Scientists Prove That Life Extension Would Just Suck

January 20, 2015 | Rhett Jones

If a futurist’s rhetoric about the coming age of living forever seems exciting, a team of researchers are throwing some cold water on the idea. In a discovery that just makes sense, a new study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that extending life most likely just means extending that shitty part when you poop your pants, need someone to wheel you around, and never have any idea where you are.

The researchers used normal C. elegans, a common roundworm, and compared them to genetically mutated strands of the same species — as well as worms that were different — based on a variety of factors that extend life, like a low-calorie diet. According to Scientific American:

A battery of tests to see how the all older worms moved or responded to stress revealed some hard truths: increased lifespan did not usually come with a prolonged period of health and strength. Indeed, the “good times” for each of the worms was roughly the same, regardless of their overall lifespan. In other words, the longer-living worms spent a greater proportion of their lives in a diminished state—with less mobility and stress resistance.

Aging worms are not aging humans. But if the findings do extend to people, then life-extension efforts, such as calorie restriction, may not shake out to a better old age, just more years of frailty. With associated healthcare cost increases and quality of life decreases.

That doesn’t sound too fun. The scientists are headed back to the drawing board and suggest that research should move into increasing “healthspan,” instead of lifespan so those extra years aren’t just spent sipping meals through a straw and calling everyone Bernie. Until then, the researchers are basically saying YOLO, live life better instead of longer.

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