The perspectives of ageing populations in most Western countries have raised issues such as how fast will the ageing process go, when will we reach the peak of the dependency ratio, how severe will the burden of the large baby-boom cohorts become to the younger cohorts, and, perhaps most interesting, who will pay for the pensions, the health care and the social care of the baby-boom cohorts? These issues motivated the project "Old baby-boomers" the results of which are reported in this volume.
Ageing is an activity we are familiar with from an early age. In our younger years upcoming birthdays are anticipated with an excitement that somewhat diminishes as the years progress. As we grow older we are bombarded with advice on ways to overcome, thwart, resist, and, on the rare occasion, embrace, one's ageing. Have all human beings from the various historical epochs and cultures viewed aging with this same ambivalence?
Human Ageing: A Unique Experience explores the biology of human ageing focusing on the individual. The book begins with the premature ageing disorder Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome and spins a web of interconnected biological domains involving lamins, telomeres, alternative splicing, genetics, epigenetics, and molecular clocks. The profound influence of culture is explored since cultural inheritance and genetic inheritance are the two intertwined processes driving human evolution. An empirical framework is developed to describe human ageing at the individual level and the implications of this framework on the whole concept of diseases are discussed.
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