Understanding the Biology of Aging: The Key To Prevention and Therapy

Jan Vijg, Jeanne Y. Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To review recent progress and consider future approaches for basic research on aging with clinical applicability. DATA SOURCES: Peer‐reviewed publications on experimental gerontology and geriatrics. STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: Studies were selected that described experimental approaches in gerontology and geriatrics, starting with the evolutionary basis of aging, through theories trying to explain its major causes, to novel experimental approaches, e.g., computer informatics, protein chemistry and genetics. DATA SYNTHESIS: Our increased understanding of the evolutionary basis of aging has made it possible to consider a number of experimental strategies more rationally. Most theories on the causes of aging involve some kind of somatic damage that accumulates with age, the rate of which is determined by environmental, genetic, and behavioral factors. The recent emergence of more powerful methodology offers new possibilities for identifying basic mechanisms of aging, which would increase our understanding of biologically based susceptibility to age‐related health problems. CONCLUSIONS: There is a growing awareness that age‐related deterioration will affect an ever growing number of people, in both absolute and relative terms. It can be expected that this will further increase the resources that will be made available for research on aging. Although ultimately unavoidable, aging is a process that appears to be experimentally accessible. Therefore, the mechanisms of senescence and death may eventually be more completely understood, with the promise of preventing and/or delaying many of the adverse effects associated with aging, including most of the common diseases, and possibly also of extending lifespan. 1995 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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