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The Search is On: Discovering the discoveries

When we started Science for Seniors, we knew it wouldn’t be a simple task to find those little nuggets of useful information that might actually improve our lives.  Marketing health products in America is one of our biggest industries and the well-fueled media frenzy that supports it is chock full of misinformation.  Yet out there among all of the confusion, science does work and progress is made.

We couldn’t dismiss medical claims made by commercial companies as being frivolous or misleading just because their websites didn’t end in .org or .edu.  Indeed, thousands of companies in the healthcare industry spend billions of dollars on research and research-related activities looking for real solutions for real human problems.

On the flip side of this business politic, we couldn’t accept every press release from every university’s PR department as the last word on any healthcare either.  The fact that old flies lie on their backs in old age may be an interesting observation, but that fact alone is still years away from having any practical application if one comes from it at all.

Of course, if this was 1962 and I was 65 years old, none of this would matter to me.  In those days, scientific discovery and application comfortably moved along at a seemingly sensible but fairly useless pace.  Folks ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at the occasional significant discovery, but check-out time for most of us was still eleven AM and no one questioned that.

But it’s not 1962, and breath-taking discovery is happening all around us at break-neck speed.  Health claims that were sheer foolishness only a few years ago now receive serious attention from academia and industry alike.  Medications developed only months ago keep people alive today while others significantly improve the quality of life for millions.  As consumers, we speculate about the new possibilities this ever growing number of science discoveries represent.  We wonder with a growing sense of urgency, can we live just a little longer?

Discovering the cure to a disease is a long and tedious process, but once it’s done, the rest of us still need to discover the discovery.  I’m not so sure which is the bigger challenge.

Make no mistake, there’s  no Holy Grail, no Ponce De Leonic Fountain of Youth, just very intelligent hard working men and women, in research labs, pharmaceutical companies and university classrooms around the world, discovering new things about our health, our physical world and how they interact.  The trick for us is to find them in time.