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The contribution of biogerontology to quality ageing

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JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
DatePublished - Mar 2011
Issue number1
Volume12
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)26-32
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Increased longevity is the success story of 20th-century biomedicine, together with improvements in general living conditions, but it brings great challenges. Although many individuals do undergo what might be termed 'successful ageing', this is not a universal experience, for with older age comes a range of age-related diseases and degenerations that can diminish, if not destroy, quality of life for some older individuals. Biogerontology is the study of the biology of ageing, a normal process but one that has the potential to contribute to age-related disease. Its goal is to extend the proportion of a life that is healthy, an outcome that is desirable both at an individual and a societal level. One of the great insights from the last decade or more of biogerontology is the realisation that the ageing process is not a fixed, unchangeable process. Rather, it is controlled by genes and is open to experimental interventions that extend healthy lifespan, in species from microbes to mice. These findings have produced a sea change in the way the biogerontological community views ageing: not as a fixed, 'inevitable' process, but one where rates of ageing vary enormously according to genotype, and can be readily changed by interventions. This makes the biological process of ageing an attractive target both to understand, and target, age-related conditions.

    Research areas

  • Biogerontology, Progeria, Replicative senescence, Werner syndrome

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