The War on Aging

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Outpacing death

The popularity of games for the brain isn't supported by scientific evidence Get our bonus tips and scientific news on how to thrive as a senior. Let's win the War on Aging or die trying! First Name. Last Name. At 60, 70, 80, and 90, an increasing number of us are physically and mentally active, playing sports, and leading interesting lives. But not all.

How come some seniors flourish with age, while others wither on the vine? Science is discovering the answers. Psychologist Dr. The new imperative is to keep moving. Nature News. Based on Yariv Kanfi, …, Haim Y. The sirtuin SIRT6 regulates lifespan in male mice. Nature , — February 3, The Anti-Aging Pill. MIT Technology Review.

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Science Daily. June 11, Based on Yongyou Zhang, et al. Inhibition of the prostaglandin-degrading enzyme PGDH potentiates tissue regeneration. April 8, Based on N. Bredenkamp N. Regeneration of the aged thymus by a single transcription factor. January 12, Horvath, David J.

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Prolongevity hormone FGF21 protects against immune senescence by delaying age-related thymic involution. January 6, , first published online on November 28, Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature, , Telomeres and telomerase as therapeutic targets to prevent and treat age-related diseases. Novel telomerase-increasing compound in mouse brain delays the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. An attempt to prevent senescence: a mitochondrial approach.

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Orr et al. Suppressors of superoxide production from mitochondrial complex III. Schon and Salvatore DiMauro. Individuals in the field of gerontology, however, have certainly responded to the marketing of anti-aging products and therapies by A4M and others. The active promotion of anti-aging medicine and the superficial resemblance between its broad goals and those of established biological and medical researchers in the field of aging, have clearly led members of the latter group to become worried about being confused with the former.

The Scientific American position statement signed by 51 scientists Olshansky et al. Although different types of strategies have been employed in these efforts, one common goal has been to ensure that the hard-won respectability attained by the community of gerontological researchers not be tainted by the anti-aging movement. One approach to maintaining the legitimacy of research on aging has been to invent new terminology to describe its possible benefits.

It is not evident, however, why it is desirable or necessary to invent a new term. Moreover, many who conduct biomedical research on aging are not undertaking longevity research. To this end, Olshansky, Hayflick, and Carnes L. B, emphasis added. Not surprisingly, the various attacks on anti-aging medicine have engendered very strong ripostes from A4M. Although some of the responses have been personal, they have been primarily aimed at discrediting gerontology for the purpose of legitimizing anti-aging medicine. In conclusion, A4M g asserted: Simply put, the death cult of gerontology desperately labors to sustain an arcane, outmoded stance that aging is natural and inevitable ….

Ultimately, the truth on aging intervention will prevail, but this truth will be scarred from the well-funded propaganda campaign of the power elite who depend on an uninterrupted status quo in the concept of aging in order to maintain its unilateral control over the funding of today's research in aging. It is interesting to note that this attack on the establishment of gerontologists is directed at the very people who could further A4M's purported mission, anti-aging, through their research discoveries. Moreover, these A4M statements only appear on the organization's website and, therefore, may fairly be estimated to have a negligible impact on the broader public's perceptions of the gerontological community.

Few, if any, in the gerontological community would quarrel with the goals of those gerontologists who have recently focused their attention on the anti-aging movement. This effort is a commendable complement to the public health messages disseminated by NIA, the U. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the U.

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General Accounting Office described above. Another goal, clearly—and more important in its ramifications for the gerontological community and ultimately, perhaps, for society —is to preclude the anti-aging movement from stigmatizing research on aging, once again, with the charlatanic baggage that biogerontological research carried until the establishment of NIA ushered it into the mainstream of science in the last quarter of the 20th century.

It is certainly ironic that the field for which the major stride toward legitimacy and funding was largely achieved through the political influence of Florence Mahoney—a woman responsive to the marketing of anti-aging charlatans—is now understandably trying to distinguish itself from what it regards as pseudoscientific entrepreneurs and practitioners.

Will the war on anti-aging medicine succeed in preventing erosion of the scientific and political legitimacy of research on aging and funds for conducting it? Or will it boomerang as gerontologists become engaged with the anti-aging movement much like Brer Rabbit became inextricably embroiled with Tar Baby in the Uncle Remus tale see Johnson, ? Olshansky, Hayflick, and Carnes have been well aware of the possibility that their criticisms of the anti-aging movement might provide it with what they would regard as undue recognition and standing. They initially submitted their position statement to the Journal of the American Medical Association , and the journal said they would consider publishing it if a companion piece written by a proponent of anti-aging medicine could be considered to appear alongside it.

Hayflick, personal communication, July 22, Nonetheless, from evidence available in the short run, it is possible to argue that efforts to criticize the anti-aging movement have provided it with greater visibility. When the AARP Bulletin published its lead story on the Scientific American position statement, the president of A4M, Ronald Klatz, was enabled to reach a readership of more than 30 million people, gaining attention for his organization and issuing a strong indictment of gerontologists.

To be sure, the publication of quotes from Klatz and the description of A4M in the AARP Bulletin was not the first recognition that A4M and Klatz had received from long-established organizations in the field of aging. Moreover, the very fact that the author of the AARP Bulletin story Pope, felt that it was appropriate to get several quotes from Klatz and display his photo in a sidebar—even though neither he nor A4M were mentioned in the Scientific American article or position statement—was an indication that his organization had already attained some measure of legitimacy in the larger society.

But the new exposure that Klatz received through AARP's publication of his quotes was surely a major escalation in recognition for A4M because of the bulletin's huge circulation. One wonders how many AARP members who learned about A4M by reading this story subsequently attempted to access the A4M website to pursue an interest in anti-aging products and therapies. In addition to providing some limelight for A4M, the war on anti-aging medicine might also have the unintended consequence of blurring public understanding of the difference between the anti-aging movement and the anti-aging aspirations of some biogerontological researchers that could eventually lead to significant improvements of health conditions in old age.

One wonders if public and thereby financial support for researchers in this camp, as well as those who have somewhat less ambitious goals for modifying aging e. Olshansky, personal communication, July 18, ].

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Yet, regardless of any unintended consequences, it was inevitable that gerontologists would launch a war on the pseudoscientific elements of the contemporary anti-aging movement sooner or later. For one thing, the gerontological community has an ethical responsibility to do so. As Olshansky personal communication, July 18, says: The anti-aging entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the legitimate scientists by taking our research, extending and exaggerating our findings well beyond our own views, and then selling their false anti-aging potions to the public with the claims that there is science behind them.

By ignoring them, we're indirectly supporting them, and that had to stop. More importantly, as indicated by the early history of U. Waging war on the anti-aging movement, however, may not be sufficient by itself as a long-term strategy for maintaining and promoting greater funding for biogerontological research. In the context of today's concerns about the enormous future societal economic costs of acute and chronic health care for an aged baby boom cohort, the prospect of healthy and independent longevity might be rather appealing to politicians who are both responsible for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for appropriating research funds to NIA.

Moreover, this prospect is appealing for all of us. Despite the fact that the initial impetus for a separate institute was the long-standing frustration of the biogerontologists regarding grant support for their research, political necessity ultimately dictated that they subscribe to a broad vision of the field. When he took it to the meeting of the Gerontological Society GS to receive the organization's formal endorsement, he found that the GS president Bernice L.

The War on Aging The War on Aging
The War on Aging The War on Aging
The War on Aging The War on Aging
The War on Aging The War on Aging
The War on Aging The War on Aging

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