Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease

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Abstract

Population aging is unprecedented, without parallel in human history, and the 21st century will witness even more rapid aging than did the century just past. Improvements in public health and medicine are having a profound effect on population demographics worldwide. By 2017, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under age 5, and by 2050, two billion of the estimated nine billion people on Earth will be older than 60 (http://unfpa.org/ageingreport/). Although we can reasonably expect to live longer today than past generations did, the age-related disease burden we will have to confront has not changed. With the proportion of older people among the global population being now higher than at any time in history and still expanding, maintaining health into old age (or healthspan) has become a new and urgent frontier for modern medicine. Geroscience is a cross-disciplinary field focused on understanding the relationships between the processes of aging and age-related chronic diseases. On October 30–31, 2013, the trans-National Institutes of Health GeroScience Interest Group hosted a Summit to promote collaborations between the aging and chronic disease research communities with the goal of developing innovative strategies to improve healthspan and reduce the burden of chronic disease.

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