Patrick has been researching and writing about breakthrough tech for over 30 years. He has written over 200 editorials for USA Today. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and on CNN’s Crossfire news program.

Patrick has also served as a consultant for national political campaigns and Fortune 500 companies. He’s interviewed and speaks regularly to a host of nationally known CEOs and Nobel Prize-winning scientists and researchers.
Tags: aging | affordable care act | healthcare

Society's Blind Spot: Aging

By Friday, 26 August 2016 01:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Here’s one of my favorite jokes. An older fish meets a group of young fish and asks, “How’s the water?” To which the young fish respond, “What the heck is water?”

That may not make you laugh, but the point is important. We tend to tune out things that are right in front of us.

This phenomenon is called a “blind spot.”

Most of the time, we don't know that we are blind to part of the world around us... until there are consequences.

My father, for example, was a B-24 bomber crew chief and tail gunner during World War II. Tail gunners learned the hard way that they had to constantly scan the sky. If not, they’d miss enemy fighters flying on paths that matched their blind spots.

Psychologists note that mental blind spots also exist. One of the most obvious has to do with aging and our own mortality. We tend not to think too much about getting older… or death.

The aging blind spot afflicts society as well. We saw this with the widespread claims that rising healthcare costs are due to some flaw in our medical system.

This error was the main premise of the Affordable Care Act, which we were told would lower American healthcare costs.

Six years after its passage, healthcare costs are now higher than ever, and insurers are backing out of the program due to losses. This year, the US medical bill will surpass $10,000 per capita, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

And it will continue to go up for the foreseeable future.

Most politicians and intellectuals seem to suffer from a blind spot that prevents them from grasping the huge implications of an aging society.

This is unfortunate because we now have the scientific know-how to slow and even reverse aging processes.

While it seemed like science fiction just decades ago, mainstream science is coming around. Recent proof has come from the Gero-science Network, a prestigious group that includes the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Harvard.

A special issue of The Journals of Gerontology titled "Moving Geroscience into Uncharted Waters" was published August 16 (free for download).

In a news release, the NIA, which funds the group, asked, “Do people get disease from aging, or are certain aspects of aging caused by disease?”

Not long ago, just asking that question could have ended a scientist’s career hopes. Today, at least the question can be asked… though I think the authors already know the answer.

There are anti-aging solutions in laboratories that could delay or end many of the diseases of aging. When they are finally approved and deployed, the trend of constantly rising healthcare costs will reverse.

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The aging blind spot afflicts society as well. We saw this with the widespread claims that rising healthcare costs are due to some flaw in our medical system.
aging, affordable care act, healthcare
Friday, 26 August 2016 01:43 PM
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