Anti-Aging, Elastin and a Clash of Cultures

I'm still pondering what the community might be able to accomplish - and whether any reasonable accomplishment is plausible - in creating some enclave for a wider online conversation related to anti-aging science, keeping it afloat in a sea of spammers, vendors of useless junk and other short-termist undesirables. A conversation on that topic is taking place at the Immortality Institute at the moment.

So it was that the role of elastin in skin and aging came to mind again. A number of groups are working on engineering replacement elastin, or developing potential artificial replacements such as Elastatropin. This impacts wound healing, amongst other things, and finding funding in that area is a good deal easier than for aging-related research - so some progress has been made. But, of course, you can't draw breath to mention aging and skin in the same sentence without being buried by the output of the voluble "anti-aging" marketplace; ever volume over quality.

Elastatropin is actually a good example of the way in which potential progress can be subverted by short term goals when commercial possibilities arise. Take this press release, for example - marketing babble at its finest. But behind the scenes, here you have interesting science and possibilities. A real clash of cultures, but you see this in all too many places; the focus turned away from progress in medicine. It's quite possible, and indeed essential, to combine progress with commercial success - but this doesn't have that look to it.

Real freedom is the freedom to sigh about the way folk choose to spend their time and money; if too many people are short-sighted, we'll all suffer for it. The far longer, healthier lives we all desire will take large-scale resources and decades to develop - there is no free lunch, no short term fix. Far too many people would rather play make-believe, condemning themselves a future of suffering and death, than to accept the reality of effort and long-delayed gratification. The story of the modern anti-aging marketplace is very much the story of the cricket and the ant.

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