Defining Aging

Defining Aging

Aging is a “dynamic process of individual development, and multidimensional nonlinear” (Baltes, Staudinger and Lindenberger, 1999). Blog in Health will realize that studies show that health behaviors affect life trajectories, accelerate or slow down the aging process, or deteriorate or boost health, deteriorate or improve quality of life.

The general message

Why look at our health when we are not sick? Is not nothing to worry about? Is not accorded much importance, while there may be many other priorities in life? We become aware of our health far too late, when symptoms become too troublesome, when the signs are too visible, when we have exhausted all our resources. In short, at a time when the disease is firmly established. Recent studies show how people who are attentive to their health live in better shape, with better quality of life and longer. Get involved in your health, so it’s learn or relearn to listen to your body. This also becomes another way to interact with health professionals, not a passive patient facing an arsenal of specialists organicists but an actor seeking a team of experts coordinated the best path to wellness and longest can healthy life.

What it means for Health Professionals

Contrary to popular belief it is good to grow old in France, the hexagon only in tenth place in Europe in life expectancy free of disability for men is 50 years (De Jagger et al., 2008) . In other words, a 50 year old man can expect to live 69 years on average without major disability. One reason is that health prevention in their fifties should move forward.

What it means for Researchers

Too many medical and scientific theories have spread misconceptions about aging in the twentieth century. These theories have ignored the methodological limitations of the studies on which they were based. Deterioration in cognitive performance observed was in fact based on transverse protocols comparing individuals of different ages and not on longitudinal protocols comparing the same people at different ages. The generational effect was so underrated. Cohort studies did not measure enough factors to be able to distinguish normal aging from pathological aging (eg, loss of motivation, divestment cognitive activities, hypostimulation the environment, social insecurity, economic hardship). They majoraient and the effect of one factor and assumptions underpinned the creationists. They minoraient interactions between factors, the overlap between variables and neuronal plasticity. Measurement tools used were often validated for other age groups. They lead to erroneous amalgam. A variable can be evaluated in a longitudinal study with different validated tools at different times. This distorts the extrapolations. Evaluation situations were sometimes inadequate if they caused trouble understanding tests, impatience, stress, a drop in motivation or fatigue on the part of study participants. Hasty conclusions were inferred on the results skewed by the interview conditions. Finally, some participants felt obliged to confirm the researchers’ hypothesis because of attitudes and behaviors of these displaced. More stringent, especially methodologically better equipped research, are now undermine many former general theories on aging. Alas, some misconceptions remain firmly anchored in the heads. Become a player in our health, is to extract from these stereotypes. A study of 20,000 twins born in three Nordic countries between 1870 and 1910 show that identical twins die on average 3 years apart and 6 to fraternal twins (Yashin et al., 1998). The authors conclude that genetics plays from 25% in longevity. Although this share increases after age 60, the environment, the deleterious health behaviors and social insecurity largely explain the trajectories of aging and longevity (Hjelmborg et al., 2006).

What it means for policymakers

Recent research shows how the idea of ​​a decline with age is antithetical to that of successful aging. The latter will thus depend not solely for maintaining our physical health, but how we will maximize our psychological resources in preventive behaviors, hygiene and collaboration with healthcare professionals. Successful aging requires reflection and an active approach to our way of life. In parallel, increasing the lifetime of not enough to improve its quality. Longevity must be accompanied by efforts to improve the quality of life. It will depend on our ability to enhance our sense of efficacy, strengthen our self-esteem, to feed our optimism, our resolutions to implement, manage stress and (re) find new ways of development.


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Baltes PB, Staudinger UM, Lindenberger U (1999). Lifespan psychology: theory and application to intellectual functioning. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 471-507.

Herskind AM, McGue M, Iachine IA, Holm N, Sørensen TI, Harvald B, Vaupel JW (1996). Untangling genetic influences on smoking, body mass index and longevity: a multivariate study of 2464 Danish twins followed for 28 years. Human Genetics, 98, 467-475.

Iachine IA, Holm NV, Harris JR, Begun AZ, Iachina MK, Laitinen M, Kaprio J, Yashin AI (1998). How heritable is individual susceptibility to death? The results of an analysis of survival data on Danish, Swedish and Finnish twins. Twin Research, 1, 196-205.

Jagger C, Gillies C, Moscone F, Cambois E, Van Oyen H, Nusselder W, Robine JM (2008). Inequalities in healthy life years in the 25 countries of the European Union in 2005: a cross-national meta-regression analysis. Lancet, 20, 2124-2131.

To reference this Blog en Sante © article.

Ninot G (2014). Definition of aging. Blog en Sante, L21.

© Copyright 2014 Grégory Ninot. All rights reserved.