Dr. Robert N. Butler is the President and CEO of the International Longevity Center. Whether through his many appearances in front of the United States Congress, or his hundreds of interviews with the media, Dr. Butler has worked tirelessly for decades to push population-aging issues into the public discourse. As a gerontologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Butler recognized discrimination against the elderly as early as 1968, coining the term "ageism." Eight years later, the publication of his Pulitzer-prize-winning "Why Survive? Being Old in America" solidified his reputation as someone who foresaw the impact that aging would have on American society. A founding director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the nation's first department of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Butler often consults for television and radio. He is the author of some 300 scientific and medical articles. Source: The International Longevity Center
Question: Does the study of aging benefit humanity?
Robert Butler: Yeah basically because if we can at the same time that we have lengthened life can reduce the onset of disease, then it is highly desirable. I mean no one well from an economic point of view of society or from a societal point of view or an individual point of view, we can't take pleasure in the advent of so many diseases and disablities with age.
So, by virtue of investing and basic research on aging, we may dramatically reduce the painful advent of all those conditions which would be a great step forward.
Robert Butler: Well, older people are often fantastic. I was just reading about Roget's Thesaurus, which was the guy he lived to something like 90 and [Inaudible] tons and tons of writers whether for the newspapers or whatever, your lives and Thesaurus is [Inaudible]. So, what I am saying is that I think there are many benefits to older people who continue to contribute, are productive, and many of them are great composers like Elliot Carter at 99, still composing music. So, there are many advantages to age for everybody, not just for themselves.
Recorded on: Mar 17 2008