Here is a Russian-language interview with Mikhail Batin of the Science for Life Extension Foundation, following on from the recent 3rd International Conference on the Genetics of Aging and Longevity in Sochi, Russia. The state of automated translation for Russian is still very rough around the edges, so the quoted material below is tidied up somewhat from the original:
Q: But with diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, they occur not only in the old, but also in young people. What are your arguments that old age is a disease?
A: Well, the frequency of cancer in a person of age 70 is 200 times higher than at 20 years. All age-dependent disease incidence increases with age, and grows exponentially. Aging underlies these diseases. We just tend to think that it is normal when a person goes bad, developing poor vision, poor hearing, poor thinking - and this is not normal. Aging is an illness and people die because of it.
Q: Actually, people do not want to grow old, especially women. And those who have enough willpower to lead a healthy lifestyle, eat right, play sports. And experience shows that it is, in general, it helps them to get sick less and live longer. So, maybe that's enough? Need there any special measures to combat aging?
A: It helps, but not so much. Even the person leading a healthy lifestyle does not rule out the use of antibiotics, early diagnosis of diseases, etc. Yes, you need to eat less and move more, but that does not mean you cannot also do something significant, for example, to develop the means of reversing some processes of aging not affected by exercise and diet. The idea of sufficiency is bad, let's instead go ahead and set big goals.
Q: And if people don't want to live long? There was a survey of Americans in which they were asked how much they want to live. Most chose a limit of 80-90 years. And to live to 120 years old is only desired by a few. So what to do - "an iron fist pounding mankind to happiness" or work to educate the public in order to change this position?
A: You know, people often want what other people want. This is common. They do not want to stand out from the masses. So people protect the present state of their world, it's such a conquering conservatism. Yet as soon as the radical possibilities to extend life emerge and become common, people will immediately want to use them. People do not refuse technology, they just do not want to think about making it.