I am sure that all of us think about aging at some point in time and also wish to be eternal in some situations. So, do you know that there are many studies going on to find out the reasons for aging and also to find ways to at least slowdown aging? Let us know about these studies and what they have found till now and let us try to answer the ultimate question Can we stop aging?
- What is aging all about?
- Why and how do we age?
- Possible reasons why human beings age
- Can we stop aging?
What is aging all about?
Although everyone is acquainted with aging, it is not so simple to define. The word “evolving” relates to the biological process of getting older in a toxic sense. In 1991, the book Evolutionary Biology of Aging provided the following definition of aging: a persistent decline in the age-specific fitness components of an organism due to internal physiological deterioration.
[bctt tweet=”Aging is the accumulation of various errors in our body which slows us down and leads to malfunctions and diseases. ” username=”Sciencehook”]
Let me tell you about aging in simple words, aging in one word is simply an error, aging is the accumulation of various errors in our body which slows us down and leads to malfunctions and diseases.
Let me tell you some fun facts about aging , all the creatures doesn’t age like we do. Some creatures doesn’t age at all. Crocodiles and aligators, for example doesn’t age at all. There also exists a jellyfish named Turritopsis dohrnii which can age in reverse way through a process called transdifferentiation and thus it is also called the “immortal jellyfish“
Why and how do we age?
Only a few wide, underlying concepts try to clarify why we and almost all living organisms age. These ideas clash with each other, rendering it impossible that more than one of them might be accurate and is also highly unlikely to be true.
Some ideas have gone out of approval as others have become more commonly recognized by a wide range of people.
Possible reasons why human beings age
Reduction in the number of cells: As we age, our functional tissues contract and are not replaced entirely. Engineered stem cells or neurons like exchanging components of a mechanical device could potentially substitute the old cells.
Special Enzyme called NAD+(nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide): NAD+ is an enzyme that tells our cells to take care of themselves. NAD+ decreases with our age and thus our cells get worn out and our cell mechanisms slow down. Low amounts of NAD+ can lead to a range of diseases.
Mitochondrial mutations: Mitochondria are small proteins and tiny structures present in our cells that turn the power and energy collected in our food into useful energy for all our bodies cells and neurons.
Mitochondria have their own genes controlling their body functions. As we age, mitochondrial functions decline and thus the so-called powerhouse of the cell slows down and affects all repair processes of the body. This happens due to somatic mutations in the DNA of mitochondria.
Antagonistic pleiotropy: It means that some genes that increase the odds of successful reproduction early in life may have deleterious effects later in life. Such a gene is P53. P53 prevents cancer in younger people but it would contribute to aging by preventing cell divisions in old people.
Senescent cells: We all know that our cells divide and copy the chromosomes. There are long strands of DNA called Telomeres at the ends of chromosomes that prevent small DNA losses. But after some number of divisions, these Telomeres are gone and this makes the cell a Senescent cell that doesn’t die. These cells grow in number with your age and leads to many diseases like diabetes etc.
Can we stop aging?
Aging is just a natural element of nature. Researchers and scientists have worked for centuries to unlock the key secrets behind what keeps us looking healthy and young. There have been some incredible breakthroughs in the sector of anti-aging technology.
As we learn new things about the human psyche and how the human body works under different conditions, we are now becoming even closer to let old age be a thing of the past. Let us see what all are the aging-related things where we have got good progress.
Possible ways to at least slow Aging
- The stem cell technology:
Researchers at California’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies succeeded in reprogramming aging mice cells using artificial pluripotent stem cells in 2016.
These stem cells are produced from adult cells, which allowed researchers to reprogram skin cells into an embryonic state so as to make them active. Researchers discovered in their research that the mice whose cells were reprogrammed lived 30 times longer than the control group that was not reprogrammed. The use of induced or artificial pluripotent stem cells involves risks, and human trials are definitely a long way away, but the study provided some of the most interesting data on the use of stem cells in anti-aging efforts so far.
- Repairing aging cells by targeting Mutant mtDNA:
CalTech and UCLA scientists found a technique of manipulating cell mitochondria to efficiently repair DNA in November 2016. Typically, cells comprise two kinds of mitochondrial DNA-ordinary mtDNA and mtDNA mutant. The research observed that cells age and eventually die due to the build-up of mutant mtDNA over the moment.
The research focused on whether autophagy or the method by which cells consume themselves could be used to target the mutant mtDNA and stop the aging process.
They succeeded in enhancing mitophagy activity in a fruit fly, noticing in their muscle cells a separate decrease in mutant mtDNA. If comparable methods can be used to repair damaged aged cells in humans, it would definitely lead to wonders.
- Gene Obliteration process:
Researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing and the University of Washington disclosed in 2015 that they had managed to identify and delete genes that could prolong lives after ten years of studies. The scientists recognized 238 proteins that resulted in a rise in the longevity of 60 percent when deleted.
Many of the identified genes are also present in mammals, which means that the same process can be applied theoretically to humans. That being said, it took researchers 10 years to find and remove the genes responsible for yeast aging through a trial and error process. It may take a long time to replicate the outcomes in individuals, although the findings are still helpful.
- Lengthening Telomeres
Human beings have been attempting to attain immortality for a long time, or at least have been living for and beyond 100 years. Some individuals believe we’re getting nearer, and fresh study will surely reinforce that faith: scientists claim they’ve been able to reverse aging in human cells.
“We can make older cells younger,” said Dr. John Cooke, department chair of cardiovascular sciences at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, lead author of the paper published in the American College of Cardiology Journal. Cooke’s group targeted patient cell telomeres, the caps at the ends of chromosomes whose size approximately matches and corresponds to age.
Telomeres are the main focus of the anti-aging community. Cooke’s group accumulated cells with progeria from kids in fresh research, an unusual genetic condition that leads them to mature quickly.
Cooke’s group used RNA therapy technology that provides RNA straight to cells to drive cells into producing telomerase, a protein that lengthens telomeres. The method enhanced the longevity and operate of cells. Before that, cells would “grow very poorly and then die,” said Cooke. “Cells proliferated usually after the operation. It was a drastic enhancement.” Markers of aging have been modified, such as the discharge of inflammatory proteins.
Cells in a dish are, of course, distinct from living people breathing. Cooke thinks that while there is still plenty of studies to be undertaken, it is a hopeful indication that age-related disease can be combated with apps. “When we lengthen telomeres, a number of the issues connected with aging can be reversed,” he said in an accompanying interview.
- Supplying NAD+:
In an experiment, the scientists from Harvard Medical School put a few drops of NAD+ into the mice’s water. Within hours, levels of NAD+ in their cells had risen significantly. Within a week, the tissues of the NAD+-fed mice had reversed to youthful levels. A human trial was conducted in November 2017, which showed similarly promising results. It needs a lot more testing.
- Clearing Senescent Cells:
We have some proteins in every cell which tells our cells about when to die, but the senescent cells mentioned above doesn’t die due to lack of these proteins. Scientists have found that we can clear these cells in mice by supplying the proteins externally.
This could help us prevent the slowing down of internal functions due to senescent cells.
Aging is a natural process and there very limited ways that you can reduce the signs of aging. While you definitely can’t stop the aging process now, you can make decisions that improve your ability to move forward and maintain a healthy and active life, do things you can enjoy and spend time with your loved ones. Probably in the future, you could take a variety of therapies and live a longer life and even become immortal