How can I help cure aging? Curing Aging: An informational pamphlet There are a few organizations that perform direct research to cure aging. You can donate to the SENS Research Foundation, the Longevity Research Why should we cure aging? Institute, or the Methuselah Foundation. You can also help this cause by Over decades of mental and physical decline, the natural aging process raising awareness among friends and family, or by donating to an advocacy progressively makes our bodies susceptible to a vast array of diseases. In the organization such as the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation. If you are developed world, the diseases of aging kill about 90% of people, and these young enough, you can make the decision to work in the field by studying diseases usually kill people very painfully. Aging makes us look unattractive biology, and doing research into the underlying causes of aging at a university. and eliminates our stamina and zest for life. It makes us weak, emotionally We believe that people who donate to or work directly for organizations that unstable, and puts a huge financial burden on family members who must take explicitly research a cure to aging will have the greatest impact. care of us into old age, and watch as our personalities and memories die piece by piece. Even the “best” ways to die of old age, such as via heart attack, are some of the most painful human experiences, and separate us permanently from our families following death. A cure to aging would mean halting the natural aging process, or reversing it, so that we could maintain a healthy youthful state, even as we get older chronologically. Isn’t aging natural? Smallpox, rabies, and polio are all natural. Hurricanes are natural. Earthquakes References are natural. We all think these things are bad and that we should use technology to eliminate their negative effects. Centuries ago, and still today, 1. Longo, V. D. et al. (2015, August). Interventions to slow aging in humans: are we some people believed that we should not use vaccines because it was against ready? Aging Cell, 14(4), 497-510. Retrieved from http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC4531065/. the order of nature. Today we know that this position is nonsense. Nature does 2. Petralia, R. S., Mattson, M. P., & Yao, P. J. (2014, July). Aging and longevity in the not have intentions because nature is not an entity. Nature is mountains and simplest animals and the quest for immortality. Ageing Research Reviews, 16, 66-82. rocks, and rivers and stars. Nature does not have a mind, but we do. Retrieved from http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133289/. 3. Wein, H. (2017, September). Drugs extend healthy lifespan in mice. Retrieved from http://nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/drugs-extend-healthy-lifespan-mice. Isn’t curing aging impossible? 4. The Cost of Sequencing a Human Genome. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/Sequencing-Human-Genome-cost. Biologists have developed theories of aging which allow us to say with high 5. Facts About Healthy Aging. (2018, June). Retrieved from confidence that aging is possible to cure1. Furthermore, there are several http://ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/healthy-aging-facts/. 6. Gopnik, A., Griffiths, T. L., & Lucas, C. G. (2015, April). When younger learners can examples of organisms in nature which do not age, which strongly indicate that be better (or at least more open-minded) than older ones. Current Directions in biological rejuvenation is possible in principle2. In recent decades, scientists Psychological Science, 24(2), 87-92. Retrieved from have demonstrated the ability to extend the healthy lifespan of small mammals http://cocosci.princeton.edu/tom/papers/LabPublications/GopnicketalYoungLearners.p by up to 30%3. It is quite probable that this ongoing research may one day df. allow us halt or reverse the natural aging process entirely. Wouldn’t curing aging lead to overpopulation? Isn’t desiring immortality foolish? Every technology that saves lives increases the number of people who are on Curing aging would not mean that everyone would automatically be immortal. Earth. This objection works equally against any life saving endeavor, such as What we want is for everyone to have the choice of how and when they die. eliminating mass shootings, war, or genocide. Besides, there is a simple Right now, everyone is forced to die via natural aging, whether they want to or method of reducing the burden of overpopulation: stop having more children. If not. Technology could bring this dire situation under control. Even if the given the choice, would you rather die at 75 from Alzheimer’s, or stop having universe will one day wind down, and true immortality is impossible, it is still more children? For me, the choice is clear. better to keep people in good health until then. Moreover, technological advances over the past two centuries have allowed us to provide food and shelter to a much larger population, and this trend Aren’t there bigger problems in the world? seems likely to continue. Looking ahead, we may even expand into new For humanity, it is hard to think of a bigger problem than aging. Worldwide, habitable areas of the Earth, and in the long term, colonize other planets. aging is the cause of the vast majority of suffering and medical expenditures5. The risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and injury are all amplified in old age, and only get worse as time goes on. One of the oldest maxims in Won’t the cure only be available for the rich? medicine is that a doctor should treat the underlying cause of a disease rather Typically, technologies become cheaper as time goes by. One example is than merely palliate the symptoms. Since aging is the root cause of most whole genome sequencing, which dropped from $100 million to $1000 in 15 diseases in the world, our number one medical priority should be to get it years4. There seems to be no reason to expect advances in life extension to under control through technology. be an exception. So, while the wealthy may be the first to have access, eventually anti-aging medicine will be available to the masses. It would be absurd to ban all forms of medical and technological progress because the Doesn’t humanity make progress through death? rich would be the first to benefit. A far better solution to the problem of Research has shown that those who are most closed-minded are those who inequality is to advocate progressive taxation and the provision of subsidies to are old6. It is the young, whose minds have not deteriorated from natural allow the less well-off to access new medical treatments. aging, who are the most plastic, and able to adapt to change. By curing aging, we would make faster technological, intellectual, and moral progress. Furthermore, wishing that everyone should die so that humanity can make If we didn’t die from old age, wouldn’t we get bored, abstract progress is an ethical abomination. We would rightly condemn or become unmotivated? anyone who suggested that genocide was an appropriate way to speed up human progress. We should not accept aging for the same reason. It’s often said that death motivates us to do great things. This is pure nonsense. Aging is not a motivator. People who are old generally retire and stop producing anything of economic value precisely because they are unhealthy from the natural aging process. It is instead those who are furthest from natural death, the youth, who produce the most economic value through their healthy labor. If we could cure aging, then everyone could be just as vigorous, intelligent, and healthy as twenty-year-olds are now. The people who are least likely to be bored with life are those who are healthiest. The world has far too many hobbies and adventures for seventy-something years to be long enough!