What simple concept clears away the confusion about aging, the aging process and anti-aging strategies.
Scientists disagree about the aging process and just about everything about anti-aging strategies. What is the controversy about? And how can we proceed if the science is in dispute?
Who is involved in the controversy and what is the dispute about?
Many kinds of specialists study aging, including geneticists, molecular biologists, medical doctors, psychologists and others. These specialists attach meanings to "aging" and "antiaging" that are different from the traditional meaning of the words.
Getting some concepts sorted out might help clear away the fog. Janet Belsky, a psychologist who specializes in aging issues, has distinguished two kinds of aging primary and secondary. This is a simple distinction that resolves most of the dispute.
Primary aging is a basic aging process that takes place at the microscopic and molecular levels. The primary aging process interests scientists engaged in gerontology, geneticists and molecular biologists in particular.
Most scientists specializing in primary aging believe that humans cannot avoid or even slow down the basic aging processes.
Secondary aging processes are age-related changes caused by avoidable factors, such as physical inactivity, exposure to hazardous materials, and poor nutrition. Secondary aging is marked by the onset of chronic diseases.
Picture a couch potato, puffing on a cigarette, munching potato chips and drinking beer. We now know that inactivity, smoking and junk food lead to chronic disease. What is not common knowledge is that lifestyle choices much less abusive than these can also lead to chronic diseases.
Some health care professionals are mainly interested in secondary aging processes. They aim to prevent age-related chronic disease and disability rather than slow aging itself. Geriatric medicine is based on this approach.
How we use the term "anti-aging"
While some people believe that anti-aging strategies can slow or reverse aging, others believe that they cannot. As we have seen, it depends how a person defines aging.
Combat-aging.com uses “secondary aging” to refer to measurable signs of deterioration in body structure and function. We use the term "anti-aging" to refer to therapies and lifestyle changes intended to slow or reverse the onset of chronic diseases usually attributed to aging.
The mission of Combat-Aging.com is to present practical strategies for combating secondary aging
through lifestyle changes that increase life expectancy, prevent chronic diseases, and delay the onset of disability and dependence.
While we believe that no existing therapy slows or prevents primary aging
, we report research aimed at developing such therapies.
Belsky, J., 1999. The Psychology of Aging,
Third Edition, Brooks/Cole Publishing.