Nonagenarians in the news

Nonagenarians — people in their nineties — are making news this month. Last week Norman Borlaug received the Congressional Gold Medal for his lifetime work in saving a billion people through high-yield crops. He’s 93 and still going strong.

This week biotech pioneer Orrie Friedman — a young’un at only 92 — announced he wants to make $1 billion dollars before he dies through finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. His company Grand Pharma is working on using organic silica-based compounds to dissolve the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

And Friedman is no slouch in chemistry and biotechnology. After teaching at Brandeis (and before that seven years in post-doc research at Harvard Medical School), Friedman formed Collaborative Research in 1961, which studied the relationship between genes and disease and was a precursor of modern biotech companies.

Let’s hope these nonagenarians become centenarians while continuing their work. After all, there are 70,000 people in the U.S. today who are 100 years old or older.