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Greg CritserRSS Feed of this column.

Greg Critser is a longtime science and medical journalist whose work appears in the LA Times, the Times of London and the New York Times. He is the author of California (National Geographic 2000)... Read More »

A reality check on“healthy aging.”  The real troubles - and opportunities - of a gero-nation go unheeded.

The numbers are increasingly disturbing: By 2050, some 88 million Americans will be over 65, with more than 20 million over 85. That such huge demographic shifts portend a challenge to the medical system goes without saying. 

The traditional American response holds that such needs will be filled by an innovative business culture responsive to market demand.

“Is it schadenfreude, or is it something else?”

It is a question Harvard professor David Sinclair asks himself a lot of late.

No wonder.

Just about everyone doing cell biology has something—and usually critical—to say of him these days. There are loudmouth bloggers calling fraud and normally circumspect colleagues spouting uncomfortable questions about his work.

Green jobs—great. But gray jobs, maybe an even better bet.

If there is a single graphic that everyone concerned with the nation’s future should have tattooed on their eyeballs, my vote goes to this one:

US population over 65 1950 to 2050

Here is its central message: Forty years from now, one out of four Americans will be 65 or older.

Twenty million will be over 85.

One million will be over 100.
There is a new article out in today’s Molecular System Biology, which has the media saying the typical baloney-filled things like “The Key to Aging Discovered,” “Breakthrough to Immortality,” and “Live Forever?”

For type 2 diabetics, the choices are invariably slim: take medications and hew to a strict diet, or don’t take medications and hew to an impossibly strict—and largely unpalatable—diet. Such are the current options for maintaining the strict control of blood sugar needed to fight off the worst effects of the disease and its almost inevitable consequences of hypertension and heart disease.