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C. Predictions of An Aging Nation

Narrator: This is Science Today. By the year 2010, a surge in the aging population has been predicted, thanks to advances in medical technology and older baby boomers. With these projections also come theories of a sicker nation due to age-related illness. But Roger McDonald of the University of California, Davis says such projections have to be used with caution.

McDonald: We just have no idea what technology is going to do in the next ten years. If we just look at who's alive today in the older population, it's an unmarried white woman. So the question comes out, is it a biological function or is it an environmental function?

Narrator: Whatever the answer, McDonald says the women to men ratio is bound to change in time as diseases normally associated with men decline.

McDonald: I'm an optimist when it comes to the aging population. I think the aging population is going to be a healthy population. I don't think it's going to cause the problems that we think are going to happen. When physicians talk about these things, they only see sick people. There's chronic disease, no doubt about it, but that doesn't mean that it limits someone's ability to live a nice, healthy life.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.