Research Aging Cures Now!

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Earlier this month, some of the world's leading researchers on aging issued an open letter calling for more funding and research directly into the underlying mechanisms of aging and methods for its postponement. The Scientists' Open Letter on Aging Research declares:

Aging has been slowed and healthy lifespan prolonged in many disparate animal models (C. elegans, Drosophila, Ames dwarf mice, etc.). Thus, assuming there are common fundamental mechanisms, it should also be possible to slow aging in humans.

Greater knowledge about aging should bring better management of the debilitating pathologies associated with aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Therapies targeted at the fundamental mechanisms of aging will be instrumental in counteracting these age-related pathologies.

Therefore, this letter is a call to action for greater funding and research into both the underlying mechanisms of aging and methods for its postponement. Such research may yield dividends far greater than equal efforts to combat the age-related diseases themselves. As the mechanisms of aging are increasingly understood, increasingly effective interventions can be developed that will help prolong the healthy and productive lifespans of a great many people.

Setting aside the question of funding, what makes this letter very important is that it signals the beginning of a shift in the research paradigm from trying to fix the diseases caused by aging to the broader goal of devising therapies to prevent the deterioration of aging in the first place.

Whole list of signatories here.

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  1. steal Paul’s money give it to researcher Peter so he won’t have to compete in the free market against privatly funded researcher Jim.

  2. Now comes the parade of Luddites…those wonderful, discerning, thoughtful people who will tell us all why the slowing of aging is a disaster for “society” and therefore should be prohibited by law.

  3. Joshua,

    The Problem is that private researchers don’t do squat. Most R&D, especially the early work, takes place with tax payer dollars. And it’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul to compete with Jim – it Peter, Paul and Jim all paying for each other, then Jim gets the free data to take it further from there. Don’t worry Joshua – profiteering off the tax payers’ investment is still alive and well in your imaginary “free market” universe.

    JMJ

  4. people who will tell us all why the slowing of aging is a disaster for “society” and therefore should be prohibited by law.

    I’ll tell you why it’s a disaster- for the same reason as stem cell research- by the time they get it worked out, it’ll be too late for me to benefit!

  5. Easy for you to say, dead elvis, seeing as how you’re…
    I, on the other hand, am not quite, so let’s get this research crackin’!

  6. Mr. Bailey, I put it to you — do you now or have you ever had any interest in living longer that could affect your objectivity on this topic?

    We, your skeptical readers, demand full disclosure!

  7. People who object to stem cell research are not all luddites. Some operate from the premise that life begins at conception and to use embrios for research is killing people in the name of medical research. That is a perfectly reasonable and non-luddite position. You can be for technology and still think that it is wrong to take human lives in the name of medical research.

    The second type (Leon Klass being the most notable) really are luddites who beleive long lifespans are not a societal good. The second group scare the hell out of me.

  8. No John, you have to be a stupid luddite to consider a freakin zygote a “human being.” Is a seed a tree? Is a tadpole a frog? C’mon man.

    JMJ

  9. It is a perfectly reasonable position to believe life begins at conception. You may not agree with it, but it is reasonable nonetheless. I am not taking the bait JMJ.

  10. Let me go on record as being for this research and increased funding for it. However, it ain’t hard to see that if we end aging, there are some other problems that require solutions.

    Malthus may have been wrong…

    John,
    Interesting. Both scare the hell out of me, but the former more so.

  11. It’s not “reasonable,” John. It’s insipid. When does life begin? At conception? How about at copulation? Have to do that first, right? Why not take it back to contraceptives? Is wearing a condom murder?

    “When does life begin?” is a goofball non-sequitor.

    Puh-lease.

    JMJ

  12. Coach,

    People who scare me are the ones who try to define life as “personhood”. That is define it by life by a given set of abilities. Under this view, life begins when someone can do these essential tasks. What scares me is that it is a very short leap to then defining people who have lesser abilities, the handicapped, sick, ect.. as something less than human. Once we start deciding who is human and who is not, it is very easy just to eliminate those who are less than human for ours and their own good. That is scary. A lot more scary than saying all life is sacred and begins at conception.

