An enourmous problem with the life extension movement is that very little movement is taking place! I have read since the days of Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw the cliche that we are doubling our knowledge every year and that in a few short years we will be so knowledgable that aging will be a thing of the past.
The reality is that in the almost 20 years that I have been involved in the research and practical application of life-extenstion technologies I have seen very slow progress. With the exception of caloric restriction, we have gained few interventions that might (and that is a painfully truthful word) do us some good.
As for the readers of this message, if your in your 20's your have hope, if your in your 40's caloric restriction might save you, if your in you 60's and beyond maybe ALCOR will saw off your head and freeze it if your lucky.
This is not a good situation and one that doesn't speak to the doubling of knowledge to brush aside the simple problem of aging.
This is a view from the old school, yet one that accepts that we are close to working anti-aging medicine and radical life extension by steps and advances - and so a critical question is whether we as individuals can live long enough in good health to benefit. Can we beat the curve with the poor tools we have to hand and what looks to be available in the next few years? These are vital, important questions for all of us - and I don't think we can spend our resources any better than by supporting the future of medical research to the hilt. Chasing solutions in the now - being a cricket rather than an ant - isn't going to build the future we would like to see.
It it harsh to say that the past generation of healthy life extension advocacy movements failed? Could they have achieved greater progress, steered greater investment towards meaningful longevity research? Over the same or shorter periods of time, cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's and diabetes patient advocates and researchers have built empires - vast and diverse research communities poised and funded to drive technological progress and take advantage of new medical technologies as they become available. Over the same period of time, first generation healthy life extension advocates failed to overcome the very same barriers we face today in our attempts to guide funding towards meaningful anti-aging research.
Why did they fail? Why is it that we have the multi-billion dollar old school supplement industry and the dubious "anti-aging" marketplace rather than a funding network - private, public or both - and responsible, directed research into a cure for aging to match cancer institutes dollar for dollar? What can we learn from the history of our distributed advocacy movement and apply to our efforts in the years ahead?