LIFE – state of existence

The mystery in us!

We are living in an understanding of a timeline: birth-childhood-youth-adulthood-old age-death!

In this timeline people may ask themselves, how long will we live?

This question has not only an emotional or philosophical impact, but it also kept scientists busy as they attempt to find out if we have an expiry date or not.

Looking back in history the average life span around 1900 was 45 years. In 2000 we had already managed to push this number up to 75 years. How come? The simple answer is, due to investigations, inventions and improvements in our medical treatments, our public health systems and the progression of average knowledge.

Now these days we have lists recording the ages of the oldest people alive, ranging between 111 and 116 years, and there have been reports of an Indonesian man who is supposedly 145 years old. So it seems there is not really a limit of our life span.

Our life span is  is the number one hot topic between Steven Austad and Jay Olshansky, with  these two scientist researching, debating and even betting on the possible outcome. Austad says we have no limit and can live up to 150 years, Olshansky says we have to face the limitations by our fixed genetic programs. These two standpoints were the basis of a bet, which started in the year 2000. They each put 150$ into an investment fund and it will be paid to the winner (or his descendants) in the year 2150. I will for sure not be there, since by then i would already be 180 years old.

If we follow now the scientific path further on, we will read about telomeres. Aha! In short, these are protein structures at the end of chromosomes, which stabilize them. They get shorter under the cell division, till they reach the critical length of 4 kbp and the cell dies. Therefore are the telomeres strongly connected to the aging process.

Scientists found out that stress and the whole cognitive and biological process of stress will influence the telomere length negatively. While stress balancing methods like mindfulness or other meditations (scientist were focusing on that) decelerate the aging process, meaning a slowing down in the shortening of the telomeres.

Nevertheless, if our goal is to reach the 150 year mark then promoting a healthy lifestyle in whatever way, is a great way to start and of course if we are able stay more in the here and now, then being 116 or 150 will also not bother us very much.