  13. John, you don’t even have the slightest clue what you are arguing against.

    How about this for criteria: (any of the three must apply)

    1: Was sentient

    2: Is sentient

    3: Sentience has been interconnected with other’s sentience

    Well?

    You see, with this set of criteria, “will be sentient” (which is never really known for sure anyway) is left out. Why? Because WHO CARES?

    Get it?

    JMJ
    JMJ

  14. “”When does life begin?” is a goofball non-sequitor.”

    Funny, every time I read one of your posts, I kinda think the same thing.

  15. Mediageek, please, critique me some more – it’s sooooooo important to me!

    LOL!!!

    JMJ

  16. Actually, John, life does not begin at conception, because both sperm and egg are alive. Life is a continuous process that began at some moment billions of years ago and has continued in an unending process since then.

    Maybe you mean: Life begins when a new genome is created. It is only a unique genome which begins at conception. Are you your genome? Or is there something more to you than your six billion base pairs of DNA?

  17. Personally, I blame Des Cartes for this whole mess.

  18. “Mediageek, please, critique me some more – it’s sooooooo important to me!”

    Why should I actually critique you with logic and thought when just making fun of you is so much more rewarding?

  19. John,
    Your comments highlight a weakness of a certain type of libertarian – the desire to simplify everything with artificially clear distinctions so as to not to have to make difficult choices.

    I find it a tempting desire, myself.

    I think the true answer, so much as it is possible to say such a thing, is that there is a certain level of consciousness that emerges from a level of complexity that grants someone personhood. It is probably somewhere between 3 months of gestation and 6 months after birth. Probably more important in these cases are the other moral agents invested in the outcome – parents, future parents, grand parents, and to a lesser extent society as a whole.

  20. Why is a science/ aging thread turning into a fucking abortion debate thread?

    We get it people!! Some people think life begins at conception, others at birth, others somewhere in between. And we know that every group thinks the other group is wrong and stupid.

    We get it. We really really do.

    Will this ever end? No one is wavering from their “correct” position? How many times do we smash our heads against the wall before we admit that the wall will not get out of our way?

  21. MG – LOL! But the real question is, “When does making fun of me begin?”

    JMJ

  22. “The Problem is that private researchers don’t do squat. Most R&D, especially the early work, takes place with tax payer dollars.”

    And as such, the money is not allocated such as to take care of the low-hanging fruit. The private research dollars are much more efficiently spent. Public money is someone else’s, so mis-spending it is not only unheard of, it’s actively encouraged.

  23. Preview is my friend.

    Should say “so mis-spending it is not only *NOT* unheard of, it’s actively encouraged. “

  24. Sage, c’mon man. Almost all initial R&D takes place at the university level because only a tiny percentage of initial investigations pan out, some of the studies are controversial, much of the work is unprofitable, and it’s how we train the future scientists of your precious private sector.

    Jeez guys. You can be libertarian if you want, but at least be realistic about things.

    JMJ

  25. “Almost all initial R&D takes place at the university level because”

    …that’s where the money is, I know. And again, it’s someone else’s money, so there’s no incentive to control costs or make an effort to be better/faster/cheaper, something the private sector has been doing forever.

  26. Intelligent life ends where “LOL” begins.

  27. Life obviously begins at implantation. If you believe otherwise, you dumb.

    And this getting at the roots of aging is what I’m currently researching, so more funding would be damn sweet in my quest for the Nobel. Go ahead, call me a hypocrite welfare queen.

  28. “Life obviously begins at implantation. If you believe otherwise, you dumb.”

    An embryo is nothing more than a tumor with different genes.

  29. JMJ: Private researchers do not do squat? Actually, we damned well do the vast majority of all R&D.

    Get your facts before you continue to spout nonsense.

  30. The only way to really age gracefully is to stop, or slow down ageing.

  31. Actually, we damned well do the vast majority of all R&D.

    And if you didn’t, you should.

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