Scientists are hard on the trail of lab-grown organs and tissues. They are learning to grow tissues on scaffolding — even brain tissue — and how to print organs in 3D with special printers and inks. Once created, these pristine tissue-matched organs would be surgically implanted into your ageing body — islands of healthy youthful tissue in a sea of slow but steady degeneration. An improvement on the current transplant regimen, but far from perfect.
If you are old, diseased, or disabled enough, you might prefer to swallow a pill before bed and wake up the next morning with a rejuvenated body and brain — if you knew it was safe, and that you would still be “you” the next day. But that scenario is not yet realistic.
It will take some decades or longer for dedicated researchers such as those at the SENS Research Foundation to crack the ageing code, and make total body/brain rejuvenation so easy. But they are working on a number of approaches:
The above approaches should be considered a “bare minimum” approach to engineering a younger body and brain. A number of new techniques for drastically slowing the ageing of new tissue — once replaced and re-engineered — are needed. No one wants to spend half their lives inside a rejuvenation clinic.
In the near future, some combination of organ replacement using lab engineered or printed tissue along with in situ regeneration of organs and tissues, is likely to be used as the best compromise.
The Brain, a Special Case
A young healthy body without a well functioning brain is something of a waste. The dementia epidemic is a mounting crisis worldwide. China and other rapidly ageing nations are particularly at risk.
If you were given the choice between having a brain (head) transplant and undergoing in situ brain regeneration, you would probably go with the in situ approach. After all, if your body received a brand new brain, what would happen to your old brain with all its memories, quirks, and dark secrets? 😉
Just kidding. If you wanted a new brain along with your old memories and thought patterns, naturally some form of “direct personality and memory transfer” device would be necessary. But that is not likely to happen in the next century or more. So the brain is a special case — but then you knew that.
So remember: For your brain, in situ rejuvenation; For the rest of your body, you will have the choice between replacement and in situ approaches. Unless your body feels it is too sexy for your brain. In that case we may have no choice but to remove your old brain and then . . . .