When a headline in Nature is “Telomerase reverses aging process” you know there has been some serious headway:

Mice engineered to lack the enzyme, called telomerase, become prematurely decrepit. But they bounced back to health when the enzyme was replaced. The finding, published online today inNature1, hints that some disorders characterized by early ageing could be treated by boosting telomerase activity.

It also offers the possibility that normal human ageing could be slowed by reawakening the enzyme in cells where it has stopped working, says Ronald DePinho, a cancer geneticist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who led the new study. “This has implications for thinking about telomerase as a serious anti-ageing intervention.”

A large part of my brain believes that we will have anti-aging technology in this century, but that it will only extend my life perhaps into the low 100’s. A small, optimistic and slightly crazy part of my brain suspects that the anti-aging breakthrough is going to be a one or two Big Discoveries event that, whenever they occur, will result in near infinite healthful life spans for most everyone. Slow, gradual change is easy to accept, but will require millions more to die before a anti-aging is the norm. An instant, normal to indefinite lifespan shift would be amazing, but may be so traumatic that just as many people die, but due to our inability to adapt to near immortality.

The most exciting versions of the future honestly scare the bajesus out of me.