Those of you familiar with the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging - damage to mitochondrial DNA leads to loss of function and a spreading chain of biochemical dysfunctions - will notice a subtle disconnect between this research and the popular science view of mitochondrial function and aging, as outlined in this Boston Globe article. The popular view is very much concerned with contribution to particular diseases, and in finding drugs that improve mitochondrial function as a way of slowing that contribution - without necessarily understanding why those drugs work. We know enough to do much better than that - repairing mitochondrial damage completely, for example, and thus totally removing its contribution to aging. But until the public at large realizes this, funding will continue to move towards the established old-school drug discovery programs. These programs focus on treating specific diseases of aging by patching over or slowing down root causes - as opposed than aiming to repair them fully.