The Mainstream Approach to Medical Research Must Change

At a recent conference appearance, scientist-advocate Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation made a point that I think bears repeating. The mainstream approach to medical science is to screen for drug compounds that produce beneficial alterations in cellular mechanisms observed in late stage disease. This almost entirely focuses on proximate causes of harm in a diseased, dysfunctional metabolism, far removed from the root causes that created the medical condition in the first place. It thus produces therapies that do little good in the grand scheme of things since they don't address the real cause of disease. They are rather efforts to make a badly damaged system limp along a little longer with patches and compensations, which is always expensive and doomed to failure, whether we are talking about a mechanical device or a human being.

This strategy for medical research and development must change radically if we are to see meaningful progress towards prevention and cure of age-related disease. It must be replaced with something more like de Grey's SENS programs, in which carefully designed therapies repair specific forms of cell and tissue damage to achieve rejuvenation. The form of these therapies is already known in great detail; it is clear what must be built. Some are already under development, such as senescent cell clearance and allotopic expression of mitochondrial genes. This is the future of medicine, not continuing to mine the natural world in the hope of finding compounds that do marginally more good than harm, and can at best only slightly slow down the aging process.

de Grey attributed the gains in longevity over the last century to one primary factor - the reduction of infectious diseases. With infectious diseases largely gone in the developed world, he said we need to turn our attention to the main cause of death. "There's almost one thing that kills everybody now in the developed world. It's the accumulation of these various types of molecular and cellular damage that the body does to itself as a side effect of just being alive at all." According to his research and theories, that molecular and cellular damage can be repaired with new regenerative medicines, including stem cell therapies, gene therapies, drugs and vaccines.

de Grey challenged the wisdom of modern pharmaceutical research leading to really expensive drugs that delay diseases by very short periods of time. "We will not cure cancer this way. We will not cure Alzheimer's this way." The incentive structure for modern pharmaceuticals perpetuates this because "it can be done reasonably quickly, sold for a lot of money and because people are desperate for anything."

"I think it's really important to understand that the relationship between quality of life and quantity of life is not as most people think about it. Today most people think about those two things as some kind of trade off, and that makes sense today because there are many things we like doing that are not very good for us. But we are talking about a world in which quality will confer quantity, in which you will live longer because you are living better. That's the critical thing here."

Link: http://www.geekwire.com/2015/can-humans-live-forever-this-scientist-thinks-its-possible/

Comments

A succinct way of putting it might be to liken a gunk-prone pipe in a car to accumulation of plaque in the arteries. You could either slow down the buildup by taking a statin/treating the fluid, or you could go in and remove the gunk. The one just delays a catastrophic failure, while the other assures its prevention.

Posted by: Seth at August 10th, 2015 10:39 AM

I see in the comments section the same old objections about overpopulation. It always amazes me how so many people prefer to kill 100,000 people every single day after decades of pain for them and their loved ones instead of not breeding like rabbits. And it's more amazing if you consider that world birth rates have been decreasing since 1950 at least. What the ... of cognitive disonance does these people have?

Posted by: Antonio at August 10th, 2015 12:00 PM

Yeah, I get depressed reading the comments section of articles sometimes. It's usually all the same stuff. If it's not overpopulation comments, it's someone complaining how only the 1%'ers will have access, and if it isn't that, then it's some philosopher telling you that "everything that has a beginning also has an end".

Posted by: Ham at August 10th, 2015 2:53 PM

lol i just waded in to join Slicer with the comments. There was some idiot saying we could not even lengthen telomeres! WTF we did that back in 1999 with Geron and did it again this year and many times in between. These people have no idea what they are talking about they recycle the same old memes and deathist crap without any clue at all about the research of today. Why even debate with people whose scientific knowledge is so far out of date they think telomeres cannot be lengthened? I would laugh if it was not so sad.

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 5:38 AM

I think we just have to accept that most people talk and think complete rubbish about most things.

My favourite example at the moment is the government debt debate in the UK. There are millions of people with very strong feelings about something they have literally no clue about (and no real desire to think about).

