More on Recent Advocacy for the Longevity Dividend

Here is a better article covering recent advocacy for the Longevity Dividend. A group of researchers have been seeking large-scale public funding of ways to slow aging for some years now, aiming for a sweeping alteration in the strategy for research into aging and age-related disease, and this is one of their periodic calls to action:

Slowing aging is no fantasy. Researchers can delay how rapidly lab animals such as mice and roundworms grow old with a variety of measures, from genetic tinkering to extremely low-calorie diets. So far, however, nobody has shown that any drug or diet can postpone human senescence. But some scientists, including demographer S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois, Chicago, argue that we now know enough about aging to start an intensive, multiyear search for ways to delay it in people - a sort-of Manhattan Project for longevity. "Aging is the underlying risk factor for most of the things that go wrong with us" as we grow older, he says. That means slowing the process would not just add years to our lives, but it would also postpone illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease that primarily strike the elderly.

An extra couple of years might not be very attractive if you're going to be sick and decrepit. But slowing aging would also allow about 5% more seniors to avoid infirmity between 2030 and 2060 than would reductions in cancer or heart disease alone. "To my friends who want to live forever, I say it makes for great science fiction," Olshansky says. "Our goal is to extend healthy life, not necessarily life itself."

Olshansky belongs to the Longevity Dividend Initiative (LDI), a group of researchers and organizations that has been talking up the payoffs of postponing human aging. [He] and his colleagues are ready to take the next step, he says. In 2014, the LDI plans to start raising money, mainly from nongovernmental organizations and private individuals, to fund research to develop age-fighting measures, Olshansky says. Although researchers are already studying many potential options, the LDI's goal is to usher them into human studies and possible use.

As you can see, this is the position taken by researchers who think that some modest gains can be made, but who - for whatever reason - don't see repair of the root causes of aging leading to rejuvenation per the SENS model as a viable path forward. In many ways this is a competition for attention and funding: work on rejuvenation and its backers versus work on modestly slowing aging and its backers. That said, funding isn't a fixed bucket, and the more that aging, longevity, and medical research are discussed in public the larger that bucket might become.



Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.