Borrowed time : the science of how and why we age / Sue Armstrong.

  • Armstrong, Sue (Writer on science)
  • Books

About this work


"The ageing of the world's population is one of the most important issues facing humanity in the 21st century. 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 this will keep on rising. The strain 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 do we age, and how? Scientists have been asking these questions for centuries. There are myriad competing theories, from the idea that our bodies simply wear out, 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 find ways of intervening to prevent or delay the crippling conditions so often associated with old age. She focuses inward to look for answers on why our skin wrinkles with age and our wounds take much longer to heal; why we fall further and further to the back of the group in cycle rides and hikes; 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."--Jacket.


London, UK ; New York : Bloomsbury Sigma, 2019.

Physical description

272 pages ; 23 cm.


What is ageing? -- Wear and tear? -- Telomeres : measuring the lifetime of cells -- Cell senescence : down but not out -- Old before their time -- Ming the Mollusc and other models -- It's in the genes -- Eat less, live longer? -- The immune system : first responders -- The immune system : the specialists take over -- The bugs fight back -- HIV/AIDS : adding insult to injury -- Epigenetics and chronology : the two faces of time -- Stem cells : back to fundamentals -- Something in the blood? -- The broken brain -- Alzheimer's disease : the family that led the way -- Alzheimer's disease : a challenge to amyloid -- It's the environment, stupid -- Treat the person, not the disease -- Ageing research : from the lab into our lives.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 247-262) and index.



Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    UY /ARM
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781472936066
  • 147293606X
  • 9781472936097
  • 1472936094