SAGE KE Bulletin Board

Discussion Introduction: Is biogerontology too scattered?

24 September 2001

SAGE KE Editors

Departments of geriatric medicine and centers, institutes and/or foundations devoted to the study of aging abound in United States research institutions. However, the focus of these institutions is often limited to studying the myriad of clinical, sociological, psychological and economical factors associated with aging human populations. What they don�t typically focus upon, however, is biogerontology, or the biology of aging. In fact, biogerontologists are a bit of an anomaly. There is no such thing as a "Department of Biogerontology." For that matter, there is no such thing as a "Society for the Study of the Biology of Aging" either. Instead, biogerontologists are often (and seemingly haphazardly) tossed into a department or section to which they seem most closely allied, and are forced to present their data at specialized meetings to researchers who have little interest in aging per se. That is, those interested in studying Drosophila aging go to the Entomological Society of America�s annual meeting, while those interested in yeast aging are sequestered with microbiologists. Demographers are forced to ally with statisticians (or even worse, mathematicians), while botanists go to the American Botanical Society meeting. What are the consequences of this system, and what can be done about it?

-Introduction written by James Harper

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150