Leonard Hayflick Ph.D. How and Why We Age

ISBN 13: 9780345401557

How and Why We Age

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9780345401557: How and Why We Age

"How long can humans live? Is immortality possible? Just what is the aging process? The aging and inevitable death of the human body have inspired more myths and outrageous quackery than anything else subject to scientific inquiry. . . . Now comes a most fascinating book, insightful and scholarly, to provide what answers have emerged so far."
--San Francisco Chronicle
Here, at last, preeminent cell biologist Leonard Hayflick presents the truth about human aging. Based on more than thirty years of pioneering research in the field, How and Why We Age explores not only how our major biological systems change as we grow older, but also examines the intangible alterations in our modes of thinking and feeling, our moods and sexual desires, our personality traits and our memories.
With the immediacy of the latest scientific discoveries, Dr. Hayflick explains how aging affects every part of the body, and dispels many of the most persistent aging myths, to show that:
* Hearts do not naturally get weaker with age.
* Regular exercise and a low-fat diet won't slow aging.
* Curing cancer would only add two years to the average sixty-five-year-old American life. Curing heart disease, however would add fourteen years.
* Only five percent of people over the age of sixty-five are in nursing homes
* No human has lived--or probably can live--past 120 years.
Gracefully written, clearly organized, and packed with essential facts and statistics, How and Why We Age is a landmark study of the aging process for readers of all ages.
"Written in clear, nontechnical language, it is an excellent introduction to the scientific and demographic literature on this multifaceted subject."
--Nature

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About the Author:

Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., is Professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and was Professor of Medical Microbiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

From Kirkus Reviews:

With this book, Hayflick, a professor of biology (Univ. of California Medical School) who specializes in the study of aging, makes a valiant--and largely successful--attempt to summarize for lay readers the current research and theories in his field. Old age, as Hayflick points out, is in its infancy: Only during this century, and only in industrialized nations, have people lived long enough to grow old in large numbers. Hayflick lays out most of what is known about what happens as people age and outlines many of the theories and studies that try to explain the process. Along the way, he touches on ethical questions raised by the possibility of prolonging life and debunks the quackery that has pushed grafted monkey testicles, goat gland transplants, dried fetal cell injections, and other absurd remedies as anti-aging treatments. He also passes along such intriguing tidbits as the fact that normal cells can subdivide only 40 to 50 times before dying, but cancer cells are ``immortal'' and can replicate themselves indefinitely; that neither exercise nor antioxidants have been shown to slow the aging process; and that people who are up to 20% heavier than the ``ideal'' weight set by insurance company charts live longer than those who are underweight. Hayflick covers too much ground to linger on any one point, and that can be frustrating. He repeatedly cites the age of 115, for instance, as the maximum possible life span yet neglects to explain how he can be so sure. Despite its entertaining aphorisms and witty asides, this book is probably too dense to gain the audience its subject matter deserves. But for readers with a high tolerance for polysyllabic words and more than a passing interest in the biology of aging, it's an informative and often entertaining overview. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Leonard Hayflick Ph.D.
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ISBN 10: 0345401557 ISBN 13: 9780345401557
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