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Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age

Sue Armstrong

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Bloomsbury
01 April 2019
Medicine; Popular science; Biology, life sciences; Life sciences: general issues
As featured on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week 'A rich, timely study for the era of global ageing ' Nature The ageing of the world population is one of the most important issues facing humanity in the 21st century - up there with climate change in its potential global impact. Sometime before 2020, the number of people over 65 worldwide will, for the first time, be greater than the number of 0-4 year olds, and it will keep on rising. The strains this is causing on society are already evident as health and social services everywhere struggle to cope with the care needs of the elderly.

But why and how do we age? Scientists have been asking this question for centuries, yet there is still no agreement. There are a myriad competing theories, from the idea that our bodies simply wear out with the rough and tumble of living, like well-worn shoes or a rusting car, to the belief that ageing and death are genetically programmed and controlled.

In Borrowed Time, Sue Armstrong tells the story of science's quest to understand ageing and to prevent or delay the crippling conditions so often associated with old age. She focusses inward - on what is going on in our bodies at the most basic level of the cells and genes as the years pass - to look for answers to why and how our skin wrinkles with age, our wounds take much longer to heal than they did when we were kids, and why words escape us at crucial moments in conversation.

This book explores these questions and many others through interviews with key scientists in the field of gerontology and with people who have interesting and important stories to tell about their personal experiences of ageing.
By:   Sue Armstrong
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   292g
ISBN:   9781472936097
ISBN 10:   1472936094
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   01 April 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sue Armstrong is a science writer and broadcaster based in Edinburgh. She has worked for a variety of media organisations, including New Scientist, and since the 1980s has undertaken regular assignments for the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, writing about women's health issues and the AIDS pandemic, among many other topics, and reporting from the frontline in countries as diverse as Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Thailand, Namibia and Serbia. Sue has been involved, as presenter, writer and researcher, in several major documentaries for BBC Radio 4; programmes have focused on the biology of ageing, and of drug addiction, alcoholism, obesity, AIDS, CJD, cancer and stress. Her previous book was p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code, also published with Bloomsbury Sigma. It has been highly commended by the BMA Book Award.

Reviews for Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age

Engrossing questions throng science writer Sue Armstrong's round-up of research on the biology of ageing. A rich, timely study for the era of 'global ageing'. * Nature * A fine introduction to the research and controversies about how we age. * Times Literary Supplement * Armstrong, a British science and health writer, presents, in crack Michael Lewis style, the high points of aging research along with capsule biographies of the main players. * The New Yorker * Complex, nuanced and cautious, yet it suggests we are on the brink of a revolution. * The Sunday Times * Ms Armstrong doesn't pretend that there is any one answer to the question of why we age as we do. The science she presents is a grab bag of divergent theories, each championed by a scientific subspeciality. * Wall Street Journal * As a seventy-five-year-old man I felt oddly rejuvenated by this book. Try it yourself! -- Professor Steve Jones Sue Armstrong's book humanely tackles ageing in a way that is grounded, philosophical and makes the most complex science accessible to lay people like me. While not dangling false hopes of innovatory medical cures, it is full of hope about the strides being made in gerontology and pharmacology. And while I may be getting older, the vigour of this book is life-enhancing. -- Claire Fox, Director of the Academy of Ideas and panellist on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze Authoritative, comprehensible and fun to read. The book ageing research has been waiting for. -- Richard Faragher, Professor of Biogerontology at the University of Brighton Borrowed Time gives a wonderful overview of the fast-evolving science of longevity. I thoroughly recommend this book as a primer on what will become a key industry in the next two decades or so. * Jim Mellon, Chairman, Juvenescence Ltd. *


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