What is the purpose of aging? Scientists are starting to get some traction with regard to this age-old question.
Life pits the order and intricacy of biology against the ceaseless chaos of physics. The second law of thermodynamics, or the thermodynamic arrow of time, states that any natural system will always tend towards increasing disorder. Biological ageing is no different, making death inevitable. However, one of the least-addressed questions of ageing is the apparent paradox between the optimizing drive of evolution, and the inevitable deterioration of the body.
The ageing population is one of the greatest challenges facing society. More people are surviving to old age than ever before, but we currently lack the means to keep them healthy and independent. If a treatment existed to reduce sickness and death from ageing by 20% then between now and 2050, the US alone would save US$4 trillion on healthcare costs– enough money to give everyone on Earth clean drinking water for the next three decades.