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Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age

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Paperback
Published: December 2020
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BIC Subject: Popular science
Published By: Bloomsbury
 
Published: 01-Dec-2020
Format: Paperback, 272 pages, 0x0mm
ISBN: 9781472936080
Stock Code: 2936080
Product Description
 
Like 'time', everyone knows what ageing is until we try to pin it down. When does it begin? How does it happen and why? What lies ahead for each of us individuals, and would we want to live forever, given the option?
The question of how and why organisms age has teased scientists for centuries, yet there is still no agreement. There are a myriad of competing theories, from the idea that ageing is a simple wear and tear process, like the rusting of a car, to the belief that ageing and death are genetically programmed and controlled. In fact, there is no clearly defined limit to life, and no single, predictable programme playing itself out- different things are happening within and between tissues, and each system or organ accumulates damage at its own pace, according to the kind of insults imposed on it by daily living.
Sometime before 2020, the number of people over sixty-five worldwide will, for the first time, be greater than the number of 0-4 year olds; and by 2050 there are likely to be 2.5 times as many older people in the world as toddlers. With statistics like these, society is understandably preoccupied with the 'greying of the world', and there is a huge community of scientists exploring the phenomenon from every angle. Sue Armstrong tells the story of society's quest to understand ageing through the eyes of the scientists themselves, as well as through the 'ordinary' people who exemplify the mysteries of ageing o from those who suffer from the premature ageing condition, Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, to people still running marathons in their 80s.
Borrowed Time will investigate such mind-boggling experiments as transfusing young blood into old rodents, and research into transplanting the first human head, amongst many others. It will explore where science is taking us and what issues are being raised from a psychological, philosophical and ethical perspective, through interviews with, and profiles of, key scientists in the field and the people who represent interesting and important aspects of ageing.Like 'time', everyone knows what ageing is until we try to pin it down. When does it begin? How does it happen and why? What lies ahead for each of us individuals, and would we want to live forever, given the option?
The question of how and why organisms age has teased scientists for centuries, yet there is still no agreement. There are a myriad of competing theories, from the idea that ageing is a simple wear and tear process, like the rusting of a car, to the belief that ageing and death are genetically programmed and controlled. In fact, there is no clearly defined limit to life, and no single, predictable programme playing itself out- different things are happening within and between tissues, and each system or organ accumulates damage at its own pace, according to the kind of insults imposed on it by daily living.
Sometime before 2020, the number of people over sixty-five worldwide will, for the first time, be greater than the number of 0-4 year olds; and by 2050 there are likely to be 2.5 times as many older people in the world as toddlers. With statistics like these, society is understandably preoccupied with the 'greying of the world', and there is a huge community of scientists exploring the phenomenon from every angle. Sue Armstrong tells the story of society's quest to understand ageing through the eyes of the scientists themselves, as well as through the 'ordinary' people who exemplify the mysteries of ageing o from those who suffer from the premature ageing condition, Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, to people still running marathons in their 80s.
Borrowed Time will investigate such mind-boggling experiments as transfusing young blood into old rodents, and research into transplanting the first human head, amongst many others. It will explore where science is taking us and what issues are being raised from a psychological, philosophical and ethical perspective, through interviews with, and profiles of, key scientists in the field and the people who represent interesting and important aspects of ageing.
Sue Armstrong is a science writer and broadcaster based in Edinburgh. She has worked for a variety of media organisations, including New Scientist, and since the 1980s has undertaken regular assignments for the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, writing about women's health issues and the AIDS pandemic, among many other topics, and reporting from the frontline in countries as diverse as Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Thailand, Namibia and Serbia. Sue has been involved, as presenter, writer and researcher, in several major documentaries for BBC Radio 4; programmes have focused on the biology of ageing, and of drug addiction, alcoholism, obesity, AIDS, CJD, cancer and stress. Her previous book was p53- The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code, also published with Bloomsbury Sigma. It has been highly commended by the BMA Book Award.