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  1. #1
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    Living To 120...

    Anyone up on the science of this whole 'living to 120' thing that's becoming a bit of a buzzword these days? How is this supposed to unfold, more or less?

    While ppl have lived to 120 in the past (122 and five months, in fact, has been documented), it is, of course, incredibly rare, and no potential combination of lifestyle changes, diet, environment, and conventional health care would allow the average person to live that long.

    So, what's the scientific/medical plan, or likely advancement path? And would the average Joe or Jane really want to be a part of it?

    For instance, one of the few semi-proven ways to live significantly longer is to do some pretty draconian calorie restriction. So, you're cold all the time and have no energy, but you get to live longer, yay.

    Another bad way to live a long time would be, to my mind, the current American 'keep em alive at any cost' healthcare system, but on steroids. Again, poor quality-of-life, but you get to live a long-ass time.

    If ya really think it's worth it.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    Anyone up on the science of this whole 'living to 120' thing that's becoming a bit of a buzzword these days? How is this supposed to unfold, more or less?

    While ppl have lived to 120 in the past (122 and five months, in fact, has been documented), it is, of course, incredibly rare, and no potential combination of lifestyle changes, diet, environment, and conventional health care would allow the average person to live that long.

    So, what's the scientific/medical plan, or likely advancement path? And would the average Joe or Jane really want to be a part of it?

    For instance, one of the few semi-proven ways to live significantly longer is to do some pretty draconian calorie restriction. So, you're cold all the time and have no energy, but you get to live longer, yay.

    Another bad way to live a long time would be, to my mind, the current American 'keep em alive at any cost' healthcare system, but on steroids. Again, poor quality-of-life, but you get to live a long-ass time.

    If ya really think it's worth it.
    .
    Quality trumps quantity in my book.
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  3. #3
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    A couple of things. If I was able to continue doing the things I love, or find new things that interest me, then I would definitely want to live to 120. As you mentioned people that live that long tend to not eat so much, and they keep their brain and body moving with activity instead of being sedentary. We all probably know people like that.

    As for the end of life care I hate it. The last couple years of most people's life now is hugely expensive. In a nutshell people can abuse their bodies, they can be fat, lazy, stressed out, yet have drugs extend their life by years. If you do that to yourself you should be required to change your act or at least buy the drugs yourself. That sounds Draconian, but we are at almost 70% adult obesity rate in this country, and kids are fast increasing as a percentage also. Currently if you abuse your body through alcohol, you are last on the liver transplant list, as it should be for example.

    I read somewhere that about 20% of the population would die off quickly if all drugs for blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes were stopped. That's crazy. We never have these conversations in our society though. The root cause of quite a few of our societal problems are unchecked breeding i.e. overpopulation, the ability people have to abuse their bodies into the ground, and the drug companies pushing drugs onto the doctors to give to their patients. They advertise drugs on television, then people go in and tell their doctor they need, them, and there is a good chance the doctor will actually provide the scrip. I could go on about lack of exercise, manual labor, and electronic devices keeping people like zombies, but I won't.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  4. #4
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    the planetary resources required to sustain each member of the human population for an additional 50 years would be substantial...

    we're already doing a good job depleting and polluting what we have, don't think things would be any rosier with people living longer and longer.

    I vote no.
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  5. #5
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    What's interesting about modern medicine is that it significantly improves life expectancy, but doesn't seem to have greatly expanded longevity. Almost all the life expectancy gains of modernity come from preventing infant mortality and untimely death from disease- much of which is from sanitation and quality food rather than medicine. If you read Plato's Republic, written over 2,000 years ago, it assumes a natural lifespan of about 80 years for men.

    Medicine does relatively well at preventing untimely death, but fights a losing battle against aging. I've seen it over and over again with elderly friends and relatives- towards the end, medicine is just patching holes on an increasingly leaky ship. I see many people who were relatively robust in their 70s just hit a wall in their 80s where more and more starts going wrong. The aging part of the equation is certainly influenced by diet and exercise, but a lot of it is just genetics. Long story short, I don't expect a 120 year life will ever become common unless we develop a gene editing therapy for the purpose.

    As to whether we'd want to live that long. I wouldn't unless that sort of lifespan is common and comes with a level of mental and physical health commensurate with our current average lifespans. Spending 20 years in a wheelchair playing Bingo having outlived all of your friends and all your relatives from your generation does not sound like something I'd be interested in.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    the planetary resources required to sustain each member of the human population for an additional 50 years would be substantial...

    we're already doing a good job depleting and polluting what we have, don't think things would be any rosier with people living longer and longer.

