Investments in aging biology research will help extend healthy life time span

Washington: A new study has revealed that finding a way to slow the biological processes of aging will do more to extend the period of healthy life in humans than attacking individual diseases alone.

The authors showcase work in the emerging interdisciplinary field of geroscience, which is based on the knowledge that aging itself is the major risk factor for most chronic diseases prevalent in the older population.

"In recent years, researchers studying the biological underpinnings of the aging process have made impressive progress in understanding the genetics, biology, and physiology of aging. With adequate research support, we could be in reach of a breakthrough similar to those in public health in the 19th century and medicine in the 20th," James Appleby, GSA Executive Director and CEO, said.

The research paper contains seven articles that discuss the contemporary pursuit of scientific means to extend the period of healthy life by slowing aging in people- known as the Longevity Dividend Initiative- and some of the obstacles that stand in the way of what many consider to be one of the most exciting breakthroughs in the history of science and public health.

Author Gordon J. Lithgow, PhD, points out, many childhood diseases were brought under control by antibiotics and vaccines once scientists understood they essentially had a single cause: microbes. If the diseases of late life also have a single cause (aging itself), then researchers should be able to develop classes of therapeutics by targeting aging mechanisms in a way similar to targeting microbial infection.

The study is published in Public Policy and Aging Report. 

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