Ken Carlson

County Pulse: Want to live longer? Speaker at MJC will provide insights on aging

Biologist Brian Kennedy is CEO and president of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato.
Biologist Brian Kennedy is CEO and president of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato. Buck Institute

The aging process is a source of preoccupation for the boomer generation and plenty of other people, including those who consider a run for the White House during their Medicare years.

A free presentation on the science of aging is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Modesto Junior College East Campus auditorium.

Brian Kennedy, chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, will discuss the prospects for extending the healthy years of life.

The Buck Institute of Novato was highlighted in the “Age of Aging” series on the National Geographic Channel in November. The center’s research is not the historic chase for the Fountain of Youth, but seeks to understand aging and the possibilities for slowing the process.

People are living longer these days, though the retirement years can be fraught with hospital stays or trips to the cardiology ward. The Buck Institute is looking for ways to lengthen the period of healthy and active life through interventions in the aging process.

Aging is the leading risk factor for prominent ailments such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. If interventions can be developed to slow aging, it would offer protection against disease and extend those years of healthy life.

Kennedy will discuss the potential for developing agents to promote what he calls a longer “health span.”

His articles on the biology of aging have been published in journals including Cell, Nature and Science. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Gerontology.

Kennedy’s presentation is one of the Modesto Area Partners in Science events, featuring free lectures on scientific topics to enrich the mind.

“Everyone is going to age and we are not going to be 39 forever,” said Steve Murov, who is retired from teaching chemistry at MJC. He used to be director for the MAPS programs and serves on the committee.

Murov said he sought Kennedy for the presentation because he thought the public should know about the science of aging. If people are able to live longer, it raises some broader questions for society to deal with, he said.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321