Shocking life-expectancy increases in humans over the next century

Published: 5/10/2022

While it might seem that everywhere you look, illnesses like cancer, auto-immune conditions and allergies are on the rise, humans are unequivocally in better health than ever - and getting healthier with each passing decade. This is, according to Dr. Bertalan Meskó, Director of The Medical Futurist Institute.

"As our access to better food, less processed ingredients and even alternatives (artificial meat, insects and 3D printed fresh food) become wider and more affordable, a larger proportion of people will have a chance to follow healthier diets," he explains.

"Current trends also show that a big chunk of people who can already afford healthier choices [have] started adjusting their lifestyle."

Life-expectancy to increase in humans over next century
Life-expectancy to increase in humans over next century

 Dr Meskó says that if certain factors, including access to equitable medical treatment align, humans could expect our life expectancy to dramatically increase over the coming century.

"In theory, our biological structure has a limit of living to around 120-130 years, if everything is in line with our metabolic/molecular makeup and we have all the good environmental conditions," he says. "Therefore even with a healthy amount of luck, reaching that age is challenging. However, with better access to care, with engaging patients in their health journey through their own data, with artificial intelligence improving healthcare efficiency, more and more people will have the opportunity to reach that milestone."

He adds that even the average life expectancy (currently 82.9 years in Australia) could reach 100 in the next 100 years, something he says "would be a huge scientific achievement in itself".  

If certain factors, including access to equitable medical treatment align, humans could expect our life expectancy to dramatically increase over the coming century
If certain factors, including access to equitable medical treatment align, humans could expect our life expectancy to dramatically increase over the coming century

Whether or not people - and the world in general - is ready for this kind of longevity is another thing entirely, with the medical futurist warning some of the implications of this are beyond our imagining.

"People living longer means an unprecedented challenge for society," he says. "This way, people will be able to retire later as they can be kept healthy for longer. Financially, a larger percentage of society will have to compensate for the retired generation.

"Our basic habits from marriage to dealing with kids will change and it's hard to imagine exactly how. Looking at societies like the one in Japan (especially the elderly on Okinawa, the super-aged group) might help prepare in time but I think humanity has a bad track record preparing for something that's way beyond our normal timelines and might only take place decades from today."  

Bek Day

This article originally appeared on news.com.au

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