Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Britain is a country where old academics in an old university in Oxford debate whether, as a country, it could or should be one for very old men tomorrow ?

The Oxford University Scientific Society is hosting a debate tonight in the Sheldonian
Theatre, in which Dr.Aubrey de Grey will propose the motion that :'This house wants to defeat ageing entirely.'
Professor Colin Blakemore will be opposing and the debate will be chaired and moderated by the 69 year old Professor Sir Richard Peto.

It will address whether it is feasible and appropriate to consider ageing as a target of decisive medical intervention, raising the possibility of substantial extension of human lifespan.

Aubrey, who is 49 years old and proposing the motion, is currently Chief Science Officer of SENS  Foundation, which :

 * is a 'biomedical research charity' that aims to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to 'rejuvenation biotechnologies' which address the diseases and disabilities of ageing.

* has a research agenda which consists of the application of regenerative medicine to ageing - not merely slowing the ageing clock, but resetting it to early adulthood.

Aubrey's opponent, Colin, who will explain why he thinks the concept isn't :

* the 68 year old Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, an expert in vision, development of the brain and neurodegenerative disease and former Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, Britain's largest public funder of biomedical research.

* in opposing the motion, representing the first time that a fellow of the British biomedical establishment,  has risen to the challenge of describing publicly, why intervention against ageing is not in fact medicine's most pressing priority - an area of debate in which Britain lags behind the USA.

For those readers around the world who might read this post, you might be excused if you think :
'What kind of country is it, already one which is no place for old men today, spends time debating whether it could or should be one for even older old men tomorrow ?'

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