How can we remain fit, active and independent until deep into old age? In the UK, the proportion of people over 85 is growing faster than any other age group. The implication for society – for jobs, pensions, health care – is a major preoccupation of our time. In this talk, science writer and broadcaster Sue Armstrong tells of the quest to understand ageing, and to prevent or delay the crippling conditions associated with old age.
The single biggest risk factor for most of the diseases associated with ageing – from heart failure, stroke, and arthritis, to cancer and dementia – is quite simply old age itself. In other words these conditions are the symptoms, the end-game of the process of ageing – they’re just the most clearly pathological points on the spectrum of a generally debilitating process.
But what if there were some common mechanisms underlying the diseases of old age – mechanisms we could tinker with to prevent or delay such crippling conditions, so that we could remain fit, active and independent till deep into old age? This is the promise of gerontology, and already there is abundant evidence from research that this is possible – that there is indeed a great deal we can do to slow down and ease the inexorable process of ageing.
Sue Armstrong is a science writer and broadcaster living in Edinburgh. As a foreign correspondent based in Brussels and then South Africa, she worked for a variety of media including New Scientist magazine and BBC radio, as well as the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, for whom she reported on the AIDS pandemic from the frontline in many countries. She is the author of several books of popular science, including p53: the gene that cracked the cancer code (Bloomsbury 2014) and A matter of life and death: inside the hidden world of the pathologist (Canongate, 2010).
Sunday 20 October
Venue: Norwich School, Blake Studio
Tickets will go off sale at 7pm the night before the event. For events at The Forum and Sir Isaac Newton, any remaining tickets will be available for sale on the day of the event at our ticket desk in the Atrium. For events at other venues, remaining tickets will be available to purchase, cash only, on the door 30 mins before the start time.