Prof. FarnsworthThe AP has published a story confirming something that I have long held to be true: most of us will easily live to be 100. The story reports on a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that shows that even for those living with chronic diseases, it is becoming easier and more likely to live to be a centenarians.

Genetics plays a part in it, but medical care is also a big factor. Obviously, healthy habits play a big part in it as well.

A second, larger study of men in their 70s found that those who avoided smoking, obesity, inactivity, diabetes and high blood pressure greatly improved their chances of living into their 90s. In fact, they had a 54 percent chance of living that long.

Those are pretty good odds if you ask me.

One thing to keep in mind, and a prime reason for my belief in my own longevity, is that these people were born around the turn of the century.  Think about all the medical advances that have happened since then.  Here’s a pretty comprehensive timeline, but a few highlights: vitamins are found to be essential to health, the first vaccines for diptheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, tetanus, yellow fever, typhus, mumps, measles, influenza, chicken pox, smallpox, rubella, meningitis, pneumonia, Hep A and lyme disease were discovered, penicillin was discovered, DNA is described and identified as the genetic carrier, heart, kidney and liver transplants were performed, and cloning and stem cell research developed.

Now think abou.t what the 100 years or even 50 will bring in terms of medical breakthroughs.  I think it’s hard to imagine that we won’t be living longer.

"Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis
vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo."

Oh, Eliot, you’re such a stick in the mud.  It’s not going to be that bad.  It looks that we’ll most likely be living not only longer lives, but better lives into our old age.  We’ll be fitter, happier and more productive into our golden years.  So the question we should be asking ourselves, is what are we going to do with all that free time?  Picture having 40 years of retirement to play around with.  I realize that has a lot of ramifications on retirement planning and social security, but setting that aside for the time being, the silver lining is pretty thick on this one.

One downer note that I feel I have to add.  This only applies to people in Western world with access to medical care.  Do you live on less than $2 a day like half the world’s population?  Then you’re probably not going to live to be 100.  In fact, you’ll probably die much sooner than that from an easily treatable or preventable disease.  That’s an abomination and I’m truly sorry about it.  And even if you live in the West and won’t die from fistula or malaria, I think you’re out of luck if you don’t have medical insurance or access to free or affordable health care.  I’m sorry for that, too.

Luckily, we’ll have more time to work on fixing both those problems.