I chanced across a rather depressing survey on attitudes and knowledge of serious anti-aging research yesterday:
The following information results from a poll conducted on a local (U.S.) information web site between January 2003 and February 2004. 465 people responded.
The poll showed that the majority of people (69 %) think that there will never be any meaningful treatment of the root cause of aging or that such treatments are only a very distant possibility. Most people are unaware of evidence that aging might be very treatable in the relatively short term and believe in a variety of (mostly) scientifically unpopular theories regarding the cause of aging. These attitudes have predictable results regarding the popularity of publicly funded anti-aging research.
This is one of the brick walls that we advocates are banging our heads against. Public support for anti-aging research is absolutely necessary, yet such support requires educational efforts that demonstrate real anti-aging medicine to be possible.
This survey is connected to an online book entitled "The Evolution of Aging: How Darwin's Dilemma is Affecting Your Chance for a Longer and Healthier Life" by a fellow named Theodore C. Goldsmith. The name doesn't ring any bells, but he does claim that Joao Magalhaes - who I do know and who generously contributed an article to the Longevity Meme - has commented on the manuscript. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt while I peruse the book...so much to read and so little time to do it in.
The book keynote:
Is aging, as most people think, a fundamental, totally unalterable fact of life? Or, is aging actually like a universal, but potentially highly treatable, genetic disease? Darwin's dilemma, a little known quirk of the theory of evolution has for more than 140 years led researchers toward considering aging as inescapable, but recent discoveries and new theoretical work indicate that major medical intervention in the aging process may in fact be possible in the relatively near future.
The author takes us on a fascinating tour of the evolution of aging theories from Darwin to the present and includes descriptions of the applicable discoveries and the politics of anti-aging research.
Take a look and see what you think.