Ethical aspects of aging research

Enn Seppet, Mati Pääsuke, Maria Conte, Miriam Capri, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last 50-60 years, due to development of medical care and hygienically safe living conditions, the average life span of European citizens has substantially increased, with a rapid growth of the population older than 65 years. This trend places ever-growing medical and economical burden on society, as many of the older subjects suffer from age-related diseases and frailty. Coping with these problems requires not only appropriate medical treatment and social support but also extensive research in many fields of aging-from biology to sociology, with involvement of older people as the research subjects. This work anticipates development and application of ethical standards suited to dynamic advances in aging research. The aim of this review is to update the knowledge in ethical requirements toward recruitment of older research subjects, obtaining of informed consent, collection of biological samples, and use of stem cells in preclinical and clinical settings. It is concluded that application of adequate ethical platform markedly facilitates recruitment of older persons for participation in research. Currently, the basic ethical concepts are subjected to extensive discussion, with participation of all interested parties, in order to guarantee successful research on problems of human aging, protect older people from undesired interference, and afford their benefits through supporting innovations in research, therapy, and care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-502
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Ethical issues
  • Human aging
  • Informed consent
  • Older population
  • Recruitment of subjects
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue samples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Ageing


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