test your knowledge
How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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October 11, 2012: by Bill Sardi
It might be a hard sell. How would anybody know such a pill would work till they lived decades spending hard-earned money for it? If one could guarantee that a person would live to a certain age by taking a pill every day, let’s say 102 years based upon some yet undetermined biological measure, would anybody really want to know the day of their demise?
Being involved in the marketing of such a pill, I have often jokingly offered the following tongue-in-cheek guarantee to those prospective consumers deliberating purchase of an anti-aging pill. “If you live to 100 years of age, send a copy of your birth certificate and record of your purchases of the pill, and we will ship you a free supply for the remainder of your life. If you take the pill religiously and you don’t live to the age of 100 years, send us the receipts of your purchases and you will receive a full refund.” Now, just how to collect?
The problem with validation of any proposed youth elixir is that it would require a 100-year long study to conclusively prove. But none the less, more modern-day humans are living to be centenarians than in any prior generation since the Biblical patriarchs.
So who is the target audience for an anti-aging pill? According to a recent survey of businessmen age 72-88 years in Finland, those men who were self-reported to be happy psychologically were more likely to desire to live to be 100. Men who exercised regularly, probably an indication they were willing to work on the idea of achieving super-longevity, were also more likely to want to reach their 100th birthday.
So how many of these men were happy retired seniors who wanted to live another 12-28 years? Answer: just 37.2% (265 of 712 men surveyed). Those men whose functional capacity was limited were less willing to live to the age of 100, but that was only among the younger men (under age 78) in the survey. The younger men probably feared living in a debilitated state in the remaining years of their lives.
That 37.2% figure stands as a striking difference from a U.S. study where nobody (0% age 70-97 years of age) wanted to become a centenarian. In a German study, a majority of respondents (aged 20-92 years) wished to live into their mid-80s, but fewer than 20% want to live longer.
So the researchers followed the respondents to this survey for three years after they participated (2007-2010) in the survey. What they found was that the men who most desired to become centenarians had a 3-year mortality rate (6.0%) that was almost half that of those men not wishing to live 100 years (11.0%). Source: Do You Wish To Live To The Age Of 100? A Survey Of Older Men. Journal American Geriatrics Society, Volume 60, pages 1983-84, October 2012. – Copyright 2012 Bill Sardi, Resveratrol News.com