Biology of Aging
Research on the aging of the brain, nervous system, and neuroendocrine systems constitutes a major portion of biogerontology. Brain cells do not usually replicate and thus must last for most of the life span of the organism. Neurodegenerative diseases that destroy the functionality of neurons and other neuronal tissues, such as in Alzheimer's disease, are a major source of disability in the last third of human life span. Here again, understanding what goes wrong may provide valuable information about normal function as well as lead to effective therapies to combat these terrible diseases.
From this brief summary of the subject matter of the biology of aging it is obvious that aging affects virtually every aspect of our lives. The tremendous strides in this understanding that have resulted from the application of molecular techniques to aging research are described, and the promise that ongoing research holds for better understanding and even better therapies provides positive examples of the benefits of biological research for all of us.
RICHARD L. SPROTT
See also AGING; EPIDEMIOLOGY; GERIATRIC MEDICINE; PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES; THEORIES OF BIOLOGICAL AGING.
AUSTAD, S. N. Why We Age. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
KIRKWOOD, T. Time of Our Lives. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
SCHNEIDER, E. L., and ROWE, J. W., eds. Handbook of the Biology of Aging. New York: Academic Press, 1996.
SPROTT, R. L., and PEREIRA-SMITH, O., eds. The Genetics of Aging. Generations 24 no. 1 (2000): 1–85.
Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Biology of Aging - Biogerontology, Research Approaches, Genetic Analyses, Model Systems, Cell Senescence, Hormonal Changes, Nutrition