I wasted time, and now doth time waste me. —William Shakespeare It is a fact of life that with the slow progression of time we all lose the health and vigor we enjoyed as children and young adults. Statisticians, in a long version of Shakespeare’s eloquent statement, sum it up by saying our chance of […]

The Quest for Immortality (Aging)

Concerns about human mortality date back at least 20,000 years when Cro-Magnons, the first Homo sapiens, prepared one of their own for burial. Evidence for the existence of these people and their burial practices was discovered simultaneously at Les Eyzies, France, in 1868 (Les Eyzies is a village located in the Dordognes region of southwest […]

The History of Gerontology (Aging)

Gerontology is a branch of the biological sciences devoted to the study of the aging process and its effects on cells and organisms. Philosophers and scientists have been interested in this subject for thousands of years, but this history will be confined to the modern era, extending back no further than the late 1800s. The […]

Aging Characteristics

All animals pass through three stages of development: embryo-genesis, growth and development, and senescence. The final stage is commonly recognized as the aging process. That is, it represents those events that add up to a gradual deterioration of the body and mind. A major problem associated with the study of senescence is distinguishing between those […]

Aging Theories Part 1

Aging theories cover the genetic, biochemical, and physiological properties of a typical organism, as well as the way these properties change with time. Genetic theories deal with speculations regarding the identity of aging genes, accumulation of errors in the genetic machinery, programmed senescence, and telomeres. Biochemical theories are concerned with energy metabolism, generation of free […]

Aging Theories Part 2

Neuroendocrine theory The neuroendocrine system, which consists of several endocrine glands under the control of the central nervous system, coordinates an animal’s physiology. The human central nervous system. The human brain consists of the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem, which is continuous with the spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord are called […]

Longevity Genes (Aging)

Aging research throughout the first three epochs of gerontology was primarily concerned with describing general aspects of the process covering all levels of biological organization, from the molecular to the organismal. The data collected spawned a large number of theories touching on all aspects of cellular structure and function, as well as changes that may […]

Age-Related Diseases (Aging) Part 1

Growing old holds many pleasures, but for someone with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), it can be a confusing and frightening experience. The image of an absentminded elderly man or woman has been with us for a long time. People today are in the habit of thinking that this is the natural consequence of growing old, but […]

Age-Related Diseases (Aging) Part 2

ARTHRITIS Although the term literally means "joint inflammation," arthritis really refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. If left undiagnosed and untreated, arthritis can cause irreversible damage to the joints. There are two forms of this disease: osteoar-thritis and rheumatoid […]

Age-Related Diseases (Aging) Part 3

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) The most common form of cardiovascular disease is called atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that can strike at any age, although it is not a serious threat until our fifth or sixth decades. This disease is caused by an excess of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood, which leads to the […]