Left: Glen Anderson; Right: Marissa Stoker, Graphic Design, Freshman

Scientist seeks to increase life expectancy

Alex Zhavoronkov, a longevity scientist from Russia, is working on a pill that can help people live longer, according to The Telegraph.

Zhavoronkov is part of a team developing medicine that will slow the aging process and, in some cases, reverse aging, according to The Telegraph. They plan to have the medication in the market next year.

Currently, life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years old, the highest it has ever been, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health.

Many people want to avoid death because they fear that in death they will be deprived of the enjoyments of life, according to Psychology Today.

Christina Argueta, a sophomore studying sociology, said she thinks it is best to live a natural life and not tamper with God’s will.

“Your life expectancy is a thing that should be decided by God and not by pills or science,” Argueta said. “He’s the creator.”

Mekayla Gibson, a junior studying social work, said the idea of living a long life seems appealing, but if she was given the choice, she would choose to let nature take its toll.

“It would be interesting to be able to witness time over three hundred years, but I don’t think I could handle seeing everyone else die and making new friends,” Gibson said. “I like the idea of having a good life even if it is not as long.”

Argueta said when it comes to pills, medication and procedures that increase longevity, it does not always turn out right, and there is usually a catch.

Cris Erasga, a freshman studying software engineering, said he would not want to extend his life very long because he would still have to live with the frailties of being human and all the negative things that come with it.

“I would focus on the scientific developments that improve the quality of life, like to prevent diseases like cancer and making it easier to replace limbs in your body, rather than just prolonging the inevitable,” Erasga said.

Argueta said she would rather improve the quality of life than the quantity of life.

“If you are poor and live in a cardboard box, it is not going to benefit you to be young forever,” Argueta said.

Gibson said she would prefer to enjoy a short life rather than experience a long one.

“If you improve the quality of life, it would improve people’s health and outlook, which would improve their life and likely lengthen it,” Gibson said. “If you give your money to a poor country and improve their living conditions, they will live longer.”

Some of Zhavoronkov’s fellow scientists have not caught the vision yet, according to The Telegraph. Dr. Nazif Alic, a researcher at University College London’s Institute of Healthy Ageing, said it seems unlikely to double the lifespan of a human being because there have been no cases in which life expectancy has been increased that dramatically. The effects of aging in patients have only been slowed.

“As you’re living life, there are benefits in seeing how society progresses itself, as well as doing your part to improve society, rather than taking pills and having no meaning in life,” Erasga said.

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