Is medical research funding at all rational in its amounts and distributions? Well, no, evidently not, since SENS rejuvenation research is not a billion dollar a year field, and all current research aimed at producing better ways of treating or eliminating age-related disease taken together is a tiny economic activity when compared to, say, making candy or small collectible dolls. But even within the existing research and funding community, it can be argued that priorities do not align with a utilitarian approach to aging and age-related disease:
The global population is aging and although age remains the primary risk factor for all major causes of death, no priorities for aging research exist. After reviewing the literature on mortality modelling we found that different chronic processes underlie mortality before and after reproductive age. To identify priorities in aging research, we propose a simple ranking method that uses the percentage of deaths attributable to each disease for the over-60 population, on the basis that, rather than being the result of individual risk factors, these deaths are largely due to underlying senescent processes.
Our ranking suggests that vascular aging, led by ischaemic heart disease and stroke, is the most important focus for aging research. The availability of funding, however, is not currently aligned with health priorities and we believe that rectifying this disconnect may improve societal health outcomes.