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As longevity increases, a host of complex issues arises: quality of life is critical issue.

NEW YORK -- Genetic manipulation, molecular nanotechnology and advances in stem cell research are among the medical advances that have some health care industry experts predicting that, by the end of the century, many Americans may have the potential to live to as long as 120 years.

But although attendees at one medical conference generally concurred that the not-too-distant future win bring extra years to many people, there was considerably less agreement over the anticipated quality of those extra years of life.

The societal and individual implications of medical breakthroughs were examined at "Creating Very Old People: Individual Blessing or Societal Disaster," a forum held last spring in Newark, N.J. The daylong event was sponsored by the

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and the Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center.

According to Kevin Kinsella, a demographer with the Bureau of Census, the country should anticipate an explosion of those 65 and older and particularly among a group he dubbed "super seniors," those 85 and beyond.

"There are now 36 million people over age 65 and 4.5 million over 85," he pointed out. "Projections show those figures increasing to 80 million people over 65 and 20 million over 85."

Advances in genetic manipulation, maintained Richard Miller, associate director of the geriatrics center at the University of Michigan, will help scientists create pharmacologic agents that will influence the aging process. And these medications, he suggested, are closer to coming to market than drugs that might eliminate cancer or heart attacks.

Still, according to UMDNJ, one-third of the Americans it polled worry about physical health, another third are concerned over financial resources to buy medicines, and nearly one-fifth worry about decreasing mental functioning.

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Title Annotation:Top 100 Chain Drug Markets
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 11, 2004
Words:285
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