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Scientists Spot Key Autoimmune Disease Genes

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Finally Comfortable
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:50 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Scientists Spot Key Autoimmune Disease Genes

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Quote:But has'nt the avg. lifespan increased dramatically over the past 100? 200? 300? years? I am looking for info on this to supplement this discussion. I did see one figure somewhere that 100 years ago, the avg. lifespan was 49. It is now 74. That seem to me like we HAVE experienced drastic lifespan extension...and who is to say this will not increase, and WHAT is DRAMATIC? If we add another 5 years of life over the next 100 years even, how will this impact the viability of certain local and extended civilization?Yes, lifespan has increased, but the figures can be a little misleading when you consider that it is due in large part to the reduction in childhood morbidity. That still means more people of course, but it skews the figures and makes it appear that fundamental human lifespan itself has been increased dramatically, while in reality people are more likely to survive infancy. What I mean to say is that once childhood morbidity is reduced, apparent lifespan increases dramatically, but that doesn't mean that another such dramatic increase is likely in the near future, despite much theorizing on the idea. (By dramatic, I would say something along the lines of doubling as it apparently did in the last 150 years or so in developed countries). I think it's also worth noting that while life expectancy has increased most dramatically in developed countries where childhood morbidity is low, these countries have also experienced drops in birth rates; hopefully this trend will continue to hold.I do think that overpopulation is a problem as life expectancy will likely continue to creep up, but I am doubtful about the claims that another longevity revolution is pending. However, if it does happen, it will obviously pose major problems. That was what I was thinking of in terms of the ethical dilemma of how long a human being should live in the event of a dramatic increase in life expectancy.Quote:I believe this too! But I, true to my name, feel that idiocy will get in the way for a long time to come...I mean religion, politics and stubborness born from those!I tend to be pessimistic in the short run but optimistic in the long run. I don't expect human nature to change fundamentally, but I think the instinct towards self-preservation will motivate us to take action. Of course, there's the question of whether it will be too late by then, but only time will tell.(By the way, I didn't mean to imply that you were implying that evolution tends toward perfection, just that I believe that is a common misconception. I was actually reading a screed against stem cell research, which inspired my thoughts.)
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