Genetic engineering for over 60s? What could science to do for you? 41



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The world has now reached a stage where scientists can decide the sex of children before they are born, clone sheep, inject all sorts of chemicals into athletes, to make them faster, stronger or bigger and take bits out of DNA that would have caused many illnesses in later life.


genetic engineering - starts at sixty



They reckon they will soon be able to make us all live until we are well over a hundred before we die and they can already do wonderful things in the field of surgery, like replacing broken hearts and worn out livers. They hope very soon to be able to make damaged nerves grow again when the spinal cord is severed, so that quadriplegia or paraplegia will be things of the past!

Botox removes wrinkles (but removes smiles as well, because the face becomes partially paralyzed), electric currents tighten muscles and machines roll away stomach fat. It is indeed a wonderful world we are fortunate enough to be living in today!

But how does all this affect us oldies?

Deciding the sex of children is of little interest to us, our child-bearing years are long past, but we may get stirrings of conscience about the ethics of this, and the worry that we might finish up with a country full of fine healthy Australian blokes, but not a single ‘Sheila’ to share between the lot of them.

Cloning sheep seems to be a bit unnecessary too… We breed them quite successfully here without that kind of help. And as for moving up to cloning humans, well who would want another Kevin Rudd in our midst or a Germaine Greer!

As for giving drugs to athletes to improve their capabilities, a lot of older people might say good luck to them. If they want to mistreat their bodies in this way, just to win a race or a fight or a match, that’s up to them, but we certainly wouldn’t want to take chances with the stuff. Thank goodness we’re not ‘ELITE”!

Living to be a hundred or more sounds wonderful when you’re about twenty five years old, but come eighty, when your back aches continually, your fingers are semi frozen with arthritis and your bowels refuse to work correctly and you might begin to change your mind.

Living to a hundred is all very well if you are in the peak of fitness, but I think most of us are quite happy to accept that (hopefully) we have had a full and happy life, brought up a great family, not been a GREAT success, but have done reasonably well at whatever career path we took, and are now resting on our laurels, as it were. Death isn’t such an enemy when you get closer to him!

The modern developments in surgery ARE cause to celebrate. Diseases that would have certainly killed us just a few years ago, are no longer a problem, sick hearts can be given a new lease of life and most bodily organs can now be replaced by someone else’s, though sadly the cost for this is the loss of the donor person’s life.

Botox is just silly, as are muscle tighteners and fat removers! We are old, we wrinkle, we develop a middle age spread. You’ll note that it’s always a ‘middle aged’ spread, we never seem to go beyond middle age, old age is always about ten years away, however old you are!

So, if asked, I would say forget all the nonsense I’ve written about above, get on with enjoying the life you have and the way you look. At our age we can clearly say, “Bugger what THEY think, I’m OK!”


What do you wish science could do to help you? Or are you happy ageing just the way you are? 

Brian Lee

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