Can Ageing Be Cured?
Our oldest recorded stories show that we have always been enamoured by the idea of escaping the fate of ageing.
The 4000 year old Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of a king's quest for immortality.
In hindouism, the 3500 year-old Rigveda tells of Amrita, the drink of the gods that grants knowledge and eternal life.
In the book of genesis, compiled 2600 years ago, Adam and Eve are banished from paradise and lose access to the tree of life, which granted immortality.
Science, too, tells a story of lost immortality.
Deep in our evolutionary past, we were single-celled organisms that did not age.
The advent of sexual reproduction made our species as a whole more able to survive at the cost of immortality.
Now, modern science seeks to slow ageing and may one day restore our eternal life. But is this possible?
''There is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death. This suggests to me that it is not at all inevitable [...].''
-Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
The answer is therefore yes: ageing can be cured, for there is no law of physics, biology or chemistry that requires an organism to eventually die.
But is achieving this goal realistic?
We may be closer than you think. Trials of anti-ageing drugs in humans are already being conducted.
If we find a way to halt or reverse ageing within your lifetime, you can already consider yourself immortal.
If that's going to have any chance of happening, however, we need to cease our complacency over ageing.
Ageing is a disease, but many people consider ageing as natural or even a desireable part of life.
Furthermore, ageing is a disease that affects 100% of us and is 100% fatal.
Despite this, anti-ageing research remains underfunded compared with specific diseases that result from ageing like cancer and heart disease.