Biological ageing and clinical consequences of modern technology

Biogerontology. 2017 Aug;18(4):711-715. doi: 10.1007/s10522-017-9680-1. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


The pace of technology is steadily increasing, and this has a widespread effect on all areas of health and society. When we interact with this technological environment we are exposed to a wide variety of new stimuli and challenges, which may modulate the stress response and thus change the way we respond and adapt. In this Opinion paper I will examine certain aspects of the human-computer interaction with regards to health and ageing. There are practical, everyday effects which also include social and cultural elements. I will discuss how human evolution may be affected by this new environmental change (the hormetic immersion in a virtual/technological environment). Finally, I will also explore certain biological aspects which have direct relevance to the ageing human. By embracing new technologies and engaging with a techno-social ecosystem (which is no longer formed by several interacting species, but by just two main elements: humans and machines), we may be subjected to beneficial hormetic effects, which upregulate the stress response and modulate adaptation. This is likely to improve overall health as we age and, as I speculate here, may also result in the reduction of age-related dysfunction.

Keywords: Clinical ageing; Hormesis; Human–computer interaction; Indispensable soma hypothesis; Information exposure; Technology and culture.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Aging* / psychology
  • Animals
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Computers*
  • Environment*
  • Health Status
  • Hormesis
  • Humans
  • Reproduction
  • Technology*
  • User-Computer Interface