Live fast live long
The number of people over 90 in Great Britain has trebled over the past 40 years and today 1 person in 20 is over retirement age.
Life expectancy is still rising and it is projected that by 2033, 5% of us will be over 85.
Unfortunately, the gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy means many of us will be limited by poor health in our later years. By better understanding the ageing process, bioscience is helping us to a healthier old age.
Bioscience helps healthy ageing
As we age, our muscles get smaller and weaker making us more likely to suffer falls. Using a variety of high-tech imaging techniques including ultrasound, MRI-scans of tendon, joints and muscle and motion capture technology, scientists are investigating the changes to posture and muscle composition that occur with ageing and possible ways to try to reduce them. They have noticed that muscle fibres in older people are shorter and thinner than those of younger people and tend to run almost parallel to the direction of the muscle. In addition, tendons stretch more during muscle contraction in older people and this makes movements slower.
Regular moderate exercise starts to reverse these changes so reactions to loss of balance are quicker and falls are less likely.
External Relations Unit