Rather than trying to engage in rational debate far better to try and shift the emotional frame.
In this case I think you'd be far better off talking about the effects these treatments would have on currently recognized diseases rather than using terms like "immortality" or even "anti-aging".

Posted by: Mark at August 11th, 2015 6:48 AM

"immortality" and "anti-aging" are foolish words that make transhumanism and the field in general look foolish. I prefer the term regenerative medicine and let people reach their own conclusion on what potential it has. Aubrey recently talked about how damaging the word immortality is and I could not agree me, it is a fantasy but regenerative medicine most certainly is not.

Still have to laugh that one of the biggest deathist trolls on there had no idea we lengthened telomeres in human tissue in 1999, talking utter nonsense.

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 8:39 AM

I agree Steve. Too bad the average person on the Internet correlates living longer and healthier with immortality. Or "clinical immortality", as they like to say on reddit. It definitely doesn't help the cause... All it does is lead to people pondering "should we" or "do we want to live forever" like they're philosophers.

Posted by: Ham at August 11th, 2015 9:16 AM

Ironically the person who was spouting nonsense upvoted my responses to his argument. Seems he was not aware we rejuvenated telomeres in 1999 lol Well if we can educate just one of them to the possibilities...

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 9:33 AM

Fair enough!

Yeah, if it was me, and I wanted to avoid the controversy, I just wouldn't mention aging *at all*. I would say something like - "there is great potential to develop different kinds of regenerative medicine that would allow the body to avoid all manner of diseases... stop heart disease before it starts... save money on medical treatments etc. etc..."

I think people would have a hard time disagreeing with that... (even though it is the same thing?)

Posted by: Mark at August 11th, 2015 10:19 AM

Mark I agree with your reasoning and it is how I present regenerative medicine. People seem to accept the idea of regenerating organs quite readily over talking about aging as a disease etc... It's all in the pitch I guess.

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 11:50 AM

Well, maybe the I-word is bad for marketing in the near term, but I don't think the same for the long run.

When you see people talking about regenerative medicine and they are people that knows the topic (for example, Longecity users), their main focus doesn't seem to be how to be healthier but how to live longer and, most of the time, how to reach indefinite lifespans. Even AdG, who always says he works on health, soon after saying that he talks about LEV.

So it doesn't seem to be fair to present this research field as only a means to cure degenerative diseases. C'mon, you and me and almost every other folk that is involved in the field, be it a researcher or simply a forum user, is mostly interested in indefinite lifespans, immortality, or wathever other name you use for the concept. It seems a bit dishonest to present the topic, to do outreach about it, by saying that it's only or mostly about health.

See for example the questions that people ask to AdG in his presentations to audiences that already know about SENS. Almost all the questions are about longevity, not health. These audiences are interested in extending lifespan, not simply in curing Alzheimer's or atherosclerosis. Questions are very different from questions at, say, outreach talks about cancer or ALS.

Marketing is important, but not to the point of pretending that the main focus of the field is something different from what it really is.

Lately, SENS is presented as research to cure aging diseases, with the side effect of indefinite lifespans, but, for most of its supporters, it's actually research to obtain indefinite lifespans, with the side effect of curing aging diseases.

Yeah, curing Alzheimer's would be very good, but we are aiming higher.

Posted by: Antonio at August 11th, 2015 1:02 PM

Also, if our main focus were only aging diseases, we would support compression of morbidity research, it isn't?

Posted by: Antonio at August 11th, 2015 1:09 PM

It's all in the pitch if we wish to garner wider support and much need funding IMO. The majority of researchers in the field I know never say Immortality (its a naive idea anyway) and use more PC language, however we all know what the implications of the work are.

I would like to hear what SENS has to say about your comments Antonio.

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 1:21 PM

SENS is not a strategy for being healthier, it's a strategy for Negligible Senescence. That is, a strategy for reaching a state in wich death rate doesn't depend on age.

Posted by: Antonio at August 11th, 2015 1:22 PM

It comes down to the fact that the public are more accepting of the idea of regeneration and rejuvenation over less PC and comfortable ideas. I have no doubt over time public opinion will change but how can you get people on board who reject the idea out of hand if presented too directly? The truth is the field needs wider public support and it is not going to get that by being a fringe science lacking that support.

