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Any and All Trend Projection Models Showing Slow, Incremental Future Increases in Longevity are Simply Wrong

This open access paper is an example of a model of future life expectancy that projects existing trends, with a little variation in here and there based on whether or not public health measures related to smoking and diet prove to be more successful or less successful. It predicts an average global increase in life expectancy of 4 to 5 years by 2040. In recent years I would have said that this is probably incorrect. I think we are at the point now in the development of rejuvenation therapies at which I can say that it is definitely incorrect. Any study that fails to consider progress in the treatment of aging as a medical condition is disconnected from reality.

Twenty years from now senolytic drugs will be used by a sizable percentage of the world's population, and will cost cents per dose. They will dramatically reduce the suffering and death resulting from inflammatory age-related diseases by removing some fraction of lingering senescent cells from old tissues. The first such therapies already exist today, are easily available, and some cost a few hundred dollars per dose or less. It isn't hard to see that the use of senolytics will spread like wildfire just as soon as the first clinical trials report their results over the course of 2019. Further consider that this is just one branch of rejuvenation biotechnology. Numerous other branches are under development today, and will certainly be clinically available by the late 2020s. The historical trend in life expectancy will be smashed; life expectancy will jump upward quite dramatically.

This was the first study to forecast a comprehensive set of cause-specific and all-cause mortality and associated indicators using a framework that allows for exploring different scenarios for many risk factors and other independent drivers. In our reference scenario, life expectancy was forecasted to continue increasing globally, and 116 of 195 countries and territories were projected to have significant advances in life expectancy by 2040. Gains were projected to be faster among many low-to-middle SDI countries, indicating that inequalities in life expectancy could narrow by 2040.

As shown by the better health scenarios, greater progress might be possible, yet for some drivers such as high body-mass index (BMI), their toll will rise in the absence of intervention. We forecasted global life expectancy to increase by 4.4 years for men and 4.4 years for women by 2040, but based on better and worse health scenarios, trajectories could range from a gain of 7.8 years to a non-significant loss of 0.4 years for men, and an increase of 7.2 years to essentially no change (0.1 years) for women.

In 2040, Japan, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland had a forecasted life expectancy exceeding 85 years for both sexes, and 59 countries including China were projected to surpass a life expectancy of 80 years by 2040. At the same time, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia, and Zimbabwe had projected life expectancies below 65 years in 2040, indicating global disparities in survival are likely to persist if current trends hold.

Taken together, our forecasts point to a world where most populations are living longer and many health improvements are likely to occur if current trajectories hold; at the same time, such gains are not without potential important social consequences, particularly if long-term planning and policy design are not fully considered today.

An important finding is that in the reference scenario, we forecasted slower progress in 2040 than that achieved in the past; however, in the better health scenario, global life expectancy improvements exceeded gains that occurred from 1990-2016. This forecasted slowdown in the reference scenario is rooted in a combination of several factors. First, some risks were projected to worsen in the future, most notably high BMI. Second, past progress on other leading risk factors for premature mortality, namely tobacco and ambient particulate matter air pollution, was highly variable and thus such heterogeneity was projected through 2040. Third, several countries that have already achieved higher levels of life expectancy have also had stagnated gains.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31694-5

Comments

@Reason (or anyone who cares to estimate also): I know this is an unscientific question and just conjecture; but as a ballpark figure what would be an average life expectancy when LEV is achieved? As Aubrey repeatedly points out, immortality is impossible as there would still be accidents, murder, suicide etc.

Posted by: Steven B at October 18th, 2018 7:15 AM

@Steven my guess would be that if science is advanced enough you could be young indefinitely. Think about it, why not? Once you can rejuvinate people there would be no reason for them to die anymore. At least Aubrey often talks about "people of a 1000 years old". If we can make a 1000 years, there's no reason we wouldn't be able to make 2000 years, or 10000, and so on.

I would even argue that immortality is possible. I reckon making a daily backup of your brain and uploading it to some server will, sometime in the future, be possible. Maybe not in a hundred years, but in a thousand years? It's hard to think otherwise. Then your brain backup can be uploaded to some cloned backup body of yourself, and you would live on.

Posted by: bas at October 18th, 2018 7:58 AM

@Steven
LEV by definition means there is no hard limit, but rather accidents, wars or the death of the universe.

