Aging and the U.S. Population: A Q & A with Dr. Dana Goldman

In our latest Healthspan Expert Q & A, we talk with Dana Goldman, Ph.D., professor and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair and Director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, about aging demographics in the U.S. Please note Dr. Goldman’s opinions are his own.

5/4/15 Los Angeles, CA USC Schaeffer Photo by: Steve Cohn www.stevecohnphotography.com (310) 277-2054 © 2015

Q: Please give us a background into your interest into the aging of the U.S. population?

DG: Ironically, I first became interested in aging when I was studying obesity in younger populations. We all know obesity is a public health problem, and we were studying the value of interventions to reduce weight at earlier ages. However, it soon became clear that such interventions are not well-targeted and hence can be very expensive. We started to look at prevention at older ages, and what we found was that interventions at older ages Continue reading

Today Is International Longevity Day

Every year the United Nations recognizes today, October 1, as its International Day of Older Persons to raise awareness about issues affecting older adults as well as to appreciate the contributions older adults make to global society.

For the Healthspan Campaign, today represents a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the rising implications of global aging, something we talk about a lot, and the promise of research to slow down the aging process. So it’s with great pleasure that we give you news about the “International Longevity Day” initiative being conducted by our campaign partners, the International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD), to emphasize the importance of aging and longevity research for the development of effective health care for older adults. ISOAD’s efforts have resulted in events being held in more than 40 countries around the globe today. We salute ISOAD’s devotion to bringing recognition to aging research. To keep track of today’s events visit the International Longevity Day Facebook page. 

We also would like to share a short video about why aging research can be a global gamechanger. Watch it below.

 

Author Bill Gifford Talks about His New Book, Spring Chicken

bill giffordIt’s our pleasure to present this Q & A with Bill Gifford, the author of the brand-new book Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying).  His book is described as “a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind’s oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better?” He has been busy talking about his book with NPR, Dr. Oz, and other outlets. But we were lucky enough to get a few minutes of his time. Enjoy the Q & A!


Q:
What prompted you to write a book on aging research?

BG: Like everyone else who reaches middle age, I hit my 40s and started to feel like I was changing in certain ways. I had less energy and more squishy bits than I did when I was 30, and a visit to the doctor confirmed that I’d put on a bunch of weight and that my LDL cholesterol was sky high. So I started thinking about aging, and wondering what science really knows about this process that affects everything that has ever lived. It seemed sort of unfair that nature would craft us into the extraordinary beings that we are, only to let it all fall apart in the space of a few decades.

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The Buck Institute’s Brian Kennedy on the Past, Present, and Future of Aging Research

When the Buck Institute for Research on Aging opened in 1999 in Novato, Calif.,
“biogerontology” was a little-known subset of of gerontology. It looked completely different than it does today.

BuckBlockNewBack then, aging research was still considered “fringe” by many in the scientific world. And experts focused more on their own theories than on collaborating with their peers.

“At the time the Buck started, there was nothing like it,” says Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., its president & CEO. “It was a difficult battle trying to get aging research noticed.”

But then aging researchers at the Buck and elsewhere began to solve the mysteries of why our bodies age.

“It used to be that aging was considered a fixed process. But then in the mid-90s we started finding genetic mutations that extended lifespan,” says Kennedy. “That was an important step. It was possible to modify aging.”

Over the next 20 years, more discoveries were made, spurred in large part by the sequencing of the human genome in 2003.

Fast forward to 2015. Biogerontology has morphed into geroscience – a discipline that has moved into the mainstream of science and is even mentioned on Capitol Hill. Researchers working in the trenches have begun to figure out why our bodies get older. And they are really focused on aging as the common cause of a panoply of chronic conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, among others.

Dr. Brian Kennedy

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