A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FUTURE WOMAN; You'll have babies at 65, work until you're in your 70s and live to over 100.
WOMEN are living longer and looking better than ever before, yet their final years are often overshadowed by the effects of the menopause, ageing, arthritis, brittle bones and dementia.
It's true that women outlive men, but that's not necessarily a great thing in itself.
As Dr Freda Lewis-Hall, the director of the Lilly Centre for Women's Health in Indianapolis, put it: "At the moment, women don't really live longer than men. They just take longer to die."
All this is set to change. Medical and scientific breakthroughs will affect every part of a woman's day-to-day life. And a woman who is 40 today will reap the benefits of the research and development being carried out now.
Just over 100 years ago, Western women often died in childbirth, after backstreet abortions or from lack of basic nutrition. They tended not to live much longer than 50 - about the same age that the menopause struck.
Today, women live a third of their lives after the menopause, during which time many can expect to suffer from broken bones, heart disease and the other problems of ageing.
However, 25 years from now, they can expect to be in peak health in their 70s - and to have a baby then if they choose.
Dr Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, thinks the changes in women will be dramatic.
He interviewed more than 150 of the world's leading scientists for his look at the future, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionise the 21st Century and Beyond.
He said: "There will be no biological clock ticking if women know they can be mothers at 70. They will also have the ability to correct any genetic defects in their embryos.
"People can be carried away, so a major concern for a mother in the future will be how far to push the issue of 'designer babies'. It will be a biological and moral problem."
The potential for change is huge. One has only to look back 25 years, when most people hadn't heard of Aids or the Internet - but the next 25 years will see even more advances than the last 25.
Here, with the help of Dr Kaku's research, we look at a day in the life of FutureWoman.
06:15 Amanda Wallace's digital screen tells her that coffee is ready. She sees the photograph next to it of herself with her daughter, Alexandra, taken in 2000, when they were 40 and 15 respectively.
Amanda looked older then that she does now and it wasn't simply due to the stress of juggling her career with her home life as a single mother.
She had hit 40, was anxious about holding down her job and was aware she wasn't giving enough time to Alex. The stress caused her hair to fall out and she suffered headaches. She felt fat, frumpy and unhealthy.
Today as she leaps out of bed and catches her reflection in the mirror, she sees a woman with everything she had wanted then, but thought was impossible to have.
Her long, glossy, chestnut hair no longer needs to be dyed and her figure has never been better.
She kisses Linford, her 41-year-old lover and frowns as she sees his contraceptive pills. She hasn't told him her age, but if Linford believes she is still fertile, she is not going to tell him otherwise.
After all, she gave birth to Christo a year ago, although she is the baby's surrogate mother and genetically his grandmother.
She had never imagined her 60s would be child-bearing years. Christo was conceived with her daughter's frozen eggs and fertilised by a sperm donor after both genetic parents' readings had been tested and matched for genetic abnormalities.
Alex's blonde colouring had been crossed with Asian genes, making for Christo's enchanting green eyes and olive skin. Alexandra had decided to freeze her eggs when she was 25.
By 39, Alex's career kept her too busy for motherhood and she was still single. Medical science meant her mother could have the second child she'd longed for.
So they joined forces to have another baby - genetically. Christo is Alex's son, while Amanda is the birth mother. He is now Amanda's motivation for taking extra care of herself. Judging by how things are going, she will see him grow into his 30s.
Alex will see an even greater leap in her life expectancy, thanks to stem-cell technology, which makes it possible to regrow one's organs and to telomerase, an enzyme which slows down the ageing process.
06:30 Amanda hurries, because she has a doctor's appointment today. This is a rare event. Most inner-city doctors have links to patients' houses, so that symptoms that don't require physical presence can be discussed.
Her annual "real-time" visit is Amanda's main check-up. Amanda has a "smart toilet" which can monitor bodily fluids.
