The Saturday Evening Post


Rolf Zinkernagel, a Swiss immunologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996, believes that the lifespan of human beings has far exceeded what it was intended to be: “I would argue that we are basically built to reach 25 years of age. All the rest is luxury.” Wealthy older people spend a lot of time and money maintaining their health and postponing death. Dinner-party conversations center on colonoscopies, statins (drugs which reduce blood cholesterol), and new diets. Many Americans who are not doctors subscribe to the New England Journal of Medicine. I have noticed a similar trend in well-off, older acquaintances of mine: health, and its maintenance, has become their hobby.

All quite laudable, but

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