Moving geroscience from the bench to clinical care and health policy

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Sep;69(9):2455-2463. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17301. Epub 2021 Jun 19.


Geriatricians and others must embrace the emerging field of geroscience. Until recently geroscience research was pursued in laboratory animals, but now this field requires specialized expertise in the care of vulnerable older patients with multiple chronic diseases and geriatric syndromes, the population likely to benefit the most from emerging therapies. While chronological aging measures the inevitable passage of clock time that occurs equally for everyone, biological aging varies among individuals, and importantly, it is modifiable. Advances in our understanding of biological aging, the discovery of strategies for modifying its rate, and an appreciation of aging as a shared risk factor for chronic diseases have jointly led to the Geroscience Hypothesis. This hypothesis states that interventions modifying aging biology can slow its progression-resulting in the delay or prevention of the onset of multiple diseases and disorders. Here we wish to report on the Third Geroscience Summit held at National Institutes of Health on November 4-5, 2019, which highlighted the importance of engaging other disciplines including clinicians. Involvement by scientists with expertise in clinical trials, health outcomes research, behavioral and social sciences, health policy, and economics is urgently needed to translate geroscience discoveries from the bench to clinical care and health policy. Adding to the urgency of broadening this geroscience coalition is the emergence of biological aging as one the most important modifiable factors of COVID-19, combined with the inability of our society to once again recognize and confront aging as a priority and opportunity when facing these types of public health emergencies.

Keywords: aging; economy; geriatricians; geroscience; social.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • COVID-19
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Chronobiology Discipline*
  • Female
  • Geriatrics*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2