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几十年后抗衰老药可能面世

2006-02-24 00:00王高山,CRI

A person entering the workforce today in America might face a much longer career than Mom and Dad.

Life expectancy in the United States is now around 78 years. But if anti-aging therapies prove to work as well for humans as they have for worms, flies, and mice in laboratories, by the year 2050 people might routinely reach the ripe old age of 120.

That could place a tremendous burden on the economy if people continue retiring at 65 or earlier.

The retirement age might have to be boosted to 85 to prevent economic collapse, figures Shripad Tuljapurkar of Stanford University.

There are 285 million people in the United States, with the median age around 36. Every two people over the age of 65 depend on money garnered from the wages of 10 working people age 20 to 65.

If current trends continue, by 2050 the population will be 368 million, the median age will be 43, and there will be 3.6 people over 65 per 10 workers, Tuljapurkar explained here last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Those are the conservative estimates based on data from the last 50 years, when life expectancy increased by one-fifth of a year per year in industrialized countries.

Scientists around the globe are racing to find aging cures. Some of the work on lab animals has shown great promise. One researcher envisions therapies will be developed over the next 25 years to extend life hundreds of years. Other scientists imagine more modest gains.

Gradually, however, aging is being viewed by many as something that can be largely treated.

If anti-aging therapies come into play around 2010—and no one can accurately predict if they will—Tuljapurkar estimates that the U.S. population will run to 440 million people, a median age of 47, and 6.6 persons over 65 will rely on 10 workers.

"What you would need to do is have people retire somewhere between age 75 and 85," Tuljapurkar said.

Increasing the retirement age to 75 would still yield four retired persons per 10 workers in this scenario. A better solution, Tuljapurkar said, would be to have people retire at 85.



在美国,现在刚刚参加工作的年轻人日后可能会面临着比自己的父母更长的工作生涯。

据美国“生活科学”2月21日报道,现在,美国人的平均寿命约为78岁。但如果一些在实验室中对老鼠等动物起作用的抗老化疗法,被证明同样适用于人体的话,那么到2050年,人们的平均寿命可能会达到120岁的高龄。

鉴于这种情况,如果人们还像现在一样65岁或者更年轻时就早早退休,那么将会给经济发展带来巨大的负担。美国斯坦福大学的人口专家什里帕德·图尔贾普尔卡由此认为,到那个时候,人们的退休年龄也将不得不相应地延长至85岁,以防止经济崩溃。

目前,美国大约有2.85亿人,其中值年龄为36岁左右。每两个65岁以上老人的生活就要靠正在工作的10个年龄在20岁至65岁之间的人的工资来维持。如果目前的这种趋势一直继续下去,到2050年美国人口就将达到3.68亿,其中值年龄则为43岁。到那个时候,每10个尚在工作岗位上的人就将负责 3.6名65岁以上老人的生活。而且,这还是根据最近50年来的数据得到的较为保守的估计数字。

目前,全世界的科学家们都致力于寻找对抗衰老的“灵丹妙药”。一些针对实验室动物进行的此类研究已经显示出了很大的希望。有一位研究人员曾预想,对抗衰老的疗法将在未来25年内被研发出来,它能让人们的寿命延长数百年。但是,其他科学家对这个预想则持谨慎态度。不过,渐渐地,已经有很多人认为衰老在很大程度上是可以治愈的。

如果,抗衰老疗法在2010年左右开始发挥作用,那么据·图尔贾普尔卡估计,届时美国人口将达到4.4亿,其中值年龄(median age)将为47岁。那时候每10名工作者就要养活6.6名65岁以上的老人。图尔贾普尔卡对此表示,这样,就需要人们在75岁至85岁时才能退休。而且,如果在75岁时退休的话,每10名工作者仍要负担4名退休人员的生活,因此最好的选择就是——人们85岁才退休。

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