Policy ForumAging

To help aging populations, classify organismal senescence

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Science  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6465, pp. 576-578
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay7319

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Summary

Globally, citizens exist for sustained periods in states of aging-related disease and multimorbidity. Given the urgent and unmet clinical, health care, workforce, and economic needs of aging populations, we need interventions and programs that regenerate tissues and organs and prevent and reverse aging-related damage, disease, and frailty (1). In response to these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a comprehensive public-health response within an international legal framework based on human rights law (1). Yet for a clinical trial to be conducted, a disease to be diagnosed, intervention prescribed, and treatment administered; a corresponding disease classification code is needed, adopted nationally from the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Such classifications and staging are fundamental for health care governance among governments and intergovernmental bodies. We describe a systematic and comprehensive approach to the classification and staging of organismal senescence and aging-related diseases at the organ and tissue levels in order to guide policy and practice and enable appropriate interventions and clinical guidance, systems, resources, and infrastructure.

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