Replaceable You

As the tail end of the enormous 78 million-member baby boom generation enters middle age, Americans are living longer and expecting to enjoy better fitness and health than previous generations. The human body can't necessarily do at 50 what it did at 25, but when a part wears out from age or overuse or both, older Americans increasingly expect that it can be fixed or replaced.

How does medicine try to keep pace with all these aging bodies?

SOURCES: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; James Tasto, clinical professor of orthopedics, UCSD; Roy Rubinfeld, Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons; Optobionics; American Academy of Periodontology; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Children's Hospital Boston; New York Presbyterian Hospital; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; Mayo Clinic; "Automated Tissue Engineering: A Major Paradigm Shift in Health Care," by Chris Mason, Medical Device Technology, January-February 2003 | REPORTING: Sandra G. Boodman And Brenna Maloney | GRAPHIC: Patterson Clark - The Wahington Post

© 2006 The Washington Post Company