Reaching the Larger Audience

While it is true that it never crosses the mind of most folk to actually do anything personally to help along progress in medical science, there is an enormously greater level of grassroots support for working on any specific named age-related condition than there is for work on aging itself. Which is somewhat strange, as all of the former are caused by the latter. Yet the nominal and incoherent position of the average fellow in the street is that on the one hand he doesn't want to suffer cancer or heart disease or neurodegenerative conditions, and is generally pleased that there are people out there somewhere trying to build cures, but yet on the other hand he is perfectly fine with aging to death on the same schedule as his grandparents, and is even made a little uncomfortable by the idea that anyone out there is working to slow or reverse aging.

Even if we set aside politics and public funding, the philanthropic and for-profit resources directed towards research and development of treatments for late stage age-related conditions are enormous in comparison to funding for research into aging itself. At this stage the best thing that could happen for the future of all of this medical development is for a sizable and increasing fraction of this flow of funds to be directed towards rejuvenation research, work on repairing the causes of aging so as to prevent and reverse all of its consequences. It is a much more efficient and beneficial path forward than the continued efforts to patch over the consequences after they have happened, but it just doesn't have much support at the moment.

This sorry state of affairs will change for the better, and indeed is changing for the better even now, but progress here will continue far more slowly than it might unless some group figures out the key to the lock. We all know that advocacy can in the best of circumstances change the course of funding and attention for any given cause in medical science, producing a large growth in directed resources and real research in the labs and the clinics. Look at AIDS research for a comparatively recent example of great success in patient advocacy: from near nothing to very large investments in research and development in a very short span of time. It can be done.

The goal that must be accomplished for rejuvenation research is in theory a simpler one than producing support from nowhere for a new condition. It is to take the existing hope and approval for better treatments for age-related conditions and transfer some of that to the development of treatments for the root cause of those conditions, which is to say aging and the few forms of damage in and between our cells that cause us to suffer and die in so many varied ways. This seems simple and obvious, but people have been trying for a while to make this pitch to the public with limited success to show for it to date. It isn't easy, and bringing the world around to this way of looking at aging and ill health is taking time and effort.

The most important of the present generation of advocacy groups, which includes the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation have for the past few years been talking far more about changing the approach to aging in the field and curing specific age-related conditions. Talk of extending life spans is far more muted nowadays, but it is still the case that successfully treating the causes of aging will have that outcome. We may well wind up ten or twenty years from now with an incoherent public position on medical research that supports SENS-like research while still being generally opposed to its inevitable outcome, which is to say much healthier, more robust older people who will live longer and are biologically much younger than their years thanks to rejuvenation treatments that actually work. If that comes to pass soon enough then we'll all be living longer as a side-effect of what people actually seem to want, which is not to have Alzheimer's or cancer or heart disease. The only reliable way to not have all these things is to repair the causes of aging: everything else is an expensive waste of time and effort by comparison.

Still, I fear that the incoherent beliefs regarding medical research into aging and the general lack of support for better approaches will drag us through potentially decades of persisting with failed and suboptimal approaches to the effective treatment of age-related disease before there is finally interest in trying something that works. Those decades of wasted time would put paid to the chances of my generation living long enough to benefit from working rejuvenation treatments. Which is something of an incentive to find the key to the lock. No bullet is quite so interesting as the one with your name on it.


Yeah but with AIDS research other virus had already been conquered and controlled by science e.g. Smallpox, Polio. No one has ever prevented aging, even in a laboratory animal.

I think it will be a bit of a slog up until the first 'ageless' lab rat.

Posted by: Jim at July 3rd, 2014 6:12 PM

Please come-up with another crowd-source funding project.
The one you did for Mitochondrial DNA was a huge success.
Do to that success, I expected a flood of such projects.

Posted by: BB at July 3rd, 2014 9:24 PM

There's lots of well funded anti-aging therapies but they're not labelled as such. If you look at the Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference Brochure there's a few industries in there that work on some of the SENS strands. It's a misnomer to say that working on a specific disease of aging is not treating aging. If it uses the damage/repair approach then it's fulfilling the goal.

If SENS were promoted on a disease specific basis the success probably would have happened sooner because it avoids all these idiotic ideas on the future. I think the consensus may be coming to that as you can see on the conference brochure they have assembled all the relevant bodies for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to illustrate a comprehensive therapy needs several co-operating private organisations.

Posted by: Miichael at July 3rd, 2014 11:26 PM

The Larger Audience is quite a swath. All understand they are aging and will die. Some grasp the biomedical revolution underway. Others haven't a clue.

We are visual creatures. Pictures are vastly more persuasive to us than words. For this reason, it is my strong belief that it will be the advent of rejuvenation for such cosmetic issues as skin aging, hair color or hair loss that will be the "aha" moment for the "Larger Audience." This is when they will "get it."

