Watch a video about the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging.
James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.
I've always found the process of aging itself to be fascinating, and wondered why it happens, and if something fundamental can be done to improve quality of life.
Excitingly, over the last five years or so, we've begun to realize that aging may in fact be a modifiable risk factor. We might be able to do something about these fundamental processes themselves. What Mayo's real strength is, is translating interventions that are discovered in the laboratory into human application.
We're trying to figure out ways where we can delay the onset of age-related disabilities, diseases and dysfunction as a group, so that we don't have to do things like prescribing better wheelchairs, better walkers.
What we all want to do is to be able to prevent people from getting to the point of needing those sort of interventions, so that we can keep people independent, functional, doing everything when they're in their 80s, 90s or hundreds as they were able to do in their 30s, 40s or 50s.
We need to do a lot more work. But if we can carry this off, and if we can translate these interventions into humans, we'd make a much greater impact than, say, curing cancer.