So what is the answer and how do we present the science without alienating the very public we need in order to create aging solutions?

Posted by: Steve H at August 11th, 2015 1:43 PM

Yes, I know they do that because of marketing strategy, but still it seems a bit dishonest to me, and maybe damaging in the long run. Or maybe, it atracts some people but repels other people. For example, if it were only about health, I probably will not be here not would I had donated to SENS. A year ago I didn't know anything about SENS or gerontology, and probably would not be interested and soon forgot it if they didn't promise indefinite lifespans. Before that, the only medical research I was interested in was cancer research, because my girlfriend had it.

Posted by: Antonio at August 11th, 2015 2:55 PM

I don't think it is dishonest to say exactly the same thing in a different way. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with people who don't have the time or interest to put thought into a particular topic, the way they relate to words emotionally can be more important than the actual meaning of what you are saying.
There isn't any way to force people to take the time and effort to give your arguments rational consideration, and once they have decided that what you are saying is "wrong", their hostility to you will often mean that they won't listen or trust *anything* you say.
It's better to "break in" with emotionally positive language - then later once they realize that by "ending aging" we mean exactly the same thing as this positive message, they will be far more receptive.

Posted by: Mark at August 11th, 2015 4:51 PM

Though I agree, personally, the idea of "ending-aging" is *more* emotionally appealing to me - but, I've come to the conclusion that I am quite unusual in that respect.

Posted by: Mark at August 11th, 2015 4:54 PM

Talking about extending health and preventing disease is much more appealing to the public than "ending aging" or "immortality" even though they kind of go hand in hand. People get hostile to aging talk, but are all for curing Alzheimers and cancer (both of which would extend life), so I think it's still a very difficult and delicate situation with the average person still. The ultimate goal might be indefinite lifespan, but the general populace needs to be on board with healthy aging, and increased healthspan first.

Posted by: Ham at August 11th, 2015 5:44 PM

In some sense, it seems to me like the behaviour of some researchers that say they work on compression of morbidity only because they don't want to say that they are working on extending lifespan, even if they know they are working on that, because that would make it very difficult to obtain funding.

Mark, the problem of appealing to emotions and trying to circunvent facts, thinking that your audience can't understand the thruth (and probably most won't), is that the part of the audience that isn't so stupid can be upset by that or simply think that your topic is not so important.

Posted by: Antonio at August 12th, 2015 12:32 AM

Changing the public opinion would be nice but it is and never was a requirement for the realisation of longevity interventions. It would make things a lot easier and could direct funding into the right direction but throughout history, a different approach prevailed. You create a fait accompli and the public opinion will change on its own. Take it or leave it. If you wanna come down with all these wonderful chronic diseases, feel free to do so. If not, be part of longevity research.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If applying means going on a ship offshore and researching unapproved treatment, so be it. There is no need to convince the whole world that something is right or wrong, as long as we respect each others freedoms.

Posted by: Waverunner at August 12th, 2015 12:42 AM

@ Steve H (11/08 8:39 AM): I see no problem with "anti-ageing". Because that's precisely what rejuvenation is about.

@ Ham (11/08 9:16 AM): There's nothing wrong with making people pondering on the implications of (a much longer) life. Everyone can and should have these in mind. That's the mark of responsible citizens. Granted, they shouldn't hinder research in the meantime.

@ Mark (11/08 10:19 AM): We can focus the marketing campaigns on the benefits against diseases, but it would be dishonest to hide our end goal.

@ Steve H (11/08 1:21 PM): The problem isn't the researchers, it comes from the journalists' sensationalist articles. It's them who use "immortality" here and there, intoxicating their readers' minds.

@ Waverunner (12/08 12:42 AM): In theory, yes, we could just face people with the facts once the therapies are ready. But we lack the financial power of a few enthusiast billionaires for that. Hence our forced reliance on the masses, and our need to try and make them change their beliefs.

