Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Toward "Escape Velocity"

I mentioned in an earlier post that scientific advances are beginning to progress at such a rate that we may, within the next decade or two, achieve "escape velocity"--that point where a year's worth of medical research increases life expectancies by more than a year. Or, said another way, that point where one's life expectancy increases by more than a year for each additional year lived.

While this may sound fantastic, many who have closely followed the last decade's revolution in genetics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology are increasingly convinced that it is possible. For instance, just last month the US government announced that life expectancies increased by more than 4 months between 2005 and 2006 alone.

Another example is the under appreciated progress that has been made in treating HIV. Life expectancies for HIV patients are slowly but surely approaching those of the population as a whole. Amazing, given that HIV was not all that long ago (at least to me) seen as a death sentence.

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