    I vote no.
    I think the human race is making great strides in that regards by limiting fertility. Widespread birth control has already starting to lead to population decline in wealthy countries. Poor countries are just starting to join the trend. I suspect that a breakthrough in genetic engineering allowing 120 year lifespan would happen after birth control is ubiquitous throughout the world.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I think the human race is making great strides in that regards by limiting fertility. Widespread birth control has already starting to lead to population decline in wealthy countries. Poor countries are just starting to join the trend. I suspect that a breakthrough in genetic engineering allowing 120 year lifespan would happen after birth control is ubiquitous throughout the world.
    Limiting births while extending the lives of those already born, maintaining large population numbers, and the drain on the planets natural resources continue unabated.

    Why not just live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the years we get.
    Too old to ride plastic

  8. #8
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    I'm 55 and thinking about retirement. If I was going to live to be 120, I'd be looking at working another 30 years. Screw that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    Anyone up on the science of this whole 'living to 120' thing that's becoming a bit of a buzzword these days? How is this supposed to unfold, more or less?

    While ppl have lived to 120 in the past (122 and five months, in fact, has been documented), it is, of course, incredibly rare, and no potential combination of lifestyle changes, diet, environment, and conventional health care would allow the average person to live that long.

    So, what's the scientific/medical plan, or likely advancement path? And would the average Joe or Jane really want to be a part of it?

    For instance, one of the few semi-proven ways to live significantly longer is to do some pretty draconian calorie restriction. So, you're cold all the time and have no energy, but you get to live longer, yay.

    Another bad way to live a long time would be, to my mind, the current American 'keep em alive at any cost' healthcare system, but on steroids. Again, poor quality-of-life, but you get to live a long-ass time.

    If ya really think it's worth it.
    .
    I just want to live long enough to be a burden on my kids.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I'm 55 and thinking about retirement. If I was going to live to be 120, I'd be looking at working another 30 years. Screw that.
    This is exactly where my mind goes. Think of the $$$ you have to have to retire right now, how much more will you need to have to live an extra 50yrs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I just want to live long enough to be a burden on my kids.
    I think I've already accomplished that ... and they haven't left for college yet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I'm 55 and thinking about retirement. If I was going to live to be 120, I'd be looking at working another 30 years. Screw that.
    You probably wouldn't need work that much longer to from a purely financial standpoint. Safe withdrawal rate on a 30 year portfolio is about 4%. Safe withdrawal rate on an indefinite portfolio is around 3%. The difference would probably work out to around 10 more years depending on your income history.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    You probably wouldn't need work that much longer to from a purely financial standpoint. Safe withdrawal rate on a 30 year portfolio is about 4%. Safe withdrawal rate on an indefinite portfolio is around 3%. The difference would probably work out to around 10 more years depending on your income history.
    I'm eligible to retire from my job in four years -- and I have a job that has a small pension. How many of those are left anymore? My wife and I both max out our IRA contributions. She's four years younger than me and says 'we should retire together'. My response is 'the hell with that'. Problem is, the two kids are almost 13 and 15 -- so there's no way I can afford to quit working until they finish college, which is around 8-10 years from now. I keep pushing the truck driving academy, but it doesn't seem to be sticking.

  14. #14
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    You are not obligated to pay for your kids college education by the way if that's your plan ;)
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Quality trumps quantity in my book.
    Yep, that is how I see it.. live a wild fantastic life and die messy (motorcycle, sky diving, whatever dangerous activity you enjoy, red meat, etc), or live a miserable tasteless life wrapped in bubble wrap till 80 or 90.. F that.. I'm going out with a bang one day.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    You are not obligated to pay for your kids college education by the way if that's your plan ;)
    Yeah, I think I am. My parents paid for my under graduate education. And I took advantage of it and worked hard, got good grades, and went on to graduate school, which I paid for myself through assistant ships. I don't want my kids to graduate with a ton of student loan debt. That's no way to start out life.

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    I retired from the RailRoad. working for the Mechanical dept. I worked in some pretty dangerous conditions and knew that I did not want to die on the Property.

