Age is by far the major risk factor for most chronic diseases. This has been common knowledge since time immemorial. Aging encompasses the biological changes most often seen as declines of function and increasing burden of disease. The close linkage of these two has led people to believe that aging, like age, is immutable. It is only recently that research into the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of aging has led to potential interventions that increase lifespan and appear to increase healthspan, as well. Geroscience is an interdisciplinary field that aims to understand the relationship between the biology of aging and the biology of age-related diseases. The "geroscience hypothesis" posits that manipulation of aging will delay (in parallel) the appearance or severity of many chronic diseases because these diseases share the same underlying major risk factor (age). The hope is that this will lead to health improvements in the older population with perhaps greater efficiency than can be achieved through the successful cure and management of diseases of aging as they arise individually or as comorbidities.With those concepts in mind, the Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) was launched as a trans-institute interest group within the NIH in November 2012. Here, we discuss the genesis of the trans-NIH group and the most salient activities that have occurred in the last 5 years.
Keywords: Aging; Geroscience; Healthspan; Longevity.