A Means To An End: The Biological Basis Of Aging And Death

Paperback | January 15, 2002

byWilliam R. Clark

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Why do we age? Is aging inevitable? Will advances in medical knowledge allow us to extend the human lifespan beyond its present limits? Because growing old has long been the one irreducible reality of human existence, these intriguing questions arise more often in the context of sciencefiction than science fact. But recent discoveries in the fields of cell biology and molecular genetics are seriously challenging the assumption that human lifespans are beyond our control. With such discoveries in mind, noted cell biologist William R. Clark clearly and skillfully describes how senescence begins at the level of individual cells and how cellular replication may be bound up with aging of the entire organism. He explores the evolutionary origin and function ofaging, the cellular connections between aging and cancer, the parallels between cellular senescence and Alzheimer's disease, and the insights gained through studying human genetic disorders--such as Werner's syndrome--that mimic the symptoms of aging. Clark also explains how reduction in caloricintake may actually help increase lifespan, and how the destructive effects of oxidative elements in the body may be limited by the consumption of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. In a final chapter, Clark considers the social and economic aspects of living longer, the implications ofgene therapy on senescence, and what we might learn about aging from experiments in cloning. This is a highly readable, provocative account of some of the most far-reaching and controversial questions we are likely to ask in the next century.

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Why do we age? Is aging inevitable? Will advances in medical knowledge allow us to extend the human lifespan beyond its present limits? Because growing old has long been the one irreducible reality of human existence, these intriguing questions arise more often in the context of sciencefiction than science fact. But recent discoveries ...

Professor Emeritus of Immunology at UCLA and an internationally recognized authority on cellular immune reactions, William R. Clark is the author of The New Healers: Molecular Medicine in the Twenty-First Century, Sex and the Origins of Death, and At War Within: The Double Edged Sword of Immunity, all published by OUP.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:January 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195153758

ISBN - 13:9780195153750

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Aging, Senescence, and Lifespan2. The Nature of Cellular Senescence and Death3. The Evolution of Senescence and Death4. Of Embryos and Worms and Very Old Men: The Developmental Genetics of Senescence and Lifespan5. Human Genetic Diseases That Mimic the Aging Process6. Cycling to Scenescence7. Replicative Immortality: Cancer and Aging8. Caloric Restriction and Maximum Lifespan9. With Every Breath We Take: Oxidative Stress and Cellular Senescence10. The Aging Brain11. A Conditional BenefitBiblographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Fascinating and informative.... One of the book's most engaging elements is Clark's ability to show how scientists think about problems and approaches in the field."--Booklist