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Degenerative Aging as a Medical Condition

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whologo Degenerative Aging as a Medical Condition

By Ilia Stambler, PhD

Summary of issue: There has been recently an intensifying discussion among longevity researchers and advocates about the inclusion of the Degenerative Aging Process as a recognized and treatable medical condition, that would include the systemic factors that contribute to diseases and frailty.

The underlying, apparently plausible rationale for this suggestion is that the recognition of degenerative aging as a treatable medical condition would enable the existing legal frameworks to better tackle diseases and conditions that arise from the aging process from a preventative healthcare model. In particular, pharmaceutical, biomedical and wellness industry could then develop for market quickly new and existing preventative medications, biomedical technologies and regimens, that would decrease long-term healthcare costs. Moreover, such a recognition would open up new public funding for new pharmaceutical and biomedical research and development

What can be done generally:

Degenerative aging needs to be recognized as a diagnosable and treatable medical condition, starting with the appropriate WHO frameworks, setting the global standards for disease definitions. Yet, the methods of achieving this recognition with the WHO framework may vary.

This issue must become a subject of massive and pluralistic consultation of scientists and other stakeholders. An initial deliverable could be a collection of papers and expert opinions dedicated to the subject. With this evidential and expert basis and publication, it may be expedient to develop more precise policy recommendations and approaches for further consultation with the relevant WHO departments and affiliates, such as the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) program, the WHO Multi-Country Studies Unit, the WHO Collaborating Centre on International Longitudinal Studies of Gender, Ageing and Health, the developers of the ICD and ICF, WHO Department of Aging and Lifecourse, in particular the GSAP, WHO Program on Non-communicable Diseases and their Risk Factors, UN NGO Committee on Aging, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Division for Social Policy and Development, implementation agencies of the UN Sustained Development Goals (esp. SDG3 on healthcare)  and other relevant authorities.



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