I attended a symposium on aging research today at the University of Calgary, and an interesting question emerged regarding how early we should begin investigating the effects of age on the mind and body. Of course, aging begins the moment we are born. However, aging science is constrained by some practical issues, namely time and money.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) began recruiting subjects in 2009, with a long-term goal of tracking 50,000 people between the ages of 45 and 80, for a period of twenty years. Clearly, some aging has taken place before a person's 45th birthday. However, the scientists in the room today noted that many of the longitudinal studies, or long-term population research underway around the world, have targeted people aged 50, 60, or even 65 years and older. In that context, "45 is pretty young", according to Anne Martin-Matthews, former scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's National Institute of Aging.
The Canadian research will rely on multi-disciplinary teams from several universities across the country, led from its national headquarters at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
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