Attitudes towards Aging Prevention: Results of a Focus-Group Study
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Emerging life-extension technologies and generally used therapies aimed at preventing agingrelated pathological processes have significant potential to alleviate the burden of disease in an aging world. However, promoting these technologies requires research of public opinion with the use of marketing techniques. We studied social attitudes toward life-extension technologies and use of geroprotective medicines by conducting three focus groups. The total sample included 18 people with university degrees 25–70 years of age who were living in Moscow (Russia). The tested statements were obtained in advance by surveying 30 experts in gerontology. The focus group participants were most in agreement with the statement that “aging prevention will help to maintain health and increase the active period of life.” Despite the doubts of experts, the idea that aging is a disease convinces a considerable share of the informants when the scientific evidence of the connection between aging processes and aging-related health damage is provided. Introducing new agendas into the discussion (pensions, overpopulation, etc.) turned out to be counterproductive due to new counterarguments emerging in the group discussions. The idea of radical life extension (200 years and more) was perceived skeptically. Some skepticism was attributed to mistrust and disappointment in the modern healthcare system in general. Gene therapies were perceived with caution. The word “geroprotector” is not well known even to the educated general public.
Keywordsfocus groups longevity technologies geroprotectors
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