An Interview With Jonathan Weiner

Reason Magazine interviews the author of Long for this World: "The field [of longevity research] is really badly underfunded. Even the National Institute of Aging spends a fraction of its budget on experimental gerontology. Most of the budget of the National Institutes of Health goes for fighting recognized diseases and it's much more acceptable politically to declare war on cancer than to declare war on aging. So if you want to study aging and dream of slowing it down, you've got a tough time getting funding. That worries me more now having finished the book and having spent so much time talking with the gerontology mainstream as well as Aubrey [de Grey]. We may be missing really wonderful opportunities by neglecting the sciences of aging, for instance all of those late onset diseases, not just cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, atherosclerosis, all of those late onset diseases become more likely [as we age]. If we want to fight cancer, the most plausible research direction may be to understand those small invisible steps leading us there. Likewise with Alzheimer's, diabetes, it may not be there is a different story with each. It may be there are common problems which we might be able to address and if we could, suddenly what sounds so futuristic and strange now might become as pedestrian and common sensical as preventive medicine. If we would just be doing the equivalent of taking out garbage, flossing the teeth, doing standard maintenance work for the body in our prime, that could postpone or even prevent disease entirely."



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