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Professor Malcolm Jackson will deliver the first lecture of the new Science and Society series on February 11
We are all living longer but our healthy lifespan hasn’t been going up at the same rate says Professor Malcolm Jackson, ahead of the return of University of Liverpool’s Science and Society lecture series.
In the first of the new programme, Professor Jackson, Head of the University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, asks: Living with an ageing population – Can basic science research prevent us all becoming weak and frail?
Professor Jackson, who believes our ageing population should be seen as a “real achievement” rather than a burden, said: “People and animals are living longer but we are not necessarily seeing equivalent increases in healthy lifespan. When people look at changes in length of life, the evidence suggests that the healthy lifespan has not been going up at the same rate.
Three major influences on the quality of later life are identified by Professor Jackson. Perhaps the most important of these are lifestyle factors, and, as we age “understanding the types of exercise that help with frailty – it’s not just getting on a treadmill”. But Professor Jackson also believes the NHS has a role to play in the way it treats frailty and, finally, that the challenge is on for basic science to try and deliver improvements.
Professor Jackson added: “If you take a person of 70 today, they are, on average, much healthier than a person of 70 was 20 years ago. Those sorts of improvements have come about by dealing with some of the common disorders, like heart disease, but we need to move to the next stage.
“You may think this is a big problem for my generation, but for the next generation it will be enormous.”
Appointed Head of the University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease in 2010, Professor Jackson is also Director of the MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA), as well as serving on the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board and the Joint Research Councils’ Life Long Health and Wellbeing panel.
The first Science and Society lecture of the new series is being held in the Victoria Gallery & Museum’s Leggate Theatre on Tuesday February 11, from 5.30pm. Tickets are free but limited and must be booked. Visit www.liverpool.ac.uk/events/science-and-society or call 0151 794 2650 for yours.
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