Geroscience, The Study of Age-Related Health Issues
A new collection of articles appearing in May 2014 in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences focuses on how the basic biology of aging drives chronic disease. Together, they highlight the value of the emerging field of geroscience, which uses an integrated approach to the study of diseases and disability associated with growing older.
A release from the Gerontological Society of American explains that the goal of geroscience is to bridge the divide between studies of aging and studies of chronic disease, with the hope of understanding their complex relationship and pointing the way to novel interventions for disease, frailty, and disability.
The articles in the collection were inspired by the inaugural summit convened by the National Institutes of Health’s Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group. Under the continued theme of “Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease,” these pieces focus on seven mechanisms that intersect aging and chronic disease pathways: inflammation, adaptation to stress, epigenetics, metabolism, macromolecular damage, proteostasis (the process that regulates cellular proteins to maintain health), and stem cells and regeneration.
The release quotes the lead articles as saying, “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 has become a new and urgent frontier for modern medicine.”
Each entry in the article collection uses the foundational concepts of geroscience to understand basic cellular and molecular underpinnings of aging as a principal risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases; explore common mechanisms governing relationships between aging and chronic diseases; and identify new pathways for research collaboration.