Thursday, January 14, 2021

Publishing First!

This week was a very pleasant "first" for me publication-wise.  Within a 24 hour period I received word that two different journal submissions were accepted for publication!   Both had been substantively revised after the first round of reviews, and writing/revising these two papers consumed a very sizable chunk of my research time.  So it was a very rewarding experience to see them pay off with getting accepted.  Whew!

The first article is a "Perspectives" submission to the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences (published by Oxford University Press and the Gerontological Society of American) titled “COVID-19, Biogerontology and the Ageing of Humanity”. This was a real labour of love to write as there was an immense volume of scientific studies published in the first year of the pandemic. Trying to stay abreast of this research, while trying to work from home with kids home from school for half the year, in addition to moving all my own teaching online, was very daunting. But as soon as the initial pandemic data emerged that age was the greatest risk factor of COVID-19 mortality I knew there would be a significant contribution the science of ageing could contribute to the ongoing public health response to this pandemic. So I am very happy to add a contribution to these debates.

ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization designated the decade 2020-2030 as the “decade of healthy ageing”. It is a tragic irony that the year 2020 should begin with a pandemic that is so lethal for older persons. Not only are older persons the most vulnerable to COVID-19 mortality, but many of the mitigation efforts to slow the spread of the virus have imposed yet further emotional and mental health burdens on the most vulnerable among those over age 70. To help prevent future infectious disease mortality and suffering, as well as the profound health burdens from the chronic diseases associated with ageing, insights from biogerontology must become an integral part of global public health priorities. The timing is ripe for making the public health aspiration of developing an applied gerontological intervention a reality.

The other article that was accepted this year is the longest journal article I have ever written at 14000+ words.  It examines the ideal/non-ideal debate through the lens of the genetic revolution.  It builds on the research I have been doing on this topic for the past 20 years.  The paper is entitled "How Should We Theorize about Justice in the Genomic Era?" and it is now forthcoming in the journal Politics and the Life Sciences.  

ABSTRACT:  The sequencing of the human genome, the advances of gene therapy and genomic editing, coupled with embryo selection techniques and a potential gerontological intervention, these are some of the examples of the rapid technological advances of the “genetic revolution”.  This paper addresses the methodological issue of how we should theorize about justice in the genomic era.  Invoking the methodology of non-ideal theory, I argue that theorizing about justice in the genomic era entails theorizing about (1) the new inequalities the genetic revolution could possibly exacerbate (e.g. genetic discrimination, disability-related injustices and gender inequality), and (2) those inequalities the revolution could help us mitigate (e.g. the risks of disease in early and late life).  By doing so normative theorists can ensure we develop an account of justice that takes seriously not only individual rights, equality of opportunity, the cultural and socio-political aspects of disability and equality between the sexes, but also the potential health benefits (to both individuals and populations) of attending to the evolutionary causes of morbidity and disability.  

I think this weekend I might kick back a bit and treat myself to a nice movie, beer and takeout!