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Grand Rounds: Best of Health and Medical Blogging

Wel­come to a new edi­tion of Grand Rounds blog car­ni­val, the week­ly edi­tion of what’s best in the health and med­ical blo­gos­phere. This week, twen­ty four blog­gers share data, insights, ques­tions, reflec­tions and more. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Ever heard of the Longevity Dividend? Perhaps Gray is the New Gold

The Longevi­ty Div­i­dend is a the­o­ry that says we hope to inter­vene sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly to slow the aging process, which will also delay the onset of age-relat­ed dis­eases. Delay­ing aging just sev­en years would slash rates of con­di­tions like can­cer, dia­betes, Alzheimer’s dis­ease and heart dis­ease in half. That’s the longevi­ty part.

The div­i­dend comes from the social, eco­nom­ic, and health bonus­es that would then be avail­able to spend on schools, ener­gy, jobs, infra­struc­ture tril­lions of dol­lars that today we spend on health­care ser­vices. In fact, at the rate we’re going, by the year 2020 one out of every $5 spent in this coun­try will be spent on health­care. Obvi­ous­ly, some­thing has to change.

Enter the Longevi­ty Div­i­dend. The Longevi­ty Div­i­dend does­n’t sug­gest that we live longer; instead, it calls for liv­ing bet­ter. The idea is that if we use sci­ence to increase healthspan, not lifes­pan. In oth­er words, tomor­rows 50-year-old would have the health pro­file of a 43-year-old.

It might sound like sci­ence fic­tion, but, in fact, it’s quite pos­si­ble. We’re already doing it in some ani­mal mod­els using genet­ic and dietary inter­ven­tions, tech­niques relat­ed to what sci­en­tists call “the biol­o­gy of aging.”

Get­ting there in humans, how­ev­er, means embrac­ing an entire­ly new approach to our think­ing about dis­ease and aging, and how we con­duct sci­en­tif­ic research into the two.

Get­ting Sci­en­tists’ Atten­tion

A group of emi­nent researchers first pro­posed the Longevi­ty Div­i­dend in a 2006 arti­cle pub­lished in The Sci­en­tist. The authors, S. Jay Olshan­sky, PhD, pro­fes­sor of epi­demi­ol­o­gy and bio­sta­t­ics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois in Chica­go, Daniel P. Per­ry, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Alliance for Aging Research in Wash­ing­ton, DC, Richard A. Miller, MD, PhD, pro­fes­sor of pathol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan in Ann Arbor, and Robert N. But­ler, MD, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Inter­na­tion­al Longevi­ty Cen­ter in New York, intend­ed their essay to be a “gen­er­al state­ment to sci­en­tists about the need for a par­a­digm shift in the way we think about aging and dis­ease.

The researchers also met with U.S. sen­a­tors who served on the Sen­ate com­mit­tee that over­saw the bud­get for the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH). “We told them we believed Read the rest of this entry »

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