Purely from a marketing or communications point of view, a truly effective treatment for such vanity driven issues will have exponentially greater exposure and impact on the broadest segment of the populace than perhaps any other near term treatment. Because the results will be visible and frankly, also desirable by almost everyone.

Yes, these are not life threatening. Yes, they address a purely cosmetic issue. True, there are nobler and more essential areas to address. But if waking up the public and generating excitement for the prospects of rejuvenation therapies is your goal, nothing would accomplish this faster and more globally.

For one, it would put to rest the belief that living past 120 would mean decrepitude ad infinitum. It would make intuitive sense instantly to people everywhere. It would also make people believe in rejuvenation's truth. To many, it's 'too good to be true.' And they dismiss before considering.

So I believe a truly effective treatment for say, grey hair, or balding or skin wrinkling would be a game changer by reaching the Larger Audience that is pivotal to accelerating other areas of research. But this is tut-tutted by some good and serious people who feel this focus on vanity is immoral. It is not immoral if it actually puts octane in the tank of the broader research. It will just be counter-intuitive. But much in the world is counter-intuitive.

Posted by: Jersey Jones at July 4th, 2014 10:55 AM

We need to reach people out in places, and with a message, they're used to.

If we design and crowfund campaigns in prestigious newspapers and in crowded places like in the tube (underground), we'll grab the taxpayers' attention and interest.

Most people do not frequent "obscure" websites such as these, they have absolutely no chance to even ponder the question of rejuvenation in their everyday life. On the other hand, they know about AIDS and cancer.
Why? Simply because they've heard about these conditions in the media.

Give more people a chance to hear our message, and more comrades will join.
In turn, there will be more pressure for a better funding of our cause.

Posted by: Nico at July 4th, 2014 2:30 PM

I think that's a good point. I think if the message were phrased for specific diseases and promoted the damage repair approach then such advertising would have a huge success whereas advertising for treating aging would reach widespread resistance. It does not matter in this case because treating specific disease and treating aging are one and the same thing.

I also agree that the penny will drop when the public sees aspects of aging reversed however I do not think it necessarily needs to be cosmetic. If you could have an Alzheimer's or Parkinson's patient recover from that specific disease the change would be so dramatic as to have a similar effect. In saying that I do think a cosmetic improvement may have a more powerful effect.

Posted by: Michael at July 4th, 2014 7:41 PM

@jersey jones - to make skin look younger I'd guess that you'd need to fix glucospane ECM cross links, mitochondrial DNA mutations, scenescent cells, and prehaos provide some new cells via stem cells. Do that and you have implemented half of the SENS proposal.

So you're still facing the same chicken and egg problem.

Posted by: Jim at July 5th, 2014 12:15 AM

The most dangerous man on the internet, according to the SPLC, RamZPaul, now believes that aging will be treatable by 2034 (or 2060). He believes that because he thinks robust mouse rejuvenation has happened or is happening. I think doing 23andMe helped too.
See the video: and the article:

This is quite significant, since these are the people with the most negative view of the future, and the idea needs to be spread more around the politically incorrect white nationalist movement that he represents. So feel free to go and comment on that article.

Posted by: Carl at July 5th, 2014 9:45 AM

Always enjoyed the technical aspects of work being undertaken through this blog - though the politics may be counter-productive to the ends desired - or not, who knows (depends what is more important - time to cure available or when everyone gets it - approach dictates result) ? Individual choice needs to be respected, not just by legal awareness and enforcement but also in its spirit - that is the desire to be utterly disinterested in any activity that may benefit the world at large though not cause damage not already reasonably evident - including a minimization of soliciting support in a non-passive way. An interesting counterpoint (in a sense) to the removing ageing 'cause' is the 'Voluntary Human Extinction Movement' ( - perhaps a conflict of worldview?

Posted by: Jer at July 5th, 2014 10:03 AM

@Carl: What's significant is that even "Stormfront" calls him "a degenerate".
There's generally no need to convince these people of anything, all the more when even the community turns its back against the guy.

Posted by: Nico at July 8th, 2014 5:17 AM

Actually even Stormfront is a big fan of his. So your mindless bleating is not at all significant.

Have a look at the way the wind is blowing politically. The so-called far right (eg. Geert Wilders) will be in positions of power in some countries within the timeframe we are talking about. Also, if they are not in power within the timeframe we're talking about, those countries will cease to exist as first-world countries which will not be good for medical research. Which means they are one of the ideologies we need to win over. Not the only ideology we need to win over, of course. But one of them.

Posted by: Carl at July 8th, 2014 8:42 AM

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