    Well I just come up from riding my trainer in the basement, and now I know that I do not want to die while riding that damned device.
    Too old to ride plastic

  18. #18
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    No way do I want to live that long. My wife and I have talked about reaching the age where we can't get another kitten because you have to assume a cat will live to be 20, and we don't want to burden someone with a cat, or multiple cats, when we croak. So we were going to call it quits on the kittens thing around age 65 or so....but now we'd be looking at 100 if we're going to live to be 120. No way in hell am I going to be dealing with kittens when I hit the century mark. So for that reason alone, I'm forgoing the whole "live to 120" thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I'm eligible to retire from my job in four years -- and I have a job that has a small pension. How many of those are left anymore? My wife and I both max out our IRA contributions. She's four years younger than me and says 'we should retire together'. My response is 'the hell with that'. Problem is, the two kids are almost 13 and 15 -- so there's no way I can afford to quit working until they finish college, which is around 8-10 years from now. I keep pushing the truck driving academy, but it doesn't seem to be sticking.
    My company did away with a pension for new employees many years back. However, I am grandfathered and am still eligible for a decent amount of money. Still, the concern is that the company will raid it or the fund becomes insolvent

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    I'm still a fairly young 55yo, but I have enough aches and pains now, that I can't imagine what it would be like to live to 120. Heck, 65-70 seems daunting at this point

    Unless there is some way to dramatically improve quality of life and reducing the effects of (or reversing) aging, there is no way I want to get that old with this tired broken body I have now.

  21. #21
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    I visit my 91 year old father every weekend at his assisted living home. His Alzheimer's has progressed to the point that sometimes he doesn't recognize me, and we haven't had a conversation in over a year. Another 30 years of this???? Frankly, I hope he passes peacefully soon.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    I visit my 91 year old father every weekend at his assisted living home. His Alzheimer's has progressed to the point that sometimes he doesn't recognize me, and we haven't had a conversation in over a year. Another 30 years of this???? Frankly, I hope he passes peacefully soon.
    Yes--this is the worry...

    For me, it's my mom, and I suspect now it has started for my MIL.

    It gets very hard when the body is still functioning, but the mind has failed. My brother-in-law's plan is 'idling car in garage' when it gets to be time. The trick is that you have to plan ahead for it, otherwise you won't be able to complete.
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by paredown View Post
    Yes--this is the worry...

    For me, it's my mom, and I suspect now it has started for my MIL.

    It gets very hard when the body is still functioning, but the mind has failed. My brother-in-law's plan is 'idling car in garage' when it gets to be time. The trick is that you have to plan ahead for it, otherwise you won't be able to complete.
    When my Mom started having symptoms of Alzheimer's she would deny it to us. After we had to move her out of the house I found a journal she kept where she tried to write down information that she didn't want to forget (her kids names, grandchildren's' name, other relative etc). Sadly that did not work, and the slow loss of memory was hard to watch. Had she been aware of what was happening I am sure she would have taken the "car in the garage" plan as she made it very clear to us before she started sliding downhill that she did want to live like that

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    So, what's the scientific/medical plan, or likely advancement path? And would the average Joe or Jane really want to be a part of it?
    The number 120 comes from claims about the theoretical MAXIMUM life span. Currently, you can find numbers in the 115-125 range for that. That means that scientists think that if NOTHING goes wrong, people will just die from being "old" around 120 (+/- a couple years, of course.) The extremely old are super outliers though, so I would not worry about living to that age if I were you.

    I would suggest that, given the comments here, people ignore this number. What really matters is something called "healthy life years", often called HALE in the literature. In the USA, that's about 10 years short of overall life expectancy, on average.

    Here's some Euro data: Healthy life years statistics - Statistics Explained

    And a world interactive map: WHO | World Health Organization
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    If you read Plato's Republic, written over 2,000 years ago, it assumes a natural lifespan of about 80 years for men.
    Moses is the supposed author of Psalm 90, which says, "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty."

    If written by Moses, that would be roughly 3,500 years ago. If written, or codified, in the most recent time accepted by atheist Bible scholars, with the conspiracy theory that a random group of people got together in the Palestine area about 500 BC and invented a complex back-story defining them as a people-group entitled to the land, including all the supporting written evidence including the Psalms, that would be about 2,500 years ago.

    In Genesis, it says, "the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

    So, it is curious that the Bible gets both the average life span, and the extreme, spot-on - if you consider that 120 (with two significant digits) goes up to 124.5. There are claims of people being older than 125, but the decently documented cases go up to 125, and not beyond.

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