October 1st is the the UN International Day of Older Persons, and for the past few years the International Longevity Alliance has been campaigning to make it Longevity Day as well. This is an example of a longer-term, more subtle form of outreach to the public, most of whom never give much thought to aging, medicine, or what might be done at the intersection of those two fields in the near future. Improving the backdrop to the discussion is one way to help build greater support for treating aging as a medical condition to extend healthy life. A range of community events were held or started on Longevity Day last year, including the 2015 Fight Aging! SENS fundraiser. A number of conferences are held around that time of year, and in 2016 these include the Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging, hosted by the Healthy Life Extension Society, as well as the next conference of the International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD), both of which are scheduled for the end of September.
Following the tradition of 2013, 2014 and 2015, as usual 3 months before October 1, there starts the organization of events and publications toward the "Longevity Day" (based on the UN International Day of Older Persons - October 1) in support of biomedical aging and longevity research. This has been a worldwide international campaign successfully adopted by many longevity activists groups. Last year, events, meetings, publications and promotions were organized in the framework of this campaign in over 40 countries. Some promotions reached hundreds of thousands of viewers. This campaign has also received factual endorsement and publicity from several internationally and nationally recognized scientific and advocacy associations.
Hopefully, this year, the campaign will be no less enriching, unifying and impactful. Though this year, it was suggested, while keeping the "longevity day" concept as would be desirable to particular groups and activists, rather to emphasize and organize the longevity promotion events in October in a new framework - as "The Longevity Month" - as usually the "longevity day" events spread through the entire month of October. Various "commemorative months" to support particular advocacy issues is a well established and effective practice, and a dedicated "month" can give people more flexibility and space to organize events and publications. This time it would even be endeavored to gain some official state-level recognition of this commemorative month campaign.
The Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing (EHA) is a biannual conference organized for the first time in 2012. This meeting will highlight the cutting-edge of knowledge in the field of biogerontology and provide a unique opportunity for researchers, government officials, biotech executives, and advocates from around the world to meet, network, and forge new scientific collaborations.
The process of biological ageing is the root cause of all chronic age-related diseases and is inseparable from them. Worldwide, more than one hundred thousand people die every day from age-related diseases. So-called (healthy) or (normal) ageing should be seen as a presymptomatic stage for the appearance of severe and debilitating age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, most cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Ageing is a set of structural changes reducing the time until the individual suffers permanent functional decline and diminished health. Therefore, whether ageing in adults is viewed as a disease or a syndrome, it should be understood as potentially amenable to biomedical inteventions.
Addressing ageing-related debilitating processes through biomedical means should become a new and powerful approach to the prevention of non-communicable diseases which affect most people at the later stages of life. The purpose of preventive medicine for the elderly is to preserve the structure of an ageing individual so as to prevent functional decline.
Despite dramatic improvement in average life expectancy, maximum documented lifespan in humans has remained at about 100-120 years throughout history. Most people do not live this long, however, because of disease (including age-related disease) and, perhaps also, physiological changes associated with "normal" aging. It has been proposed that such pathological and physiological factors may be interrelated, in that the aged are more prone to disease and have more limited adaptive capacity than younger adults. About 80% of older adults have age-related disorders like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, and 50% have at least two. Thus, aging has been described as a "risk factor" for various diseases, but the practical value of identifying such a non-modifiable risk factor - as opposed to modifiable risk factors like diet or hypertension - is unclear. Some have gone so far as to consider aging the "cause" of age-related diseases, although this does not explain why such diseases do not develop in everyone, nor why different individuals get different diseases. Aging (i.e., becoming chronologically old) is inevitable, but age-related diseases may not be.
A major goal of modern medicine is to preserve quality of life. Applied to the elderly, this translates into concepts like "successful", "healthy", or "optimal" aging, which are considered to comprise avoiding disease and disability, maintaining good cognitive and physical function, and remaining actively engaged in life. These objectives require the coordinated efforts and combined insights of scientists studying the basic biology of aging - gerontologists - and those focused on age related disease - geriatricians and others. The major goal of this society is to provide a platform that will help to fill the current gap between studies of the basic biology of aging and of aged-related disease.