Healthspan, translation, and new outcomes for animal studies of aging

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2009 Feb;64(2):209-12. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gln063. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


Dramatic advances in understanding mechanisms of aging have recently been made in model systems. Interventions have been devised that successfully enhance survival. Major issues still in need of resolution include whether these interventions not only increase survival but also enhance function, delay frailty, and can be translated into clinical application. It seems there are basic biologic findings close to being ready for translation. However, a number of barriers exist to translating these findings into realistic clinical interventions. Steps and resources needed include measuring not only survival but also impact of interventions on age-related disability, frailty, and onset of disease in model systems; development of clinically relevant measures of disability, frailty, and disease for each animal model and genetically tractable animal models of frailty; training and career-long funding mechanisms for geriatricians in basic science research and for basic scientists in geriatric issues; translationally capable review and funding mechanisms; emphasis on studies of interventions that can be initiated in later life for preventing or reversing disability; genetic association studies in humans to identify new candidate genes and pathways that correlate with disability, frailty, and age-related disease onset as well as longevity; study of exposure to environmental agents or toxins early in life on survival, disability, frailty, and disease in later life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Geriatrics / standards
  • Geriatrics / trends
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Models, Animal
  • Sensitivity and Specificity