Blog | Events | Multimedia | About | Purpose | Programs | Publications | Staff | Contact | Join   
     Login      Register    

Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe to: Monthly newsletter Daily news feed Blog feeds Twitter IEET Wiki



Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Semantic MediaWiki in neuroscience - The BlueBrain perspective

Engineers are ‘schooling’ themselves on fish maneuvers

The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory and Mindfulness Based Mind Coaching

War and Human Evolution

Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State

Black Death for the Internet?


ieet books

Between Ape and Artilect: Conversations with Pioneers of AGI and Other Transformative Technologies
Author
by Ben Goertzel ed.


comments

instamatic on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 18, 2014)

Kris Notaro on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 17, 2014)

Nikki_Olson on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 17, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Black Death for the Internet?' (Apr 17, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 17, 2014)

Kris Notaro on 'Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State' (Apr 17, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Technological Growth and Unemployment:  A Global Scenario Analysis

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears
Mar 27, 2014
(14751) Hits
(8) Comments

Future of love and sex: monogamy no longer the default, say experts
Mar 30, 2014
(11918) Hits
(3) Comments

Quest for immortality spurs breakthroughs in human-machine merge
Apr 6, 2014
(6093) Hits
(1) Comments

Shape-shifting claytronics: wild future here by 2020, experts say
Mar 24, 2014
(5388) Hits
(2) Comments



IEET > Rights > FreeThought > Personhood > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Health > Vision > Contributors > Maria Konovalenko

Print Email permalink (1) Comments (3141) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


We Have to Have More Courage to Insist Aging is Accepted as a Disease


Maria Konovalenko
Maria Konovalenko
SLEF

Posted: Dec 26, 2012

The recent Nature journal special edition is dedicated completely to the problem of aging. Among various articles covering topics from demographics to comparative biology and robots, there’s one about the interventions in the aging processes. It is a nice overview about the current successes in slowing down aging in mammals, however I found the last paragraph rather disappointing. It says….

Ageing isn’t a disease, and lifespan extension will be almost impossible to prove in humans.

These are the words of the NIA officials and some of the scientists. Aging is not considered to be a disease at the moment. There is no such indication as aging, therefore one can’t register a geroprotector drug, the one that slows down aging. This is one of the major hurdles in aging research. Even though there are some substances that are proven to slow down aging and protect from diseases, researchers can’t make drugs from these substances. This has to be changed if we want to live longer and healthier. I think it’s horrible that the NIA people are propagating this idea that aging is not a disease. They are rejecting the opportunity with their own hands. If they fought for persuading the healthcare officials to accept aging as a disease, a lot of problems would be gone instantly.

Firstly, it would be much easier to get grants for aging research. Now everyone has to come up with the potential impact on treating the pathologies like cancer and diabetes, but once aging is recognized to be a disease, it would be much easier to apply to funding.

Secondly, research would be more effective, all the scientists now working on separate age-related diseases wouldn’t need to shift their attention from the actual cause, they would be able to focus on the aging processes with no harm to the future funding opportunities.

Lastly, there will be aging doctors in the clinic. Right now one can’t come to the hospital and  say, “doctor, I’ve got a problem, I am aging.” People would laugh at such a patient, however this is the best kind of patient, the smartest one, one who cares about his future and wants to prevent the upcoming illnesses and frailty. Most importantly, there is a way to help patients like that. the article says “lifespan extension will be almost impossible to prove in humans.” I believe this is wrong. The right panel of aging biomarkers will do the trick. Yes, the panel will be huge, we would need to monitor a lot of parameters (proteomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic data, etc.), watch the dynamics, but after some time of monitoring, we’ll be able to prevent diseases and make truthful predictions regarding the rate of aging of a particular person. It has already been shown. Read the story of Michael Snyder from Stanford University who was able to track the onset of his type 2 diabetes and treat it, way before the traditional diagnostics could detect the illness.

Glass, Sierra and others hope that research on ageing interventions will change the way we think about disease and drug development, and lead to treatments that tackle multiple age-related diseases at once. Major causes of death worldwide, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, share a common risk factor: age. Tackling one disease at a time isn’t working, says the NIA’s de Cabo. “Ageing is the leading risk factor for all chronic diseases,” he says. “Postpone ageing, and you postpone these diseases.”

Dr. de Cabo is right, however it is absolutely not clear to me how these researchers are going to change the existing attitude without making aging recognized as a disease. I believe it’s NIA that has to be the leader in persuading the government to change the nomenclature and include aging in the list of diseases. Instead, they are hiding their heads in the sand. And in the meantime we are not getting any younger.


Maria Konovalenko is a molecular biophysicist and the program coordinator for the Science for Life Extension Foundation. She earned her M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biological Physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
Print Email permalink (1) Comments (3142) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


What I find interesting is the view of some people that while it’s okay to find ways to treat and cure diseases, including those understood to be age related, but that we *should* not interfere with ‘normal aging.’

Well okay, so we learn to cure all forms of cancer, dementia, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, arthritis, all vision and hearing deficiencies, osteoporosis, any specific disease condition that gets put on a death certificate (‘old age’ hasn’t been considered a ‘cause of death’ since the 50’s)...what’s left? Baldness? (not a life-threatening state, but one we consider subject to treatment as well) What does such a person die of? What do they look like? Are we allowed to intervene in everything, other than letting your telomeres run out? (and the ability to intervene there, will fall naturally out of cancer research and treatment)

As for;

“Ageing isn’t a disease, and lifespan extension will be almost impossible to prove in humans”

That assertion is silly. Show me someone of documented advanced age (preferably older than Jeanne Calmet was), but in most, if not all ways physiologically indistinguishable from someone much younger (preferably early adulthood), and I’m sold…

Isn’t this what we would look for in experimental animals? Yes, it would take longer to prove in long-lived species like ourselves (assuming that rejuvenation of those of advanced age isn’t possible, which I doubt), but that’s only a matter of patience. No harder than multi-decade heart studies.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Black Hole Time Travel

Previous entry: Sirius Inventor Martine Rothblatt on Howard Stern

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
Williams 119, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford CT 06106 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376