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Age, the biggest of all maladies

What would you do with 10 extra years to your life, or even 20?” Picking up this question with slight modifications from the back cover of the book ‘Lifespan’ by Dr. David Sinclair, I let you wonder.

While most of us in our 20’s or 30’s are waiting for the Health and Medicine industry to overcome perils like Cancer, Cardiac health, or in recent context, managing a pandemic, there is a highly dedicated group of academics and academic institutions that are looking to deal with the single most cardinal reason of mortality in human history, AGE.

Everyone dreads old age. It’s because of the overwhelming victory of sensations in your body arising from a complex of age-related diseases that involves loss of organ health, loss of brain function, and the overall lack of coordination among the various biological processes. The advent of antibiotics and other miraculous discoveries convinced us that curative medicine was the way to go about it. Which meant, see a patient with an infection, give him a red pill, and he is ready to discharge, encounter a patient with hypertension, give him a blue pill, and he is ready to go, and so many other examples like that. But what happens when all the problems are in the same patient and that the combination of red, blue, and yellow pill gets more toxic than therapeutic? That’s exactly what old age is. Therefore, Geroscience looks NOT to deal with symptoms of aging (i.e., cancer, hypertension, loss of cognition and nervous tissues, loss of eye function, etc.) but to deal with the very problem, that is the physiology of aging or simply, Why do we age? and what can we do to postpone the symptoms of aging?

Now you may ask, “if cancer and all are symptoms, what’s the disease?” Well, the disease is age, and Geroscience doesn’t aim to really take the conventional curative approach to cure age but to prevent it altogether.

Aging, as a disease, is something that sounds incredibly stupid at first. Because diseases can be cured, and years of philosophy and science have convinced us that we cant cure age. However, in about 2040, it will only sound as stupid as Copernicus did in 1500 when he said Earth goes around the Sun.

The cloud of illusion around the possibility of longer lives would very easily vanish when you look at the graph (taken from “our world in data”) I am attaching with the post. We can see how global life expectancy has increased at an interestingly high rate, while some countries like Japan have surpassed all thresholds of age as we know it with an average life expectancy around the 90s. This job was done on the back and shoulders of Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Health sciences. If we can double the life expectancy in the last 70 years with deteriorating environmental conditions and the mentioned sciences, not even their prime yet, imagine what we could do in the coming decades. Suddenly, then the idea of ‘curing age’ wouldn’t sound so stupid.

In the coming posts, I will try to discuss some of the directions Geroscience experts are pointing us towards and I would make it as easy and interesting to follow as much I could possibly do.

Cheers, have a LONG and healthy life!

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