Is aging a natural process that is inevitable, or is it a debilitating disease that can be cured?
That’s the question that we’re going to be addressing today,
and I believe that how we answer that question will make all the difference in whether or not we ever defeat aging.
If you want to slow or even reverse the aging process, if you want to turn back the clock on aging…
then hit that subscribe button below and subscribe to this channel.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think of this channel or suggest topics you’d like me to do a video on.
Hit the “Like” button, and hit the “Bell” to be notified when I post a new video.
Today, I’m presenting my argument that aging should be considered a disease that is capable of being cured,
rather than the inevitable and entirely natural process that it’s always been thought to be.
I’ll be discussing why the traditional way of thinking is no longer working for us,
and why redefining how we think of aging will positively impact research and funding.
Since ancient times, there’s been a debate taking place over whether aging is a natural process or a disease.
Many of the authors of the Hippocratic Corpus,
a library of medical texts composed between the 6th and the 4th century BCE,
argued that aging was a progressive and incurable disease.
However, Galen, a medical writer from the 2nd century, contended that while diseases are abnormal,
aging is universal and, therefore, a natural process, rather than a disease.
We’re all taught from a very young age that growing old is something that we all share, that it’s inevitable.
My grandparents grew old and died, my parents grew old, and I always expected that I would do the same.
Current medical practice tries to treat age-related diseases in the same way that we treat other conditions,
with the “infectious disease model.” And it’s not working.
With infectious diseases, as soon as a condition appears,
doctors attack that disease with everything in their medical armory, and hopefully, they defeat it.
The patient continues with their life until the next infectious disease appears, and the process repeats…
and repeats until failure.
And this works great for infectious diseases, diseases that we catch from other people.
But this “whack-a-mole” approach doesn’t work when it comes to treating the chronic diseases of old age.
Diseases that seem to come out of nowhere.
Like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
Because the underlying damage that causes the disease continues, and treating the symptoms just won’t cut it.
The current thinking in most of the medical community is that aging is a natural consequence of growing older.
It’s an accumulation of other conditions that are thought to be a natural conclusion to the aging process.
Conditions like physical frailty, sarcopenia or the wasting away of muscle tissue and strength,
loss of cognition, aging skin & joints, osteoporosis, and loss of mobility.
For as long as I can remember when elderly people die, the cause of death has been “natural causes.”
Not a recognized pathological condition.
But no one dies of “natural causes.” No one.
Elderly folk have a stroke, or they die from respiratory failure or liver or kidney failure,
they die from diabetes, or Alzheimer’s or heart failure.
They die because something in their bodies is broken, has stopped functioning the way that it should.
So here’s the question: if we can cure these diseases by eliminating the underlying damage that causes them…
will we have eliminated aging?
How we define aging...matters.
Alexander G. Haslberger, a professor in the University of Vienna’s nutritional department, says,
“Based on science, aging can be seen as a function of molecular mechanisms
and diseases in addition to hereditary genetic factors and epigenetic factors,
responding to lifestyle, nutrition, and our natural and social environment.”
And except for “hereditary genetic factors,” those are all something that we can control.
Aging isn’t just one thing …it’s caused by a variety of things, all happening on the cellular level.
That means that there’s no silver bullet, no one thing that will that we can do or pill that we can take, that can defeat aging.
So, how does “aging” work? What causes aging and age-related chronic diseases?
Well, the aging process all starts on the cellular level, which is why it just creeps up on us.
By the time we notice it’s effects, most of the damage has already been done.
After we’re born the first 8,000 days takes us to about 22 years of age…
which is when a lot of the aging processes begin.
Now, some of it starts much earlier, but most of it starts when we’re in our late teens or early 20s.
The next 8,000 days will take us into our mid-forties. We’re still looking and feeling pretty good at this point,
but the aging process has made significant in-roads none-the-less.
We may still be experiencing excellent health, but at the cellular level, we have definitely started to age.
8,000 more days now puts us in our mid-sixties, and we’re no longer looking or feeling as good as we once did.
We may still be in pretty good health, but at the cellular level, the aging process is starting to become advanced.
The next, and for most of us, the last 8,000 days is when we start to go downhill…and fast.
This is when the effects of aging are upon us, and on the cellular level…things are looking pretty grim.
When we really start to notice the effects of aging is when it’s almost too late to do anything about it.
As we age, the whole process starts with some of the cellular systems beginning to slow down,
or decline in function… or, worse yet, function improperly. And it’s usually the repair functions that go first.
We’re like a finely tuned machine that is none-the-less, continually breaking down.
But we have repair processes in place that can repair this damage,
and as long as those repair processes are functioning correctly, we can go on indefinitely.
But those repair functions start to slow, or worse, malfunction.
And things that have been restored in the past now go unrepaired or fixed incorrectly.
