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gerontology : ウィキペディア英語版
Gerontology (from the Greek γέρων, ''geron'', "old man" and -λογία, ''-logia'', "study of"; coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov in 1903) is the study of the social, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging. It is distinguished from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of existing disease in older adults. Gerontologists include researchers and practitioners in the fields of biology, nursing, medicine, criminology, dentistry, social work, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, economics, political science, architecture, geography, pharmacy, public health, housing, and anthropology.
Gerontology encompasses the following:
* studying physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age
* investigating the biological aging process itself (biogerontology)
* investigating the social and psychosocial impacts of aging (sociogerontology)
* investigating the psychological effects on aging (psychogerontology)
* investigating the interface of biological aging with aging-associated disease (geroscience)
* investigating the effects of an ageing population on society
* applying this knowledge to policies and programs, including the macroscopic (for example, government planning) and microscopic (for example, running a nursing home) perspectives.
The multidisciplinary nature of gerontology means that there are a number of subfields, as well as associated fields such as psychology and sociology that overlap with gerontology. Gerontologists view aging in terms of four distinct processes: chronological aging, biological aging, psychological aging, and social aging.〔 ''Chronological aging'' is the definition of aging based on a person's years lived from birth.〔 ''Biological aging'' refers to the physical changes that reduce the efficiency of organ systems.〔 ''Psychological'' aging includes the changes that occur in sensory and perceptual processes, cognitive abilities, adaptive capacity, and personality.〔 ''Social aging'' refers to an individual's changing roles and relationships with family, friends, and other informal supports, productive roles and within organizations.〔

In the medieval Islamic world, several physicians wrote on issues related to Gerontology. Avicenna's ''The Canon of Medicine'' (1025) offered instruction for the care of the aged, including diet and remedies for problems including constipation. Arabic physician Ibn Al-Jazzar Al-Qayrawani (Algizar, c. 898–980) wrote on the aches and conditions of the elderly (Ammar 1998, p. 4). His scholarly work covers sleep disorders, forgetfulness, how to strengthen memory,〔(Bos, ''Ibn al-Jazzar'', ''Risala fi l-isyan'' (Treatise on forgetfulness), London, 1995 )〕 and causes of mortality〔(Al Jazzar )〕 Ishaq ibn Hunayn (died 910) also wrote works on the treatments for forgetfulness (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1994).
While the number of aged humans, and the life expectancy, tended to increase in every century since the 14th, society tended to consider caring for an elderly relative as a family issue. It was not until the coming of the Industrial Revolution that ideas shifted in favor of a societal care-system. Care homes for the aged emerged in the 19th century.
Some early pioneers, such as Michel Eugène Chevreul, who himself lived to be 102, believed that aging itself should be a science to be studied. Élie Metchnikoff coined the term "gerontology" 1903〔(Online Etymology Dictionary )〕
It was not until the 1940s, however, that pioneers like James Birren began organizing gerontology into its own field. Recognizing that there were experts in many fields all dealing with the older population, it became apparent that a group like the Gerontological Society of America (founded in 1945) was needed. Two decades later, James Birren was appointed as the founding director of the first academic research center devoted exclusively to the study of aging, the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Ethel Percy Andrus )〕 at the University of Southern California. The Baltimore Longitudinal Studies of Aging began in 1958 in order to study physiological changes in healthy middle-aged and older men living in the community by testing them every two years on numerous physiological parameters.〔 In 1967, the University of South Florida〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.usf.edu/ )〕 and the University of North Texas (formerly North Texas State University) received Older Americans Act training grants from the U.S. Administration on Aging to launch the nation's first degree programs in gerontology, at the master's level. In 1975, the University of Southern California's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Leonard Davis )〕 with Birren as its founding dean, became the country's first school of gerontology within a university and, later, offered the first PhD in Gerontology degree. Since that time, a number of other universities have formed departments or schools of gerontology or aging studies.
More generally, gerontological education has flourished in the United States since 1967 and degrees at all academic levels are now offered by a number of colleges and universities. One of the pioneering gerontologists, Robert Neil Butler, has pushed for care and respect of the elderly. Butler won a Pulitzer Prize for his book titled, ''Why Survive? Being Old in America'', where he discusses how the elderly are overlooked, mistreated, and sometimes even abused. His book argues that we as a society must modify our behavior toward the elderly. Several university-based centers on aging have been founded such as the Duke University Center on Aging, the University of Georgia Institute of Gerontology, the Center of Aging at the University of Chicago,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging Center on Aging Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging )〕 and the Stanford Center on Longevity.〔 Relatively few universities offer a PhD in gerontology. A Certificate in Aging Studies and Master of Science degree are available online and in-class through Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Gerontology. Currently, PhD programs in gerontology are available at (Virginia Commonwealth University ) (PhD in Health Related Sciences/Gerontology track), Miami University,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=PhD in Social Gerontology | Scripps Gerontology Center )〕 the University of Kansas,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Gerontology )University of Kentucky, University of Maryland Baltimore,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Application Procedures )University of Massachusetts Boston,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=PhD - University of Massachusetts Boston )〕 and the University of Southern California. The substantial increase in the aging population in post-industrial Western nations has led to this becoming one of the most rapidly growing fields.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the field was mainly social and concerned with issues such as nursing homes and health care. However, research by Leonard Hayflick in the 1960s (showing that a cell line culture will only divide about 50 times) helped lead to a separate branch, biogerontology. It became apparent that simply treating aging was not enough. Developing an understanding of the aging process, and what could be done about it, became an issue.
Biogerontology was also bolstered when research by Cynthia Kenyon and others demonstrated that life extension was possible in lower life forms such as fruit flies, worms, and yeast. Substantial increases in lifespan have been achieved in laboratory mammals such as mice and rats through interventions such as Calorie restriction and mutations in the insulin-like growth factor-1 pathway. So far, however, nothing more than incremental (marginal) increases in life span have been seen in humans.

抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア(Wikipedia)

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