An Example of How Far Longevity Science Advocacy Has Come

Unlike the case ten to fifteen years ago, it is now mainstream and acceptable within the research community to talk openly about slowing aging. That is half of a very necessary change that has to take place in order to speed work on extending healthy human life. The other half is for the scientific community to move their focus and the public discussion from merely slowing aging to the aim of actual rejuvenation of the old and an acknowledgement that maximum human life span will grow greatly. That is still a work in progress, and researchers remain reluctant to talk about radical life extension. But talk they must if there is to be a good change of raising large-scale funding and creating dedicated research programs at scale to achieve this goal. Large-scale research only comes into being in an environment of widespread public support and understanding.

Here is an article that wouldn't have existed in the late 1990s, because the people in higher level positions in a noted research institute would not have openly talked about slowing human aging, for fear of a negative impact on their fundraising:

The University of Florida's Institute on Aging is dedicated to research on slowing or reversing certain aging processes that can sour the golden years. The institute itself started eight years ago and has expanded to include more research on cognitive decline and not just physical decline related to aging. "If we can slow the process (of aging) it will be a great success ... and expand active life expectancy," said Marco Pahor, the institute's director, at its fourth annual research day. Pahor added that much of the institute's research focuses on compressing the "disabled years" in which people often live with chronic inactivity and pain - conditions that are both physically unpleasant and costly. "This is a major burden on the health care system. So far most of the interventions are reactive. But we want to prevent physical and cognitive decline," just as there have been successful preventive measures for cancer and heart disease.

Roger Fillingim, a professor at the UF College of Dentistry and director of UF's newly formed Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE), spoke about the prevalence of pain among the elderly. About 100 million people in the U.S. suffer from pain, which costs the health care system about $635 billion annually, Fillingim said, citing Institute of Medicine data. That's more than the expenditures for cancer, AIDS and heart disease combined. "Our goal is to reduce pain-related suffering with cutting-edge research. Pain is a major public health issue so we need all the help we can get."



Note that he's still downplaying the life extension angle and focusing on compression of morbidity. As long as people have the decency to die on schedule, it's okay to make sure they're comfortable in the meantime.

Posted by: Brandon Berg at September 11th, 2013 11:10 PM

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