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Cover of Between Zeus and the Salmon

Between Zeus and the Salmon

The Biodemography of Longevity

; Edited by Kenneth W Wachter and Caleb E Finch.

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-10: 0-309-05787-6

Excerpt

This volume takes stock of what biology and demography have to tell and ask each other about human longevity as we move into the Third Millennium. The timing is auspicious. First, recently published works have made the base of accumulated biological knowledge accessible. Finch (1990) has written an authoritative summary of the comparative biology of senescence. Charlesworth (1994) and Rose (1991) have covered evolutionary theory for aging, and Steams (1992) has covered organism life-history analysis. A historical perspective has been given by Olshansky and Carnes (1997). Second, the initial harvest of results from program projects combining biology and demography sponsored by the U.S. National Institute on Aging has just reached the scientific literature. The remarkable hazard functions for a million Mediterranean fruit flies (Carey et al., 1992) and for genetically uniform populations of Drosophila (Curtsinger et al., 1992) are prominent examples. Now is the moment for planning the next waves of joint research. Third, forecasting survival and health for the oldest-old over the next 50 years has become an urgent political need, as developed societies try to plan for avoiding bankruptcy for their social insurance and medical systems. Our uncertainty as to whether current trends will continue or taper is bound up with our uncertainty about the general nature of biological limits to longevity.

Contents

This study was supported by Contract No. N01-OD-4-2139 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute on Aging.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Copyright © 1997, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK100411PMID: 22973581
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