How Long Can We Live? (…and How Long Should We Live?)

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Duration 01:06:29

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jacob M. Appel (MD JD MPH HEC-C DFAPA) is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where he is Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry, Assistant Director of the Academy for Medicine and the Humanities, and Medical Director of the Mental Health Clinic at the East Harlem Health Outreach Program. He also teaches graduate students at Albany Medical College’s Alden March Bioethics Institute. Prior to joining the faculty at Mount Sinai, Jacob taught for many years at Brown University and at Yeshiva College, where he was the writer-in-residence. Jacob is the author of five literary novels, ten short story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a thriller, a volume of poems and a compendium of dilemmas in medical ethics. He is Vice President of the National Book Critics Circle, co-chair of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry’s Committee on Psychiatry & Law, and a Councilor of the New York County Psychiatric Society.


How Long Can Humans Live?

Given the remarkable scientific and medical strides in the past few decades, many of us now wonder: “How long can humans live?” Of course, that brings up the difficult issues that society needs to deal with: How long should humans live? In other words, what are the complicated ethical challenges brought about by extending lifespans? Babies born this year have a life expectancy of 80 years, but just half a century ago that number was 72, and a full century ago it was just 50!

How will longevity change society? Should we be considering age-based limits on some activities (i.e., driving, mandatory retirement)? What medical choices should be available to various individuals in different circumstances, and are federal laws required in some areas? These questions have legal, moral, and ethical consequences.



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Enjoyed thoroughly!

A great purview of his field with lots of data points, studies and examples that give rise to the varied theories. I was impressed with the quality of questions and his rapid fire responses to get them all answered. I especially liked his subtle injections of humor!

Like the PC, the Internet and now AI as transformative agents of our society, I am curious to see if genetics will likewise result in a revolution in how we perceive longevity and is so, how we’ll address some of the ethical concerns that were raised in the class!

11 months ago
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