Series: Research Profiles in Aging

After the recent successes in biomedical approaches towards diseases per se, aging is clearly the next great challenge and opportunity for physiology and medicine. The stakes are high and the benefits are great. Indeed, research on aging will lead to new targets for drug development in geriatric medicine and novel strategies to prevent a myriad of age-related illnesses. Based on the scenario sketched above, a flood of new research initiatives into the molecular and cellular basis of aging can be expected for the new millennium. This is greatly facilitated by the recent spectacular breakthroughs in a number of aging-related research areas. For example, the first proof that single genes can have great effects on life span, which can be increased, has been obtained, first with the nematode worm and now also with flies and mice. Results obtained with humans now strongly indicate that those lucky few that survive the ravages of old age do so because of their genes. The recent dramatic advances in sequencing the entire human genome greatly facilitate an endeavor to systematically search for gene variants that protect against accumulating damage and extend life span. Results at the cellular level indicate that the natural block that prevents cells from dividing indefinitely can be circumvented with immortality as a result. Experiments with genetically modified mice have now also provided the first concrete evidence that mutations accumulate in various organs and tissues, which may turn out to be the main proximate cause of aging. A common aspect of the results mentioned above is that they stem from cutting-edge scientists, reporting their findings in major scientific journals. This illustrates not only how popular aging research has become among the top scientists, but also that the field has been transformed from one of the backwaters of science to a highly competitive field taken seriously by both the public and the most renowned scientists.
Caloric Restriction: A Key to Understanding and Modulating Aging

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Volume 1. Caloric Restriction: A Key to Understanding and Modulating Aging

Published: 20th December 2002 Editors: E.J. Masoro
For many years, it has been known that when rats and mice are given a reduced amount of food, their life span is increased and they remain healthy and vigorous at advanced ages.

What is the reason for this change in the usual pattern of aging? The evidence is overwhelming that the life extension results from a slowing of aging processes. And the factor responsible is the decrease in caloric intake. The obvious question: How does this factor work? A good question - and the reason that research on the anti-aging action of caloric restriction is today one of the most studied research areas in biological gerontology. For it is felt that if the biological mechanisms of the anti-aging action of caloric restriction can be uncovered, we would gain an understanding of the basic nature of aging processes, which would, in turn, yield possible interventions in human aging. This book aims to provide the growing number of researchers in this field (faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students) with a detailed knowledge of what is known about caloric restriction within the frame of gerontology, as well as insights on future of this field.