The intricate cause of the aging process in humans and animals, at present a matter of intense speculation, has given rise to many theories. Despite its uncertain cause, aging constitutes the most significant and universal problem confronting physicians today. Age-related physiologic deterioration and age-associated diseases are of immense concern to physicians because of the "old-age boom" anticipated in the first part of the twenty-first century. Biomedical research achievements in the twentieth century have permitted more persons to approach the fixed upper limit of the human lifespan. We discuss the functional decline of the aging heart and the underlying mechanisms of that decline; quantitative and qualitative changes in the immune system; and normal aging of the human brain contrasted to the brain changes seen in Alzheimer disease. With our growing geriatric population, we greatly need to increase our understanding of both the causes of human aging and the goals of gerontology and geriatrics and to expand research into the significant problem of Alzheimer disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine