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Experts Call for Investing in Longevity Science

Published June 13, 2008

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Experts Call for Investing in Longevity Science to Bolster Older Americans’ Contributions

Alliance for Aging Research Offers New Podcasts on Web Site

June 13th, 2008, Washington, D.C. – With the nation’s economy uppermost in many Americans’ minds, the Alliance for Aging Research explores the economic benefits from increased investment in longevity science in its most recent podcast series. The podcast series is part of the Alliance’s SAGE Crossroads website, a forum that explores emerging issues of human aging and longevity.

Millions of baby boomers will reach traditional retirement age soon, but they will continue to drive economic growth by starting new careers, continuing to pay taxes and investing, said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance. “Aging of the population is not a problem so much as a series of opportunities,” said Perry in the podcast. “If we are going to make the most of those opportunities, we really need to reorient society to create more jobs and more opportunities for people after 65, whether it’s in the paid workforce or in these endless possibilities of volunteerism.”

Perry explained that through volunteer work, community involvement and continued participation in the workforce, the older population can make a huge impact on the economy. Investment in medical and behavioral research is necessary to ensure that the elderly are healthy enough to contribute to society.

Other experts who were interviewed for the series on longevity science include:

  • Gregory Stock, Ph.D., CEO of Signum Biosciences;
  • David Meltzer, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and an associate faculty member at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago;
  • Robert W. Fogel, Ph.D., a Nobel Laureate and the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business;
  • Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health;
  • Robert Butler, M.D., president and CEO of the International Longevity Center;
  • Richard Miller, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pathology and director of research at the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center; and
  • John Q. Trojanowski, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Drug Discovery Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Another timely topic addressed in the podcasts, called SAGEcasts, is personalized medicine, which features David Merritt, project director at the Center for Health Transformation, and Dr. Greg Downing from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In podcast #34, Merritt discusses the advantages of a health information technology system that could support personalized medicine.

    “We have technology at our fingertips that sometimes we take for granted, but in health care, we are at least a generation behind,” said Merritt. He believes that an electronic system connecting all stakeholders and patients will inevitably be created, but it may not happen for another 10 to 15 years.

    Launched in March 2003 by the Alliance for Aging Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (publishers of Science Magazine), SAGE Crossroads provides policymakers, journalists and curious consumers with the opportunity to explore the impact of science and technology on aging. SAGEcasts spark discussions with experts on the ethical, political, economic, scientific and societal impacts of aging-related science.

    To download the free SAGEcasts, visit

Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Aging Research is a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the health and independence of aging Americans through public and private funding of medical research and geriatric education. The Alliance combines the interest of top scientists, public officials, business executives, and foundation leaders to promote a greater national investment in research and new technologies that will prepare our nation for the coming senior boom, and improve the quality of life for today’s older generation.

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