Boomers will be spending billions to counter aging

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In its mission statement, the academy says the disabilities associated with normal aging “are caused by physiological dysfunction which in many cases are ameliorable to medical treatment, such that the human life span can be increased.”

One of the academy’s co-founders is Robert Goldman, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. He contends that much of the resistance to the anti-aging movement comes from sectors of the health and pharmaceutical industries that feel threatened financially - for example by the surging use of over-the-counter nutritional supplements.

“It all has to do with who’s controlling the dollars,” he said.

Though many anti-aging interventions are expensive, Dr. Goldman said, people on tight budgets still can take useful steps such as drinking purified water, taking vitamins and using sunscreen.

“People should be healthy and strong well into 100 to 120 years of age,” Dr. Goldman says in a biographical video. “That’s what’s really exciting - to live in a time period when the impossible is truly possible.”

Mr. Olshansky, who over the years has been among Dr. Goldman’s harshest critics, predicts eventual scientific breakthroughs, perhaps based on studies of the genes of long-lived people, that will help slow the rate of aging.

In the meantime, Mr. Olshansky says, “I understand the need for personal freedom, the freedom to make bad decisions.”

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