Activism for Longevity

The modern community of activists and patient advocates focused on the treatment of aging, carried out to significantly extend healthy longevity, has existed in some form since the 1970s. The early decades were largely a matter of supplements and hope, however, not a real prospect for slowing aging to any sizable degree. Only in the past twenty years has the community advanced to the point at which it became plausible to meaningfully tackle the causes of aging, and only in the past ten years has support and awareness increased to the point at which earnest progress could take place.

While the first, comparatively crude rejuvenation therapies already exist in the form of senolytic compounds capable of selectively destroying a fraction of the harmful senescent cells present in aged tissues, this is but a starting point. There is a lot of work left to accomplish in the years ahead. Many more classes of rejuvenation therapy will be needed to repair or clear out other forms of damage in aging tissues, and few are as actively developed as they might be. Even as funding for research and clinical development of rejuvenation therapies increases, there will continue to be an important role for advocacy and activism: almost no amount of funding is ever enough, and all too much of it will go to the wrong sorts of programs, if the controlling parties are left to their own devices.

There is now an emerging international social advocacy movement dedicated to promotion of biomedical research and development to alleviate aging-related morbidity, extend healthy period of life, and improve healthy longevity for the elderly population. It is commonly referred to by the activists as the "longevity movement" or "longevity research and advocacy movement," as well as "healthy life extension movement." It is a "hybrid" between the aged rights advocacy, patient advocacy, and science advocacy, as it emphasizes the need to implement preventive medicine to improve health care for the elderly around the world via enhanced medical scientific research with a special focus on the mechanisms of biological aging.

The goals of the movement, defined by the organizations, initiative groups, and individual activists representing it, are the following: (a) to increase public awareness of the plausibility and desirability to bring the processes of aging under medical control, thus extending healthy human life span, delaying the manifestation of age-related diseases, and improving health in the older age; (b) to foster the improvement of the local and global legislation concerning health across the life course, aging, health and well-being of the elderly, and medical research with a special focus on the mechanisms of aging; (c) to allocate more public funding to fundamental and translational research on the mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases; (d) to increase the interest of the investment industry in supporting biotechnology companies developing innovative drugs and therapies targeting the underlying mechanisms of aging and thus able to prevent, delay, or cure age-related diseases; (e) to promote clinical implementation of the evidence-based medical and lifestyle means to extend healthy human life span.

The movement embraces the recent advances of biomedical science proving the possibility to intervene into the degenerative processes of aging to slow down, delay, prevent, and reverse age-related damage accumulation and seeks to enhance and accelerate such advances. The movement is still young and emerging and is not yet strongly related to other forms of health-care advocacy. But a stronger relation is hoped for.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_395-1

Comments

I speak out against the inevitability of aging and age-related death at every opportunity. Recently, it has come up regarding the retirement plans of a number of principles and senior staff at the company I work for, which will not be the same if they leave (2 digit employee numbers).

I've referred them to MFoundation.org and told them that, while of course they would be welcomed back should the onset of youth and boredom in retirement drive them back. But why not hang around for another 5 years and see how things are going. And, I always get into a discussion of the subject when someone kindly mentions that I don't look my age.

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at June 18th, 2019 7:27 AM

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