Immortality Discovered?

Telomeres, the strands at the end of DNA, are a key part in determining aging, Photo Courtesy of

Amidst the turmoil and confusion of the 2020 U.S Election, scientists on the opposite side of the world were making a major breakthrough. In November 2020, scientists in Israel were conducting an experiment with an expected result to decrease the results of aging. 

On the cellular level, there are two factors that go into aging: telomere length and cellular senescence (deteriorating with age). Telomeres are the bits at the end of chromosomes that protect it from damage. Each time the cells divide, the telomeres become shorter and shorter until they can no longer protect the chromosome. When that happens, the chromosome itself becomes chopped, which is why we lose the parts of our chromosomes that determine hair color, and it defaults to gray. Eventually, the chromosomes dwindle so much they become unusable, and the cell can no longer properly perform when divided. This telomere shortening results in cellular senescence, and aging results. These are the only two things that cause aging on the cellular level, so if they could be prevented, aging wouldn’t occur and in theory a person could live longer, if not forever. 

In Israel, scientists have been conducting experiments to stop the aging process. Using hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) protocols, the same protocols used in decompression sickness when scuba diving, the scientists were able to stop the aging process. In fact, the telomeres grew in length, and various helper cells increased in number. This study was conducted on 35 seniors (64 and older) to receive 60 HBOT exposures daily. The study concluded by saying that HBOT may “may induce significant senolytic effects including significantly increasing telomere length and clearance of senescent cells in the aging populations.

The results of this study have very interesting implications. Living forever could easily give power to evil people, and assuming it would be a paid thing, it would create a significant class difference between the mortals and immortals. While it may seem like a good idea on the surface,  it would only cause problems for the future. However, the idea of humans living longer, just not forever, is foreseeable. If this study can be twisted to increase a human lifespan, it could actually be very beneficial. Keeping great minds with hearts set on advancing humanity and saving the planet for a longer time would be a very good thing. Of course, the same worry is still there about manipulating immortality for evil.

It is also interesting to consider other implications of this study, specifically where it comes from. Some of the bigger religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe Jursalem, Israel is one of the holiest regions of the world. A huge study like this happening in one of the major holy locations of the world is an interesting concept, whether or not it is pure coincidence or not. Another issue would be overpopulation, as we are already facing this global issue now. If people were to be immortal and still making more people, the world would very quickly collapse. 

The study is still very new, and many variables can still change. The scientists aren’t even sure that this process could permanently prevent aging, so it isn’t anything to be immediately worried about. However, this study along with the Neurolink studies of Elon Musk are starting to show that an immortal mind isn’t inconceivable anymore. Whether or not you consider immortality to be a good or a bad thing, the world is still changing, and soon we may see a new technological age surrounding the immortal.