Is aging a disease?

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Classifying aging as a disease could help prevent some age-related processes and attract more resources to aging research, argue scientists at Insilco Medicine in a paper recently published in the open access journal Frontiers in Genetics.

"Aging is a complex multifactorial process leading to loss of function and a very broad spectrum of diseases," said Insilico Medicine CEO Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D. "While the notion of whether aging itself is a disease is usually disputed, classifying it as such will help shift the focus of biomedicine from treatment to prevention.

The scientists say that additions to the 10th World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, or ICD-10, including some of the less obvious conditions such as obesity, may set a precedent for classifying aging as a disease. Their comments come as WHO prepares to finalize ICD-11 in 2018.

The report calls for the creation of a task force of scientists to more thoroughly examine the issue.

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