Longevity Research is an Economic Necessity.
It is vital to recognize the immediate economic importance of investing in longevity and healthy-aging sciences.
Aging itself is a complex series of at least 300 biological processes involving more than 10% of our genetic makeup. It follows that methods to combat these effects must be a combination of sciences, from biotech to biophysics and pharmaceuticals. There is no single “silver bullet” solution.
Aging, along with the physical and mental decay that accompanies it, is still widely regarded as a natural and inevitable thing. It is not, it is a degenerative disease in which the physical integrity and structure of our cells decay each time they divide to replace old ones or as part of any healing process.
This begins between the ages of 20 and 25 when we finish growing. There are numerous creatures that do not age as we do. Ocean quahogs and Greenland sharks can live 500 years. Koi, giant tortoises, and bowhead whales routinely live to over 200. The jellyfish is immortal. By understanding the reasons for their continued growth, good health and longevity, we can learn more about aging…and we must.
The two main theories of aging are genetic — that there is either a correctable fault(s) in our genome which causes us to age or that we need to add sequences similar to the ones in long-lived creatures. This is a science which is newly-established and brings great hope with the arrival of the genetic editing technique, CRISPR. The second theory is the “telomere theory.” Telomeres are the buffers at the end of each chromosome which protect it during the cellular renewal process.
As they wear down cellular repair becomes less effective and degeneration of the body occurs. The theory holds that the longer the telomeres, the longer we live. Treatments are now available to counter this. One notable recipient is Elizabeth Parrish, who has undergone a revolutionary combination gene therapy composed of telomerase and follistatin.
Telomere length and attrition are modulated by genetic and epigenetic factors. Additionally; environmental factors like living in polluted areas damage cells, insufficient sleep, prolonged stress, working too hard, poor diet and poor lifestyle choices like excessive drug or alcohol use, smoking and overexposure to sunlight speed up telomere loss.
Aging is the number one cause of death in the world — it is also leading to complete economic collapse. We literally can’t afford not to fund longevity research. It is not a question any longer. Already a lot is understood, but there is still a long way to go before we can stop or reverse it entirely. There are plenty of tools available now as well as new and exciting techniques which can, with proper funding, become usable within 2–10 years.
The UK is reflective of the majority of Western Europe, and the US:
Cost per year of dementia care alone per year 34.7 Bn GBP ($48 billion)
The Health and Care Needs of our Ageing Population Between 2017 and 2040 the population of people aged over 65 is projected to increase by 49 per cent. The numbers of people aged over 85 — the group most likely to need health and care services — is projected to rise even more rapidly, nearly doubling from 1.4 to 2.7 million over the same period. However, in recent years improvements in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy have flat-lined.
Most people experience the majority of years spent living with poor health after the age of 65, and can, on average, expect to spend around half of their later years living with a life-limiting health condition or disability. There is significant regional disparity between areas with the highest and lowest levels of disability-free life expectancy at 65, with over 2 year’s difference for men and 2 and a half years for women- Ageuk, July 2019
UK Public Health Jan, 2019
In the UK the % of people over 65 is 19%, in France over 20%, in the US 16.5%
The biggest percentage of population is 50–50 yrs, with a life expectancy of 75+ years, but a retirement age of 67. On average people start work at 18. With fertility rates of under 1.7% in these countries, unless healthy life extension is achieved, the economy will implode by 2035 as there will be too few working to support those who are unable.
Authored by Ian Hale
Dr. Ian Hale earned his BA (Honors) in Cultural Studies (English and History) at the University of Portsmouth, before receiving his Teaching License from Bristol University (England). He earned his M.A. in Professional Special Education Studies, which included genetics, neurology, and haemotology at Bath Spa University in 2008.
He received his Ph.D. (H.C.) in Humanitas at UNESCO in 2006. Prof Hale has guest lectured at Touro Law School, Jewish Law Institute under Prof Samuel L Levine, New York on Neurodiversity. He is the author of bit.ly/2SUT00C and amzn.to./31dlbFc Prof Hale also holds an International Diploma in Integrated Medicine.