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Thomas Kirkwood (Newcastle University and University of Copenhagen) – Understanding Ageing: The Great Puzzle of Our Time
17 February 2020 | 17 h 30 min - 19 h 00 min
Thomas Kirkwood is Professor Emeritus of the Newcastle University, where he has headed the Institute for Ageing and Health, and he is an Affiliate Professor at the Center for Healthy Ageing at the University of Copenhagen. He has proposed the concept of the Disposable Soma, which states that the body has to budget limited ressources. Energy that is reallocated to the repair function, is lacking in soma cell, which causes the body to gradually deteriorate with age.
Why do we grow old? Is ageing the result of a genetic programme? What determines the life spans of humans and other species? Is there a limit to human longevity? How can we improve our personal health span? These and many other questions about the causes of ageing have assumed new urgency as more and more of us survive into old age, affecting almost every aspect of our society. This lecture will examine what science is revealing about both the ultimate rationale of ageing (its evolutionary foundation) and its proximate causes (the mechanisms that eventually result in disability, diseases and death). It turns out that ageing is more malleable than we used to think, making it possible to aspire to secure better health for longer, but that the underlying complexity is likely to present some formidable challenges.