What Is Ageing?

No wise Man ever wished to be younger.

- Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects

Podcast of the Day

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss ageing. In 1900, 1% of the world’s population were over 65. In the 1990s nearly 8% are. By the year 2020, nearly 1/5th of the world’s population will be over 65 - the figure rises to 25% in the UK. We are now living longer than at any time in our history. How much do economic factors, rather than biological factors, determine what ageing really means and our attitude to it? And what are the ethical, economic and biological implications of living longer?Tom Kirkwood, is an expert on the science of ageing and he brings to bear a close study of how the ageing process is being arrested and speculates on the very great age some of us could and will reach. He has said: “Today’s older people are the vanguard of an extraordinary revolution in longevity that is radically changing the structure of society and altering our perceptions of life and death. The price for this success - and make no mistake it is a success - is that we now face the challenge of ageing.”Alan Walker is an expert in the sociology of ageing and he takes in the whole context, especially the economic dimension.

Listen to the In Our Time episode on Ageing

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

...At all ages whether at work or in our personal lives, we have to make decisions on a regular basis. Some decisions will be easier than others. As people tend to get older, decisions about topics such as health and retirement – or how to run the country in the case of the Queen – can be a bit more challenging.

The difficult decisions we make later in life are often important and can impact our lives substantially – meaning there may be fewer opportunities to recover from any bad decisions we make...

Continue reading Wändi Bruine de Bruin's article: How ageing affects the way we make decisions

Further Reading

...In humans, ageing represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time, encompassing physical, psychological, and social changes. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may expand. Ageing is among the greatest known risk factors for most human diseases: of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die from age-related causes.

The causes of ageing are uncertain; current theories are assigned to the damage concept, whereby the accumulation of damage (such as DNA oxidation) may cause biological systems to fail, or to the programmed ageing concept, whereby internal processes (such as DNA methylation) may cause ageing. Programmed ageing should not be confused with programmed cell death (apoptosis)...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Ageing

Bonus Webcomic

Ages - xkcd

Related Topics

 Genetics | The Human Body | Childhood | Youth

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