As Anne C. says, "if the purpose of medicine is to save lives, medicine shouldn't limit its sphere of effectiveness only to younger people." I am reminded of a recent item in the science press:
"Our paper reviews recent studies related to how society values health gains for people of different ages," Eisenberg said. "These studies generally suggest that health gains for people at younger ages should receive higher priority than equivalent health gains for older people. When we incorporate these values into standard cost-effectiveness analysis methods, then interventions for young people, such as recently developed vaccines for HPV or meningitis, look significantly more appealing from a cost-effectiveness perspective."
"This study illustrates that the way we have been performing cost-effectiveness studies devalues the effect of interventions on children relative to adults and seniors," said Freed, who also has an appointment in the school of public health.
"As a nation, we must take a fresh look at how we measure the benefit of interventions focused on children. Likely, they represent the best investment we can make in our country's health now and in the future."
The paper does not suggest that society should divert health care from adult and senior programs, Eisenberg stressed. It is unknown how often economic methods such as cost-effectiveness analysis are actually used to allocate health care dollars---many other factors contribute to the decision making process, particularly in a decentralized health system such as ours, he said. Rather, the study suggests that age should be accounted for in future economic calculations and that the evidence on societal values for this issue should continue to be developed.
When people say "society" in this sort of context, they really mean "whichever govenment pen-pusher happens to be put in charge; a person who cares nothing for you, your specifics or your wishes" - a ringing endorsement for not letting "society" have any say in any matter. People are quite capable of making their own choices based on value, using information specific to the case at hand. You wouldn't let a random stranger drive your car - why let faceless government employees decide whether you live or die? Step up to the plate and help make sure that the medical technology you want to see is developed and available in time for your old age!
If you look for the greatest source of suffering and death in this world, you will find aging:
Because saving lives is the most valuable thing anyone can spend their time doing, and since over 100,000 people die every single day of causes that young people essentially never die of, you'll save more lives by helping to cure aging than in any other way.
There is no greater single target for medicine - and yet we advocates for healthy life extension are forced to fight an uphill battle to effectively direct research to this end. There may be a cancer research establishment, an Alzheimer's establishment, even an aging research establishment, and so forth, but there is no longevity research establishment.
People are working on it, in a variety of ways. But, again, there is no longevity research establishment at the present time. No research and development community is aimed squarely and forthrightly at the defeat of aging in the same way as the cancer establishment is dedicated to ending cancer. What an irrational state of affairs this is - doesn't it make you want to step in and help change the world in this one important way?