By Ian Stuart-Hamilton
With the world's inhabitants getting more and more older, there hasn't ever been a extra urgent want for the research of outdated age and getting old. An creation to Gerontology offers a wide-ranging advent to this crucial subject. by means of assuming no earlier specialist wisdom and keeping off jargon, this ebook will advisor scholars via the entire major matters in gerontology, masking either conventional parts, similar to organic and social growing older, in addition to extra modern parts, resembling know-how, the humanities, sexuality and schooling of older adults. An creation to Gerontology is written via a group of overseas authors with multidisciplinary backgrounds who draw facts from numerous varied views and traditions.
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Extra resources for An Introduction to Gerontology
As mentioned above, some species appear to avoid it. 12 on Thu Oct 11 11:23:13 BST 2012. 002 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2012 27 28 ˜ Pedro de Magalhaes ˜ Joao ageing between individuals of the same species. In particular, experiments in model organisms have demonstrated that ageing can be manipulated by genetic and environmental factors. Understanding the mechanisms involved might allow human ageing to be manipulated. As such, the discoveries detailed below on the plasticity of ageing are among the most important in our understanding of the biology of ageing.
As discussed above, interpreting results is often controversial and ageing studies are expensive and time-consuming, even in animal models. It is also possible that some mechanisms of ageing are conserved across species, while others are not (Martin, Austad and Johnson, 1996). Besides, discriminating between causes and effects of a complex biological process such as ageing is problematic, even if the new genetic technologies have opened up new opportunities to move beyond correlative studies. Although the search for a causal factor in ageing remains fruitless, if indeed we could identify a unifying process of ageing it would be remarkable, and a critical step for developing anti-ageing therapies (as discussed further below).
This chapter aims to describe the major observations, theories and hypotheses of biogerontology, the field of research that studies ageing from a biological perspective. A brief discussion on the prospects of developing therapies that delay the process of ageing and an overview of future critical areas in biogerontology are also included. What is ageing? Human ageing entails multiple changes at different levels. Some, like wrinkles or grey hair, are more visible than others. Age-related changes also make themselves felt at the functional and physiological level.