Science of Aging  

What is Aging Exactly?

What exactly is aging? Do we really understand the concept? This article will take a look at what aging means in biology and for humans.

Definitions of Aging

Merriam Websters

a: the part of life from birth to a given time a child 10 years of age
b: the time or part of life at which some particular event, qualification, or capacity arises, occurs, or is lost of reproductive age age of onset—see middle age
c: an advanced stage of life

Dictionary.com

a: the part of life from birth to a given time a child 10 years of age
b: the time or part of life at which some particular event, qualification, or capacity arises, occurs, or is lost of reproductive age, age of onset—see middle age
c: an advanced stage of life

Perhaps one of the best defitions comes from MedicineNet:

The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environmentally modulated.
Some other definitions of aging might include:
Aging: Something you look forward to when you are younger and want to ignore when you are older.
Aging: An ill-defined and uneasy feeling that your health is going to get worse. Met with both denial and acceptance.
Or as Professor Jo‹o Pedro de Magalh‹es puts it in Scenescence.info
1) an exponential increase in mortality with age;
2) physiological changes that typically lead to a functional decline with age;
3) increased susceptibility to certain diseases with age. So, I define aging as a progressive deterioration of physiological function, an intrinsic age-related process of loss of viability and increase in vulnerability.

Senescence - A better definition for Aging

Merriam Websters

1 : the state of being old : the process of becoming old
2: the growth phase in a plant or plant part (such as a leaf) from full maturity to death

Dictionary.com

1. growing old; aging.
2. Cell Biology. (of a cell) no longer capable of dividing but still alive and metabolically active.

Wikipedia:

Senescence (/sɪˈnɛsəns/; from Latin: senescere, meaning "to grow old", from senex) or biological aging (also spelled biological ageing) is the gradual deterioration of function characteristic of most complex lifeforms, arguably found in all biological kingdoms, that on the level of the organism increases mortality after maturation.

Senescence is an interesting concept because it takes us from thinking about senescence on the level of our cells (something that is quite often good) to senescence on the level of the whole organism or body (something that is almost always bad).

Is Aging a Disease?

This is a topic of great debate, is aging a disease or a natural process? Formally classifying the deterioration of the human body over time as a disease would open aging to more federal funding and a pathway in clinical trials. It would also represent a change in view from the general public which could further aid in getting funding to aging research.

Can Aging be Reversed?

Another tough question worthy of debate. In theory since the human body is not a closed system, and you consume energy every day to repair and regenerate your body, aging should be able to be reversed. As such another definition of aging might be as follows:
The increasing inability of the body to repair and regenerate itself for unkown reasons.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has inspired you to think more carefully about aging and take a different perspective. Comments below are welcome.




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