Contents

Preface page vii

1 Introduction and background 1

Basic terminology and related concepts 3

Senescence and aging 3

Longevity and life span 6

Evolutionary biology 9

History of research on senescence and longevity 12

Demographic perspectives on human longevity and life span 24

Chapter synopsis 33

2 Evolutionary and biological theories of senescence 34 Background 34 Evolutionary (ultimate) theories: the basis of senescence 37 Biological (proximate) theories: mechanisms/models of senescence 47

Chapter synopsis 69

3 Human variation: growth, development, life history, and senescence 71

Homeostasis 74

Growth and development 83

Life history 95

Chapter synopsis 127

4 Human variation: chronic diseases, risk factors, and senescence 131 Chronic degenerative conditions 132 Risk factors 136 Systems/integration 166 Variation in human life span 184 Chapter synopsis 196

5 Human life span and life extension 197 Life span 197 Non-human animal models 201 Applications to humans 208 Limits to human longevity? 218 Chapter synopsis 221

6 Discussion and perspectives 226

Human senescence 226

Sex differences in life span 234

Human senescence, health, and disease 236

Aging and senescence 237

Old age: uniquely human? 240

Theory in gerontology 243

Current research directions 246

Conclusion 247

References Index

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