Anti-Aging in the Public Eye

A recent article on life extension aptly illustrates the root cause of tension between anti-aging and aging researchers on the one hand and the "anti-aging" marketplace on the other. The article is typically superficial journalism, skipping seamlessly between what was once said by scientists whose work is no longer relevant, presently active researchers (with no inkling of their faction within the present heated debate over serious attempts to engineer longer, healthier lives), and salesmen from the "anti-aging" marketplace (with no inkling of their faction within the heated debates over legitimacy and fraud in that arena). So in short, a reader who knows absolutely nothing about the science, culture, history and future of healthy life extension will walk away knowing even less of use or accuracy.

I can't imagine any similarly clueless article on cancer research getting past the editors, but sadly this is the typical point of view for anyone unfamiliar with the healthy life extension community. Our cause - the development of serious, working, scientific anti-aging medicine, and widespread public understanding and support - is still at an early stage of growth, for all the past decades of effort (largely misspent effort, I feel). From the distance granted by unfamiliarity and a lack of domain knowledge, propects for a longer, healthier future are as much defined by the short-term business opportunists, frauds, apologists for degenerative aging and wrong-headed scientists as by pro-longevity researchers, activists and advocates backed by good science and others with a a positive, helpful approach to engineering healthy longevity through scientific progress.

This is not good. It makes it harder to present the case for greater research funding, and it hides the useful, rapid paths forward beneath a mountain of junk, slow trails and dead ends, nonsense and opportunistic responses to calls for instant gratification. Harder work means slower progress, which means the yearly toll of tens of millions of lives lost to age-related degeneration will continue that much longer; hundred of millions more will suffer horrors, pain and decay of aging that might have been prevented.

We advocates must continue to improve in our continued attempts to educate and raise awareness for the worthy goal of defeating age-related death and suffering.

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