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Human Lifespans Lengthening, But How Long Is Too Long?

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Newborn Maxwell Jones could live to be 150 with medical advances, some scientists say. (CBS)

Newborn Maxwell Jones could live to be 150 with medical advances, some scientists say. (CBS)

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(CBS) — People are living longer than ever.  And if scientists have their way, life expectancies will continue to rise.  Babies of today could possibly live to 150.

But as CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports, there are questions as to whether we should live that long.

Baby Maxwell Jones is just hours old. But some say, he could live well into the next century.

“A hundred years seems a stretch, but it’s obviously possible,” his mother says.

Dr. Joyce Fogel, a geriatrician, says medical advances have already made a huge difference.

“There was a time when people didn’t live to older age because they died of the flu. We’re doing much better. In 1900, when somebody was born, they were expected to live to the age of 50,” she says.

Now, scientists are making huge advances in the lab, growing new organs from adult human stem cells, creating body parts with 3-D printers and using gene therapy to successfully treat diseases like blindness and leukemia. And that’s not all. Doctors have already doubled the lifespan of a worm.

But work like that isn’t considered mainstream. And not everyone believes science should control our destiny or that living past 100 is a good idea.

Researcher Sonia Arrison says longer lifespans will change everything about the way we live, from our families to our finances. Some people will have second, even third, careers.

“You wouldn’t want to retire at 65,” she says. “It gives people options and allows them to create the life that they really want to live. And I think that’s extremely exciting.”

But for now, prevention and working to stay healthy goes a long way to improve quality of life later on.

“I would question if we’re really going to hit 150, but I think I would want people to live with good quality of life. If at 150 we’re filling up nursing homes, I wonder,” Fogel says.

For adults today, aging experts say that a healthy lifestyle helps you make it into your 80’s.  After that, it’s genetics that matter most.

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