Posted by: Nico at August 12th, 2015 2:24 AM

Waverunner - well, yes, to the extent that you don't really need mass support it isn't important - personally, I would have thought that there would be enough powerful people in the world who would support the aims of SENS (or at least the development of enabling technology) that public support would be largely irrelevant - but, unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.

Antonio - I see what you are saying - at the last general election in the UK the Labour party were running on a program that would have had them running a higher deficit than the Conservatives (a plan that was widely endorsed by economists) - but because they had done research that indicated "public debt" was a vote loser, they decided to pretend that they were offering something else, were constantly attacked by the Conservatives, came across as incredibly shifty and untrustworthy, lost the enthusiasm of those who might have actually supported their policies and lost the election.
I think that SENS is different though, in that there aren't really going to be "enemies" making a concerted effort to undermine the image presented (though I do agree with the man who said at the end of the video that de Grey, ("ending aging") perhaps isn't the person best placed to deliver this new message.) Also, I think there is a difference between attempting to deny something you believe in to appease general opinion (deception) and simply changing emphasis to something that might gain a bit more traction.
It's a tricky one.

Posted by: Mark at August 12th, 2015 2:51 AM

Nico,

Except for when the question of "do we really want to live forever" becomes a blanket answer of "no" for all, and not for each individual to decide. Not even forever, because forever is akin to immortality and eternity, but you know what I mean. Different people have different philosophies. That goes for the general population, as well as people like Leon Kass who oppose extending life. I don't want someone else deciding anything for me based on their philosophy of how long they THINK someone should be able to live.

Posted by: Ham at August 12th, 2015 4:00 AM

Mark: Yeah, a scenario like that in the UK is what worries me!

Posted by: Antonio at August 12th, 2015 4:20 AM

"@ Steve H (11/08 1:21 PM): The problem isn't the researchers, it comes from the journalists' sensationalist articles. It's them who use "immortality" here and there, intoxicating their readers' minds."

@Nico: Yes I totally agree that media post silly headlines (foundation of youth, immortality etc) which damages legit research. Researchers use terms like regenerative medicine, rejuvenation and so on. We all know the implications of the work if only media would stop the hype. I agree the media is guilty of convincing people the field is hype and fantasy when most clearly it is not.

@ Steve H (11/08 8:39 AM): I see no problem with "anti-ageing". Because that's precisely what rejuvenation is about.

@Nico: Anti aging is another loaded phrase and is often associated with supplement companies and snake oil. Anti aging skin cream by loreal and oil of Olay are touted as being anti aging or fighting the signs of aging and I think the risk here is having regenerative medicine lumped into the same category.

Yes in a sense it is actually the only real anti aging technology but snake oil and lies have kind of stolen that word IMO and using it just like immortality is potentially damaging.

Posted by: Steve H at August 12th, 2015 9:33 AM

These people. The fun never stops.

"After reading through the comments section, I now feel Regenerative Medicine needs to be available to only the most deserving and not be offered willy nilly to every human on the planet."

I went off on him but it's really fish in a barrel.

Posted by: Slicer at August 12th, 2015 4:22 PM

Slicer, I get the feeling that a lot of people don't think it will be available for the common man on the streets, which in turn leads to their opposition... But I usually don't see people hoping for that. That's new.

Posted by: Ham at August 13th, 2015 4:00 AM

New to me too. I pointed out that anyone who actually tries that probably won't have to worry about dying of old age, and he went off on an unrelated environmental rant. Just plain unhinged, but I don't think he's entirely alone. People escaping degenerative death terrifies these people on some sort of fundamental level. (Longeviphobia?)

Maybe it's new technology in general that attracts the weirdoes. In the 70's, similar people waxed poetic about the terrors of the coming computerized future; now that we're actually in it, it's difficult to grasp what they were crying about. Now their kin are doing the same thing on the Internet, adding another layer of irony.

