Human senescence has been delayed by a decade. This finding, documented in 1994 and bolstered since, is a fundamental discovery about the biology of human ageing, and one with profound implications for individuals, society and the economy. Remarkably, the rate of deterioration with age seems to be constant across individuals and over time: it seems that death is being delayed because people are reaching old age in better health. Research by demographers, epidemiologists and other biomedical researchers suggests that further progress is likely to be made in advancing the frontier of survival — and healthy survival — to even greater ages.
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I thank Z. Zhang, A. Baudisch, K. Christensen, G. Doblhammer, J. Haaga, B. Jeune, S. Leek, R. Rau, S. Scherneck, R. Suzman and N. Vaupel. My research is supported in part by the Max Planck Society and by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA P01-08761).
Reprints and permissions information is available at http://www.nature.com/reprints. The author declares no competing financial interests. Correspondence should be addressed to the author (email@example.com).
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