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May 14, 2019

Anti-Aging Passion and Pragmatism: Effective Bedfellows at Last

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, life extension

I am writing this shortly after returning from the third edition of RAADfest, a conference created two years ago by a team led by Jim Strole. I go to a lot, I mean a lot, of conferences, not least because outreach is such a big part of my role in our crusade. But I think this is the first time I have chosen to devote an editorial to one. You may wonder what’s so special.

Well, RAADfest is … not your typical conference. Its organizers—Strole and his team, most notably his partner Bernadeane—have, for a couple of decades, led a group in Arizona named “People Unlimited”, which has acquired a reputation—and, I have to report, a well-deserved one—for, let’s say, placing excessive emphasis on the principle that ‘‘where there’s a will there’s a way’’ in relation to the defeat of aging (Yeah, I can still do classic British understatement when I try). Accordingly, when they first let it be known that they planned to do something bigger, the initial reaction was decidedly mixed. I don’t know how many credentialed biogerontologists declined speaking invitations, but only a few of us accepted—and of those, as I recall, only the perennially fearless Michael Rose was a university professor. I myself, though happy to lend my support to this new initiative as a speaker, was rather more diffident in response to Strole’s entreaties to promote the event through my outreach channels.

But the doubters were wrong—very wrong. The event was a storming success, in terms of both attendance—Strole had secured significant sponsorship from the Life Extension Foundation under the expectation of a budgetary shortfall but was actually able to give it back, yes you read that correctly—and also content, which, while being necessarily a little light on science given the paucity of scientist speakers, was coherent, rousing, and informative.

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