Reverse Ageing – To Treat or Not To Treat?

Group 2

Ageing is a wonderful life experience, a deep and transcendent change, a transformation that happens with our many experiences over time. With ageing our body weakens and becomes powerless. Scientists have always considered ageing as a ‘decaying disease’ that they want to find a ‘cure’ for. Scientists found that using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), which has also been used to treat several illnesses, can reverse ageing. This oxygen therapy aims to elongate telomeres, sequences of DNA, which are responsible for cell division thus making cells live longer. So, should we accept life extension? Or is the march of time inevitable? This article will discuss the ethics with reverse ageing and how it would affect us.

Grow younger. Live longer

Studies have proved that the number of deaths caused by different diseases increase significantly as we age. New therapy techniques that aim to reverse ageing, like HBOT, will decrease the ageing effect of cells and organs which will result in older people becoming healthier and reduce the risk of death from diseases. Reverse ageing can help extend people’s lives and keep loved ones alive for more time.  Also, imagine great minds like Elon musk, Bill Gates and many others living for a longer time and being able to innovate and lead the world to a better future. This argument could be ethically approved by the utilitarianism theory as it supports actions that produce happiness for the greatest number of people.

In some countries like Japan and Italy, more than 20 per cent of the population are above 65 years old which leads to an overall lower productivity of their labour force. So, how can reverse ageing help fight this issue? Using reverse ageing methods, a higher percentage of people will be capable and more willing to work at an older age utilising their precious experience which in return will develop the country’s economy further. Duty ethics theory favours this argument as people increase their productivity and giving back to their country as much as possible before retirement.

Moreover, the noticeable increase in the average human’s life span in the past years has caused the arousal of several economic issues. These issues have been clear in the richest countries where the medical advancements have helped increase the sector of the population of people between 60-90, in which people consume the most and produce the least. However, the application of reverse ageing would lead to avoiding many of the ageing-related diseases making more people able to work more productively for longer years. Consequently, the gap in “Consumption: Production” ratio in the population’s sector between 60-90 would be significantly minimized, the population’s gross domestic product (GDP) would increase and the governments’ support costs for elderly care would be reduced.

Furthermore, reverse ageing could be also seen to have several benefits on the social aspect. These benefits can be mainly signified in the reduction of the amount of care and support required for elderly people. Elderly people would not only require less care, but they would also be able to provide the needed support and care for those who need it, which would strongly enhance the social relations in the community. The economic and social arguments can be approved to support care ethics as they act on sustaining healthy and strong relationships by stimulating the well-being of the individuals. This can be seen to agree with the care ethics theories, which emphasize the moral importance of relationships and the duties of care between individuals.

Not the right time

Yet, as too often happens, the solution of one problem spawns others. Although reverse ageing seems a goal to be pursued, it still has troubling features. If reverse ageing reduces the risk of dying from an ageing-related disease, then what would we die of? The answer would still be a range of ageing-related diseases similar to those of untreated people. This has been shown and proved in the experiments done on mice. So, what is the benefit? Reverse ageing would only delay the disease for a while but sooner or later the day will come. Sadly, the probability of us dying from a severe pathology is 100%, and this can never change.

Also, could any authority ever force others to abandon the treatment and suffer from avoidable age-related disease? Surely not, but this brings us nicely to our next point, the cost of treatment. This therapy is considered inexpensive compared to more intrusive pharmaceutical treatments but at the same time it is relatively expensive to less fortunate, poor people. HBOT requires patients to spend hours in a pressurized chamber which may turn away patients. In addition, exercise and healthy eating are some natural alternatives that are proved to keep you healthy and live longer according to several research.

Kantian theory proposes that a person is good or bad depending on the motivation of their actions and not the goodness of the consequences of those actions. Scientists should also think about criminals, politicians, and many others. The motivation behind these people from doing the therapy would be to live longer to spread crimes, hate and sometimes wars. In politics, many elected officials have term limits that prevent them from amassing too much power. But what about federal judges, who are appointed for life? Judges would not retire early just for political gain, where they wait for a president who is of their same political party, so that president can appoint someone who reflects their exact views. Also, what if federal judges are biased? Does it mean that virtue ethics will not be in place? It is concerning as it will lead to problems related to virtue ethics where justice, prudence, respecting citizen rights, and following rule of law and constitutional principles are not obeyed.

