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Aging happens to each of us, everywhere, all the time. It is so ever-present and slow that we tend to take little notice of it. Until we do. Those small losses in function and health eventually accumulate into life-changers.

Despite its constancy in our lives, aging remains mysterious on a fundamental level. Scientists still struggle to fully explain its root causes and its myriad effects. Even as discoveries pile up (SN: 12/26/15, p. 20), a clear picture has yet to emerge. Debates continue about whether individual life spans and the problems associated with aging are programmed into our bodies, like ticking time bombs we carry from birth. Others see the process as a buildup of tiny failures, a chaotic and runaway deterioration that steals vim and vigor, if not health and life itself. There is no unified theory of aging. That means that there is no one way to stop it. As longtime aging researcher Caleb Finch put it in an interview with Science News: Aging is still a black box.

Is aging programmed? Or, is it influenced by environment? To read more, click here.