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Push World Health Org (WHO) to Incorporate Anti-Aging Research

Michael R

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Via Ilia Stambler, PhD, Chair of the Israeli Longevity Alliance:

Dear colleagues,


Please support the recognition by the World Health Organization (WHO) of the importance of biological and biomedical research of aging for the development of effective health care for the global aging population! Now is a wonderful opportunity to do so, *by sending an opinion survey to the WHO’s consultation on the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health* that takes place in Geneva right now. *The last time this can be done is today, October 30.* Here is the participation page:



It is possible to download the full questionnaire as a Word file and send to HealthyAgeing@who.int Or there is a choice to relate online to several or one strategic objective out of the five, for example “Strategic Objective 5: Improving measuring, monitoring and understanding” [of healthy aging] 



The Action plan draft is available here:





There may be several quite encouraging elements in the existing draft of the Action Plan, that can be interpreted as supportive of biomedical research of aging to improve healthy longevity. Thus the Strategic Objective 5: “Improving measuring, monitoring and understanding”, speaks of the need for “biomarkers for key concepts related to healthy ageing” AND "testing of clinical interventions” [!] (Action 1). It also requests countries to develop “evidence informed national Healthy Ageing strategies or plans that are part of overall national plans through a process that involves all stakeholders” (“Strategic Objective 1: Fostering healthy ageing in every country” Action 1) [presumably these national plans should include programs for biomedical research] AND “including core geriatric and gerontological competencies in all health curriculums” (Strategic Objective 2: Aligning health systems to the needs of the older populations. Action 3) [presumably these competencies should include education on biological aging processes].

All these elements can be interpreted as supportive of biomedical research of aging and could already be used in advocacy! Yet, it is still necessary to infuse, emphasize and make more explicit the biomedical/biological interpretation. Otherwise, the text may be given to various interpretations, not necessarily supportive of biomedical approaches aimed at therapy. This emphasis can be made in several ways. For example, the International Longevity Alliance proposes to emphasize the following messages (please find attached their filled in WHO questionnaire that can be used as a template and suggestion): “The need to address aging challenges by first increasing the *healthy* life expectancy, not the unhealthy one (!), with therefore a strong emphasis on *biomedical aging research*, both fundamental and translated to populations, and for both preventative and curative solutions” and furthermore encouraging a shift of terms from “healthy aging” to “healthy longevity” (as the latter term is more logically and scientifically correct, and more encouraging and proactive)

The Israeli Longevity Alliance (on behalf of which I personally submitted the questionnaire) advocates along very similar lines and proposes to bulk up the Strategic Objective 5: “Improving measuring, monitoring and understanding”, with a stronger and more explicit emphasis on biological and biomedical research of aging (also please find attached the survey, that addresses specifically this Objective). Thus, to the question of the consultation: “For Strategic Objective 5, do you think another first-level priority action should be added to this list?” it is proposed to add the fourth action: “4) Elucidating basic mechanisms and processes of aging, their relation to disease, and mechanisms of their amelioration for the development of therapies to achieve healthy longevity.” And of course the critical need for biomedical research of aging to improve healthy longevity can be expressed in many other ways. Please dedicate a few minutes to filling in this survey and sending it to WHO at HealthyAgeing@who.int. You may consider writing in the subject line “*In support of biomedical research of aging at the WHO Consultation*” to stress the main message.

Please also consider forwarding this appeal. Currently the consultation received about 350 survey responses, very few of which address biomedical research of aging, of which none apparently included in the WHO consultation summaries. A few dozen more responses in support of biomedical research, especially on behalf of respected organizations and institutes, may produce a critical shift of opinion balance at WHO. And a shift of attitude in favor of biomedical research of aging at WHO may produce a corresponding shift of attitude in the global public health system*. Please express your support for biomedical research of aging at WHO today!* (And let us already prepare for the Action Plan implementation.) Thank you!


Ilia Stambler, PhD

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Thanks, Michael!


Ilia has great suggested answers/language for several questions.


For those too busy to take in/answer the whole survey, here is suggested language for answer to "Please share any other comments or suggestions on how to ensure that the Global Strategy and Action Plan considers what can be done to support ageing and health worldwide" at http://www.who.int/ageing/consultation-strategic-objective5/en/ (off-the-cuff - others, please modify and improve):


The elderly are best helped if we can prevent or reverse the diseases associated with aging, above all, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, most forms of cancer, and nearly all forms of dementia. Researchers are increasingly in agreement that such prevention or reversal is best achieved by intervening in the aging process itself. An emphasis on research into the biology of aging is thus likely to be the most helpful overall strategic orientation.



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