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Aging is a diffuse area which has its roots in all basic disciplines. Workers will identify themselves more closely with the area of aging as more competent workers identify themselves with the area, and as more money is available for lifetime employment in the area. These developments are limited more by supply of people than by money. I think the present rate of development is satisfactory.Eugene A. Stead, Jr.
Beyond doubt this is true. At present there could be no profit for anyone in solving either the psycho or the somatic aspects of the aging problems. Consequently, drug firms and most private agencies are not giving much support to this area of research. A healthy, happy, and useful older population could add greatly to the social and political strength of this country, but no one in business seems aware of this. Congress will have to appropriate the money to prove this basic point, before private research will enter this field with substantial amounts of money.-Joseph W. Still.
I think that encouragement and financing is needed in the field of aging research. In the field of sociology I think more first-rate research persons might be encouraged to do research in the field and more graduate students might be interested in doing theses in the area if more research funds were available. At the present time aging research has relatively low prestige in the field of sociology. However, I think this is generally true of other social problem areas.
3.—Gordon F. Streib.
Aging research is such a new and emerging area that financing and encourage ment for researchers in this field need special attention. The number of indi viduals involved in the field of biological aging research is very small as compared to other fields of investigation. Results that are being obtained as a result of investigations in biological aging are rather meager. There are very few new individuals going into this field as compared to individuals going into other research fields. There are almost no graduate students involved in the study of the problems of aging. This is due in large measure to the lack of animals for experimentation, to the lack of fellowships in the field of aging, and to the lack of interest by most departments in the biological sciences in the field of aging. There is a definite need for stimulation and encouragement for researchers in the particular field. Medical and social progress in the field of aging will eventually depend upon the nature of the results of biological research. Until certain biological problems are solved medical geriatrics can only be an emperical field.Norman M. Sulkin.
Aging research is not a particularly new area, but there are some unique financial problems connected with it. For example, much could be learned concerning the biology of aging by studying aging animals. Maintaining adequate colonies for aging animals for research purposes is a major undertaking best handled on a service basis by a governmental agency. Distinctive data of enormous value could evolve from such a project in the long run.—Thomas T. Tourlentes.
It is not my opinion that aging research is such a new and emerging area that financing and encouragement for researches in this field need special attention.Arthur C. Upton.
Financing and encouragement for researchers in the field of aging need special attention not because of the basic difference in experimental technique and know-how (as a physiologist I use physiological techniques whether I work with young or old subjects), but because of the novel and different approach. Instead of specializing in ailments of liver, spleen, lung, heart, etc., a person is now approached to specialize in ailments of liver and spleen and lung and heart as well as other clinical specialties and other factors (such as nutrition in the aged, recreation for the aged, etc.), in persons of a certain age group. This new orientation requires special attention. When every citizen who knows what a pediatrician does will also know what goes on in a geriatrics clinic special attention may perhaps be reduced in intensity. As I see it, one of the problems facing us now is to convince the specialist to devote his talent to the unique application which his specialty has upon a specific age group.-A. Kurt Weiss.
Aging research is such a new and emerging area that financing and encouragement for researchers in this field does need special attention.-James M. A. Weiss.
Aging is not new. It is becoming a bigger social problem and will get more attention.-Frederick L. Weniger.
Yes. Although the activity in this area has increased during the past 5 years and competent scientists have been recruited, the magnitude of the problem, insofar as it can be appraised at present, is such as to suggest devising an active program to recruit additional competent investigators and increase the research activity in aging.–Verner J. Wulff.
Question No. 8 Considering the amounts now spent on aging, how much should be invested in aging research as such, over the next 10 years? Is there some measure of financial investment which you might recommend?
Responses Suppose we consider it this way-what are the problems? Who will be prepared and willing to search for their answers? How much will it cost to finance them, their time, equipment, assembling of data, and publication cost? I believe that there is one great gap in the present setup, and that is the field open for publication. Many journals, magazines, and newspapers seldom are willing to accept articles on old age, poverty, longevity, diseases of the old people, housing for them, and such topics. And many are not willing to publish such articles because they believe that their readers are not interested in reading such things. I believe that Government funds should be made available for publication of all acceptable articles which relate to human welfare, even on a worldwide sweep. How much? I do not know.
I have no answer to the question "Is there a measure of financial investment, etc.?"_Chester Alexander.
