Date: April 1st, 2001
We introduced ten impressive thought leaders who gave us their hopes for the next 15 years of aging research in the Winter issue of LLLI! We have witnessed incredible research discoveries and medical breakthroughs in the last decade and a half that could fundamentally change the human experience of aging. The speed of medical science, and the enormous benefits it brings, make it important for all of us to have a clear vision of the possibilities ahead.
We have added several more forecasts to our list of commentators, including the views of such dignitaries as former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Agewave President and well-known author, Ken Dychtwald.
"While serving on the Board of Biogen, a bio-pharmaceutical company, I have seen the dramatic progress in dealing with the diseases of humankind, and obviously many of those of the aging population. Yet, we should not look toward pharmaceuticals for magical potions and remedies for longevity, we should look at our own lifestyles. Older Americans must become more completely aware of having healthy lifestyles, enjoying in moderation all things, including alcohol consumption, having a healthy diet and exercise and adequate rest… and a peaceful and understanding mind. These things will most certainly enrich and lengthen the lives of our aging loved ones.
"In addition, one of our greatest challenges is full health care for seniors, but not in a way that will break down Medicare, Medicare and Social Security. We must assure there will be something left for our children and grandchildren. We must not simply turn our attention to the seniors without turning our attention to those who come after us. Unless we get a handle on this issue, in the year 2010, 60 percent of the Federal discretionary budget will be going to people over 60, and that has never worked in any society."
Former U.S. Senator - Wyoming
Getting older gets easier all the time. Preventive health checks are a good example of scientific developments that ease the aging process. We benefit from mammograms and screenings for colon and prostate cancer and diabetes, just to name a few preventive tests. People are more equipped than ever to nip debilitating illness in the bud. This trend seems destined to flourish in the future. The more our population ages, the more we can expect preventive medical techniques that change lives for the better.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)
We have completed a century of incredible improvements in health care, which has dramatically elevated our life expectancy. While we have managed to increase our life spans by almost 30 years since 1900, we haven't yet focused properly on our health spans. We are now on the brink of mind-boggling breakthroughs in the areas of pharmacology, nutraceuticals, hormone therapeutics, organ cloning, miniaturization of biotechnology, stem cell research and the world of gene therapy that will have a radical impact on how we live.
If we do not seize upon and push forward recent scientific breakthroughs, this lack of focus could become the potential social, economic and political sinkhole of the 21st Century.
Over the past hundred years, we have dramatically increased human life spans. But now that people are living longer, we need to devote more resources to improving their quality of life, also. The President's budget will double funding for NIH this year, and it should go a long way to fighting the diseases that currently cause so much suffering among our senior citizens.
Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR)