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Afraid of Aging? An Emerging, Controversial Field Steps Up the War on Aging

Censored! No New Ideas Allowed

Younger scientists, interested in aggressive anti-aging research, often find themselves censored or delegitimized by the old school, academic elite. Perhaps the methods employed by these fresh, driven minds do not align with the traditional protocol, or other researchers accuse them of ageism. While ageism is a real problem that Americans must combat as fervently as they did racial oppression, those interested in anti-aging research and advancement are not necessarily ageists.

The field of gerontology, sometimes called biogerontology, involves the study of the aging process on a molecular level.  Scientists and researchers in the field seek to understand why humans age biologically and physiologically.  They aim to apply this knowledge in ways that slow down or reverse the aging process.

Censored!  No New Ideas Allowed

Younger scientists, interested in aggressive anti-aging research, often find themselves censored or delegitimized by the old school, academic elite.  Perhaps the methods employed by these fresh, driven minds do not align with the traditional protocol, or other researchers accuse them of ageism.  While ageism is a real problem that Americans must combat as fervently as they did racial oppression, those interested in anti-aging research and advancement are not necessarily ageists.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

Emerging Anti-aging Treatments

Gerontologists and others dedicated to the study and understanding of the aging mechanism relentlessly research potential treatments and interventions into the process.  Researchers and associated physicians are investigating a number of areas that may impact the field and lead to deeper understanding of how and why humans age.

Nutritional Supplementation – involves a regular regimen of vitamin C and E as well as lipoic acid, among other dietary supplements, to combat damage caused by free radicals.

Restricted Calorie Intake – studies have shown that calorie restriction of approximately 50 percent can extend the lifespan by 50 percent in nearly any species, provided adequate nutrition is ensured.

Hormone Replacement and Genetic Intervention – involves human growth hormone replacement therapy, resveratrol trials, and other genetic manipulations thought to somehow relate to the life extending effects of calorie restriction.

Cryogenics – involves freezing a person shortly after death, using specific techniques thought to leave tissue undamaged.  Proponents hope anti-aging technologies will advance to the point that the person can be revived and reap the benefits of the advances.

Body Part Replacement – involves the artificial growth of body parts, such as a bladder, to replace those functioning at a sub-par level due to aging or disease.

The Future of Gerontology

The elderly population makes up the fastest growing population in the U.S.  Baby boomers will soon be counted among the aged.  As technology and knowledge in the field of anti-aging progress, the concept of aging will be transformed. Pharmaceutical behemoth, Glaxo, has secured the rights to produce resveratrol, Rice University is heading up a study focusing on using bacteria in the soil to destroy plaque build-up in arteries, and many other facilities are quietly conducting research into this controversial field.

Ethical Concerns Plague the Field of Gerontology

Stem cell research, necessary for body part replacement research, cryogenics, restricted calorie intake and hormone replacement therapies all cause intense controversy within the scientific community as well as in the general public.  Innovative research almost always finds controversy as a bedfellow; gerontology is no different.  Scientists must focus on making discoveries that transform society and quality of life in positive ways.

Where do you stand?