Special Report: Aging’s Future

David Curtis

Everyone ages. Growing old is a fundamental feature of human existence. 

Though we might not always be aware of aging, it looms in all of our futures. As Science News editor in chief Eva Emerson writes, “Aging happens to each of us, everywhere, all the time. It is so ever-present and slow that we tend to take little notice of it. Until we do.”

But, our scientific understanding of aging pales in comparison to its significance in our lives. While new studies reveal exciting prospects for slowing the effects of aging, its causes and extensive effects remain enigmatic. 

Scientists are still divided on some fundamentals of aging, and that’s why aging research raises some interesting questions. For example, how does it change the brain? How did different life histories evolve? How old is the oldest blue whale? This special report addresses those questions and more.

AGING EXPLAINED Aging is more than candles on a birthday cake. The aging process manifests differently in our cells, in our brains and in other species.Production: H. Thompson; Art direction: E. Otwell; Music: Blue Dot Sessions.

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A healthy old age may trump immortality

Despite disagreements about what aging is and isn’t, scientists have reached a radical consensus: It can be delayed. By Tina Hesman Saey

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The brain’s blueprint for aging is set early in life

The brain’s decline may mirror its beginning, offering clues to aging. By Laura Sanders

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Organisms age in myriad ways — and some might not even bother

There is great variety in how animals and plants deteriorate (or don’t) over time. By Susan Milius

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What animals’ life spans can tell us about how people age

The animal world can offer insights into human longevity. By Sarah Zielinski 

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