In 1909, when the old age pension for those over 65 was introduced in Australia, life expectancy was about 55. It is now about 80.
For most of the 20th century, people in their 60s and 70s were expected to be seen with walking sticks. Now, many of them are working out regularly in the gym. And, as populations age, the developed world’s biggest health problems are now degenerative diseases rather than infections.
So perhaps it’s not surprising there has been an upsurge in interest in research into ageing—and the Centenary Institute is taking a major interest in applying its unique skill sets and clinical know-how to the problem. Leading the way will be the Institute’s newest research group leader, Dr Masaomi Kato, who moved to Australia from Yale University earlier this year to establish a Laboratory of Ageing.