Posted by: Slicer at August 13th, 2015 5:48 PM

Yeah I think the environmental rants (including overpopulation, resources etc) are one of the bigger driving factors to that. People have a selective appeal to nature with things like this. It's strange though, because no one ever really has an answer when you ask them at what age they would like to get cancer or Alzheimer's... Usually just a cop out telling you it's natural. These are the same people who despite saying they have an issue with people living longer will do whatever they can to save their own lives when diagnosed with a disease.

I think currently we're the group being viewed as weirdos though... Not that I agree with it. It's ironic we're viewed this way though, given the plethora of stupid pro death comments people spout as reason against longevity. I'm not going to suggest there won't need to be some changes made in the world when longevity comes around, because there will be. But many of these changes are already overdue as is. People seem to be under the impression that our current technologies and infastructure won't continue to change and grow along with advances in longevity. People also seem to think that suddenly everyone's going to be an "immortal" overnight too. That's nonsense, and it's likely to be a gradual process. It's so tiring to keep arguing with people about this though. Ugh.

Posted by: Ham at August 13th, 2015 6:12 PM

It drives me crazy with the idiots who can't get a grip regarding what can be achieved given enough motivation to conquer aging. I have a list covering the nine arguments I post and use and its always the same boring arguments. Anyway here is how I demolish them!

The Nine Fallacies of Aging

Fallacy 1:

People have always aged we shouldn't interfere with nature.

Throughout our history if there has been a route by which we can lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. We have tended to take it and that is the reason why anti-aging medicine will progress down exactly the same route and why the argument that we are interfering with nature simply does not have any validity at all.

As soon as we had the means, historically we have tackled all of the diseases which tended to kill people, for example, polio, smallpox — which used to kill millions. Infections which were one of the main killers before we had antibiotics because you must keep in mind that people could simply cut themselves while they were working in their backyard or women could suffer an infection during childbirth, which would kill both her and the baby. Even worse, something simple such as an infected finger or toe could lead to amputation of the whole hand or foot because there was no other route to bring the infection under control, even that frequently didn't work because there was no way that you could actually prevent infection which could arise from the amputation itself. These days not only are there antibiotics but we have retroviral drugs to tackle AIDS, we have insulin to manage diabetes, Ace inhibitors and beta-blockers to tackle high blood pressure, the list is endless. Add in all the surgical procedures such as cataract surgery, new joints and all sorts of other interventions such as cardiac surgery, for example, a heart bypass or stents which increase the person's quality of life and the trend is pretty obvious. As soon as we can bring aging under a decisive level of clinical control, clearly we will.

The most bizarre thing in my mind is that we seem to try and tackle the main diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other neurodegenerative diseases individually but what we seem to fail to grasp is we're not actually attacking the root cause which is aging itself. Tackle aging and you would inevitably address the diseases of aging because these conditions mainly affect old people and do not frequently strike at the young.

Fallacy 2:

Eliminating aging means that the world would be massively overpopulated.

Personally, I feel that overpopulation issues which might arise due to the development of treatments to control and reverse aging are greatly exaggerated. It’s highly possible that curing aging may exacerbate overpopulation issues in some countries in Africa and Asia, but this will not be an issue for around 30 years after aging has become a treatable condition and must also be viewed together with technological progress that will increase the world’s carrying capacity. The other factor is that it's already becoming very apparent that in developed countries the tendency to have smaller families and less children is a consistent trend and has been for many years, you only that but you only have to look at the birth rate in most EU countries, Japan and Russia to see the trend and the birth rate is even dropping in many Third World and developing countries so I don't see that bringing aging under a decisive level of medical control would inevitably lead to the population catastrophe used as a justification for not tackling aging by many people.

Regardless, concerns regarding overpopulation are not an acceptable justification to oppose bringing aging under medical control or treating the diseases of aging it is just something else which would have to be addressed.

My personal belief is that when people know that they are going to live for very long time it is highly probable they will take the decision either not to have children at all or to delay having children until late in life which will become possible due to medical progress.

Fallacy 3:

Eliminating aging means we will live forever and never die.

