Friday, July 15, 2022

Disease Control vs Rate Control


Some powerful insight and wisdom from 1977.  Tragically we made the mistake of pursuing the myopic goal of disease control with little regard for aspiring to control the rate of biological aging.  This is why I have written so much in recent years on the importance of "well-ordered science"/responsible biology (list below) and aging.  It is much more important to make sure we are asking the correct questions than it is to answer the wrong questions.  My reflections on this issue over the past decade of research include:

“COVID-19, Biogerontology and the Ageing of Humanity” The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2021, 76(8), e92–e96.

“Why the NIH Should Create an Institute of Positive Biology” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 105 (2012): 412-15.

“Biogerontology and the Intellectual Virtues” Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences 67(7) (2012): 734-46.

"Positive Biology” as a New Paradigm for the Medical Sciences” Nature’s EMBO Reports 13(2) (2012): 186-88.

“Global Aging, Well-Ordered Science and Prospection” Rejuvenation Research 13(5) (2010):607-12.

“Positive Biology” and Well-Ordered Science” in Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and the Humanities (edited by Matthew Lee, Laura Kubzansky, and Tyler VanderWeele) (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2020).

Biologically Modified Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Tackling this issue has been both challenging for my career, but also very rewarding intellectually.  It is a direly neglected topic in the field of political theory and political philosophy, where people apparently don't age and science policy is either non-existent or largely ignored (the sole exception being climate change policy).  This has meant there are rarely any conferences, colleagues, research grants or mainstream publication venues that enthusiastically support this aspect of my research.  

At a conference many years ago a fellow theorist joked, when I told him I was working on the topic of the genetic revolution and longevity science, that I pretty much have that field to myself.  His insight was very perceptive and proved to be true!  This reality has certainly compelled me to get innovative in terms of the way I communicate these ideas to potentially interested readers, targeting a diverse range of journals in science and medicine over the past decade. And this has proven to be a very intellectually rewarding process for me as a researcher.