We Live in an Age of Biotechnology, In Which We Could Choose to End the Suffering of Aging

Bringing degenerative aging under medical control, ending the tens of millions of deaths each year, ending the suffering of hundreds of millions more. This is a plausible goal for our era of biotechnology. Yet even as the first rejuvenation therapies have become a reality, in the form of first generation senolytic drugs that clear a sizable fraction of senescent cells from the body, there is little public enthusiasm for - and understanding of - the path ahead to a better world. A world in which people have the choice not to decay in body and mind as they gather wisdom and experience in later life. Change is in the air, but it is far too slow, and every year of delay just adds to the toll of suffering and death that is the present human condition.

Today, some two thirds of all human funerals owe to the processes of aging. Only 3.7 per cent of cancer patients are under thirty-four, and if a cure for all types of cancers were miraculously found, it would add no more than two years to the average human lifespan, because other age-related diseases would still take their toll. But while the term "pandemic" - from the Greek pán ("all") and dēmos ("people") - does not imply infectious disease, our ethics prevent us from applying it to the nearly 100,000 daily deaths caused by aging.

Yet in 2021, we all agree that the effects of aging must be treated. The United States alone spends over $300 billion taxpayer dollars each year on the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's, and the trillions of dollars spent on the age-related mortality risk of COVID-19 by this single country, in this single year, make for a painful calculation. But to preventively fund aging research itself goes beyond the reactive purview of both politics and medical systems.

When asked in a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 56 per cent of Americans replied they would not want to slow their aging and live up to 120. At first glance, their logic is sound: with an unaltered average health-span, to add another forty years to average human lifespan could be catastrophic, for both individuals and governments. By 2035, demographics in the United States will reach a turning point, with more people in the country aged 65 or older than 18 or younger.

At second glance, however, the Pew survey respondents are the same Americans who, if diagnosed with early signs of Alzheimer's, would do all within reach to slow down its progression. In reality, one cannot successfully slow down the processes of aging without also increasing healthspan. And in techno-progressive societies, a larger number of healthy, long-lived individuals are more likely to mend financial structures than to burden them.

We think of aging as the product of this orphic thing called "time", ignoring that species far less resourceful than ours live on for centuries longer, and some (like the American lobster) do not decrease in strength, do not have their metabolism slowed down, and become more rather than less fertile, with the passage of time. Surely, we can do better than to draw a skewed, myopic ethics, which enshrines human life, even as we treat the biological processes of aging like a mystical, tabooed concept, from which life's meaning is to be derived. When some two thirds of human deaths owe to the effects of aging - a number rapidly increasing with advancements in robotics, vaccines, and self-driving cars - it becomes difficult to argue that death and aging must be recognised as divorced processes.

Link: https://www.abc.net.au/religion/should-we-engineer-ourselves-out-of-aging/13479746


Tangible data/evidence does wonders.

Posted by: person12345 at August 10th, 2021 10:19 AM

So, person12345 has a good point. Once senolytics are demonstrated to work, public (and government) perception will hopefully shift suddenly and favorably.

Posted by: Carl White at August 10th, 2021 10:52 AM

Pulsechain cryptocurrency raises 'mindblowing' $25M in five days for SENS longevity group!
Aubrey de Grey : "It is going to allow us to move considerably faster to getting towards a post-ageing world, it is just amazing!"
How much will this donation accelerate development?

Posted by: Alex at August 10th, 2021 11:21 AM

@Alex, my exact question. When I read AdG comment 2 weeks ago, it would be nice if he quantify " considerably faster"

Posted by: Robert at August 10th, 2021 12:29 PM

depends how much "real" money they can get when selling the coins. Usually smaller money over longer period of time (even if the total amount is less) can give more results that one spending. So it depends how well the money is utilized. There's also a principle of diminishing returns. Where the first few millions might as useful as the last few billions.

Posted by: Cuberat at August 10th, 2021 5:12 PM

Is there any more news or expected update dates about the final fundraising amount raised for SENS from Pulsechain? It seems to have gone very quiet since the fundraising finished. I know it was over 25 million after 5 days but the fundraiser has been finished quite a few days ago and just curious as to when they reveal the final figure raised, the secret large donator, and when the pulse chain transfer takes place.

Posted by: wittyfry at August 11th, 2021 8:43 AM

"So, person12345 has a good point. Once senolytics are demonstrated to work, public (and government) perception will hopefully shift suddenly and favorably." Carl White

Hello Carl remember your posts from talk-polywell; yes senolytics are the favored son now. I would also include Greg Fahy who unfortunately isn't better known. His data on a small number of samples suggest methylation clock rejuvenation. His currenty TRIMXX followup is currently running.



Posted by: Tim at August 11th, 2021 10:31 AM

It's coming up to the end of the third year of receiving Reason's weekly messages.

My spanning began as a result of installing an R.O. filter twenty plus years ago and heeding the warning that some vital nutrients may go missing. Exercise, diet and supplements continue to be tweaked for efficacy and age. I'm in good, not perfect shape.

I've had two out-of-pocket "Executive Physical$" in ten-year intervals, with a third due in a couple of years. Part of the sales pitch for Executive Physicals is that they go beyond "diagnostic care" and enter into the otherwise forbidden land of "preventive care".

Getting back to a place that is near the point of Reason's message in this posting is this claim of frustration of mine regarding the do-not-cross line between diagnostic and preventative care.

Even at the Executive Physical level of care, the difference really only amounts to more comprehensive diagnostic care.

Any preventative activity has been my own doing - from my responding to more and better information in the up-charged reports. "They" did/do nothing regarding preventative care. I do get some, if not much of the 'why' on that, but will leave it for others to cogitate on.

Two final thoughts -

1 - If you take a look at the observable information regarding so-called preventative care given in public health care such as Obamacare and Medicare, it can be seen that the objective is a lesser obligation by the State, and not at all about reducing health distress while aging.

2 - All of the above will mean a lot more to any reader when they experience a serious health trauma - even and especially when a loose budget is part of the mix. Sometimes an existing solution simply isn't made available for sale, for remedy - within capitalism, amazing.

I'm sorry to appear to be moving the starting blocks back, but there really is a huge long way to go on this.

Thanks for helping with changing the direction. I believe that it will change . . . . uh, eventually . . . . I'm 67

Posted by: GPA .6 at August 15th, 2021 9:57 PM
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