A few years ago there was a study estimating what works be the average life expectancy, if nobody aged. So the death rate was estimated based on the current accidental deaths, including acute infections, homicide and traffic fatalities.

If I remember correctly, the average lifespan was coming to 2600 years . Depending on the accidental rate it could be as low as 800...

And if we stay reasonably healthy 30 more years, we have a very real chance to reach the LEV.

Also, if the rate of progress in organ printing and nanotechnology goes as is, in a few decades of you are alive when entering the operation room, they would be able to repair alone everything (the brain and the personality are harder then the sum of the orgabs and tissues)

It might turn out that the brain's capacity is used in a few hundred years and to form new memories you would need to forget something else, so the memories of the younger you would be very cursory and fade with every century. Hell, it is probably already the case...

Posted by: Cuberat at October 18th, 2018 8:47 AM

And further in the future, if we master the moms uploading and building new bodies from scratch with your personality, the concept of an irreversible death will have to be redefined. Of course this is too remote for now. But we do have a shot at the true immortality .

Posted by: Cuberat at October 18th, 2018 8:53 AM

@bas & Cuberat: Thanks. An average lifespan of 800 (with Transhumanism developments to come of course) shows just how myopic the paper Reason commented on is.

Posted by: Steven B at October 18th, 2018 10:04 AM

Good to hear some positive news. Looks like a lot of us have a descent chance of making LEV. A lot of people are saying sometime by 2030 or so, we'll hit LEV. I think its *possible* but optimistic. Then again, senolytics are surprising just about everybody with how much they contribute to aging.

Seriously, there are times I'm just *stunned* at how lucky I am to be alive and fairly young enough, and be in a country rich enough where this is becoming possible.

How will my 70th birthday compare to my parents? My 80th? My 115th?

Posted by: Mark Borbely at October 18th, 2018 2:40 PM

This idea of living on through a backup that people bring up occasionally makes no sense. A backup is not you - your consciousness isn't transferred. For instance if a twin dies he doesn't 'live on' through the other twin. So it would just be a copy of you with its own separate life without a consciousness transfer.

Posted by: John C. at October 18th, 2018 3:38 PM

@Mark Borbely
We have a real chance. But we might be unlucky. The senolytics might not work so well in humans, as it is suggested by Unitiy Bio knee /arthritis studies. There might be semi-senescent cells that generate inflammation but we cannot ablate (easily) because they don't express the same pathways. Probably each tissue will have their own SASP generators, which we can call kinda "senescent" because they contribute to the inflammation but they might be perfectly capable of reproduction, for example. And all the living things are messier than our clean theories. We will need many generation of senolytics combined with some "senoreversal" and auotophagy boosting. That's only for dealing with the senescent cells and the likes. SENS identifies 7 major groups of root causes for aging and all 7 will have to be addressed well enough. In fact, senolytics look too promising to be true. Be prepared to have a few depressing disappointments when transferring the results to human trials. That's why we have to stay reasonably healthy for at least 30 more years. By then i would expect for us to figure the senolytics , glication cross links, cancer and be able to print new organs on demand.
And every dollar donated now can give hundredfold returns in longevity in 10-20 years.

Posted by: cuberat at October 18th, 2018 5:19 PM

@John C
That's too far in the future and too speculative. But if you accept the notion that with time we will have the technology to replicate somebody's mind and body so well that nobody will be able to tell the difference from the original then there are a few more logical steps towards a consciousness transfer.

But this topic is too speculative and doesn't help the immediate goals of extending the health and lifespan

Posted by: cuberat at October 18th, 2018 6:11 PM

I think senolytics will start as a revolutionary new way of treating individual diseases. Like say someone is suffering from artery disease, and clearing some type of senolytic cells in the arteries makes a positive difference in the course of the disease. So instead of dying in an average of 5 years of the disease, the average patient taking the standard of care + the senolytic drug dies in 7 years of the disease. That would be a blockbuster drug - even though it wouldn't do much by itself to improve maximum lifespan.

I think there will be a similar development path for glycation cross-breakers which I view as the next boom area after senolytics.

Going back to artery disease, lets say there is the copy-cat drugs, which some copy-cat drugs end up being better than the original or can be tolerated by people who couldn't tolerate the first drug. And then the generation 2 artery senolytics will be being development by multiple companies to replace their generation 1 artery senolytics.

