Aubrey de Grey is a storied British scientist who has devoted his career to ending aging. He has written a fairly popular book aimed at the layperson called Ending Aging in 2007 in which he outlines seven techniques he believes will be necessary to develop in order to reverse aging. These are called Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS). From there he formed the SENS Foundation which among other things raises money for research on the SENS components.
de Grey works tirelessly to raise awareness and acceptance of the idea that aging may be reversible though technology, but is frequently met with skepticism, incredulity and even contempt. Many people think reversing or stopping aging is impossible, unethical, or immoral and should not even be attempted.
He laments in a new essay published in Rejuvenation Research, which he edits, that there is so little interest in reversing aging that very inadequate amounts of money is being spent on the research. He writes:
At present, translational biogerontology (alternatively, biomedical gerontology) commands an absolutely minuscule proportion of the medical research budget of any industrialised nation. Why? Simply because the idea that postponing aging is a feasible and valuable goal, both socially and economically, has failed – despite the best efforts of many biogerontologists over many decades – to gain any significant traction among funding bodies.
He feels we may need a new definition for aging, and that such a definition may help to broaden appeal and through that funding.
DeGrey’s new proposed definition:
Aging is the set of processes that progressively reduce the time before the individual is likely to suffer a permanent loss of physical or mental capacity
I do agree the concept of slowing, stopping or even reversing aging needs a new PR campaign. After all who really wouldn’t want to live limitlessly, youthfully and free from disease?
Will this new definition help? Hard to say, but anything that we can do to improve the message is direly needed. Rarely (maybe never) do I call for comments here, but if you are reading this post let us know in the comments what you think needs to be done to move the needle to end aging.