How Close Are We To Preventing the Diseases of Aging

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This summer the President & CEO here at the Alliance for Aging Research, Dan Perry, was asked to participate in the annual melding of the foremost medical minds known as TEDMED. At the meeting, Dan gave a fantastic 13 minute talk that really summed up how “tantalizingly close” researchers are to that “fountain of youth.” Not the fountain that will create 500 year old grandparents that write you in and out of their wills for every perceived slight, but the one that will extend everyone’s healthy years of living, or “Healthspan”, well into their 80’s & 90’s without the multiplicity of tragic and devastating chronic conditions that compound to slowly rob them of their mental and physical well-being.

The fountain Dan describes is much more realistic, one that actually slows the devastating effects of the aging process that directly contribute to the development of those costly chronic conditions. His talk about extending the Healthspan and its potential boon to society, was actually quite inspirational. He describes his entry into this seemingly far-fetched field early in his professional life, and the almost mythical scientific developments, and the people who helped them come about, during his 25 year journey. The talk is really worth watching, including the Q & A session where he gets to really plug for the current generation of scientists and academics pushing to make this the public priority it deserves to be.

As he says in his talk, “Tectonic shifts have happened before.” After you watch it, I think you’ll agree with all of us here at the Alliance that today’s Mary Laskers and Florence Mahoney’s have helped push the science of aging biology to a point were “Tantalizingly close” means, “Too close to quit.” If you’d like to learn more about how to help push this next “tectonic shift” over the edge, and bring about a world in which we address the leading risk factor for all major chronic diseases, and not each of the numerous diseases individually, visit www.healthspancampaign.org

Dan’s TEDMED 2012 talk.

This post was written by Michael Maroni, former Public Policy Assistant at the Alliance.