The Future of Ageing - Video / Article on Future Health

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How scientists will slow down or stop ageing in humans - Video

Comment by Dr Patrick Dixon on science of ageing, health care, life expectancy, medical advances, pensions, retirement, lifestyles and government policy.

Source: UC Berkely 1997

  • What if tables for length of life are wrong - and survival is about to jump by 5-10%? Answer: profound impact on insurance industry, pensions, and society as a whole. More - see future of medicine.
  • Inflammation may be a much more important factor in developing heart disease than formerly realised. Heart disease is multifactorial and complex, and no single theory seems to fit all the data. For example, many people with normal cholesterol get heart disease. Indeed half of all those who get heart attacks have cholesterol levels below 5.2 millimolews per litre (widely regarded as the safe limit). New links with general inflammation may explain why some researchers believe that infection with helicobacter pylori (the bug causing many stomach ulcers), cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex and helatitis A can all increase the risk of heart disease. New Scientist 11 January 2003
  • Expect huge investment in neuroscience by pharmaceutical companies over the next decade following progress in the 1990s in understanding brain physiology and disease mechanisms. Merck investment for example has jumped from 10% in 1995 to 30% in 2003. Areas to watch: prediction using gene secreening and new diagnostics, taking preventative action, more effective treatments. Expect new generations of antidepressants blocking uptake of serotonin and noradrenaline (dual uptake) with faster action and wider use.
  • Asthma cases worldwide have increased by 50% every decade for unknown reasons, but the rise may be stopping in Europe - especially Switzerland. Research conducted at Basle University - work presented at European Respiratory Society annual conference 2002.
  • 7,000 people every day die of malaria - a huge unsolved medical challenge. Only four drugs developed by the pharmaceutical industry in the last 20 years have been developed against malaria, yet malaria could become as rare as polio if an effective vaccine can be found. In 2002 there were just 480 polio cases - compared to 350,000 in 1988 - following global vaccination campaigns. The trouble is that malaria vaccine is not a great strategy for making money - if a company is successful they will be under pressure to give the patents away as a gift to the most vulnerable nations.

Future of biotechnology, genetics, health care, pharmaceutical industry

Dr Patrick Dixon lecture to biotech venture capital investors about future medicine and health care, gene therapy, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr Dixon is a physician and trends analyst.



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