When looking towards the health of people in the future, it can’t often be helped to try to figure out what technology and other health efforts will bring in the next ten years. Will we be able to find fast cures or totally eradicate diseases or simply to just extend people’s lives? This story actually finds its roots from the great medical technology advances in the 20th century that dramatically extended human life expectancy. From the mid 1800’s up to 1900 the average global human lifespan was 31. World War I and II, even with the deaths of millions, increased this a bit to 35.
In 1950 it was 48. By 2000 it was 70. But if you’re thinking that humans can live to be 150 to 200 based on the bible, remember that this book is just whistling Dixie since that the human body only has a limited usage span so even if life expectancy increases the body can in no way keep up with it. The real challenge now for medical science is not to keep extending human lifespans but to help more people reach the full extent of their lives while being healthier and comfortable in their bodies. And of course, to eradicate or at least control the present diseases that are coming out.
Longevity means prevention
It’s harder to treat a patient who’s already sick but it’s easier to prevent disease from entering the body. Thus, any research into longevity deals with preventing people from getting sick. It makes more sense to create medicines that prevent sickness, and in so doing ensures a healthier life and better longevity.
Research on lung cancer saved millions
The single-most successful medical research in history that saved millions was in 1964 by US Surgeon General Luther Terry because he suspected that the tobacco industry was telling a bunch of lies about cigarettes. The 20th century’s most successful medical report – cigarette smoking caused cancer – was followed by decades of public awareness drives and policy shifting that eventually saved 8 million lives, many who stopped smoking. Unfortunately, 20 million would still die as a result of smoking. People who stopped smoking lived 20 years longer while non-smokers lived even longer lifespans. So imagine what could happen if in the next 10 years the tobacco industry can be eradicated completely.
The truth with no sugar coating
Like the liars from the tobacco industry, medical science also proved that the sugar industry is also blatant liars. Like tobacco, research has proven that sugar is now the second-most health killer and most dangerous element in the average American diet. People who dramatically cut out sugar from their diet increased their lifespan, prevented diseases like diabetes, and prevented obesity. However, for the next 10 years, it will take much political will from those in power to create moves against both the tobacco and sugar industry such as hiking taxes on cigarettes and sugar-heavy products like soda drinks.
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Many of the factors that cut short people’s lives have their roots in genetics, and this includes aging. But in 10 years or less, gene editing may no longer be just in sci-fi films. There is much research now turning out cheap and effective tool to line-edit genomes and other biology. Research into genetic therapy protocols is already well underway. It’s likely that in the next decade we’ll begin to see the first glimmers of results from efforts with altered genes.