Finally, reverse ageing will lead to population explosion which will cause major global extinction as human occupy, degrade, pollute and destroy wildlife habitats. It has been proven that most of the world’s land has already been modified by humans, with harmful effect on biodiversity. Fresh water species populations declined by more than 80% between 1970 and 2012, mostly due to habitat loss from dams and water abstraction to meet human’s needs. We must keep in mind that we share our planet with a huge number of different organisms, and it is essential to be respectful of your environment and understand the ethics of wildlife.

Statement

We are for reverse ageing.

33 thoughts on “Reverse Ageing – To Treat or Not To Treat?

  1. I find the utilitarian argument of reverse-aging compelling. I agree, reverse-aging has the ability to improve the productivity of a nation. This reduces the burden on the working middle class to take care of their elders, whilst often footing the tax bill. However, the rising population, as a result of longer-life spans, has an obviously negative utilitarian effect. What’s the point in trying to reduce the strain on parts of the population with reverse aging, if it has the negative effect of increasing the dependence and scarcity of natural resources? Something which all-to-easily comes with overpopulation.

  2. A very interesting read.

    I have a personal theory (not supported by science) that the more privileged society becomes, the more its people struggle with mental health and their purpose in life. As a result I believe that as good and as beneficial this would be, it would result in a whole range of societal issues. The question is: is it worth accepting such issues for the benefit of reverse ageing? I don’t think so. I think with our current societal model and with existing income inequality, this technology would further increase this divide by giving more power to the wealthy who can afford the technology and thus live longer, which by definition is not utilitarian.

    1. I actually like this theory. Reverse ageing could potentially increase the societal issues we have nowadays and yes it can cause more people to have mental issues. But think about this, if we get the opportunity to live longer, then maybe we can find solutions to all of this eventually.

  3. Opening statement. The problem is clearly stated and there is a clear dilemma.

    Arguments for: Very good of ethical theories. Well done!

    Arguments against: Good use of ethical theories. The argument: “reverse ageing will lead to population explosion which will cause major global extinction as human occupy, degrade, pollute and destroy wildlife habitats. It has been proven that most of the world’s land has already been modified by humans, with harmful effect on biodiversity” opens up support via the Green ethics theory. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_ethics )

    Advice for Assignment Two: What stakeholders can be identified? Don’t forget to consider future generations, who may be born into a very crowded world. Maybe those religions that believe in reincarnation could be considered too.

    It looks like your article is attracting a comments, which is a credit to the topic you’ve chosen to explore. Excellent! 😊

  4. I highly appreciate the different ethical perspectives highlighted. I think the expected economic welfare is a very strong incentive for implementing reverse-ageing seen as how a great portion of government funding is spent on elderly healthcare now more than ever. However, given the number of social issues facing the world right now, it seems to me that if reverse-ageing is granted to the wrong people, their abusive powers may be further inflicted which I believe is enough risk compelling me to oppose the idea of reverse-ageing as ethical.

  5. Great read. I find myself agreeing with the utilitarian argument on a short term basis. Extending the life of influential individuals could certainly improve our lives.

    However, in developing countries with high birth rates and a shortage of resources, reverse ageism would cause more harm than good. The population explosion could possibly lead to worse standards of living, meaning that on a utilitarian basis reverse ageism could be of detriment.

    In developed countries like Japan and Italy, a population boom might be beneficial as the birth rates in such countries are quite low. Reverse ageing would probably boost the economy in the short term.

    One could argue as well that developing countries would be less likely to utilise HBOT treatment due to the relatively high cost, so one would get improved economies in developed countries with no detriment to developing countries.

  6. This is an extremely interesting topic. As ageing is a common fear for many and this could cause cause mental and physical decline, it makes absolute sense to think about reverse ageing. However, with all its beneficial outcomes such as extending influential humans’ lives, I believe that instead of tackling the issue of ageing itself because it comes with multiple risks, we could think about the issues related to it (i.e. the constant fear of growing up). Instead of trying to fight ageing, we should accept and process it. We need to embrace ageing and remove the stigma around it.

