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Why Do We Age?


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I subscribe to our National Broadcaster (the ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and they send me various topics of interest regarding health and wellbeing.   On 14 June 2017, I received an email with the article 'Can you die from old age?' that had been posted on their webpage the previous day.   It was an ok article, but two headings were of particular interest (which I've highlighted in blue).

 

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Why do we age?

While a healthy diet and exercise can help keep us younger on the inside, we can't completely stop our cells from ageing as the years roll by.

Exactly why is complicated and scientists don't have all the answers.

One common notion is that there is something in our genes — a biological clock — that causes us to tick towards old age.

Another is that over time, our body and DNA accumulate damage.

Key to this is the idea of cellular senescence – a biological phenomenon in which cells stop dividing.

When senescence sets in, it limits our ability to repair tissue when we get injured. Senescent cells release substances that encourage chronic inflammation in the body, increasing a person's risk of cancer and other conditions like arthritis.

Another focus of modern research is telomeres – structures on the ends of our gene-carrying chromosomes that shorten with age. When this happens, the risk of disease seems to increase.

"The question is whether [telomeres] play a causative role in ageing, and what intervention will alter ageing in a safe way," says Dr Lindsay Wu, head of the Laboratory for Ageing Research at UNSW.

Experiments to extend telomeres in animals have been mixed – in some animal experiments, higher cancer rates were seen, but in others the process protected against some signs of ageing.

"The jury's still out on whether telomere lengthening is useful [in combating ageing]," Dr Wu says.

Can we stop the process of ageing?

Researchers all over the world are hard at work exploring ways to arrest the ageing process.

One area of particular focus is drugs that could kill off cells that have reached the point where they stop dividing.

In one study, scientists extended the lives of mice by progressively removing these senescent cells from their bodies.

Another area of interest centres around the drug metformin, which has been used to treat type 2 diabetes for decades and has been shown to keep animals healthy and extend their life.

A clinical trial called TAME (Treating Aging with Metformin) is currently testing whether metformin can act in a similar way in humans.

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The article is much longer of course, but isn't it interesting how scientists are actually thinking they may have found keys to understanding the ageing process.   They might think its complicated but only because they don't accept that our creator made us perfect to begin with, then made us imperfect.    Simple concepts are beyond their comprehension. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sheila said:

In one study, scientists extended the lives of mice by progressively removing these senescent cells from their bodies.

I think this sentence is scary.  Scientists removing bits from our bodies hasn't always been a good idea.  They are going in blind, without knowing what all the repercussions will be.  Of course this is years away (if ever), but just knowing that this is how they are thinking..... shivers.  To them the only way to be perfect and extend life is for science to intervene, essentially keeping us on drugs or surgical options to prolong our lives.  Not the future we look forward to, thank Jehovah!

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3 hours ago, hatcheckgirl said:

I think this sentence is scary.  Scientists removing bits from our bodies hasn't always been a good idea.  They are going in blind, without knowing what all the repercussions will be. 

 

That's why they start with mice. :)

Edited by Thomas Walker
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