Geroscience is the study of basic biological mechanisms that drive the aging process. A better understanding of the aging process can lead to new drugs and other clinical innovations to help cure diseases that are specific to senior citizens.
This new new discipline, under the direction of the National Institute of Aging, will target life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Geroscience will also target other chronic ailments such as arthritis, fatigue and frailty. As we grow older, we are more likely to be diagnosed with one or more chronic ailments. The question is — how does this aging process affect susceptibility to diseases and how do we improve seniors’ quality of life.
The aging process represents a major risk factor for the diseases mentioned above. Therefore, reversing or slowing down the aging process could possibly reduce the impact of chronic disease in seniors.
Geroscience: It’s a Multidisciplinary Approach
Aging affects the onset of several chronic diseases, as mentioned. Therefore, finding out what happens during aging at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels, is important. The out put can be new more effective drugs and new clinical protocols.
Geroscience: Advances Up To Now
The Disease Drivers of Aging: 2016 Advances in Geroscience Summit, was held at the New York Academy of Sciences in April 2016. It focused on three chronic diseases—cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Researchers were looking for a way to find out how these diseases accelerate the start of age-related physical decline.
The Summit was successful in identifying the knowledge gaps and where future research should focus. Scientists also developed a better understanding of the molecular process that activates aging after exposure to chronic illnesses.
Geroscience: Future Directions
It’s important to learn how chronic disease affects not only the primary organ — but also how it affects other systems. For example, — in Alzheimer’s disease, the focus is on what happens inside the brain. But, researchers are now also looking at the bones, blood system and metabolism. This leads to a more holistic view and could generate a cure by first slowing down the aging process.