You see its not like we come out with 1 drug that makes it so arteries don't age. What we are talking about is improvement. Now think of this going on in basically all of the organ systems with senolytics.
Now add in glycation cross-breakers getting going for the arteries. Then other

I see the growing life expectancy as an emergent phenomenon. Someone with healthier arteries than otherwise is not going to die as easily from artery disease. And also the healthier arteries are going to help other organs in the body to hold up better.

You see how what I am talking about also is going to be a colossal industry.

Posted by: aa3 at October 18th, 2018 11:41 PM

Would you be prepared to take an educated guess as to the actual gains we might expect in that time period?

Posted by: Ben at October 19th, 2018 12:12 AM

Regarding death rates through accident, infection and homicide in a far future population. Speculations seem to be based on a standard human body, and that is incorrect. It's very likely we'll upgrade the hardware: toughed bones and muscle, backup organs, backup minds both inside and outside the body, nano- micro- and macro-tech repair systems, internal 'doctors' probably AI based, speeded up reactions etc etc. This is beside the fact that similar speculative technologies will be throughout the world and not just in our bodies, so accident, infection and homicide will themselves be reduced.

Posted by: Neal Asher at October 19th, 2018 2:16 AM

@Neal Asher: You make some excellent points there. Too often people in 2018 are trying to forecast based on today's technology. As Ray Kurzweil keeps pointing out, from 2020-2030 the rise of technology will be all pervasive and blow what we know out of the water today.

Posted by: Steven B at October 19th, 2018 3:54 AM

Just a random thought. Even if biological aging is eliminated, human bodies will in some ways still deteriorate due to gravity. Two examples I am acutely aware of are spinal disc deterioration and malar fat pad drop.

Posted by: JohnD at October 19th, 2018 12:21 PM

Hi there ! Just a 2 cents.
I think we are on to something and (hopefully) on our way to something (but sometimes, I discourage, because I realize that aging is something we almost figured on paper but so not in 'real' human body).

I believe it is highly optimistic (if too much, not to sound pessimistic but more realistic and not with rosy colored glasses on; there are reasons why people think that when other people (interested in like not dying/aging) say 'immortality' or living 800 years old is an utter farce/outlandish) to think anything close to LEV is in the next 20 years, it is more in 50 years I wager, at the very least for LEV if more (it could be a 100 or 150 years and we still have difficulty making that (remember certain medical improvements where made a century ago - it took that long to happen, ok today progress is exponentially faster but it doesn't change things all that much (I would even dare say that now we face new challenges (FDA/health regulation, rich people who prefer being rich and dying rich because think SENS or rejuvenation is a fluke (in certain respects they are not wrong but in others they are, if we do nothing - we die, all of us); most likely everyone alive now will be gone by then (in 100 so years) no matter if they are 20 or 70 years old right now). I hope to god it does not take a 100 years to make LEV. LEV is this oasis mirage in the desert or pie in the sky, we keep on approaching it but it keeps on 'backing away' further and further as we approach it some more (more and more work, more and more deception when we realize it is harder to defeat and Cure aging/death with biorejuvenation solution; thus a mirage/bittersweet illusion where we better realize that, in our lifetime, we may not live to see LEV).

I think the missing ingredient if you will, will be, DNA methylation clock or epigenetics; I am very confident in that; as many mentioned, trying to repair damage may not mean LEV - at all, because damages are under methylation control too, but both can be uncoupled, (and on top of that) Coupled + Uncoupled (in certain instances), at the same time, talk about really fudging it. Two things of the same thing, yet not at the same time. What I do see from SENS and other biorejuvenation is a possible 150 years old lifespan, with Very Optimism; while I am FAR more inclined to say that epigenetics are far more capability of giving us a 800 year lifespan or dare I say it, LEV. Our biological signature/phenotype is really the ticket to LEV, and that is under methylation control (which commands basically everything from transcription, to splicing, to transposition, to gene activation/silencing, to damage rate accumuulation, to ECM remodelling, to health status, to 'age tab', to disease formation, to immunity check, to DDR check, to chromosomal integrity, etc to everything else in between).

