I see that the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), owner of the World Health Network and organizer of conferences for the "anti-aging" marketplace, has published what immediately strikes me as being their take on - or response to - the Longevity Dividend initiative. You might want to look back in the Fight Aging! archives for some background on A4M before continuing:
The World Health Network is the online face of the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), yet another of the predominantly old school organizations in the wider healthy life extension community that leave me with mixed opinions. I have been watching A4M beat their online presence - a website with a respectable Alexa traffic rank of 52,000 or so - into shape over the past few years. Over that time, the face of A4M as represented by their website - and interviews with the founders in the mainstream media - has evolved to present a much more forward-looking, responsible perspective. Less hormone therapy and supplements, more stem cells, genetics, and modern medical research.
As I've said before, A4M says a lot of the right stuff and their hearts do appear to be in the right place - it's their implementation that leaves much to be desired.
The A4M Chicago conference later this month is, like the recent Singapore event, is very much a collision between the best and worst that business, activism and science has to offer on the topic of intervening in the aging process.
The enthusiasm of the A4M founders for extending the healthy human life span is admirable, but in the process of becoming poster boys and promoters by proxy for skin cream and exercise machines, this message gets lost. People look at "anti-aging medicine" and see scams and nonsense, a state of affairs that is entirely the fault of elements within the marketplace
On to the A4M presentation and white paper, now that you are better placed to judge whether you want to pay any attention to it:
We unveil an innovative, technology-based fix to healthcare with the potential to [increase] the lifespan, or improve the healthspan, of all Americans by 29+ years; slash healthcare costs, saving $3.7 Trillion; and replace the disease-based approach to medicine with a wellness-oriented model.
The A4M Twelve-Point Actionable Healthcare Plan: A Blueprint for A Low Cost, High Yield Wellness Model of Healthcare by 2012 provides the following practicable "here and now" solutions to reform and advance healthcare in the United States, while addressing the challenges of global aging
Now regardless of your thoughts on the content or the nature of the messenger - and as for many of these things there's some sanity and good sense mixed in there if you want to dive in and look for it - this seems very much to me like a vote of confidence in the Longevity Dividend. The folk at A4M believe that the Longevity Dividend - or something very much like it - will succeed in redirecting a significant amount of government funding towards applied aging research. You'll recall that the Longevity Dividend itself is essentially a proposal for how to spend public funds on medical research and development to slow the aging process. Spending without end, limit, or sense of consequence is in the air, it seems, and groups are looking at how best to position themselves before the trough in their particular neck of the woods is filled.
Given the zeitgeist, more public funding for anything and everything that has political pull seems likely. It will be interesting to see - in that watching an avalanche roaring down the slope towards you sort of way - exactly how these particular tumbling rocks fall. Are these unfolding political efforts a fair proxy for the evolving opinions of the masses in regard to longevity science or not? If they are, then we may see a promising evolution of distributed efforts in aging-related biotechnology development in the years ahead as costs fall - distributed efforts that should be somewhat protected from whatever economic disasters are being set up by present policies.