The Diminishing Need to Age

Posted on April 17, 2019

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Many people born in the first half of the twentieth century have become concerned about their ability to outlive the current administration. Good news is on the horizon for these people, and it has nothing to do with Trump deciding to abdicate in favor of shooting himself up into space in order to become Emperor of the Galaxy.  Instead, it is about all of the really swell research that is poised to revolutionize the aging process.

Ever since the first caveman complained, “My back hurts and I keep losing my keys,” people have been trying to figure out a way to stop the aging process. For thousands of years it wasn’t a big deal because there were so few old people around. And, mostly, the ones that were there stayed at home out of sight and didn’t run marathons or do morning power walks.  But, eventually, after the advent of medicine and Facebook Friends, old people began popping up everywhere one looked. There were so many of them, in fact, that the general population became alarmed.  Something needed to be done, before they, themselves, turned into old people and the already-old were still hanging around. Researchers stopped studying the mating habits of mycoplasma genitalium and got busy studying aging.

Money for research began pouring in, mostly from people who looked in the mirror and became alarmed.  Other sources of money came from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as manufacturers of  comfort shoes and wireless bras.  In May, the first human clinical trials began on some of this research.  2018 saw the advent of telomere shortening, mitochondria dysfunction, cell biology of senescence and the epigenetic clock, a test designed to determine biological age based on DNA methylation.   Loyal Readers are welcome to spend time now, trying to figure out what all of these things mean. A word of warning: By the time you are finished, you will be way older than you are now and you will have gone way too long without flossing.  

The only thing you have to know is senescence.  Think of cell senescence as the arrested development of cells. According to Judith Campisi, professor of biogerontology, senescence is the “major cause of the chronic inflammation that drives so many age-related disease.”  Now, instead of blaming mom and dad for our problems, we can switch to blaming cell senescence.  

Everyone already knows that good diet, exercise, staying trim, positive thoughts, no substance abuse, and good genes can extend life and the quality of life.  Blah, blah, blah. We aren’t here to blab on about that. Instead, there are some nifty research projects  to know about that go beyond constantly eating whole grains and leafy vegetables and walking 10000 steps a day with a smile on one’s face:

A Harvard geneticist is now using gene therapy to halt the aging process in dogs.

Various scientists are now using transgenes to eliminate senescent cells in the brains of mice with Alzeimer’s and Parkinsons.

Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine are using viruses to eliminate wrinkling. Before you leap to incorrect conclusions, know that this is about cell nuclei wrinkling, not skin wrinkling. Lots of bad stuff that happens to old people is actually the result of cell wrinkling taking place secretly inside our bodies. 

Here is what Life in the Boomer Lane will allow you to get really excited about, even if you are no longer able to jump up and down:

Researchers have pumped the blood of young mice into old mice,  which affected brain stem cell development and reversed effects of aging on the oldsters’ cognition. 

Stem cells are being used to treat a variety of ailments. More and more and more.

Tissues are being “reprinted” to facilitate organ transplant.

A veritable host of medicines are being developed that will really and truly halt and/or repair the aging process.

We are rapidly heading toward a world in which people will remain youthful, well into their second century of life.  LBL, personally, isn’t sure whether she wants to just keep on going and going and going. She isn’t sure how many more election cycles she can take.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in: aging, humor, research, satire