at youngster’s lingo and say “back in my day we just said normal words, like dank”. The possibilities are truly endless.
Dr de Grey will be speaking about his work and the implications of immortality at the free MedX conference right here in Manchester on March 25th. Tickets are entirely free and are available here.