Study reveals people’s thoughts on living longer

November 30, 2009,

(PhysOrg.com) -- If people were given a pill to make them live longer what would they do with that extra time? According to a new study by University of Queensland researchers, they would spend it with their family.

Co-authored by the UQ School of Population researchers Associate Professor Jayne Lucke and Professor Wayne Hall, the study interviewed 605 Australians aged 18 to 96 and identified their ethical, social and personal beliefs towards pharmaceutical life extension.

The lead author Dr Brad Partridge, now at the Mayo Clinic in the US, conducted the interviews as part of his PhD.

Dr Lucke said the research, published in the journal Rejuvenation Research recently, was inspired by studies showing the lifespan of animals can be greatly increased in the laboratory.

“The participants were given a scenario to consider, which involved taking an anti-ageing pill that increased the maximum human lifespan,” Dr Lucke said.

“The pill would not be used to cure diseases, but to delay the onset of related health problems which led to an earlier death.”

She said 63 percent of participants said there would be personal benefits to life extension including spending more time with family (36 percent); having more time in life to achieve ambitions (31 percent); and better health and quality of life (21 percent).

“Eighty percent also envisioned at least one downside,” she said.

“These included prolonging a state of poor health (34 percent); financial cost of living longer (16 percent); and outliving family and friends (12 percent)."

She said some of the other results were half of the participants believed the benefits to society would include increased collective knowledge (26 percent); extended lifespan of ‘important' people (15 percent); and more time to contribute (12 percent).

“More than half (52 percent) of participants thought that life extension would not be beneficial to society though, with seven percent of these participants identifying overpopulation (40 percent) and an increased burden on healthcare and welfare (23 percent) as problems,” she said.

Dr Lucke said understanding public attitudes towards prolonging the human lifespan was important to consider.

“It is a known fact that public attitudes toward new technologies, especially one such as the possibly of increasing the , may foster or impede research progress,” she said.

“The study should encourage researchers, bioethicists and policy makers to engage with members of the public about the goals of research surrounding life extension, the expected outcomes of such research and the likely implications for individuals and society.”

Provided by University of Queensland (news : web)

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3 comments

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KhanneaSuntzu
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2009
I am surprised at the sillyness of the objections. I am sometimes dumbstruck with how unimaginative people are - they seem to be positively *mentally paralyzed* when it comes to thinking about the fundamentals of the human state...

- 'poor health' : if you extend life the period of flawed health is pushed back towards the end, and you have more chance in your future for treatments against them.
- 'financial cost' : a healthy human who lives longer has more opportunity yo accumulate skills. The older a healthy citzien is, the more productive
he or she is. Society will be richer with a more mature population. The percentage of people with debilitating aging related symptoms will be smaller.

- 'outliving family members' : ...and what is stopping these family members from receiving the same treatments as you? Really.. how shortsighted is this???

- 'overpopulation' : everywhere in western society we have seen - if people live longer they get richer, and take children later. Precisely
KhanneaSuntzu
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
...Precisely those countries that have below replacement rate birth rates should benefit first from life extension. Plus - people who are now over 50 were born in 1960 - and we had a lot less people then. The amount of people not dying would be a smaller addition to the population that the birth rate itself.
- 'wellfare' : is an amount of money you take from working people to give to not-working people. Make people healthier, and the amount of working people increases. Silly argument - economies will BLOOM with life extension.
- 'health care' : the vast majorities of costs of current health care are absorbed by people 2-5 years from death. Try and calculate how much society would save in care for people if everyone lived a single month longer. The savings would be hundreds of billions per month. Add a few years and we solved all state debts, easy.

It won't be long before politicians realize the societal profits involved with functional life extension. I think it will be *obligatory*
Aliensarethere
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
I will certainly be interested in living long enough to see how far technology can take us.

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