RE: Is lifespan following Moore's Law (ie: increasing exponential ly)?

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 09:49:25 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 13 Oct 1999, O'Regan, Emlyn wrote:

> What I'm thinking is, perhaps by averaging over a very large population,
> even a comparatively wealthy one like the US, many people with very poor
> access to healthcare are being measured side by side with few people with
> extremely good access to healthcare.

True but the three single factors have contributed to the increase in longevity over the last ~200 years are:

  1. Public sanitation
  2. Health care sanitation (esp. Doctors washing their hands when going from one sick person to another, particularly pregnant women).
  3. Antibiotics.

The health care "industry" as we know it has probably had little impact on overall longevity and the care that can be bought by a wealthy individual is only marginally greater than that available to an average individual in light of incidences of aging-related diseases where the exponent on the rate-of-incidence with age is large.

The "squaring" of the mortality curve is brought about by the greater availability of (a/b/c and other less significant factors) to the entire population. The increase in maximum longevity comes about due to the Poisson distribution of maximum longevity and the increase in global population [as the population increases, the tails of the Poisson curve get pushed outward so we continue to have people living to new maximum lifespans].

The Poisson distribution of maximum lifespan id due to three things:

  1. your genetic heritage
  2. your environmental risks
  3. the stochastics of your development process [i.e. how many heart cells you actually ended up with].

> Anders:
> > We better get that up to one year per year.
> >
> The first threshold is to get to one year per year, for the hideously
> wealthy. Then at least we all have an (albeit slim) chance...

We will get a big jump when we understand how to shift our bodies from reproduction mode into maintenance & repair mode (I just hope this doesn't require turning off testosterone :-)). Maybe suppressing leptin production will do it. We will get another big jump from replaceable organs. The harder nuts are going to be cancer (requires good gene therapy) and complete repair of mutated DNA (or genome replacement).