Monday, 3 August 2015

Is ageing a disease?

DAY 2 OF SUMMER HOLIDAYS

The debate about whether ageing is a  natural or physiological process is not trivial. For Pharma to develop drugs to treat ageing they need it to be classed as a disease. Why? Money
Third party payers only pay for treatments and the management of diseases and not for lifestyle issues. Is this important for MS? If a component of progressive MS is premature ageing then we want ageing to be a disease. This will create the incentives for drug development. Do you agree?

17 comments:

  1. If it helps with MS treatment, then perhaps. Otherwise no. As to MS causing premature ageing, in what way?

    I've just come back from my GP who tells me I'm in pretty good nick for my age, even for someone in the early thirties, I'd be in good shape (his words)- I'm coming up to 50.

    I really do not like the patholizing of things like age. Even grief now has a DSM category. Menopause has been pathologized too.

    These are natural occurrences, where someone is really suffering then it needs investigating/treatment, but really age too?

    Please show me the evidence for premature ageing due to MS, then I can make a more considered opinion. I swear it's down to baby boomers and Gen x approaching in or approaching middle age;)

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  2. How do know progressive MS is due to premature ageing?

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  3. Progressive MS certainly looks like accelerated aging - both on the outside (walking aids/ wheelchairs) and on MRI (smaller brain for age).

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  4. All living things die sometime. Even naked mole rats and yew trees. Aging is not a disease - this is a ridiculous and psychologically very unhealthy notion to my mind. Study Buddhism to remedy this unwise outlook, I would say. And, quoting Queen - who wants to live forever?

    As for MS being premature aging - I have difficulty with that one, since people comment that I look 10 years younger than I am and my beloved grandmother could walk much better than me right up to the end of her life.

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    1. Or to quote Confucius (who may or may not have said this but it was in my heavily-MSG-loaded fortune cookie):

      "Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it."

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  5. Like Anon 10.03, if it encourages greater funding then yes - especially if the area of premature aging is narrowly specified - but otherwise I agree with the other posters, that too many natural things are being pathologised these days.

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  6. To experience aging as a disease is called "midlife crisis"...
    Aging is an art and midlife transformation...

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  7. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/01/telomere-extension-turns-back-aging-clock-in-cultured-cells.html
    Long live your telomeres!

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  8. Is there any interest in the MS research community in trying metformin or rapamycin (possible anti-aging drugs - Nature 522, 265–266 (18 June 2015)) on patients? Also - why not research ways to extend people's healthy years?

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  9. Thought I'd throw a quick hand grenade into this debate...! No offense intended to anyone. :)

    Always amazed at people's reactions to this subject – it’s like a tragic case of global Stockholm Syndrome - where everyone is defending the process that’s holding captive and killing us all! Because it’s in some way comforting to think of it as inevitable, or “part of the plan”.

    It’s a bit like reduced trading hours on a Sunday in shops. Traditional, something we’ve all gotten used to - but borderline ridiculous in 2015!

    Until the 1800s (not that long ago in the bigger scheme of things), average life expectancy at birth was less than 30 years old. That was natural at the time. Nobody is campaigning to bring that back. Life expectancy and quality of life increases with better medical treatments/technologies. If you don't believe in that ethos, then I guess an MS research blog is an odd place to hang out! :)

    At the end of the day, you accrue cellular damage as you age, and that accumulates and leads to pathology (which is what we construe as the negative effects ageing, and ultimately a higher probability of death/disability, etc.).

    Sure, lots of people age well and live good productive lives. As do lots of people with MS and cancer and heart disease. But to say that's a reason not to need to tackle those problems seems a bit nuts to me!

    Why would any sensible person NOT want to develop therapies to stave off pathology, reduce cellular damage and prolong quality of life?

    What are we, Lemmings?! Utter insanity. :)

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  10. Replies
    1. apparently a sexually-transmitted with 100% mortality:-)

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  11. Exactly what I was thinking Anons 10:03, 15:50 and Steve S. Fit the MS as an aging-related disease think it will be positive as the search for more funding for research, not only for MS as for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, among other neurodegenerative diseases ... Now I asked myself if there is any evidence that MS for example is related to the shortening of telomeres? Especially as the progressive forms ...

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  12. Without getting too Aubrey De Grey, I think there is a lot of misconceptions about treating ageing as a disease and that it is a quest for eternal youth. Perhaps for a handful of researchers it is (and they are the ones we are more likely to hear about) but not all.

    In theory and practice progressive MS is worsened by age, so is RRMS (as MS is progressive in whatever category, I'm not distinguishing between them here). If reframing MS as a disease of ageing gets access to more funding for research then that's great (just be careful how this is done, so it doesn't end up like the 'preventable dementia' debacle).

    I don't want to live forever but a healthier older age, that people without MS and other chronic health conditions (and look after themselves), can expect, would be very welcome.

    This is beyond lifestyle factors - I do as much as possible to keep my body and mind healthy, but while this may slow the MS progression - to some extent -it's not curing the MS that I have and it's inevitable this will inexorably progress but research, if it has more funding, might just find the cure.

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    1. "Without getting too Aubrey De Grey.............."
      Went to one of his lectures a while back, absolutely hilarious. What a chancer!

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    2. Well, most definitely he's not working on looking younger!

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  13. Does progressive MS really have to be called something else to receive more attention and funding? Perhaps "CNS scarring and shrinkage" or "brain and spinal shrivelling" would be more effective than "premature aging" then.

    And if death is to be eliminated, this will be no matter for pharma, but the geneticists, and the age of the designer baby must begin in all earnest - for those who can afford it - unleashing all manner of insanity and inhumanity.

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