Let me give an analogy (real far fetched/bad but sort of):

When you have Windows 10 malfunctioning...you can do a few things, you can reinstall Windows, you can take your backup copy of OS on your second hard drive (Back up one), etc.

But one thing you can do (if you made backups of Windows/set points) is to tell Windows to go back to a 'set point' in time, like a day you were using Windows and reput it to THAT exact day, how it was on that day (on that old day, it worked...), well it is the same thing we epirejuvenation, your 'old day' 'of you' you were 'younger' (your signature/phenotype), had less damage overall (probably, you were alive still and you picked a day you were not diseased, but young and full of vigor).
Getting back to Windows 10 a month ago, means getting a Windows that is 'younger' and thus - FARTHER from death (that is rewinding aging/or the equivalent of 'post-poning' death; our goal is to post-pone death forever (from intrinsic element of aging, not from accidental extrinsic elements) through LEV hopefully). Imagine for a second you were continously 'back to' 14 years old, back to that 'old day' of Windows...windows would never malfunction (for very long) because you were 'go back' to that 'old day' where it worked well.

Damage reduction/removal 'seeks that' by saying you repair a car you will be 'back to that young you/old day'...and that is the fallacy, it is not proven that Because we reduce adamages/we get back to young phenotype. In theory/on paper, yes, but in real body not necessarily. Studies showed that when damage is reduced, epigenetic 'Solves' itself, so it Should help but does it mean that DNA methylation clock is just 'post-poned' forever - No, that is where I am not so sure and because a Clock is Clock, you know, our DNA epigenetic clock can be UNCOUPLED from damages, thus, it will decide something in the end over a long period of time (they work together (epigenetics/programming and damages)) but, I have a feeling, that the clock can decide to not allow 'forever' lifespan beacuse you remove damages faster than they arrive.

Why ? Because 'a signature/phenotype' is different than JUST damages, it is a 'tab' on you, on YOUR TIME, that cell passages, the time that has gone. Diseases in between that are just EXTRA damage on top of the whole thing. If you have no diseases and you reach your Maximum Lifespan, then it is where the 'limits' appear (the signature/phenotypic limits). You are now 122 years old, you might be the most 'youthful' 122 years old there is - but tomorrow, you could DIE, immendiately, in your sleep. You are 122, you are not 20 (by epigenetic methylome/clock). That is the biggest hurdle and why I believe, the capacity of epigenetics to alter our 'Age signature/memory' to a phenotype that makes us TRULY young/TRUE age rejuvenation. Just like that Windows analogy, we get back to a (young) 'old day' of using Windows, when that Windows was truly 'young' and farther away from 'crashing' later on.

(I might be totally off, I just wait for EpiSENS to happen, the 8th therapy that will solve limit).

Just a 2 c.

Posted by: CANanonymity at October 19th, 2018 2:49 PM

I do not see it so pessimistically. The average life expectancy will not increase but will be shortened.
A greater proportion of people will use senolytics, but they are ineffective and will not be extended.
Ingredients against "aging food" are not expanding because of their negative advertising.
Consumption of aging foods is growing worldwide.

Posted by: Dalis Dobrota at October 21st, 2018 2:19 PM

No one is factoring in the bigger pictures such as resource depletion...global warming...forced migration. These factors modify the political realities increasing chances for conflicts/wars. In fact conflicts/wars and the mentalities driving them are likely a major contributing factor to climate issues. Then add in the increased pressures from people living longer and wanting a higher standard of living.

Personally I expect to make it to 85...if I'm lucky...maybe a few years more. But I will be trying. I see myself at 72 (I still think I'm 20-30 or so?) and find it hard to imagine myself at 85...12-13 years out when I see the condition of many 85 yr olds...and these are the 50% that are still alive. But that's aging for you.

Most people I know are living out the traditions they know as far as getting older and eventually dying. The visits to the graveyards...eldercare...medical issues, etc.

2030 might generally be when climate-wise the SHTF...if certain negative reinforcment levels are hit and the climate degrades more quickly.

Longevity science doesn't occur in a vacuum...there are many support "services" needed for even an average life. Complex systems can fail quickly.

Not trying to be negative...but I think nearer the end of life you become more realistic?

Posted by: bob at October 24th, 2018 5:57 AM

More Malthusian nonsense...

Posted by: Antonio at October 24th, 2018 8:22 AM

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