Can aging be prevented or stopped Essay

Submitted By bobsmith1019
Words: 1037
Pages: 5

With the advances of medical technology people are living longer. In 1970, the average life expectancy at birth in the United States was 70.8 years; in 2008, it was 78.0 years; and by 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau projects life expectancy will reach 79.5 years. Disease and disability were at one point considered a part of getting old, but this idea has surpassed since perspectives on aging have progressed. As we age our very own biology puts us at risk for health issues; however, many older adults can be healthy and active well into their advancing years. It is an established medical and societal fact, that eating healthy along with exercise and physical activity can help promote healthy aging, but are there other factors that a person can instill into their daily routine that may aid in the age-defying process? The NIA and other studies are researching the benefits and risks of a number of approaches to anti-aging/healthy aging, including antioxidants, and calorie restriction. Antioxidants protect the body from the harmful effects of by-products known as free radicals, made normally when the body changes oxygen and food into energy. The discovery of antioxidants raised hopes that people could slow aging simply by adding them to the diet. So far, studies of antioxidant-laden foods and supplements in humans have yielded little support for this conclusion. Science has found that what you eat, how many times you eat, and how much you serve yourself can have an effect on quality and years of life. Scientists have focused primarily on calorie restriction, a diet that focuses on lowering the calories while keeping the percent of needed nutrients the same is (NIH). “Research in some animals has shown calorie restriction of up to 40 percent fewer calories than normal to have an impressive positive effect on disease, markers of aging, and, perhaps, life span. Scientists do not yet know if long-term calorie restriction is safe, beneficial, or practical for humans. However, the study of calorie restriction offers new insights into the aging process and biological mechanisms that could influence healthy aging” (NIH). For some though, healthy aging is not enough, they either want to stop it or reverse it all together. Scientists from Australia and the US believe they have found the pause and rewind buttons to the aging process. The research team discovered a key mechanism that keeps the body's cells communicating. “In youth, communication inside individual cells – between the cell's "battery" known as the mitochondria and the nucleus – is fast and frequent. But over time, this slows and aging accelerates. The aging process we discovered is like a married couple – when they are young, they communicate well. But over time, living in close quarters for many years, communication breaks down," Professor Sinclair says. “And just like a couple, restoring communication solved the problem" (Smith). How did Sinclair and his colleagues accomplish this feat? “Researchers gave mice injections containing the naturally occurring compound NMN, which raises the levels of a molecule called NAD. [The NAD] repairs the cells' communication network. If the compound is administered early enough in the aging process, in just a week, the muscles of the older mice were indistinguishable from the younger animals” (Smith). They then examined the muscles from two-year-old mice that had been given the NAD producing compound for one week. Following that, Sinclair looked for “indicators of insulin resistance, inflammation and muscle wasting. In all three instances, tissue from the mice resembled that of six-month-old mice. In human years, this would be like a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old in these specific areas” (Smith). Upon conducting their research they came across an important protein, HIF-1 that aids in the breakdown of communication, but this protein does more than interrupt cellular communication. “HIF-1 normally switches on when the body is