Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Aging

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9780195139266: Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Aging
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By the year 2050 one in five of the world's population will be 65 or older, a fact which presages profound medical, biological, philosophical, and political changes in the coming century. In Time of Our Lives, Tom Kirkwood draws on more than twenty years of research to make sense of the evolution of aging, to explain how aging occurs, and to answer fundamental questions like why women live longer than men. He shows that we age because our genes, evolving at a time when life was "nasty, brutish, and short," placed little priority on the long-term maintenance of our bodies. With such knowledge, along with new insights from genome research, we can devise ways to target the root causes of aging and of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and osteoporosis. He even considers the possibility that human beings will someday have greatly extended life spans or even be free from senescence altogether.

Beautifully written by one of the world's pioneering researchers into the science of aging, Time of Our Lives is a clear, original and, above all, inspiring investigation of a process all of us experience but few of us understand.

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The blurb on the cover of this book may be slightly misleading: "A world authority shows why aging is neither inevitable nor necessary." This is true, for he does show theoretically why there is no need for us to age, i.e. that there is no "death gene" that determines, more or less precisely, our longevity. Just don't expect any miracle cures. From a layman's viewpoint, the evolutionary argument he constructs for the development of aging in species is well elucidated and highly convincing. Aging is not, according to the disposable soma theory expounded here, anything to do with population control or some such crudely deterministic mechanism, but rather the genes making the best of what are, after all, limited energy resources. Our soma cells (anything but the all-important and immortal germ-line cells by which we reproduce) are constantly being replicated, a process that, carried out in any sort of energy-efficient manner, leaves room for error. And these errors are cumulative in effect; though the process is generally remarkably accurate, a faultily constructed cell cannot produce a perfect cell, and eventually our bodies will go wrong with fatal consequences. This mattered less when the conditions of life were such that reaching a state of senescence was relatively rare. But with the change in these conditions found in modern industrialized countries, the effects of this process have taken on a far greater significance. As well as the science (all very accessible to the nonscientist), Tom Kirkwood also engages the reader in an interesting and important discussion of the social and cultural implications of these changed conditions. For the time being, though, as far as any of us are concerned, aging is still inevitable. This book doesn't offer the hope of evading death or even delaying it that significantly, but it does offer up some hope: understanding a process can help to demystify it and dispel fear, and, as Kirkwood illustrates, it can help us to try and intelligently influence the processes at work in our favor. Time of Our Lives is an excellently written popular-science book for anyone who is concerned with the onslaught of the years. --Alisdair Bowles, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:


Tom Kirkwood is Professor of Biological Gerontology at the University of Manchester and Director of the Manchester-Newcastle Joint Center on Aging. He is a member of several international editorial boards and scientific committees, an adviser to the World Health Organization, and winner of the Heinz Karger Prize on cellular aging. Mr. Kirkwood lives in Manchester, England.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.By the year 2050 one in five of the world s population will be 65 or older, a fact which presages profound medical, biological, philosophical, and political changes in the coming century. In Time of Our Lives, Tom Kirkwood draws on more than twenty years of research to make sense of the evolution of aging, to explain how aging occurs, and to answer fundamental questions like why women live longer than men. He shows that we age because our genes, evolving at a time when life was nasty, brutish, and short, placed little priority on the long-term maintenance of our bodies. With such knowledge, along with new insights from genome research, we can devise ways to target the root causes of aging and of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer s and osteoporosis. He even considers the possibility that human beings will someday have greatly extended life spans or even be free from senescence altogether. Beautifully written by one of the world s pioneering researchers into the science of aging, Time of Our Lives is a clear, original and, above all, inspiring investigation of a process all of us experience but few of us understand. Seller Inventory # APC9780195139266

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 288 pages. Dimensions: 8.8in. x 5.9in. x 0.9in.By the year 2050 one in five of the worlds population will be 65 or older, a fact which presages profound medical, biological, philosophical, and political changes in the coming century. In Time of Our Lives, Tom Kirkwood draws on more than twenty years of research to make sense of the evolution of aging, to explain how aging occurs, and to answer fundamental questions like why women live longer than men. He shows that we age because our genes, evolving at a time when life was nasty, brutish, and short, placed little priority on the long-term maintenance of our bodies. With such knowledge, along with new insights from genome research, we can devise ways to target the root causes of aging and of age-related diseases such as Alzheimers and osteoporosis. He even considers the possibility that human beings will someday have greatly extended life spans or even be free from senescence altogether. Beautifully written by one of the worlds pioneering researchers into the science of aging, Time of Our Lives is a clear, original and, above all, inspiring investigation of a process all of us experience but few of us understand. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195139266

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