Can we live forever as young old people?

“If we invested like we do in the army we could live much longer but people are fatalistic “ says Prof Miroslav Radman

We assume the ageing process to be a natural part of life that we must accept but many scientists now think we can act against it at the cellular level. Oliver Rowland spoke to French-Croatian biologist MIROSLAV RADMAN, author of a new book for the general public, Le Code de l’Immortalité, and to British ageing expert Dr Aubrey de Grey

Miroslav Radman believes he has found the keys to slowing ageing. He describes biological ageing as “cultural vandalism” and says it is possible that in future people will be able to stay young and healthy indefinitely.

The eminent scientist told Connexion: “What we can do for a start is help people live up to the apparent maximum limit of around 120. Nearly everyone should be like Niemeyer, the Brazilian architect, who was creating splendid designs at 103. It doesn’t have to be the exception.

“If we have the knowledge to reinforce the weak links, or slow down the fire that burns us – the radicals – it’s legitimate to want to live in good health as long as possible and be productive for oneself and for society.”

Prof Radman, 74, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, added: “As long as one is not ill or disabled, you will never say – just because you’re out of work or something – you want to be killed. All that’s lacking is the science and technology. If we invested like we do in the army, we could live much longer, but people are fatalistic, they think there’s no point ima­gining a more beautiful and better life.”

Even so, he said he is “very confident” there can be effective therapies to slow down ageing in about 10 years time.

As for prospects of rejuvenating people who are already aged, he said: “I can’t see any scientific reason it’s not possible. We would just need to rejuvenate the body’s stem cells – that renew our intestine, the surface of the lungs, the nervous system’s glial cells, the neurones etc. In theory, there’s nothing against the possibility.”

Prof Radman has had an illustrious ...

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