Guest Blog: What Happens When Aging is Cured?
By Kira Peikoff
Author, NO TIME TO DIE
In my new book NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington, August 26th), a young woman has inexplicably stopped aging at the worst possible age—fourteen. She’s actually in her early twenties, and her stunted growth baffles and frustrates her until she finally receives a diagnosis that changes everything. Scientists believe she carries a gene mutation that has turned off her entire aging process—and if they can pinpoint this mutation, they might be able to figure out a way to cure aging in other people, too. Of course this sounds like pure sci-fi to us today, but the truth is that it’s not necessarily far off. Leading researchers into the genetics of aging say that the scientific fountain of youth will be discovered within the next century. So what does that mean for us? Here’s a list of some of the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly (no more winkles!) of what might happen when aging is cured:
• You could stay 25 forever and so could your kids, so you and multiple generations of your family could feel and look the same age; you wouldn’t have to mourn the painful passing of your parents and grandparents.
• Nobody would retire at 65 if they weren’t aging–they could just keep working. And why not spend time learning all you can, going back to school for different fields, and having multiple careers?
• You could stop your dog or cat’s aging too so you would no longer have to outlive your best friend.
• Diseases of aging–cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s–would greatly diminish if the body’s parts remained in prime working order.
• Age discrimination would disappear–if you’re older and still in the work force, you’ll still be just as likely to keep your job and get promoted as someone younger because you’re as physically capable; economy could grow tremendously because it’s not losing workers to disease and death as often.
• You wouldn’t have to stop dressing super hip and fashionable for your age because the latest styles would always look good on your young body; no more anti-aging products in your morning beauty routine. Goodbye fine lines and crow’s feet!
• Massive population growth that could challenge existing infrastructure, at least at first.
• Ethical dilemmas over who gets to use the aging drug: should money play a role? Should government? A possible public health battle could erupt.
• People might be forced to stop having as many kids if population got out of control.
• Resources like food, clothing, and medicine might be stretched thin to accommodate the skyrocketing demand.
So after weighing the pros and cons, what do you think? Would you want to stop aging? Leave your answer in the comments!
KIRA PEIKOFF is a journalism graduate of New York University who has written for The New York Times, Slate.com, Cosmpolitan.com, Psychology Today, The Daily News, The Orange County Register, Newsday and New York magazine on a wide range of subjects. She published her first book, Living Proof, in 2012 and has worked in the editorial departments of New York publishing houses. She is currently at work on her third thriller, freelancing for major media outlets and attending Columbia University’s Master of Science program in Bioethics. http://www.kirapeikoff.com