The study of aging is not what it used to be. In 1974, when the National Institute on Aging (NIA) was created as part of the National Institutes of Health, gerontology was a young science. Rich in hypotheses but poor in data, gerontology lacked, or was just in the early stages of developing, ways to explore the fundamentals of the aging process. Knowledge of aging clustered around specific diseases associated with advancing age; indeed, it was widely believed that aging was equated with decline and illness. Now, nearly 25 years later, the science base has grown in depth, breadth, and detail. And with this growth have come new insights into the secrets of aging.
This theme issue of The Journal illustrates the ongoing maturation of aging research. The articles in this issue span a wide range of questions and methods currently used in gerontology and geriatrics research, including an analysis
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