Good news everyone! Scientists have just discovered that aging could be delayed. Maybe immortality will be next. They are still disputing about reasons of aging. But they have reached a consensus: this process can be slowed, stopped or even reversed.
But how aging works?
Aging is a gradual deterioration of proteins and cells. What happens when they are not able to replenish themselves anymore? A person turns gray haired, wrinkled, sick and finally dead.
Among potential causes of aging scientists name DNA damage and telomeres shortening. Some insist that there is a biological program written on every DNA (like Steve Horvath, UCLA). Others deny it (e.g. Richard Miller, the University of Michigan).
Scientists sewed together mice, their blood supplies shared. Young one paired with an old animal made fewer new cells in hippocampus than when paired with another young mouse. Old one made much more new brain cells when paired with a young mouse than when paired with another old one.
In other words, young blood rejuvenated old mice!
…and mice aging
There’s another side of experiment: an old mouse made younger one age faster. Several scientists, including Saul A Villeda, University of California San Francisco, reported that the reason was probably in Beta‑2‑microglobulin.
Record-breakers among us
Those people who live longer than 100 years are considered to be biologically younger than they really are. Yes, people age at different rates. Steve Horvath says that even body parts can age differently.
What if I age too fast?
It was what Elizabeth Parrish, chief executive of BioViva USA Inc., exactly thought after taking a special test. The 45-year-old woman found that she has telomeres of a 65-year-o ld.
Mice with telomeres lengthened by gene therapy often lived longer than those with short ones. But BioViva’s anti-aging gene therapy was still awaiting FDA approval for clinical trials in people. So Parrish decided to test it herself. She claims she had “myriad injections” and now has telomeres of a 45-year-old.
No immortality (yet)
Experts have doubts about Elizabeth’s results. And even more doubts on what will happen next. There are concerns that growing telomeres may even cause cancer.
Anyway most of the research is still being done on mice. Completing human tests may take decades. And there’s still no recipe for immortality. But there’s definitely a hope.