This is something which a lot of people say to me but it is completely incorrect because curing aging simply means that you will not die through becoming old and hence more prone to chronic diseases but does not preclude that you could be knocked over crossing the street, get attacked by a shark, be involved in some sort of accident or suffer a fate which potentially could kill someone now even if they were only 22 or 23 years old. Eliminating aging simply means that a person. For example, of 70 would potentially have the biological health of a 30-year-old, so their risk of dying from disease would be massively reduced but it does not preclude any of the other causes of death.

An actuary told me a while back that if we excluded aging as a cause of death it will be quite realistic that we would live to around 700 years on average until we succumbed to some other event which killed us. I tend to go along with this because I already look at my situation personally and think of the times I could have been killed climbing the cliffs near my house in Spain to escape a rockfall, nearly falling into my swimming pool when it had no water in it from a high wall Because, I was stupid enough to lean back on the ladder!, having motorcycle accidents, and accidents on horses of which I've had a fair number plus numerous other things such as nearly falling down an escalator which could have been potentially life-threatening but luckily I got away with. The question is how long will it be before one of those goes badly for me? I have to say I’m a lot more careful now that I'm in my 50s but that's not to say that I would be able to escape the risk of having a deadly accident at some point.

Fallacy 4:

“If I lived to a really great age all my friends and family will be dead”.

This is a completely ludicrous fallacy because why would you survive and your friends and family not to make it too? The reality is that when rejuvenative medicine is developed not just a handful of people will benefit but the vast majority because sick and elderly people are extremely expensive for the health services, plus they are retired and drawing retirement benefits it's much better if they remain fit and active and can contribute to society.

Fallacy 5:

You would just take a pill once-a-day and live forever!

This completely oversimplifies the situation because aging is due to the progressive accumulation of molecular and cellular damage and it’s not going to be a simple case of taking a pill it will be reliant on gene therapies, telomere lengthening therapies, stimulation of the immune system to remove the garbage which builds up in the body and also stem cell therapies to replace the loss of the cells which we need that are no longer replaced due to old age. Is also not the case of it will simply be a discovery where suddenly we find that we have discovered the cure for aging it will be a combination of progressively evolving therapies becoming ever more effective over a period of time.
I appreciate it’s hard to people to understand exactly how we would ultimately beat aging but it’s actually quite easy to follow and what this means in essence is this, let’s say you are 60 years old at the time of the first intervention and that this early and fundamentally imperfect treatment repairs 75% of the accumulated damage. Then 10 years later you would reach the chronological age of 70 but would be biologically only 45 years old and look and feel like a 45 year old. We now come to the vital key to the whole theory which is this, let's say 20 years after the first treatment, when you are chronologically 80 but biologically 55 years old, clearly both your doctor and yourself will realize that the damage that was not repaired in the first treatment combined with further damage accumulated over the 20 years since is again posing a health risk. At this point it is time for another intervention. It is now that the progress in medicine comes into play because, by the time 20 years has gone by, anti-aging medicine will have moved on significantly and, whilst the first treatment bought you an extra 20 or 30 years by repairing a fair amount of the damage accumulated over 60 years of living, it did not repair it all. 20 years later progress will mean that the latest treatment will not only repair all of the damage corrected by the first intervention but also some of the damage that was not able to be repaired 20 years earlier so in essence you are now chronologically 80 (but biologically in your 50s) and having intervention number 2 which will not only repair all of the damage that was repaired by intervention 1 (along with the 20 years of damage since the first intervention) but also some (but probably still not all) of the damage that couldn't be repaired by the first treatment. This means that, whilst you will have aged 20 years, chronologically you will be biologically younger after the second intervention than you were after the first.
All of the current routes toward bringing aging under a decisive level of medical control do not actually propose that we will find a cure in the very near future (my guess is that we will get to that point toward the end of this century) what we will be able to do is manage aging as a chronic condition through regular interventions every 5 to 10 years which will achieve radical life extension without actually curing aging itself. I recommend looking at this website for more information http://www.sens.org although SENS is not the only path to dealing with aging I'm a firm believer that SENS and other SENS type therapies are the most likely route to get us to where we aim to go within a time frame that will benefit most people who are currently alive.

Fallacy 6:

But it won't be any good to us because they're only going to give it to the really wealthy people and politicians.

