What could advances in the biology of ageing mean for the quality of later life?

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The ageing process is often discussed as though it is unique to humans. However, it can be observed throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. In every species in which it occurs, the ageing process has common traits. It is a progressive, intrinsic, cumulative and deleterious process that eventually gives rise to physiological frailty, morbidity and death. Historically, biogerontology had a slow start but the last 10 years have seen exceptional progress in understanding both why and how ageing changes occur. As a result of this new knowledge, interventions that could produce longer, healthier human lives are close to becoming clinical realities. Unfortunately, the speed and scale of these advances is not well understood outside the relatively small community of biological gerontologists. This article reviews some of these advances for a non-specialist audience, speculates on their potential impact and identifies current barriers to future progress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalQuality in Ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2009


  • Ageing process
  • Biogerontology
  • Living longer
  • Older people
  • Quality of life


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