Methuselah Foundation Update: Rationale for the My Bridge 4 Life Initiative

With the recent reorganization of the Methuselah Foundation, its varied initiatives were split into three categories: short term (the new My Bridge 4 Life), mid-term (the Mprize for longevity science), and long term (MLife Sciences - currently SENS and support of Organovo). Many of us following along at home were not quite seeing the rationale behind the new short term initiative, however. So for today, let me point you to Dave Gobel's explanation:

The reason for MB4L is that we are working to reduce the "aha! gap" or conceptual hurdle for the billions of folks for whom a leap straight to the idea of extending healthy life is too vast and daunting a gap.

...

The new effort - focused on the short term and exemplified by MB4L - is designed to gain the positive attention of the 99.9% of the population who have been too busy to pay attention to the real underlying problems [of degenerative aging], but to whom life has handed a very sad but compelling imperative - i.e. "I (or my loved one) has Cancer (or some other life-threatening condition)!" The goal of MB4L is to provide serious, valid and relevant medical information, family and community support, education and hopefully lifesaving insights to such people at very low cost. At the same time while adding supporters and generating donations in behalf of the foundation and its longer-term mission.

During their involvement with MB4L it will become clear to MB4L's participants that the real enemy to defeat is the insidious underlying process that made them or their loved ones vulnerable to the disease that eventually attacked them. In a sense, MB4L is a real bridge that saves lives both in the present AND in the future. It is a bridge that brings people to understand the larger goals at a time when they are willing and able to listen.

I think you'll have to agree that Dave Gobel has been batting a pretty good average to date with his Methuselah Foundation initiatives. It's also very true that we as a community need to do better in education, outreach, and advocacy: the world is still largely filled by people who shrug their shoulders or who have never given a spare thought to engineered longevity and the defeat of aging through medical science. So give this one a chance.

Comments

At first, I didn't understand what the MB4L was about - it's purpose. But your explanation above helps clarify, and justify, it's purpose. I agree that the vast majority of people aren't acquainted with the possibilities of and science behind engineered longevity. I also agree that providing supportive advice and information to those who are already suffering from disease may be a good way by which to inform them on other projects (i.e. SENS or M-Foundation) that serve the same purpose as MB4L - to extend healthy lifespan, just like any medical intervention.

Posted by: Max Peto at May 27th, 2009 6:05 PM

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