Six week mini-med school to focus on the fascinating science of aging

Some of the eternal questions of life how and why we age, why some people age faster or live longer, and what can be done to fight the diseases and disabilities associated with old age will be explored by distinguished scientists in a provocative Spring 2005 "Mini-Med School" cosponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Office of Science Education at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Smithsonian Associates.

The program called "Aging under the Microscope" will explore the basic science underlying the aging process. The six-week series is scheduled on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m., April 21-May 26, at a location to be announced on the Smithsonian campus in Washington D.C. General admission for the entire series is $57. To purchase tickets, phone 202-357-3030. Information is available at www.residentassociates.org/com/mini_med.asp.

Featured speakers include:

Steven Austad, Ph.D., a professor of structural and cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, and author of Why We Age, kicks off the series on April 21 with an overview of the aging process and scientists' understanding of aging both in humans and animals. In addition, he will address some of the popular myths about "super-aged" individuals and longevity.

In the second session (April 28), Jill Carrington, Ph.D., Chief of the Biology of Aging's Systems Branch at the NIA, introduces participants to the inner world of the aging cell. She will explore the biochemical processes, including oxygen free radicals, protein crosslinking, heat shock proteins, and breakdowns in DNA repair mechanisms, that make our cells more susceptible to damage associated with aging. She will also discuss what is known about antioxidants and other biochemicals that may slow cellular aging.

In the third session (May 5), David Schlessinger, Ph.D, chief of the NIA's Labor

Contact: Jeannine Mjoseth
NIH/National Institute on Aging

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