An ambitious plan to sequence 100 genes in 1,000 healthy old people could shed light on genetic variations that insulate some people from the ailments of aging, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, allowing them to live a healthy life into their eighties and beyond.
Rather than focusing on genetic variations that increase risk for disease, scientists plan to focus on genes that have previously been linked to health and longevity.
I believe people of my generation will be living much longer healthier lives, free from many of the ailments my parents generation suffer from now.
However, there’s a caveat — the current generation of kids are at a strange stage where a lot of them aren’t eating properly. This will take its toll later in their lives, either through obesity and / or other complications related to a poor diet.
I’m fortunate. My dad had an allotment, so my family ate a lot of home-grown vegetables, which a worrying proportion of the current youth seem intent on balking at.
Those of my fathers generation have survived pretty well, given that they had a relatively poor diet, mostly through poverty. But what they did eat was natural, rather that the processed and synthetic mess kids eat today.
Also, my fathers’ generation didn’t have immediate access to free healthcare, like the NHS (National Health Service), which didn’t come about until July 1948.
So if you combine access to modern healthcare, better food awareness and genetic research, we’ve got all the ingredients we need for extending our lives beyond the 100 mark.
I’m pretty sure that those like me will enjoy the quality and physical wellbeing of a 40-year-old when we’re in our late 60s — but I’m in no rush to find out!