I have no way of answering this question in terms of an absolute amount. I favor a relative amount which could be accepted as a base and within which specific programs could be developed. If we were to calculate the total expenditures now made by the Government to meet the practical problems of aging and then say that we would devote 2, 3, or 4 percent of this amount to the conduct of basic research, it seems to me that we would over the years make substantial progress and that we could develop programs in which research workers could plan for a future. One defect in much present financing is short-term financing, which forces able young men to make research in aging a stopgap rather than a career.—John E. Anderson.
In comparison with other areas of research, I would think that certainly as much as $200 million might well be spent on aging research over the next 10 years.- Warren Andrew.
I cannot advise you as to how much should be invested in aging research as such over the next 10 years. This is a corollary to my answer to question 7.Henry H. Banks.
I am not qualified to answer this question as such. I do not believe that our knowledge will be substantially advanced, per se, by the expenditure of large quantities of money which bear the label "aging research.". If the cause is to be advanced, the added effort should be in the direction of advancing our basic understanding of the life processes in general. In other words, I suggest that it is more important to make up the difference, if any, between what is now available and what is needed to give adequate coverage to basic problems.-Howard B. Bensusan.
It is difficult to give an average figure for what should be spent on aging research but the scheme I have suggested under 7 would be met by an expenditure of about $1 million in the first year and about $750,000 for maintenance each year. I cannot think of any other single act which would do more, quickly, to raise basic biological gerontological research than this.—Geoffrey H. Bourne.
I think amounts currently spent on aging research are about right with perhaps, a slight increase over the next 10 years.
From a philosophic standpoint I am mildly disturbed about what problems will be created by extending the life span 10 years, if the last 10 are spent in a wheelchair with limited mental comprehension as to what is going on. The answer to this one, I suppose, lies in research in ways and means to prevent mental deterioration. At the same time, however, there should be a careful balance between funds spent to extend life into areas where a progressively narrowing capacity finally reaches zero and those spent at the other end of the life span for prevention of congenital defects, special education for the gifted adolescents, training of gifted teachers and in general broadening the scope of man's living at a time in life when he has the capacity to appreciate it.-Clark E. Brown.
Although I am deeply interested and involved in research concerned with the problems of the aged and the aging process, I believe it is our responsibility to recognize that the United States is engaged in an intense struggle for survival with the Communistic world. This struggle requires a careful distribution of our energies. If we indiscriminately persuade scientists to leave their present areas of investigation and devote their efforts to the problems of aging, it is possible that we will damage our national defense by shifting some scientists from areas of work which might be critical to the survival of our nation. Consequently caution must be used in planning the growth of many areas of research, including the field of aging.
I believe that because of the manpower shortage and other limiting factors a reasonable goal for aging research in the next 5 years would be an increase in research money amounting to approximately 15 to 20 percent per year. This rate of growth would double the number or researchers in the field of aging in a span of approximately 5 years. A more rapid growth might either steal scientists from other important activities or attract into the field incompetent or poorly trained investigators. This view is consistent with the recognition that there is a tremendous need for more trained scientists in this country.-Ewald W. Busse.
I believe that we could and should develop a national policy of investment in research on aging in relation to the total amount expended for the aged from public funds. Thus, at the present time about $12 billion is being expended from public funds for persons age 65 and over. I would recommend that we plan to allocate about 1 percent of this amount specifically for research on aging. This would involve about $120 million annually at the present time.
Since the amount to be expended from public runds for the aged will increase in the future, the total may be about $30 billion within 10 to 20 years. As the amount gradually increases, the amount available for research would and should increase. This would permit the orderly development of research personnel and proper planning of facilities and training oi personnel required for a sound research program.— Wilbur J. Cohen.
I am too unfamiliar with research costs and financing to make more than a wild guess here. I would say that immediately there should be at least twice as much available as is being spent. I think that's about all we could spend wisely until some pilot projects had shown us where the men and the institutions are who can wisely spend more.–Fred Cottrell.
I have tried to explain all of this to Dr. G. Halsey Hunt, who has been for years the able Director of the Division of Aging of the National Institutes of Health. But I have not been successful. His answer is that the pioneers in gerontology do not want to proceed slowly by the development of departments at the university level. He thinks that these pioneers would prefer to operate with the aid of the generous grants that they are undoubtedly receiving. In my opinion, this is not the whole truth. I have talked with many of these pioneers. They admit to me that to develop departments at university level is their ambition, as well as to proceed with the aid of specific term grants. They are, however, practical people, and they are correct in saying that they can obtain money for special grants much more easily. It is, therefore, natural for gerontologists to gladly and thankfully accept generous special grants and to refrain from reminding their benefactors that they also want to stabilize and dignify gerontology by the establishment of strategically located university departments of gerontology.E. V. Cowdry.
