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Should we treat ageing as a disease? Watch

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    Biological ageing happens to us all, and means that even people who live healthy lifestyles will eventually grow weaker and frailer and more prone to disease.

    For many diseases the rate of incidence and severity of the disease increase with age. The best evidence for this is the simple fact that more people die between 70 and 80 years old than between 30 and 40 years old.

    If you catch HIV you will rarely die of it, rather the HIV weakens your immune system and then you die of something else. In HIV treatment we will treat secondary infections as they occur, but the priority is to manage the HIV itself.

    Rather than focussing a lot of our resources on managing age related problems, should we not put more effort in to combating ageing itself?

    This is a massive undertaking, and would require a similar (if not greater) mobilisation of resources to that required to treat cancer or HIV. But if we could give people an extra few decades of life, or significantly reduce their healthcare requirements, isn't that worth it (both financially and ethically)?
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    You mention if it would be worth it financially and if it's possible, definitely not short term. Treating a disease is one thing, it's an external thing in our body, but age is our body itself.
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    I'm not sure the science is there yet. We have a far better idea of the processes behind HIV than ageing so its more likely to yield results. As we learn more about ageing it may become possible but that could be a long way off.

    An important thing to remember is that the biological process of aging isn't the cause of a lot of age related conditions (some of the worst), rather the cause is linked to age because the conditions are caused by many small changes in the body so the older you are the more likely they are to have occured. Its more about the time you have been alive rather than the condition of your body, keeping someone at the biological age of 30 wouldn't affect the likeliness of suffering from them. The only way to deal with them is to focus on the specifics of the condition. A lot of potential treatments could prevent both age related conditions and extend youth but they are dangerous because it would involve forcing the body to behave differently to the way its meant to. Making the body function optimally is one thing, rewriting it process is much more dangerous.
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    (Original post by CodeJack)
    You mention if it would be worth it financially and if it's possible, definitely not short term. Treating a disease is one thing, it's an external thing in our body, but age is our body itself.
    A disease isn't the same as in infection. A disease is an umbrella term for any abnormal condition which affects an organism (usually bad).

    Cancer, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis (to name a few) are examples of diseases that are generated by the body itself without an outside cause.

    I don't think a meaningful therapy to combat ageing could be produced quickly or easily, I just think it could save a lot of suffering (and money).
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    (Original post by zeropoint)
    A disease isn't the same as in infection. A disease is an umbrella term for any abnormal condition which affects an organism (usually bad).

    Cancer, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis (to name a few) are examples of diseases that are generated by the body itself without an outside cause.

    I don't think a meaningful therapy to combat ageing could be produced quickly or easily, I just think it could save a lot of suffering (and money).
    Yeah sorry I kinda explained that badly. I meant that ageing is more natural where as diseases are more of an abnormality.
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    (Original post by CodeJack)
    Yeah sorry I kinda explained that badly. I meant that ageing is more natural where as diseases are more of an abnormality.
    Yes, true, ageing is 'natural', in that it happens to everyone, but if it causes suffering, why not try and stop it.
 
 
 
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