Should we treat aging as a disease? The consequences and dangers of miscategorisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aging of the population represents one of the largest healthcare challenges facing the world today. The available scientific evidence shows that interventions are available now that can target fundamental "aging" processes or pathways. Sufficient economic evidence is available to argue convincingly that this approach will also save enormous sums of money which could then be deployed to solve other urgent global problems. However, as yet this scenario has barely entered the public consciousness and, far from being a point of vigorous debate, seems to be ignored by policy makers. Understanding why this lethargy exists is important given the urgent need to deal with the challenge represented by population aging. In this paper I hypothesize that one major cause of inaction is a widely held, but flawed, conceptual framework concerning the relationship between aging and disease that categorizes the former as "natural" and the latter as "abnormal." This perspective is sufficient in itself to act as a disincentive to intervention by rendering those who hold it prone to the "naturalistic fallacy" but can give rise to active hostility to biogerontology if coupled with loose and/or blurred understanding of the goals and potential of the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Faragher. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Keywords

  • rapamycin
  • senescence
  • werner syndrome
  • history
  • ethics
  • medical
  • philosophy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Should we treat aging as a disease? The consequences and dangers of miscategorisation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this