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Z Gerontol Geriatr. 1999 Apr;32(2):112-23.

[Biogerontology: status and current developments].

[Article in German]


Biogerontology is defined by the interdisciplinary research on causes and mechanisms of biological aging--aiming to unravel the mystery of human senescence. Here the state of this research area is presented separately in two parts: (1) activities and appreciation of biogerontology as a scientific discipline in Germany compared mainly to the USA, (2) recent developments in the scientific content and progress in the research of aging. As for Germany, except for some special items the fast growing importance of biogerontology is not reflected by research activities in this field, organization, social acknowledgement, and attraction for the younger generation of academics. Some reasons probably responsible for this critical situation are indicated. A rough sketch is made about the international publication activities in biogerontology following data of leading biomedical literature data banks. Main scientific, contents and trends are discussed. The stochastic damage theories of aging, mainly the dominating "Free Radical Theory of Aging" (40) or similar "Oxidation Hypotheses of Aging" (82)--commercially heavily supported by sellers of "Antioxidants"--are criticized from an evolutionary point of view. Such theories are not compatible with the evidence for the adaptive role of senescence as outlined recently (5). This evolutionary theory of aging and its application to an intensified research on the identification of the genetic program of regenerative syntheses and senescence in metazoic organisms offers a firm base for the future research on aging.

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