The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy by Alex Zhavoronkov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve read a few books about the possibilities of expanding the human lifespan, but most give you the science portion of how we might do it and what current discoveries contribute to this end goal. Alex Zhavoronkov’s book is the first to talk passionately about why it is important to bring about breakthroughs that prolong human life.
His basic argument throughout the book is that expanding healthy human lifespan can help us overcome the current economic issues we have in our health care and retirement benefits. Current medical practices have already impacted peoples lives such that the average lifespan has already been extended, but in doing so it has only prolonged life, not solved some of the medical issues that arise with older age. This leaves us in the current situation where we are having trouble covering the expenses found in combating the age related illnesses. Alex is saying we need to fund the research to make breakthroughs the don’t just extend our lives, but that extend them such that we are healthier and more productive in our old age.
Along the way the book covers everything from where the current research and science is now, to how we will need to extend retirement age (a key point for solving the retirement benefits issues), to how current practices in the drug industry only seek to solve the symptoms of diseases, not find cures. I was particularly fond of how he points out several times that retirement is actually a new phenomena. He also shows how the United States actually ranks very low on the average human lifespan (so much for our oh-so-top-notch medical capabilities) and shows how we have cut our budgets for this kind of research while China has expanded theirs. In fact, a lot of advances seems to come out of Chinese research, something our current politicians in the United States should take note of.
This is a great book and if you have an opportunity to read it you should. It’s not a very long read and I’m sure other books cover portions of the topic in more detail, but I felt this gave a good overview to our current state of affairs in health and medicine and shows how we could do much better.
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