Queen’s University Professor Colin Farrelly is available to discuss his opinion article in the June issue of the journal Biogerontology where he writes that the best way to increase the health prospects of an aging population is to focus more on studying the biology of aging, as opposed to trying to find cures for diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
“Instead of just studying specific diseases like cancer or arthritis, we must also acknowledge the reality that most chronic disease occurs in late life. Age is a major risk factor for disease. But why do we age? And why does aging make our bodies and minds more vulnerable to disease?” asks Professor Farrelly.
“Making the biology of aging a priority is a challenge in-itself. Because aging is not a disease, nor an official cause of death, we are prone to ignore it as a threat to a population’s health. For 99.9% of our species’ history, life expectancy did not exceed the age of 30, and this explains why we are vulnerable to chronic disease in late life. The force of natural selection declines after the age of reproduction, so there was no selective pressure to pass on genes that protect us from cancer or heart disease at age 75 when hardly anyone lived that long. Aging is a product of evolutionary neglect. ”
A copy of the Biogerontology article is available to reporters.
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