30 July 2006

Aging in the 21st century [The New York Times]

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Aging in the 21st century
The New York Times Gina Kolata explores the history of aging through several generations of the Keller family in Ohio.

“The Keller family illustrates what may prove to be one of the most striking shifts in human existence — a change from small, relatively weak and sickly people to humans who are so big and robust that their ancestors seem almost unrecognizable.”

“New research from around the world has begun to reveal a picture of humans today that is so different from what it was in the past that scientists say they are startled. Over the past 100 years, says one researcher, Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago, humans in the industrialized world have undergone ‘a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth.'”

“The effects are not just in the United States. Large and careful studies from Finland, Britain, France, Sweden and the Netherlands all confirm that the same things have happened there; they are also beginning to show up in the underdeveloped world.”

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