26 July 2009

Can we stop aging and reverse it's effects?

Why do we age?

Over the centuries, people have often wondered how it is that our bodies grow and develop from a tiny fertilized egg, to a newborn baby, to a young child, then a teenager and, finally, a young adult. A huge number of very complex changes within our bodies must happen perfectly in order to achieve this.

Once we grow into our adult perfection, why can’t we just stay there? Why do we have to age?

And can we stop it?

Doctors and scientists used to take aging for granted. Scientists used to think that because aging was a natural process, there was no need to investigate it. Is it the wear and tear of the body that causes aging or the life span of a person is defined by his genetic structure?

You've heard it said many times before: "Youth is wasted on the young." Unfortunately, the trade-off for the life experiences and wisdom that comes with age is the gradual loss of youth and physical health. We're constantly reminded that "life's too short." Time eventually takes it toll, and the body simply doesn't work as well as it did before.

But what if that didn't have to be the case? Imagine what people could do with an extra decade or two of healthy years. Now how about an extra fifty? Hundred? Five hundred? Imagine accumulating wisdom and experience without the threats of disease and frailty. Imagine being able to stop aging and reverse its effects.

Sounds like a plot for a science fiction story? The truth is putting an end to aging isn't a far-off dream: it's quickly becoming a reality, according to speakers at ideaCity 2008. The conference, hosted and produced in Toronto by Moses Znaimer, featured the latest research on slowing and stopping the aging process. The goal: not just to increase human lifespan, but to increase the healthy years -- perhaps indefinitely. And the "cure" may be available sooner than you think. Here's what the speakers had to say:

Ray Kurzweil

Don't be fooled by appearances. On the outside, Ray Kurzweil looks like a baby boomer but on the inside he claims to be decades younger. Advances in science are paving the way for revolutionary treatments, and he plans to be around to take advantage of them.

Imagine being a "designer baby boomer". In his talk at ideaCity, Kurzweil outlined how the biotechnology revolution is changing the paradigm of medicine. New technology can design and simulate treatments, computers can simulate human intelligence and tiny robots (known as nanobots) and nanotechnology devices could soon be used to kill cancer cells or control insulin. Genes can be added or be "turned off" to prevent diseases. Organs and tissues will eventually be restored to their youthful state. He predicts the biotechnology revolution will peak around 2020 -- well within the grasp of today's Zoomers.

The challenge, Kurzweil argues, is getting through the next 15 years to reap the benefits. How? By slowing the disease and aging processes using the knowledge we have today. If you want to see the specifics, Kurzweil and co-author Terry Grossman outline their strategies in their book Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. The book acts as a guide to the aggressive strategies you need to employ to retain your health, including regular exercise, managing stress, taking supplements and treating inflammation in addition to the chapters dedicated to a healthy diet.

Michael Rose

Imagine being in a dark factory with only a flashlight. That's how Michael Rose describes how we used to approach medicine: Try to detect the source (if you can see it) and correct the problem. The approach doesn't work well for the complex networks that make up the human body. However, genomics (e.g. the Human Genome Project and DNA mapping) has effectively "turned on the lights" to provide a better understanding of how components and systems work -- and where faults occur.

The problem is that our genome has an unfavourable vocabulary -- it tends towards what Rose calls "bad words" like cancer, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. The solution is to find therapeutic treatments to rewrite these bad words in order to literally stop your genome from killing you. In the end, you'll have a longer life, but also a healthier and more robust constitution.

In his book, The Long Tomorrow -- How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging, Rose argues that there is no single "fountain of youth" or fabled "elixir of life", despite what the old legends say. Instead, the field of Nutrigenomics, the study of the relationships between nutrition and genes, will lead to nutritional supplements meant to protect health and put off aging.

Aubrey de Grey

"The first 1000-year-old is probably less than 20 years younger than the first 150 year old."

Say what?

In order to understand this statement, you have to stop thinking in straight lines. When it comes to life span, Aubrey de Grey, chairman of the Methuselah Foundation, sees exponential rather than linear increases. What starts as the doubling of small numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc) soon explodes. The numbers almost sound too good to be true, but once the fundamental breakthroughs happen, then achievements will accelerate rapidly -- and so will life expectancy.

How will these miraculous numbers come about? De Grey argues that our metabolism causes damage on an ongoing basis. This damage eventually causes pathology (disease). What we need to do is prevent and repair damage at the metabolic level, and maintain our bodies to keep them in top shape. Damage can be repaired with engineering. This means getting rid of "junk" inside and outside of our cells, getting rid of excess cells, replacing lost cells and dealing with mutations.

In other words, repairing damage "buys time" until the next advances come along. Extending lives means saving lives, especially since more deaths are caused by aging than terrorism, war, accidents and natural disasters combined. It's not surprising that de Grey is a force behind getting people to understand the importance of this issue... and to do something about it.

For more information, check out de Grey's book, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime, and the Methuselah Foundation website.

Overall, the ideas and methods may be different, but the speakers all seemed to agree on one thing: if you can maintain your health a little longer, you'll be able to benefit from the treatments when they become available. With all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, youth will no longer be wasted on the young, and aging will become a process of continued personal growth rather than decay.

Video :-

New aging research into living longer, disease prevention, quality of life, healthy lifestyles, longevity - conference keynote speaker Dr Patrick Dixon

Scientists have stopped the ageing process in an entire organ for the first time. Know More

Your Suggestions will be greatly entertained.


armageddonsaviour July 26, 2009 at 7:43 PM  

All the
would like to know :)
He Ha Ha Ha Ha

And also the
of the world would also like to know ...

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