Monday, December 5, 2022

The Download: the aging/disease debate, and WeChat’s dark side

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Last October, word began to spread among researchers that the World Health Organization was considering a change to its International Classification of Diseases, a catalog used to standardize disease diagnosis worldwide.

In an upcoming revision, the plan was to replace the diagnosis of “senility” with something more expansive: “old age.” Crucially, the code associated with the diagnosis included the term “pathological,” which could have been interpreted as suggesting that old age is a disease in itself. 

While some researchers looked forward to the revision, seeing it as part of the path toward creating and distributing anti-­aging therapies, others feared that these changes would only further ageism, pointing out that if age alone were presumed to be a disease, that could lead to inadequate care from physicians. Read the full story.

—Sarah Sloat

Read more:

+ What if aging weren’t inevitable, but a curable disease? If this controversial idea gains acceptance, it could radically change the way we treat getting old. Read the full story.

The dark side of a super app like WeChat

Imagine being blocked from accessing almost the entirety of your social and digital life in one fell swoop. That’s what happened to people in Beijing who discussed the recent banner protest in Beijing against the 20th Chinese Communist party congress over the weekend, after Tencent banned them from accessing their WeChat accounts.

It may not be so obvious to people outside China just how crucial the super app is in the country—there simply aren’t many alternatives. Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal are all blocked, SMS messages are inundated with spam, and email is basically nonexistent among the general population. 

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