Grand Challenges for the Scientific Study of Aging
3 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2011
Date Written: October 15, 2010
The demographic transition that began at the end of the eighteenth century saw dramatic reductions in infant and child mortality, accompanied by declining fertility. Both trends resulted in populations whose stable dynamics imply much older populations. Moreover, the enormous success at defeating infant mortality has left very little room for further improvements to have much quantitative effect on life expectancy. The demographic transition of the recent past and long-term future is one in which adult and especially older-age mortality and morbidity will be the main stage for large changes in population dynamics. These two features - population aging as a social-demographic fact, and individual aging as a target for health improvement - pose the grand challenges for behavioral science I wish to address.
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