Aging is a great scientific mystery. Longevity has increased remarkably in the last two hundred years, with doubling of the life expectancy from about 40 to more than 80 years. In the evolutionary past, the human species also evolved longer lifespans apparently doubling that of a great ape ancestor. These redoublings of longevity may be understood in terms of reduced levels of inflammation. There is a remarkable overlap of inflammatory processes in arterial disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, and diabetes. In animal models, these diseases are attenuated by drugs with anti-inflammatory effects or by diet restriction which is also anti-inflammatory. Moreover, the evolution of the human lifespan from great ape ancestors required adaptation to new levels of inflammation during the shift from herbivory to our preferred meat-rich diet. In short, inflammation-diet interactions might well explain the evolution of human longevity and indicate its future potential.
The book The Biology of Human Longevity - Inflammation, Nutrition, and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans synthesizes several decades of top research, and expands a number of existing major theories, including the Barker theory of fetal origins of adult disease to consider the role of inflammation and Harmon's free radical theory of aging to include inflammatory damage. Future increases in lifespan are challenged by the obesity epidemic and spreading global infections which may reverse the gains made in lowering inflammatory exposure.
Professor Caleb Finch is one of the leading scientists of our time. Ranked in the top half of the 1 % most cited scientists, Professor Finch is director of the Gerontology Research Institute and the Alzheimer Research Center at the University of Southern California. He has received most of the major awards in biomedical gerontology. This book will be a scientific publishing event on the same level as his "Longevity, Senescence, and the Genome", published in 1990.
- A new synthesis expanding on existing ideas about the biology of longevity and aging
- Incorporates important research findings from several disciplines, including Gerontology, Genomics, Neuroscience, Immunology, Nutrition.
- A book of major importance from one of the great scientists of our time.
Reviewer:David O. Staats, MD(University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Description:This single-authored book describes mechanisms involved in human aging, including inflammation, oxidation, infections, and obesity. Nutrition and inflammation have paramount roles in human aging.
Purpose:Its purpose is to review the mechanisms of human aging. This is an extremely important topic and the author achieves a masterful discussion of the topic.
Audience:All persons involved in aging research and the study of mechanisms of disease in humans -- including all animal models -- will find this a most useful book. The author is one of the world's leading experts in gerontology.
Features:The six chapters cover inflammation, infections, calorics, developmental influences on aging, genetics, and evolution of the human life span. The clarity of organization, the depth of thought, and the tone throughout are all simply outstanding.
Assessment:Standing with his monumental Longevity, Senescence and the Genome (University of Chicago Press, 1994), Caleb Finch has written another masterpiece. In the former book he looks at aging as a biological phenomenon and sees where we lie in comparison to aging in all other living things. In this book he lays out a unified field theory of aging. He discusses the mechanisms of aging and lays out the interactions of the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect human aging. Then, harkening back to the first book, he weaves in genetics, evolution, and development. His call for new models of aging, cognizant of these latter factors, will influence the next generation of human aging researchers.