Thoughts on Aging, Timelines for Medical Development, and Patient Advocacy

A long piece from Chronosphere covers a fair amount of ground, and holds up the AIDS patient advocacy of the 80s and 90s as a model of success that could be and should be emulated for longevity science advocacy: "[It is plausible that] maturation of the technologies required to extend lifespan indefinitely for most people now living who are aged 30 or older will not be developed with sufficient rapidity to prevent their being cryopreserved. ... [For example], mature, clinically available, and FDA-approved therapies to slow or halt brain cell loss are a decade, and likely closer to two decades, away. And when clinical application does come, it will likely be only for the most serious disease states, such as [Alzheimer's disease], Huntington's Disease (HD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Even in these conditions, access to treatment may be limited by many factors, including high cost and government regulation. Thus, for many of us, even another decade of waiting will be too long. ... One of the hardest things for people to understand is that it is possible to do good, without doing good enough; and nowhere is this more the case than in medical research. ... [Looking at the history of AIDS], by 1983 demonstrations, peaceful and otherwise, had begun, and those men who found themselves or loved ones dying of AIDS decided to take both research and treatment into their own hands. Broadly, this effort took two forms: intense lobbying and application of pressure within the system to obtain government money at every level to support research and provide care for the dying, and the creation of the 'AIDS Underground': a guerrilla effort to find or to develop treatments that would do anything to improve the situation for those ill with or dying of the disease. Those efforts ranged from finding more effective ways to manage symptoms, to a full blown effort to find a definitive cure. Importantly, any advance in treating the illness and extending the lives of patients suffering from it, was the subject of underground research efforts. ... If you want graphic proof of just how miraculously effective their efforts were, all you need to do is look at [the present mortality data, and the fact that AIDS is now a largely controllable condition]. We cryonicists are in exactly the same position today [with respect to aging]. The question is, are we smart enough to realize it, and courageous enough to take the necessary action?"


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