By Yuri Deigin | 2 February 2017
Every day 100,000 people worldwide die from age-related diseases: heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. They are called age-related because your chances of getting them double every 8 years of your life. So your odds of getting one in your 70s are sixty times higher than in your 20s. And the common cause behind all these deadly diseases is a biological process called aging. Thankfully, latest developments in medical and biological sciences have shown that these processes can be slowed down or even reversed.
Many interventions have been discovered to prolong life in animals. For example, caloric restriction was found to increase lifespan by 30–50% in over a dozen short-lived species; various pharmacological interventions achieved an increase in lifespan by almost a third. Using genetic interventions, murine lifespan was more than doubled, and that of nematode worms increased by a factor of 10. For humans, however, the picture is much less rosy.
An understanding of aging as a disease is gradually entering into the global health discourse. Today, deep old age (senility) is recognized as a disease by the World Heath Organization. However, senility is only a late-stage manifestation of aging, and recognizing it as a disease does little to resolve its underlying cause. Aging as a set of reversible disease processes begins at a relatively early age and requires targeted, yet-to-be-developed interventions to effectively counter it from the early stages of its development.
But such interventions, while theoretically highly plausible, are still quite a ways away. They are like the Moon landing in the 1950s — we knew we could do it, but, boy, would it take a lot of work. Same story today with aging. If we want to develop an effective intervention against it in the next 20 years, we need to greatly step up the breadth and depth of our fundamental research. The need for a significant increase in aging research is recognized by the international scientific community and is expressed in the Open Letter on Aging Research by 57 of the world’s leading life scientists.
The level of research needed to make this a reality would take a lot of money. So much money that likely only governments would be able to afford it. Unfortunately, governments are hard to convince and slow to react. They require a high level of public support behind any new initiative before they dare to even consider it let alone undertake it. Recognizing aging as a disease in the framework of the WHO would be a great boost to this effort. It would provide governments not only with a powerful validation of the effort to combat aging from a respected international scientific body, but also with the legal framework to increase funding for a newly recognized global pandemic.
It is an absolute certainty that eventually humanity will conquer aging, just as it has conquered a host of previously terminal diseases thanks to vaccines and antibiotics. But if we want the victory over aging to happen before it is too late for our loved ones, the time to act is now. Every day of delay costs the world 100,000 lives.
Adapted from my article originally published at www.singularityweblog.com on May 8, 2016.
Reprinted with permission from the author.
Yuri Deigin is a biotech entrepreneur and a life extension activist currently leading a project dedicated to developing an epigenetic rejuvenation gene therapy, as cyclic epigenetic reprogramming demonstrated great experimental results in mice: it extended their lifespan by up to 50%. He is the editor of Open Longevity RUS and Open Longevity ENG.
Time is money. Not only that — time is all we have. @OpenLongevity is fighting for some extra time for you, for all of us. That’s why we did our best (and then will do some more) for our presentation to be useful. https://t.co/8ahEDoCliY pic.twitter.com/cILtUrVs7c
— Open_Longevity (@OpenLongevity) November 17, 2017
Epigenetic Rejuvenation: the Oct4 experiment – Yuri Deigin
Aubrey de Grey – We Will End Aging
Can Science Reverse Aging?
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