Her urine results give a breakdown of her mineral and vitamin content. Yesterday she was low on potassium, so she remedied this by supplements.
Amanda tests her blood pressure, cholesterol, body-fat percentage and saliva. She then has a 15-minute session with her magno-cap, a metallic hat that gives her transcranial magnetotherapy. This places a magnetic charge over the left side of her skull, relieving depression. It's been years since Amanda needed Prozac.
After a shower, she applies lotion to her hair to keep it the colour it was 40 years ago.
The once-a-month application kicks tyrosinate, a chemical found in the body which depletes with age, into an enzyme reaction on the hair's melanin, prompting it to continue producing its natural colour.
She also takes a pill to stimulate the flow of blood to the follicles and promote hair growth. She doesn't need to brush her teeth constantly. She goes to the dentist every three years for a vaccination against streptococcus mutans - the bacterium behind plaque and tooth decay.
10:00 Amanda's doctor prescribes another six months' worth of the magic bullet that has changed her life - Serm-Ultima, the last word in Selective Oestrogen Receptor Modulators (Serms).
The problem in the past with prescribing HRT to menopausal women had been that it could increase the risk of cancer.
Although scientists had taken 20 years to perfect Serm, Amanda's mother died of breast cancer, so she takes the annual mammograms given to women over 40. The doctor messages her with the all-clear three hours later. Her cervical smear test shows she is free of problems.
For seven years Amanda has been vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer.
As the vaccine is for HPV, it doesn't protect against other causes of cervical cancer, so Amanda has the smear as a back-up.
Finally, she gets a shot of telomerase. It's expensive and she had to fight for it because it might trigger cancer since it affects the replication of cells.
But Amanda has argued that it should be part of her anti-ageing strategy and she has chosen to have the telomerase targeted to her skin cells, giving it a youthful tension.
12:00 At home, Amanda reflects on the hormone replacement therapy that her mother took. In 2000, the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis affected one in three women after the menopause.
Amanda saw her aunt's agony when she fractured her hip and her bones crumbled. She's grateful that she will be standing straight until her grave.
Though she sometimes worries about the number of pills and potions she takes, nothing would stop her taking parathyroid hormone (PTH).
It has increased the amount of bone in areas that were severely depleted. They allowed her to go through pregnancy with no adverse effect (as a bonus, PTHs also have a beneficial effect on muscle tone). She could barely run for a bus in 2000, but the year before Christo's birth she took part in the Glasgow Marathon.
16:00 Amanda calls her friend, Jane, to tell her all about her latest medical. Jane has resisted the "magic bullets" and takes Amanda's call with a mixture of envy and irritation. Why does she keep taking all this stuff when nobody yet knows the side-effects ?
17:30 Medication is only one part of the quest for a young old age - exercise and a healthy diet are vital, too.
As she works out at the gym, Amanda checks the time and then clocks in on Alex, whose face shows up, mouthing an earlier "facemail" she left. It was a natural follow-on to the voicemails of the past.
"I'm leaving the office early, Mum, but I'll be working at your place this afternoon, so don't worry about rushing back for Christo."
19:00 Amanda calls on her virtual financial adviser. It's high time she changed her pension plans, taking into account her longer life expectancy and working life.
In 2001, when she had arranged her personal pension, she expected to retire at 60 - but that was before the Equality Amendment Act of 2015 raised the female retirement age to 70. She should have changed her plans then, but somehow never found the time. Life expectancy is now 90 on average, and Amanda will be working three days a week until she is 70, in five years' time.
22:00 Amanda reflects that she has never felt physically fitter. She knows that she has pushed her body to its limits, but somehow it has responded. She feels almost smug. That is, until she's undressing, catches sight of her cellulite. Honestly, she thinks, you have women travelling to the moon, but you can't have women without cellulite.
She's spent a fortune on so-called cellulite-combating creams and laughs. If that's her only worry, she's doing fine.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Mar 28, 2001|
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