Aging is not considered to be a disease at the moment. There is no such indication as aging, therefore one can’t register a geroprotector drug, the one that slows down aging. This is one of the major hurdles in aging research. Even though there are some substances that are proven to slow down aging and protect from diseases, researchers can’t make drugs from these substances. This has to be changed if we want to live longer and healthier.A perfectly valid observation, marred by her curative prescription:
I think it’s horrible that the NIA people are propagating this idea that aging is not a disease. They are rejecting the opportunity with their own hands. If they fought for persuading the healthcare officials to accept aging as a disease, a lot of problems would be gone instantly.
Let's be blunt here; the people staffing the US NIA are perfectly ordinary Americans trying to perform their job duties as well as they can in the job environment they occupy. I expect they by-and-large are well-meaning people who genuinely want to improve other people's lives medically (and I'm confident Maria herself would not disagree with this observation). The problem being, the people staffing NIA aren't free to make funding grant decisions based solely upon science - they work for the US government and so are funded by the US legislative branch of government and directed by the US executive branch of government, both of which are frequently subject to pressures from conflicting points of view.
Basically, having the .gov fund your research virtually guarantees you won't have much say in the direction your research follows and you will always find your efforts being held up as example of how wrong-headed government funded research is (if only by someone whose pet project/topic of interest isn't getting funded as well as desired). The problem isn't a lack of funding, it's the funding regulation process itself that's having such an inhibiting effect on aging treatment research.
In her comments I wrote (in part):
Relying for research (or any other, really) funds from people who are themselves reliant upon the common perception that their opponents can create about them to portray them in a negative light will always result in a tightly constrained and medically questionable (at best) research and development (or pretty much any other, I suggest) environment. Much better, I think, to develop a different model of research funding that minimizes individual influence and maximizes transparency of research process. Government would still have a desirable role in the production and distribution process of medical treatment after all.
My thinking here is influenced by my experience with Khan Academy. Salman Khan began his education "business" as a series of YouTube videos to tutor his niece who lived in a different city here in the USA. Serendipitously, he chose not to make the videos private, and others soon found them and began commenting positively about them. Eventually, financial backing was arranged and Khan Academy became the non-profit education establishment it is still in the process of becoming.
Maria Konovalenko occupies a position from which she is uniquely able to replicate that experience - not for education as such, but for creating a healthy life extension non-profit to fund research into therapies as well as educating people around the world about healthy life extension.
This would not be a quick process (Sal Khan spent 6 years building his teaching model and portfolio to arrive at the formal organizing stage), but she has the credentials and access to the researchers to begin the development process that Sal Khan himself has demonstrated. An open-ended series of instructional YouTube videos (in as many different languages as Maria can contrive to produce - I'm guessing she isn't the only multi-lingual hottee of her personal acquaintance - but at least in both Russian and English to begin with) that explain the various principles and research efforts, and maybe some interviews of researchers themselves when possible, would make a good beginning. Once she has a program of research direction(s) defined "on tape", she begins the process to attract funding for a non-profit, non-governmental entity to fund research into age-related effects on disease and treatments for aging aspects of (ultimately any) disease or health condition, entirely independent of government or corporate investment in similar types of research.
Maria is quite correct that present research efforts are being artificially limited, both in scope as well as direction. I hope my comment at her blog will lead her to this page and that she gives these ideas some consideration. I'm not getting any younger myself, after all. Yet ...