Interviewer: We've talked before, you're obviously very involved in studying aging. In terms of our body, why does it age? What's exactly happening and why does the limit seem to be a hundred, a hundred and fifteen years?
Dr. Park: Well this is a controversial subject, I have my own strong opinions, but I think aging is not natural. Actually I think its a byproduct of erosion of the ?? stem cells. And then if you could keep them alive an healthy, the stem cells that is, by extending the ??, then you wouldn't age. And so we have examples of this like in the lobster which is twenty percent stem cell, lobsters apparently are immortal. I mean they have to shed their excess skeleton every few years, but they can just get bigger and bigger, unless some red lobster guy finds them. So I'm trying to get¬† people to conceptualize the idea that aging is not normal. Our set point, currently after the flood, is a hundred years or so. If you look at the ?? tables, they're already projecting the person to live a hundred and twenty, where a lot of people are going to do that. It's not natural. And in face in nature we have an experiment where if you have one copy, you'll die around thirteen or fourteen of¬† old age. So what would happen if we had more than one or the ability to use our ?? better? So I think maximum life span, on the one hand with two copies, no help, is about one-twenty max, eighty five medium, but that would push forward quite a bit in the years to come.
Interviewer: Talk about that a little more. Can we expect to see a large jump in life expectancy, do you think in the near future? I mean, is that really a possibility?
Dr. Park: Yeah, I mean, I think that's already here, again as ?? by the ?? insurance tables, but once you talk about the stem cells breakthroughs to give you custom replacement parts, then its going to be negligible [inaudible].
Interviewer: Which means the ability to live.
Dr. Park: Unless a Scottish Highlander chops your head off, you'll be good.. you'll be good to go.
Interviewer: Yeah, yeah. So if some of these things happen, if we're able to regenerate parts, body parts, through stem cell, I mean what age would we be at? Do we still get older? Do still things break down or would we be, feel like we're twenty five forever?
Dr. Park: It depends on the quality of the existing parts and their maintenance, so think of it like a Corvette with eight hundred thousand miles on it, was that driven to the ground or was it maintained every, you know, couple thousand miles? So that question, chronological age is less relevant if you're biologically young, right? But not one wants to be a hundred and feeling like a hundred, they want to be a hundred and feeling like twenty one. So that's where I'm conceptualizing where we're headed, where age is not.. is really just a number. People say that age is just a number but those are usually old people who are trying to be in denial, but when we can make it truly just a number, then it's coming.