The average period that a person may expect to live.

Quote:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HUMAN LIFE SPAN          By Mark Stibich, Ph.D.

Life span is different from life expectancy, which is the average number of years a person can expect to live. Closing the gap between life expectancy and life span can be done through healthier living, less exposure to toxins and the prevention of chronic illnesses.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Unquote

Investopedia explains ‘Life Expectancy’

The age until which a person is expected to live.

This statement requires a rectification. Is it left to one’s fate? Is it written considering a person who is to be sent to the gallows at any moment of time?

The definition should be rewritten as:

The average period that a person lives comfortably healthy with all his faculties in fairly proper order.

This gives a clear interpretation that includes the health aspects as well.

When we read the first line, it immediately comes to our mind that , if a person at the age of 30 years falls  in ‘coma’ stage and medically and clinically ‘lives’ in that condition for ,say 15 years or 70 years, can we say that he had lived for 45 years, or for that matter even  for 100 years?

So, from Dr.Mark Stibich’s definition as seen above, the gap between total validity to total invalidity is to be taken into account. That is, the healthier living span is to be brought for the calculation of Human life span.

Now, I think we can recalculate and recalibrate the life expectancy meter with a nanosecond precision.

With the present day expenses in the hospitals and clinics, can an average Indian be able to meet those expenses to have a longer span of life?

Only highly influential with a power house backing and rich can afford this sort of treatment to ‘show’ that the person have, in case he is ‘living’ or had a very long ‘life span’. Very few had undergone the very expensive treatment in foreign countries and have sprung back and are leading a healthy life. How many can afford this in our country? The person will be in wheel chair and none of the faculties will be properly functioning. Or the person will remain as a vegetable, but he ‘lives’!

Here, I bow before Professor Hawking, the scientist, in spite of his motor neuron disease which attacked him at 21; ventured to live with grit and dedication and contributed to the world his theories.

In his own words:

When Professor Hawking was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease aged 21, doctors gave him just three years to live.

In an interview with the BBC to mark the film’s release Professor Hawking discussed his disability and gave his views on controversial issues such as the right to die.

“I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives, and those who help them should be free from prosecution”, said Professor Hawking.

So, how many years a human lives with healthy faculties is the bench mark of life expectancy.

Had Professor Hawking opted for his death at 21, we would have lost a great scientist. His life was exceptional. Was this a genetic disorder? Can it happen to anyone at any time? No cure? Like these, a series of questions echoes in my mind.

The drugs, medicine and surgeries are of course giving us a new lease of life, thanks to the medical fraternity in diagnosing properly and to the scientists throughout the world for discovering and inventing the medicines.

The life saving drugs and treatment are very costly which will make even the upper middle class shudder. Only charitable trusts and philanthropists who can pour out money can help the poor. We see almost daily in the papers about the pathetic appeals for help to treat the children with chronic heart and kidney problems. Take the statistics of that and see whether this and life expectancy can find some relationship.

These medicines and treatments and surgeries can be made available’ even free’ if we have a good governance. It is possible in India, if we have a will to make it a reality. India is not a poor country, but it is made poor. Our own conscience will speak out the truth. We know the reasons as well. Like this, many African states. We wait for the calamity and catastrophe and then wake up to ‘act’.

For higher levels of life expectancy, our environment plays an important role, which is very much ‘missing’ here. Create greenery in the natural way by planting trees and protecting the forests with green cover. Do not paint green on the concrete jungles. The coming generation should be healthy and with lengthier life span without medication. Doctors and hospitals, please excuse and those aspiring with an obtainable degree.

Mr. Brandon’s comments in Scientific American:

“So lifestyle has nothing to do with longevity from his perspective eh? I have a great uncle who just recently retired (from a job) at age 96 and my Grandfather will be turning 88 shortly who still plows a field. It’s obvious that biology is the primary contribution but they have also grown their own vegetables, worked hard, and never (aside from the occasional swig of whiskey) succumb to habitual vices. It is absurd to state (especially as a doctor of health) that lifestyle plays no contribution to longevity, mental health included. I appreciate SA’s effort and it is a well done article, but it certainly could have been reinforced by a more intelligent professional perspective”.

Mr. Brandon focuses on the biology and the environment for a healthy and long span of human life.

O Henry could instill hope of a new life to Johnsy who was bedridden by Pneumonia with the help of Mr. Behrman, the painter, who drew a life like painting of the ivy leaf.  Of course paintings, music and even Mantras as propitiated by the super specialty hospitals can give hope to a new lease of life to the sick to increase his or her life span. Unfortunately we had to gather this knowledge after paying a ‘heavy fees’ to the super and multy specialty treatment. Our own Ayurveda texts and Vedic texts prescribe this. But who is there to probe and listen in the present world of western culture?  But this cannot be treated as life saving drugs for a healthy life expectancy.

Yoga will be a successful way of improving health and longevity only if we breathe in the oxygen rich fresh air, which is a scarce commodity now. The govt. will offer oxygen bottles also as freebie, please wait for that day.

We can bring an act for the increase in number of voters by reducing their voting age even to the new born as a birth right. How many active men of age as high as 105 years are there in our country who had walked to their nearby polling booth? Life expectancy will improve, if and only if, we can live in healthy environmental conditions.

Last but not least, the human life expectancy will improve only when the healthy life expectancy of the flora and fauna improves. Work for its sustenance. “An apple a day” will be true only when plenty of apples grow and is made available to all. There is no point in ‘dreaming’.


Dated: 8th June 2014.


How this started?

This topic surfaced when I was talking with my wife about the present conditions in which our mothers nearing 90 are living in our house. Just lying in bed and living with memory lost. Is this type of life expectancy that our statisticians are projecting as histograms, pie charts and polygons to show the longevity of life? What for? The children born with birth defects, I pray to god, it should not happen to anyone, is it included in life expectancy? Instead of cloning Dolly and Polly, scientists should work to find medicines to remove these defects for ever from the soil. Then, these children will also shine like stars! Really a new lease of healthy and normal and long life will rise on this globe. I am sure, this is possible. This will be a feather in the cap of life expectancy.


Courtesy:  THE LAST LEAF by O HENRY. This I had studied in my 12th standard.

For more comments on this topic, please read through Scientific American

With reverence to Prof. HAWKING                                            


 By Sundareswaran


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