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The physical consequences of aging are the root cause of most diseases. Curing them, or slowing them down, could drastically reduce the suffering caused by ill-health. At present, comparatively few resources are spent on anti-aging research, relative to the benefits that breakthroughs in this area could bring about. For example, in 2015 the National Institutes of Health spent less on aging than it did on HIV/AIDS (National Institutes of Health 2016).

There is some disagreement concerning the best way to make progress on anti-aging. Some researchers claim that progress depends crucially on improving our knowledge of the metabolic pathways involved in the aging process—this is the approach favored by most research institutions. An alternative approach seeks to find ways to periodically repair the cellular and molecular damage caused by aging, without necessarily understanding the aging process itself. The SENS Research Foundation, an organization explicitly set up with the aim of ending aging, has pioneered this alternative approach (De Grey & Rae 2007).

Further reading

Bostrom, Nick. 2005. The fable of the dragon-tyrant. Journal of medical ethics 31(5): 273-277.
An engaging story that seeks to highlight the importance of ending aging.

De Grey, Aubrey & Michael Rae. 2007. Ending aging: the rejuvenation breakthroughs that could reverse human aging in our lifetime. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

National Institutes of Health. 2016. Estimates of funding for various research, condition, and disease categories (RCDC).