Jeff Bezos is on a mission to push aging after funding Altos Lab and recruiting GlaxoSmithKline, a company focused on anti-aging to help Altos Lab. The question is, can humans actually resist aging even death?
Daniel M Davis a Professor of Immunology University of Manchester said that aging is not only visible from the skin, but also in our genes. Our genetic material is modified over time, called epigenetic changes, and increases with age.
“Another type of change occurs in the DNA of our cells. The repeating segments of DNA called telomeres act like the plastic ends of shoelaces, preventing the twisted coils of genetic material from fraying at the ends or binding together. But these telomeres shorten every time the cell divides. We don’t know whether short telomeres are just a sign of aging, like gray hair, or are part of the cellular aging process,” said Prof Davis.
Why do humans age? It was once thought that aging occurs due to the continuous evolution of species. In other words, the evolution of a species requires alternation of individuals. However, one problem with this idea is that most life on Earth never reaches old age. Most animals are killed by predators, disease, climate or starvation. Thus, innate limitations on age may not be important to evolution.
Another view is that aging are simply a side effect of the damage that builds up over time caused by metabolism or exposure to ultraviolet light from the Sun. We know that genes break down with age, but there is no evidence that this drives aging directly.
“Another possibility is that aging may have evolved as a defense against cancer. As cells accumulate genetic damage over time, they may have developed processes not to last too long in the body, if this damage eventually causes cells to turn into cancer.” continued Prof. Davis.
With age, some body cells enter a state called senescence, in which cells stay alive but stop dividing. Aged cells accumulate in the body over a lifetime (especially in the skin, liver, lungs, and spleen) and have both beneficial and detrimental effects.
Aged cells are beneficial because they secrete chemicals that help repair damaged tissue, but over a long period of time, as the number of senescent cells increases, they can disrupt the normal structure of organs and tissues. These cells can be the underlying cause of many of the problems we associate with aging.
“We can describe a lot of things that happen during aging at a rate that physically occurs in our genes, cells and organs. But the fundamental question of why we age is still open. Most likely, there is more than one right answer,” he explains.
“Of course, no one knows if the company Bezos can successfully help prolong human life. But what is clear is that by studying aging, exciting new discoveries are bound to emerge. As I recently explained in a book about new technology and the human body, The Secret BodyI believe that this dramatic breakthrough will profoundly change the experience of being human in the next century.” Science Alert.
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