The Race to Cure Aging

Posted on January 5, 2023


Life in the Boomer Lane occasionally ignores XWAP’s (Ex and Wanna Be Again POTUS) inane and dangerous entries onto Truth Social, the never-ending votes going nowhere in an attempt to find a new Speaker of the House, and reading about the 435th sub-variant of Covid, to notice that she is aging. Like you, she doesn’t understand how this is happening. Doesn’t her body have better things to do than engage itself in any number of insidious, and, on a daily basis, imperceptible changes that serve her in no way whatsoever. No. Way. Whatsoever.

Worse than what is happening to her, she is appalled to hear her extremely adult children kvetch about aging. “I can’t drink like I used to.” “I threw my back out at Disney World and needed to rent a wheelchair.” “I had to give up flag football.” “I have to sleep with a pillow between my legs.” “What’s sleep?” LBL silently shrieks when these words assault her ears. No, she pleads, no, no, no. And no. You three of the tiny button toes and soft unblemished skin and bones made of rubber. No.

Enter Science, that oft-maligned scourge of people who would rather just make shit up. Science cares about LBL and all others who are thrown headfirst into the aging process quicksand, oh yes, and it is trying to throw us some kind of life line to get us out of this. Like all politicians who declare “I am even considering also representing those who didn’t vote for me,” Science is working for all of us. Election and Covid deniers, Flat Earthers, Trumpers, Fox News devotees, Vladimer Putin, Elon Musk, and the person who keeps letting their dog poop on your lawn. All, no matter how disgustingly odious, stand to benefit from what Science discovers.

LBL has written several posts already about the great strides made in the field of aging. Why do we age? How do we age? What can be done about this pesky issue? And how on earth will we ever find a parking space if we all stop aging? (Loyal Readers may note that LBL has already referred to the looming parking issue in the event we all live longer. But she is obsessed with this thought and so she is tossing it out again for consideration.)

Here, then the latest, up-to-the-minute, word-on-the-street speak about aging: Basically, it doesn’t exist. LBL assumes she got your attention at this point. According to quantum physics, the passage of time is a human construct. Time doesn’t “pass.” All time occurs at the same time. So, while you fret over your senile purpura, you are also pooping in your diapers (the Pampers kind, not the ones available in nursing homes for exorbitant sums of money.) Does this help?

Beyond that, here is what else Science has discovered. People tend to fall into one of four biological aging pathways, or ageotypes: immune, kidney, liver or metabolic. Whatever type you are in depend on cells. And renewable cells are the key to extending life. As of December 2022, genetically engineered mitochondria can convert light energy into chemical energy that cells can use, ultimately extending the life of the roundworm C. LBL is fully aware that humans and roundworm C differ in more than a few ways. Humans have much more complex lives, pay taxes, and don’t take well to living in science labs. But, in the general scheme of living things, whatever is good for the roundworm C may, eventually, have an impact on us.

“Immortal” jellyfish thwart aging by being born again. Yellow-bellied marmots halt aging while they hibernate. Back in 2020, scientists altered old mice with poor eyesight and damaged retinas to suddenly see again, with vision that at times rivaled their offspring. By 2022, we knew that we could stop aging in mice (It’s a good thing they don’t drive). More and more species are found to have ways to stop the aging process, or to replace injured or missing body parts.

And, on the specifically human aging front, as of January 2023, scientists have developed a way to identify aged muscle stem cells (MuSCs) based on their chromatin signature. MuSCs play an important role in muscle repair. Several research projects have come close to extending cell and productivity. We are on the never-before-thought-of brink of both extinction and endless life.

LBL hopes that all this information gives Loyal Readers a reason to go on. If Science comes through, we may all live long enough to see a new Speaker of the House chosen.

Posted in: aging, research, science