Recognizing degenerative aging as a treatable medical condition: methodology and policy.
Aging and Disease, 8(5), 583–589, 2017
It is becoming increasingly clear that in order to accomplish healthy longevity for the population, there is an urgent need for the research and development of effective therapies against degenerative aging processes underlying major aging-related diseases, including heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, pulmonary obstructive diseases, as well as aging-related complications and susceptibilities of infectious communicable diseases. Yet, an important incentive for the research and development of such therapies appears to be the development of clinically applicable and scientifically grounded definitions and criteria for the multifactorial degenerative aging process (or “senility” using the existing ICD category), underlying those diseases, as well as for the safety and effectiveness of interventions against it. Such generally agreed definitions and criteria are currently absent. The devising of such criteria is important not only for the sake of their scientific value and their utility for the development of therapeutic solutions for the aging population, but also to comply with and implement major existing national and international programmatic and regulatory requirements. Some methodological suggestions and potential pitfalls for the development of such criteria are examined.