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Reith Lectures 2001, The: The End of Age - Tom Kirkwood (5 Lectures)

Synopsis
The Reith lectures 2001 are presented by Tom Kirkwood, Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Gerontology at the University of Newcastle. This year’s lectures deal with growing old. Dramatic increases in life expectancy are shaking the structure of societies around the world and profoundly altering our perceptions of life and death. The lectures investigate new insights from the frontiers of science and the choices and decisions we face in the uncharted territories of a greying world.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2005
Year of production
2001
Documentation
Transcripts available free online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2001/
Subjects
Social Studies; Medical sciences
Keywords
ageing; old people

Online availability

URI
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2001/
Price
free
Delivery
Streamed

Sections

Title
Brave old World
Synopsis
Tom Kirkwood looks at the changing demographics of life expectancy and asks how the ‘burden’ of the elderly might be handled. To be able to answer this question we need to understand a great deal more about the ageing process. It is fortunate, but by no means co-incidental, that the revolution in longevity is accompanied by an equally unprecedented revolution in the life sciences and particularly genetics and genome research. He discusses the commonest misconceptions about the ageing process - that we age because in some fundamental sense we cannot survive for longer, and that we are programmed to die because this is necessary to make way for the next generation. He maintains that neither of these ideas is correct.
Duration
45 mins

Title
Thread of Life
Synopsis
Looks at the role of DNA in the ageing process and asks whether it is the thread of death as well as the thread of life.
Duration
45 mins

Title
Sex and Death
Synopsis
This lecture discusses the various links between sex and death including the theory of the disposable soma and the evolutionary advantage of the menopause.
Duration
45 mins

Title
Making Choices
Synopsis
The freedom to make - and continue making - choices is perhaps the greatest single index of well-being. Choice matters in ageing for two very powerful reasons. First, although many fruits of the scientific revolution lie in the future, scientific understanding of the ageing process tells us already that there is a great deal we can do now by making the right choices. Second, as we get older, choice often seems to be taken away. The infirmity of age undoubtedly sets barriers to certain kinds of choice, while financial hardship may set others. But choice tends to be limited by age much more than is really necessary, either through negative expectations or just poor planning. The revolution in longevity puts choice high up the list of priorities.
Duration
45 mins

Title
New Directions
Synopsis
Looks at the role of medicine in contolling ageing and the ways in which society could and should change its attitude to older people.
Duration
45 mins

Distributor

Name

BBC Radio 4

Web
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 External site opens in new window

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