First things first – I am not a scientist. The only nanotech I have seen is in movies where they do something awesome with very few instructions, like make a suit of armor for Iron-Man. That being said, nanotechnology is real and it can improve the existing technology immensely. However, what I will be focusing on in this piece is the potential of nanotechnology to extend our lifespan.
One of the biggest challenges in medicine we are yet to find an answer for is cancer. The main reason for this is that cancer is such an engrossing term that it is impossible to come up with a universal cure. The most common therapy, in this case, is chemotherapy and radiation. The idea is that you essentially attack the body with poison and hope it outlasts the tumor in question. There is also the physical removal of the area affected, but that goes hand-in-hand with previous methods. How can nanotech help?
Imagine really small robots that are invisible to the human eye. These bots in your body could identify the “bad” cells and eliminate them quietly, like a bouncer that removes rowdy guests at a party before it gets ugly. Nanobots can also detect any damage on a molecular and cellular level and repair connections that are broken as a result of a medical condition. This will be of great use to people with heart conditions and who have a risk of getting a stroke.
So, what does curing diseases have with increasing the lifespan? Plenty. Actually, whenever someone dies of natural causes, it simply means that either their system or a body part failed due to a medical condition. Curing these diseases and making these conditions more tolerable can remove the “premature” part of premature death.
Really Living Longer
It is not just diseases that cause changes in our bodies. Age does, as well. As we get older, the cells and the very fabric from which we are made, DNA, start to fail. Nanotechnology can, much like with the disease, detect the negative change and start repairing our DNA. Less damage over time means more years to live our lives to the fullest. Such repairs will also extend our prime.
How Far Are We from Using This Technology?
Some hospitals are already using some form of nanotechnology in their treatments, though this is still in its experimental stage. So far, the most effective way of using this technology has been delivering the necessary drugs directly to the place they need to go, as opposed to taking pills, digesting them, and getting the drugs into our bloodstream and hope they do what they need to do.
It is hard to pinpoint the year in which nanotech will become available to the world, much less the developing countries. Some predict we won’t be able to see the full benefits in practice for at least 50 years. But that is still an amazing dream and I, for one, certainly hope it comes true.