NIA Political Action [was Re: Aging and life expectancy]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 8 Dec 1999 06:26:27 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999 wrote:

> NIA's mission, in part, is to determine which areas of scientific and
> medical research will yield the most benefits for antiaging research
> and therapies.

Kathryn, if you ever run across either a net source or a congressional archive source on the original or updated mission statement for NIA, I'd appreciate a pointer to it. I suspect we would have to go back into the history of when it was created and subsequent congressional directives to really understand this. It will be useful for when we write the history of *why* it took so long for people to get serious about lifespan extension.

> In the description of the five-year priority plan, NIA states that
> they have already determined that Alzheimer's represents a priority.
Perhaps too much so. (Its been a priority for a decade or more, I believe due to congressional directives). A.D. consumes something like 15-20% of the NIA's budget. That is way out of proportion to the costs of other aspects of aging. It is probably because it is something you can "see" and its an emotional pull (when we see it occuring in family members). There is also the fact that the projections for the costs of A.D. care in the early part of the next century run into the *trillions* of dollars (better to invest billions now than pay trillions later).

> It could be that if someone could make a good case for telemorase
> research, HGH, or other areas that interest us, more funds might
> get channeled to that.

Actually, NIA did fund several double blind studies on HGH, which I thought were supposed to be unblinded by now. Perhaps Doug could find them and post them to the list? Most of the telomerase research is supported by the National Cancer Inst. (NCI). What is really needed is for the NIA to get very serious about understanding the mechanisms and processes of aging. They need a project like NCI's "Cancer Genome Anatomy Project" (

If the people on the list, simply all wrote NIA and asked *why* we don't understand the "genome specific" factors of aging and why they can't setup a resource like NCI's "CGAP" it would probably help.

A five year intensive effort on that front *would* explain a lot of what aging is so that by 2005, when we start to have the tools to really do something about it we would have very good ideas about what needs to be done.

The strategic plan document is: The email address for comments is:
Feel free to throw in your favorite "agenda" items such as calorie restriction, mitochondrial DNA damage, loss of ribosomal DNA, support for gene chips for studies of alterations in gene expression with age, centenarian genotyping studies, organ replacement development, less emphasis on "studying" aging, more emphasis on developing practical solutions for specific problems, antioxidant supplementation, studying longevity in transgenic mice, etc.

Also, for those of you who saw my Extro4 presentation, it wouldn't hurt to throw in ideas like genome sequencing for animals with extended longevities (whales, elephants, parrots) or some of the other organisms I mentioned that have interesting "features", the understanding of which would provide us with anti-aging strategies.

Given that NIA's budget is upwards of 500 million dollars and congress keeps outdoing itself to bump the NIH budget (some of which must trickle down to NIA), sending your comments to the NIA is probably the single most effective thing you can do to influence the advancement of the Extropian/Transhumanist prolongevity principle. Its difficult to get people in government to think creatively when budgets are tight, but when money is raining down on them, they are a little more open to expanding their mental horizon.

Government representatives place more emphasis on "individual" responses (rather than something that looks like a xeroxed letter from from a political action committee), so don't "cut-n-paste" the stuff I have above. You need to mix it up a little for it to be effective.

This is where our voice gets to be heard above the rabble rousing luddites!!! Just do it.