On Compression of Morbidity

The basic idea behind compression of morbidity is to reduce the span of time spent frail in old age without extending life span. This is an incoherent goal from the point of view of any theory of aging that presents degeneration as a result of accumulated damage, and it is a pity that compression of morbidity is so firmly entrenched in the research philosophy of mainstream aging research. The only way to ensure more years of health is to repair or prevent damage, which will also lead to a longer life. This SAGE Crossroads podcast is a discussion with Aubrey de Grey on the topic: "In some statistics we see a little bit of compression in some people; in some places we see a little bit of expansion. By in large what we are seeing is exactly what you would expect from postponing aging. In other words, you postpone the onset of morbidity and you also postpone death by about the same amount. ... the compression of morbidity theory as you call is not really a theory, it's more of an aspiration. People say 'well wouldn't it be a good thing if we could compress morbidity,' but they don't really say how we would expect to be able to do it. ... [the focus of research should be on] postponing morbidity so much that there is a much higher probability that people will die of causes that have nothing to do with aging just because they've got longer to do it before they become frail and decrepit."

Link: http://www.sagecrossroads.net/sagecast54


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