20% Of Actuarial Escape Velocity
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An interesting take on recent trends in life expectancy in the old can be found at the IEET blog: "US life expectancy at 65, up 1 year from 1999-2004 ... Meaning the U.S. is at 20% of escape velocity. ... During 1999-2004, life expectancy at age 65 years increased by 1.0 year for the overall U.S. population, 1.1 years for white men, 0.8 years for white women, 0.9 years for black men, and 1.3 years for black women." One year up, five years forward - a 20% incline. We would like to aim for a near future in which medical technology advances rapidly enough to add an additional year of healthy life expectancy for the old with each passing year of time. This goal is known as actuarial escape velocity, the point at which our life is moving faster than the approach of age-related degeneration and death. The plausibility of this goal is not in doubt, from any consideration of our understanding of physics and biochemistry, but the timing of future developments and funding is always in question. It is encouraging that the indirect effects of modern medicine on later life have brought us a modest fraction of the way towards escape velocity - but much more deliberate, directed work is needed!

Link: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/9904usle/

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