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Jun 17, 2019

Inching Towards the Regulatory Classification of Aging as a Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

This post originally appeared at Fight Aging!

Sizable factions within the research and advocacy communities are very interested in having aging officially classified as a disease, meaning its inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases maintained by the World Health Organization, as that is the basis for the definition of disease used by national regulatory bodies. The view is that this would open the door to greater large-scale institutional funding, more relevant clinical trials for therapies targeting the mechanisms of aging, and that this greater level of funding and activity will percolate back down the chain of research and development to accelerate progress. I think this a reasonable argument to make, though I would advocate for greater effort to be placed on finding a way to bypass the system rather than change it directly – the threat of competition tends to be more effective than petitions as a way to force change.

Lobbyists have made more progress towards classifying aging as a disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) has implemented the extension code “Ageing-related” (XT9T) in the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The previous version, the ICD-10, was released in 1983 and is now replaced by the new version, the ICD-11, which is expected to serve the medical community for many years, much as its predecessor has.

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