List of diseases that humanity has managed to win impressive: polio, typhoid, measles, tetanus, yellow fever, smallpox and diphtheria have been eliminated on most of the continents. Vaccines and powerful drugs has allowed our species to fight bacteria, parasites and viruses that are ready to kill us. The more we learn about our illnesses, the better we’re controlling them. When we can overcome the inevitable of afflictions: old age?
Aging is the one disease no one has yet managed to escape. When we are older, our cells cease to work as it should and get destroyed, which leads to cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Associated with aging of the disease, collectively killing 100,000 people every day, and people spend billions trying to slow down the inexorable March of their bodies.
Some scientists, however, believe that we incorrectly think about these diseases. They say we should treat aging as a disease — a disease that is preventable and curable.
Their hopes are based on recent discoveries, which suggest that biological aging can be completely prevented and be treated. From a biological point of view, the body ages at different rates, depending on genetic and environmental factors. Tiny mistakes accumulate in our DNA and cells and start to develop various diseases that can accumulate in the form of tissue damage. The extent of these changes over time can mean the difference between a healthy old age and bedridden and afflicted with chronic diseases of old age.
Scientists who hope to change all that, working on the front lines of modern medicine. At the same time around the world there are a number of research centres, which identify ways of preventing biological aging. Animal studies have shown that the lifetime of certain species can be significantly extended, and this gives hope for a repetition of the same people.
One of the diabetic drugs, metmorfin, could extend the life time of rodents. In the early 1990-ies of Cynthia Kenyon, who now works as Vice President for research of aging in Calico Labs have shown that roundworms can live for six weeks, is allotted to them by nature three, if in their genetic code to change just one letter.
One of the leaders of the movement against old age in the world of scientists, Aubrey de grey explains how it would be possible to achieve longer life for people. Di grey is chief scientific officer at SENS research Foundation, which is engaged in research of regenerative medicine and extension of healthy period of life. He explains that the aim of the Fund is to develop a set of medical practices and therapies for the middle-aged and older, which will help him to achieve physical and mental equivalent of thirty person. “Of course, without the Erasure of memory,” he adds.
Di gray says they want to “fix what we don’t like the changes, which take place from 30 to 70 years.” There are seven biological factors that primarily destroy the cells that leads to aging and leads to the development of age-related diseases.
For example, tissue cells are updated quickly enough; or when the cells multiply uncontrolled, as in cancer; when you do not die on time, which also causes cancer; mitochondrial DNA damage; accumulation of garbage in the cell; the wastes are accumulated outside of the cells; strengthening the lattice structure outside the cells — extracellular matrix that allows tissues to stretch and bend.
Dee gray and his team at Sens Research Foundation say they have identified the solutions to all these problems with their respective treatment methods.
“The solution to the first problem of having insufficient number of cells is stem cells therapy,” says Di grey. It provides a fresh supply of new cells to replace those killed in the aging process. Other problems, for example, when cells do not die, but should, may require more complex solutions.
“In principle, we could use the targeting genes for the introduction of suicide genes — genes that will Express the cells that produce proteins that kill the cell,” says Di grey. The trick is to engineer the genes so that they Express a protein fatal only if the growth pattern of the cells to do more harm than good.
Dee gray does not believe that these approaches will definitely put an end to aging, but can give the patient 30 plus years of life. He foresees a future where the elderly will be applied “rejuvenation technology”, turning their cells into young cells, to give them more time. The idea is to extend the life of 60-year-old for 30 years, for example. But because treatments do not provide permanent result, in 30 years the cells will return to their 60-year-old state.
By the time Dee gray hopes that the therapy can be applied repeatedly, will be “second version,” turning these cells back in young. In the result, the human cells will not be 60 years until they will already be 150 years old.
Of course, such statements should be done with caution. There is no experimental evidence that our bodies should react to this update. As with computers, a large number of updates can overload our body.
But D gray believes that this way of thinking, which he calls “old TRANS” hinders the development of technologies of anti-aging. The problem is that we are at the cultural level accept aging as inevitable, and attempts to mitigate the damage caused by aging, often seen as a panacea and quackery.
And he’s not the only one who thinks that the age of the disease can be defeated. George Church, a geneticist from Harvard school of medicine, said that although some of his colleagues claim that many age-related illnesses are so complex that they cannot simply be treated, he believes that such thinking is incorrect.
“If you can control your environment and genetics, you will be able to give people a healthy and long life,” says Church. “In developed countries, most illnesses are correlated with age, and I think they can be overcome”.
Among the known approaches to the prolongation of life is terrible at first glance, the procedure called “vampire therapy”. Patients with senile dementia who received transfusions of blood plasma of young donors aged 18-30 years, showed signs of improvement. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease in the early stage regained the ability to bathe or dress, and perform other tasks around the house.
Although this test is still going, Ambrosia American startup already offers older patients the chance to receive a blood transfusion of young donor at $ 8,000 for the reception. The company claims that these transfusions can improve the performance of lethargic cells the elderly, and will also make darker hair and relieve early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However, the word startup has yet to confirm the research and to eliminate the placebo effect.
There are also a few studies on animals that suggest that these treatment effects could be biological basis. In 2013, scientists from the stem cell Institute of Harvard showed that muscle strength of mice can be increased by a growth factor found in young blood, but the results failed to reproduce. Also, it is believed that the key to longevity lies in reducing calorie intake.
But would it be possible to “cure” death? It has long been proposals to do this is by cryogenic freezing of the brain or the body immediately after death, so that they can revive later when the technology will become quite successful. Some companies even give the opportunity to rich clients to maintain their body, for example, Alcor Life Extension Foundation. However, while no one raised from the dead was not.
Some prefer to achieve immortality by downloading consciousness. In General these ideas seem rather fantastic than real. And even if human life could stretch for tens or even hundreds of years, this will inevitably lead to serious social consequences. Some worry that immortality will lead to rampant overpopulation our planet will not sustain the load.
He Di gray says that he is often asked about whether to abuse these technologies the rich tyrants, taking advantage of the benefits of the medicine in the name of immortality; also ask questions about how won’t we get bored to live forever.
He doesn’t have much time to ponder these questions, and Dee grey says other technology — artificial meat, water desalination, solar energy and other renewable sources — will increase the capacity for life on the planet and enable people to live longer and happier.
Once such concerns prevented the first creators of vaccines and antibiotics. No wonder they will not interfere with those who want to break the cycle of life and death. Medical advances over the last two hundred years has taught us that we have the power to fight with diseases. We may be able to overcome and old age.