Researchers to reveal aging's origins on global stage

June 23, 2009

Four of the biologists who described the underlying causes of aging will soon share their findings with an international audience during a symposium at the upcoming World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, taking place from July 5-9, 2009, in Paris, France.

The presentation, titled "Ageing Is no Longer an Unsolved Problem," is being supported by the Ellison Medical Foundation and co-sponsored by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Among the speakers will be former GSA President Leonard Hayflick, PhD, a professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. He said that the accumulation of new insights has made it possible, for the first time, to understand the biological reasons for the aging of animals and humans.

"Aging occurs because the complex of which we are all composed become dysfunctional over time as the energy necessary to keep them structurally sound diminishes. Thus, our molecules must be repaired or replaced frequently by our own extensive repair systems," Hayflick said.

"These repair systems, which are also composed of complex molecules," he explained, "eventually suffer the same molecular dysfunction. The time when the balance shifts in favor of the accumulation of dysfunctional molecules is determined by — and leads to the manifestation of changes that we recognize are characteristic of an old person or animal. It must occur after both reach reproductive maturity, otherwise the species would vanish."

Hayflick also noted that these repair and maintenance systems are called "determinants of longevity," which is a phenomenon different from the aging process itself.

"These fundamental molecular dysfunctional events lead to an increase in vulnerability to age-associated disease," he said. "Therefore, the study, and even the resolution of age-associated diseases, will tell us little about the fundamental processes of aging."

Hayflick's discoveries — described in his book, "How and Why We Age" — have been reinforced by several other leading biologists, who will join him at the Paris symposium.

These co-presenters include Robin Holliday, PhD, of the Australian Academy of Science, author of "Understanding Ageing"; Steven Austad, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, author of "Why We "; and Thomas Kirkwood, PhD, of Newcastle University, author of "Time of Our Lives."

Source: The Gerontological Society of America

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.