  7. I actually find this topic really interesting and I enjoyed viewing its different ethical arguments. Honestly, I initially found myself opposing the idea of reverse ageing, as I thought this would then lead to the development of several mental health issues as people could lose their motives to stay healthy both mentally and physically. However, both the arguments for the care and duty ethics got me thinking that maybe the beneficial outcomes of implementing reverse ageing would outweigh its problems if awareness concerning the topic is increased and if these methodologies have been implemented wisely.

  8. Very interesting topic! Certainly not discussed enough in the real world. A lot of compelling arguments for reverse ageing, but at the same time the arguments against give reasonable explanation as to why this is not the right time. Namely, the validation through the ethical laws was clear and helped understand why reverse ageing should not be used right now in my opinion!

  9. I enjoyed reading this topic and knowing the different ethical arguments of this topic. I find anti ageing to be a normal thing that should be widely implemented because it is hard to see loved ones living their last years suffering. On the other side, I see that the ethical arguments opposing the topic are strong and legit. I believe that a solution can be found for the supporters and opposers to meet in a middle point.

  10. Very interesting arguments both for and against. I personally don’t agree with the initial decision, mainly for a reason that was mentioned in one of the earlier comments about losing the sense of purpose. I believe that ‘curing’ ageing can indeed contribute to a loss of sense of purpose, which can have catastrophic societal effects.

  11. Very interesting read. I completely agree as reverse ageing can sometimes be bad as people lost their purpose of living. However, it allows elderly people to suffer lesser by having a healthy body.

  12. Extremely well written article.
    In today’s world, competitions are very toxic and not many people will be able to handle it. Reverse ageing will just make the rich richer and the poor poorer due to the availability of the treatment. Therefore, I strongly disagree with reverse ageing as I believe in equality.

  13. Very interesting article.
    Personally, I would agree with reverse aging as we are currently living in an innovative world and strong minds such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk will definitely be able to lead the world to a better future.
    Maybe we will be able to visit Mars one day with the help of Elon Musk.

  14. Good point for opposing reverse ageing. Global extinction is already in place without the presence of reverse ageing and supporting reverse ageing will just make it worst as human keeps occupying and destroy wildlife habitats.
    Reverse ageing can only be in place if these opposing points can be mitigated.

  15. If the world is willing to accept reverse ageing, it must be available to everyone instead of just people who are able to afford it. This will not only reduce the metal health of people but also preventing the rich to dominate and neglecting the less fortunate ones.

  16. Very interesting article with well written supporting and opposing points. Personally, I would not support reverse ageing based on one of the points stated. It says that federal judges will be appointed for life and this will allow them to have too much power. I strongly believe that reverse ageing should not be used in this type of situation to prevent them from amassing too much power.

  17. I love the idea of reverse ageing as I believe that everyone should not experience having a weaken body and become powerless. People should have the capability of working at older age and utilising their precious experience without putting them to waste. Great point.

  18. Really good ethics theories as all of them strongly fitted with the points stated. Especially for the Kantian theory as I strongly believe that a person good or bad is strongly depending on their own motivation instead of the goodness of the consequences of those actions.

  19. If the world is to support reverse ageing, elderly people will require less care and support. This will not only enhance the social relations but also supports the care ethics of this world. However, government should make this treatment available for everyone instead of just the wealthy.

  20. This is an extremely interesting topic.
    I support the use of reverse ageing as a large sum of the governments’ budget goes to supporting elderly healthcare. However, after reading the opposing points to it, instead of dying due to ageing, the cause of death might be just due to the pollutions made.

  21. I particularly liked the point where elected officials have term limits that prevent them from amassing too much power. But what about federal judges, who are appointed for life? This definitely allow the government to have exceptionally high power and human rights will not be taken into consideration. Therefore, I strongly disagree with reverse ageing.

  22. Spot on article.
    The supporting and opposing points for reverse ageing are very strong. However, are people willing to spend their precious time in a pressurized chamber? And will there be enough spots for people to get their treatment?

  23. This is definitely a good shout where countries with small percentage of young people will really find it helpful but countries like China and India will definitely face over population and more competitions will take placed.

  24. Really enjoyed reading this article. Such an eye opener to many aspects in life. This could would be a nice conversational opener and would recommend it to my friends.

    1. Very nice topic! I didn’t know that this existed before and would actually give it a try if possible, sounds promising!

      Hope this would be available to everyone even though expect something this revolutionary would be affordable to everyone. Ramadan Kareem 3alena o 3aleko!

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