Sunday, July 13, 2008

Time to take on time

To significantly reduce disease, we must slow the aging process, according to a team of experts who published their conclusion online in the British Medical Journal on July 8. In an article entitled, “New model of health promotion and disease prevention for the 21st century,” Professor S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago and his associates suggest that the current focus on preventing and curing individual diseases will become outmoded as people in developed countries live longer and develop the multiple chronic illnesses that come with aging.
“The change in strategy we are calling for requires a systematic attack on aging itself,” they write. “Evidence in models ranging from invertebrates to mammals suggests that all living things, including humans, possess biochemical mechanisms that influence how quickly we age and that they are adjustable.” Due to a greater life expectancy in developed countries, the increased incidence of diseases related to aging has resulted in a dramatic rise in health care costs. Dr Olshansky and colleagues note that if an extended life span is combined with health, it could result in a number of economic, social, and other benefits, which they call “the longevity dividend.” They propose increased funding for studies that will increase our knowledge concerning the relationship of aging to such diseases as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and most cancers, in addition to research into the processes that control aging itself. Continue Reading

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