The science of aging Today’s Video of the Day from the Salk Institute investigates how we age, why we age, and how aging affects our cognitive function.
Aging is one of the biggest risk factors for the most prevalent diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. In numerous diseases, age itself is the major risk factor. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many other afflictions become profoundly more likely the older we get. Aside from extending our life spans, scientists want to know how we can also extend our health during advanced age.
The Salk scientists want to understand how cells and tissues change over the course of a lifetime.
By comparing the biological aging rate of individuals with the same chronological age, the researchers hope to identify the mechanisms which allow some people to maintain health throughout life while others are not able to do so. While one important area of study in the field of aging involves studying telomeres in dividing cells, the body is full of cells that seldom replicate, such as those in the brain, heart, bones and pancreas. These long-lived cells have different pathways of aging, and must protect their DNA from damage and threats.
Video Credit: Salk Institute
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer