Help us: Donate
Follow us on:



What is the Goal of Life Extension?


Life extensionism is a global movement with long-term traditions. The idea that aging is similar to a disease, and should be treated as such, was first suggested in the early 1900s by Elie Metchnikoff, the Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine of 1908, for the discovery of phagocytosis, a vice director of the Pasteur Institute (Paris).

Since then, studies of the biology of aging have revealed the underlying processes of aging, such as DNA damage, toxic protein aggregation and cross-links, cellular senescence, nutrient sensing deregulation, and other processes. It has proven the plausibility of addressing these processes to modify the dynamics of aging.

Aging is the root cause of age-related diseases

Even though aging itself is not described as a disease in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), there is no doubt that aging is the major cause of many severe diseases and that the global population could benefit from bringing aging under medical control. Many existing drugs have been found to be geroprotective (protecting the body against the aging processes).

However, the effects of geroprotective technologies on humans remain a subject of numerous misconceptions.

Please take a look at this picture by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging – one of the biggest aging research centers located in the United States.

The upper line represents human lives as they were before the development of modern medicine. In their 50s, people started to develop different age-related diseases, then they died from them some 15-20 years later.

The second line (red one) is how things are now. People reach their 50s and age-related diseases start to manifest, but modern medicine allows us to slow down their progression so that people live longer – but this is the period of illness that is extended.

Sickcare not healthcare

This is exactly why Brian Kennedy from the Buck Institute calls our healthcare system a “sickcare” system: we are keeping people alive for longer, but we are keeping them sick.

This is why the “silver tsunami” represents such a burden on our system of healthcare and social support: we have many people living longer while still being disabled. This situation is going to get worse in the coming decades, as the number of people who are at least 60 years old is going to reach 30% of the global population by 2100. If we keep things as they are and don’t move towards preventive medicine, there are going to be a lot of people who suffer from serious disabilities.

Preventing age-related diseases by targeting the aging processes

The third line is what scientists are trying to achieve by developing interventions to address the aging processes. These interventions are meant to be applied in middle age, before the manifestation of age-related diseases, in order to extend the healthy period of life, or healthspan, while the period of illness is postponed and will remain relatively short. This could allow people in their 50s to look like they are 30; in their 70s, they could also look younger, be stronger, and feel as good as they did in their 50s.

The onset of severe age-related diseases, such as cancer, osteoarthritis, dementias, stroke and type 2 diabetes, could be postponed to the late 90s. Life extension in this scenario would result in better health throughout life, allowing people to remain active and able to contribute to the economy – which could ease the burden on healthcare and social services. We believe that this is a goal worth fighting for.

The fourth scenario is what we strive for in the future: healthspan might be extended even more while the period of disability could be made shorter. This is what scientists call “compressed morbidity”. For how much longer people would live in this last scenario is an open question. It depends on technological advances. They might look like they are 50 years old in their 90s and find themselves windsurfing together with their great-grand children.


What we mean by life extension is actually the extension of the healthy and productive period of life that is free of disease and disability. In such an “extended” society, the majority of people could enjoy their lives for much longer and actively contribute to the development of the economy regardless of their chronological ages.

CategoryAdvocacy, News
About the author

Elena Milova

Elena has been a longevity activist and advocate since 2013, when she first started to organize educational events to make new evidence-based methods of healthy life extension more popular. The last few years have seen Elena leading some successful projects in Russia, aimed at spreading the idea of healthy longevity among decision makers as well as the general public. Several years of lobbying resulted in the inclusion of her propositions in the strategic program documents of the Russian Federation related to the problems of the elderly. She is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” (in Russian, 2015), where, among other topics, she is sharing how to facilitate the adoption of the healthy lifestyle to promote the period of good health. In 2015, Elena helped to shape and coordinate the successful crowdfunding campaign of the Major Mouse Testing Program – a study of Senolytic drug combinations on mouse lifespan. In 2017 at LEAF, Elena led a successful advocacy project to include the problems of the elderly into the WHO’s 13th Programme of Work . Previously Elena has worked as a project manager in the pharmaceutical and advertisement industries, helping to promote new drugs and therapies. This experience helped her to realize that the existing therapies were not 100% effective and could not completely stop age-related diseases – which has ignited an interest for the development of innovative therapies. Elena graduated with a bachelor’s in both psychology and foreign languages and is now working to earn her MBA at the oldest Russian business school MIRBIS.
No Comments
Write a comment:


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You have 3 free articles remaining this week. You can register for free to continue enjoying the best in rejuvenation biotechnology news. Already registered? Login here.