Growing Younger: Adding Years to Your Life by Measuring and Controlling Your Body Age
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
Myrna I. Baker, B.Sc.N., M.Sc., lived and worked in Toronto.
Dr. Robert F. Morgan, a psychologist and specialist in applied gerontology, is chairman of the Department of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Jane Wilson, a graduate of the School of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, is billed as co-author; however, the extent of her role and involvement in the work that has gone into Growing Younger is not clear. Dr. Morgan admits that his work is biased by his psychological perspective of aging, but he has tried to temper such bias by including supporting work from other diverse disciplines such as anthropology and biophysics. He began publishing his work on a test to measure body age in 1966, and this book is derived from 15 years of research, refinement, and collection of normative data.
The book comprises two parts, a main text and a complete reproduction of the Adult Growth Examination (AGE) test manual. The main text begins with a brief review of mortality research and its shortcomings in advancing the knowledge of aging and longevity. The second chapter describes the AGE and how it was developed. The remaining chapters, in turn, focus on a particular aspect of lifestyle on psychology that is known to affect aging, along with some suggestions for combatting the process. Topics covered range from hypnosis and the power of positive thought and attitude to nutrition, body temperature, sex, and iatrogenic hazards. Directions for administering and scoring the test, background information, and remarks on reliability and validity are included in the test manual.
There is no doubt that this book provides much food for thought with respect to the aging process and the way that one might deter it so as to maintain a body age that is younger than one’s chronological age. Further thought is provoked by questions at the end of each chapter, which allude to directions for further research. This reader found a certain monotony inherent in the writing style, due to page after page of anecdotes and reports of experiments. The inclusion of some writings by anthropologist Dr. Sula Benet concerning the Abkhasians of the USSR’s Caucasus Mountains, however, provides a welcome break to the monotony. The reader should be cautioned that a fair amount of the cited research, particularly with regard to physiological support for ways of deterring the aging process, is based on animal studies and has not yet been tested on humans. Since Dr. Morgan refers to and gives numerous examples of data from his own research, it would have been helpful to have a few more details about design and methodology, to allow the reader to better assess the quality of his research.
Dr. Morgan suggests that his book will be of greatest benefit to adults aged 19 to 71-plus, but popular appeal may be hindered because some knowledge of medical terminology would help for a better understanding of the material.