As damage that goes unrepaired or repaired improperly starts to slip through the cracks, it accumulates.
This is what an engineer would call “cascading failure.”
Because there are so many things that can contribute to the aging process,
there are a lot of different types of damage that begins to accumulate.
And a lot of this damage interacts with other damage, causing even more harm…
and now you’ve got a vicious cycle.
Once this damage crosses a certain threshold,
major systems and processes and functions in the human body start to break down.
And this is when aging becomes apparent.
This damage now begins to manifest itself as age-related chronic diseases.
Now, it’s just a matter of time before all of this damage continues to build to the point of failure…and we die.
OK, let’s say that we change how we look at aging, that we redefine what aging is.
That we call it a disease, instead of a natural and unavoidable consequence of growing older.
What kind of impact will that have?
Well, it could have a considerable impact.
David Sinclair of Harvard’s Medical School argues that aging should be viewed,
not as a consequence of growing older, but as a condition in and of itself.
That old age is simply a pathology, and like other pathologies, it can be cured.
Many of the most severe diseases today are a function of aging.
Identifying the molecular mechanism and treating the root cause of these diseases
is required if we’re ever going to defeat aging.
Now, this may be a subtle distinction, but it’s one with huge implications.
Consider: in June of 2018, the World Health Organization released its 11th edition of “International Classification of Diseases,”
and for the first time, it had an important new addition: “Code MG2A: Old Age.”
How a disease is classified and viewed by public health groups, such as the World Health Organization,
helps set priorities for both governments and for funding.
Regulating agencies have strict rules that determine which conditions medications and therapies can be licensed, prescribed and sold for.
And through this, they determine where the funding for research goes.
But apparently, this classification hasn’t been adopted in the US.
“Aging” as a classification, doesn’t appear on the FDA’s approved list of conditions or indications
that a doctor can prescribe medications for.
Which means that there’s no point in investing funding in research for drugs that don’t treat an FDA-approved condition.
It also means that drugs that have been proven to be effective in treating old age can only be prescribed for an off-label use.
Well-funded research is what’s going to make all the difference.
I think we should be coming at this with a “Manhattan Project”-sense of urgency.
While longevity research is starting to get more funding, it’s still nowhere near what’s required.
For all intents and purposes, there are 3 lines of research into longevity.
The first type has been going on for quite some time, and it’s where the lion’s share of funding continues to go.
This type of research is merely trying to understand what causes these cellular processes to slow or malfunction,
or to understand how the damage is caused and why it accumulates.
It makes no attempt to do anything about it, it just tries to understand it.
The second line of research has, in the last 4 or 5 years, started to get some of the funding that’s been going to the first type.
This line of research is looking into taking what has been learned in the first line of research
and trying to find ways of slowing the aging process.
The thinking is that if we can determine what causes these cellular processes to go into decline or to malfunction,
we might be able to restore these processes to a more youthful functionality and slow down aging.
The third line of research completely ignores the cellular processes that are going into decline
and, instead, focuses on the damage that it causes.
The idea is that you don’t need to know what causes the damage to get rid of it, to clear it out.
The third line of research is investigating ways to clear out this damage and restore tissues to a youthful state,
through some type of rejuvenation therapy.
And if this rejuvenation clears out the damage on a regularly scheduled basis,
before it has a chance to accumulate, we might be able to go on indefinitely.
To my way of thinking, this is the line of research that shows the most promise in the shortest amount of time,
and it’s the line of research that is currently getting the least amount of funding.
And I think this needs to change.
As long as “Old Age” or “Aging” isn’t classified as a disease,
doctors aren’t going to be able to prescribe medications or therapies to treat it.
These same medications and treatments can’t be licensed or sold.
And it seems highly unlikely that investors are going to be willing to sink their hard-earned cash into research that’s not currently profitable.
That’s not to say that there is no funding for research going on right now, there is.
There are a number of investors who can see the promise of medications and therapies to defeat aging.
A billionaire named Jim Mellon created a company called Juvenesence and raised over $165 million to research longevity.
Osman Kibar’s Sanumed raised $438 million.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon has invested $116 million and Mark Zuckerberg has pledged 3 billion to “cure all disease.”
And Calico, which stands for “California Life Company”,
is a part of Alphabet, Inc., which is Google’s parent company, and they’re a player in the field.
So, yeah…there’s money being invested. This movement is definitely picking up momentum.
But not nearly as much as if could if the FDA created an “Aging” classification.
Let’s face it…whoever breaks the code of immortality will reap the rewards.
And I believe that merely changing the classification of aging to a disease
will be one of the things that move us much further down that road.
If you enjoyed this video and would like more, then seriously,
think about hitting that subscribe button and subscribing to this channel. Hit the like button.
Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.