A formula should be developed which would use as a base the total current governmental expenditures in the field of aging. Against this should be placed an estimate of the amount of funds needed for research by various Federal agencies, and by private investigators; thus a ratio of the one to the other could be established. As examples, the proportionate amounts spent on research by business and industry, child welfare, mental health, and other fields might well serve as a guide. The need of the social sciences should be emphasized in the development of the formula because the programs of the National Institutes of Health seem adequate for biological-medical-psychological studies.-Wilma Donahue.
The financial investment in aging research should not be determined according to some preconceived formula, but according to the number of requests on the part of investigators for support of sound research projects. There is a tendency, if more funds are appropriated than can be effectively used, for diverse projects which are only remotely related to aging (if at all) to be included under the program. In this way an exaggerated impression is obtained regarding the actual investment in aging research. This impression may be obtained at present from the figures given for the expenditure on cancer research, for example, of which a sizable portion is allocated to projects of a purely basic nature. A disadvantage of the present organization of the Institutes is that basic research projects must be justified in terms of their relevance for the control of specific diseases such as cancer, arthritis and rheumatism, or heart disease. It would be preferable to administer such projects under a separate Institute for Basic Research.-H. H. Draper.
I can't think big figures. In the millions I would imagine welfare people say.G. L. Freeman.
As to the amount which might be allocated to aging research for the next 10 years, I would be conservative. The values obtained from research funds are dependent upon the quality of the investigators, and the investigators in the field of aging must still be trained. Certainly one would hope that there could be a progressive increase in availability of funds as persons qualified to use these funds effectively become available.—Albert V. Hardy.
Although I believe it is impossible to state the absolute sum that should be invested in aging research over the next 10 years, as a guiding principle one might take the rule that the level of support over the next 10 years should be approximately twice as high as the average level of increased financial support for research as a whole.—Harry F. Harlow.
Questions 8 and 9. I have no suggestion, but would rely heavily on the thinking of Tibbitts, Wilma Donahue, and others who have been deeply involved in research.-Max Kaplan.
It is very difficult to know how much money is being spent on research in aging, for much research with important gerontological implications is carried out as part of research programs in which age is considered only as an incidental variable. This is unfortunate, because in such cases the full implication of the age variable is lost because it remains unrelated to the on-going body of gerontological knowledge. I would, therefore, tend to be somewhat narrow in my interpretation of gerontological research. I would insist that for research to be classed as gerontological that it not only deal with change or differences at at least two points in time during the mature life of the individual, but also that this change or difference be used in an important way in attempting to understand observed relationships. The latter qualification admittedly is an arbitrary and perhaps an unusable criterion. I mention it merely in an effort to prevent the inclusion of research of relatively little significance to the field of gerontology in with other gerontological research, and thereby giving a spurious picture of the amount of aging research being undertaken. In effect, inclusion of ich research tends to pad the amount of support given in this area which even by the loosest definition is still far from adequate in amount.
I do not know how much ought to be spent on aging research. It seems to me that indexes could be related to the proportionate amounts spent for the aged in such areas as social security, medical care, old-age assistance, etc.-Robert W. Kleemeier.
Since I am not certain that "aging” research is in itself a true research category, I cannot give you an appropriate figure for
the amount which should be invested in aging research over the next 10 years.---Ross C. Kory.
Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon recognition of the fact that advances in the health status of the older members of our population will be a direct function of advances in basic research on aging. In this sense health is meant to include mental and social well-being as well as physical. Since research on aging is in its infancy, any device for stimulating basic research should be considered not only by Federal but by private agencies.-Albert I. Lansing.
It seems that the immediate need is more that of eliminating irrelevant research than increasing funds. Nevertheless, I would feel that the available funds should be progressively increased as research in aging develops.-C. J. Leblond.
Government should make available funds for postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships to individuals within the traditional social science fields who might minor in gerontology or concentrate their research or thesis efforts on problems of relevance to the field. Such fellowships not only make it financially easier for interested students to enter the field but also add prestige to the field of gerontology within a parent academic department. Research grants to university faculty members would, of course, also result in funds being available for graduate assistantships, thus encouraging student interest. In the long run, Government efforts to stimulate student interest will be as valuable as grants for specific research projects.-J. W. McConnell and Fred Slavick.
In regard to the amounts now being spent on aging, I believe that there should be an increase of about 20 percent annually over the next 5 years. In regard to the measure of financial investment, I believe that one has to be guided by the places and persons who are available to do such work.-Ross A. McFarland.
If the research program on aging is going to be expanded, as demand will inevitably force it to, the budget should be increased to $15 million for the next