Longevity And Real Life-Extension Sciences


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Are there scientific and pharmaceutical ways to extend lifespan?  First, people who want to look younger and live longer should foremost take care of their own bodies in a proactive way, such as partaking in personalized prevention services.  But believe it or not lifespan extension and aging are active research areas at major academic institutions all around the United States.  There is nothing approved by the FDA or known for sure, but the research is still  exciting.

There are two ways these academic groups are studying aging, a bottom up and a top down approach.  In the bottom up approach, experiments are conducted on fundamental processes on the cellular level to understand why cells or collections of cells change over time.  In the top down approach, some sort of perturbation or activity is prescribed to cells, or even animals, that change the lifespan, and then the biological origins of the lifespan are then traced to key cellular processes.

The top down approach has been exciting scientists and lay people alike in the most recent 10 years.  It turns out that it is possible to extend lifespan in at least some organisms.  In the beginning successful lifespan extension was limited to small animals like the C elegans worm, and the fruit fly Drosophila.  But then successes were shown in mice, a mammal.  And finally positive results came out in 2014 for a group of monkeys, primates that are much closer to humans than previous studies.  Roughly there turns out to be three kinds of success stories in life extension.

In the first, a gene is changed or removed which confers life extension properties.  In C elegans, for example, it was found that mutations in a daf-2, insulin-signaling gene, conferred increase lifespan.  The theory is that insulin signaling, which controls metabolism, is detrimental to cells because it increases energy usage which leads to high levels of oxidative molecules that damage cells fundamentally which can’t be repaired.

In the second, it turns out that caloric restriction is a very general way to induce longevity in animals from lowly worms to higher primates.  Some people have even calorie restricted themselves in the hopes of living longer.  Caloric restriction means that the subject is getting enough nutrients of course, but with much fewer calories.  Again, the theory is that reducing food intake kicks up a “stress response” in cells that cause them to regulate/reduce their energy usage and thereby reduce production of oxidative molecules.

In the third, modification of certain biomolecules or addition of certain drugs leads to lifespan change.  This last category includes the Sirtuin protein family as well as the resveratrol drug, both of which seem to alter longevity in a number of animals.  However, the biological mechanisms are very mysterious and attempts by the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on these drugs remain mixed in success.

We suggest that the reader keep abreast of these exciting new developments, and in the meantime, exploit existing methods and best anti aging products to maintain a youthful, healthy appearance.

(Photo Credit: Josh*m / Creative Commons)

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