Slowing the ageing process

US and British experts have called for a new approach to diseases prevention in old age.

Ageing experts from the United States and the United Kingdom have suggested that the way to prevent and fight a range of diseases is to focus on slowing the biological processes of aging.

The authors put forward the new paradigm for health promotion and disease prevention in an analysis, published in the British Medical Journal.

“The traditional medical approach of attacking individual diseases – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease – will soon become less effective if we do not determine how all of these diseases either interact or share common mechanisms with ageing,” said senior author S. Jay Olshansky, from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and senior author of the commentary.

The paper noted that humans possess biochemical mechanisms that influence how quickly we age and, through dietary intervention or genetic alteration, it is possible to extend lifespan to postpone aging-related processes and diseases.

They also propose greatly increased funding for basic research into the “fundamental cellular and physiological changes that drive aging itself.”

The authors said an increase in age-related diseases and escalating health care costs made this an urgent issue.

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