I'm never quite clear who people actually mean by “they” as if there is some sort of conspiracy. It will of course be costly in the early days as with any other newly developed cutting edge therapy but the price will drop very rapidly and the more people that are receiving the therapy the more money will be generated. We also have to factor in that old people are frequently extremely unwell with multiple chronic conditions and cannot contribute to society in many of the ways that they would like nor can they work.
Clearly enhanced longevity means the implications for health services, work and retirement are profound and as I see it retirement will need a complete rethink because it cannot continue as it does now even in the short term because let’s assume you started work at 20 and retired at 60 you would have worked for 40 years so if you live to 85 or 90 you will be retired 25 or 30 years, would the savings last? Probably not! Now factor in if you lived even longer because we have not even taken account of anything more than an increase in life expectancy based on current rates of progress (and I expect we will greatly exceed that within 25 years) and clearly retirement when you start talking about working for 40 years and being retired for more years than you worked will frankly just not be realistic in the age of radical life extension.

Fallacy 7:

If you live for a very long time you will look absolutely terrible be in extreme pain and could spend decades in a nursing home.

This is one of the most ridiculous arguments of all because basically you could not continue to deteriorate from the position you would be in if you lived, for example, to the age of 90.You're already so close to the edge that it won't take very much to push you over the crazy thing is that people seem to think you would just linger and drag on for decades It almost impossible to understand why people could fail to see that that just could not happen.

Fallacy 8:

The Government will ban it.

As far as organization such as Medicare in the US and the NHS in the UK are concerned the treatments to control aging are likely to be much cheaper than the horrific costs currently incurred in treating heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, Alzheimers and other incapacitating degenerative illnesses which impair a person’s quality of life. These conditions also create unsustainable burdens on social services by confining people to nursing homes where they can make little contribution to society. These chronic conditions are something which become a problem in later life and do not usually effect young people. Keep in mind that most people cost the health services more in their final year of life than in all of the rest of their life combined. Aging is extremely bad for people not only is it a cause of suffering it is degrading to people who feel they are dependent on others for their basic day to day needs. I had an aunt who died at 85 a few years ago who started having falls, then she got trapped in the bath for 7 hours, after this she was OK for a few months then fell again and became hospitalized and was transferred to a nursing home where she could not deal with even her basic hygiene requirements. Mentally she was 100% competent right to the end so the question has to be asked can this be right when millions of old people are in this position and we are close to being able to intervene and do something about it? The answer to this Is it clearly we need to do what we can because sick elderly people are extremely costly to governments and therefore keeping them active and well will be an extremely cost-effective route not only that but many countries such as Japan have a falling population and the number of people available for work is rapidly declining if you were fit and healthy for decades there would be no reason to retire. If people do not suffer the declining years of old age, healthcare and the economy will benefit very significantly from a situation where aging becomes a manageable condition.

Fallacy 9:

The impact on humanity will be very significant and change everything.

I agree with this 100% because in many ways it will flip everything upside down because many of the advantages of life will be vested in the old where currently they are vested in the young. This however is not a reason for us to decide against tackling aging because everyone ultimately becomes old and we have the opportunity to radically change what it means to be old and what being old looks like. Clearly it goes without saying that there will be changes to the structure of society because currently money filters down from relatives who have died to the younger generations and clearly that will change and it will undoubtedly impact the real estate market. We cannot anticipate exactly what the changes will be but we can also look at things from the viewpoint that we will not see a change take place over a very short time frame where it is not manageable because it will happen over two or three decades and not over a period of five or ten years. We don't know at this stage how far off the first effective anti-aging therapies are but what we can reasonably assume is they are probably no less than 15 years away and probably not much more than 30 years.

The other thing to consider as far as impact on the population is that we generally see that as people become wealthier they have a desire to contribute to the well-being of their community There's also the inescapable fact that people would be much more responsible environmentally and have a much greater desire to keep their neighborhoods safe and ensure that they are pleasant places to live because they will be living there for much longer.

Posted by: John Andersen at August 14th, 2015 12:46 PM

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