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AFAR responds to New York Times Op Ed on recent Pew Research study

Aug 13

AFAR responds to New York Times Op Ed on recent Pew Research study View MoreBACK

On August 7, the New York Times published an Op Ed reflecting on a recent study by the Pew Research Center that asked Americans whether or not they would like to live to be 120-years-old. The following is a letter written by AFAR President, Dr. Roger McCarter, addressing the study and media representations of aging research:

Americans are indeed, as the recent NY Times Op Ed article revealed, sharply divided and perhaps confused on the subject of dramatically extending human lifespan. This confusion is due to the lack of understanding of a field that seeks to alleviate pain and suffering in the later years of life by extending health span, not avoiding death. Further, the Pew survey does not make the distinction between life extension and improved quality of life. My guess is that, asked a question of whether one would rather be debilitated in old age or vibrant and independent, most would be excited about the prospect of living old age in good health, engaged productively in society and not being a drain on one’s family or, for that matter, the health care system. The important question is whether we want a society in which men and women are old and sick or old and healthy.

Roger McCarter, Ph.D.
President, The American Federation for Aging Research
New York, NY
Aug. 8th 2013