By James L McGaugh and Sara B. Kiesler (Eds.)
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Additional resources for Aging. Biology and Behavior
This observation implies that there is a biological price to pay for longevity, and that longevity is only extended when evolutionary advantages for a longer period of good health outweigh the cost (Cutler 1976b, 1978b, 1980b). 3. LIFE-SPAN EXTENSION 35 More comparative studies are needed of animals having different innate potentials to maintain uniform health and vigor in captivity and in the wild (particularly for the primates) to determine the generality of these preliminary observations. As it now stands, these results strongly suggest that senescence is rarely found in animals living under natural conditions and is therefore likely to be undesirable and not to have been positively selected for during evolution.
Whether a longer-than-normal life-span would be a desirable outcome despite the fact that people do live longer in better health is currently a subject of serious debate. Efforts to extend life-span or to uniformly prolong or maintain health have had a long and complex history (Gruman 1966, Medvedev 1975, Comfort 1979). Although successes have been found in the cure and prevention of many diseases, the prospect of uniform health prolongation or life-span extension has appeared hopeless. Only over the past few years, because of the remarkable progress being made in the biological and medical sciences and the increasing fraction of older persons in our population who are in declining health, does the possibility of prolongation of health appear to need réévaluation.
Also, removal of the optic gland of the octopus has been found to increase its life-span substantially (Wodinsky 1977). C. Finch has also proposed that age-related changes after sexual maturation occur result from an extension of the neural and endocrine mechanisms that control earlier development (Finch 1976). He has organized an impressive argument suggesting that time-dependent changes in neural, endocrine, and target-tissue interactions can lead to senescence by creating an imbalance of proper neuroendocrine control processes.
Aging. Biology and Behavior by James L McGaugh and Sara B. Kiesler (Eds.)