Jeff Bezos wants to extend human life.. Here’s what we know about aging

Amazon founder and second-richest man in the world Jeff Bezos is trying to find a way to extend human life, so he has invested billions of dollars in the startup Altos Labs that is looking to reverse the aging process in human cells. ? And what does science really say? Can we overcome aging?

and in Article On the site “The Conversation”, Daniel Davis, professor of immunology at the University of Manchester, sees that aging is not just a change in the way we feel or look at it, but aging occurs at the cellular level. Adult skin cells divide about 50 times before stopping. But the skin cells of a newborn baby can divide 80 or 90 times. On the other hand, cells from an elderly person divide only about 20 times.

Biological age is a measure of cell functions, and it varies from person to person, and this explains that people at the same chronological age may not have the same biological age, which reflects the state of the aging of the body that various factors interfere in affecting it, according to a report For the French magazine L’Obs.

And aging is also evident in our genes, Davis says. Our genetic material is modified over time, as chemicals can be attached to change which genes are turned on or off. These are called epigenetic changes, and they accumulate as we age. Another type of change occurs at the DNA ends of our cells.

Cells, chromosomes, and telomeres

Repeating segments of DNA called telomeres act like the plastic tip of a shoelace, preventing the twisted coils of genetic material from fraying at the ends or knotting together. But these telomeres shorten each time the cell divides.

These allow telomeres to replicate properly, arrange and organize genetic chromosomes, and in the absence of them, part of the original chromosomes will be lost every time the cell multiplies, and scientists have found that cancer cells contain more telomeres than normal rates, which makes cancer cells live longer and multiply at greater rates. Nonstop, anti-cancer research works on telomeres, reducing their ability to divide and multiply.

Telomeres are a region of a highly repetitive nuclear sequence that is found at the end of chromosomes and acts just as the end of a shoelace (Shutterstock)

According to the author, we don’t know if short telomeres (also called the terminal segment or telomere) are just a sign of aging, like gray hair, or are part of the aging process.

To survive and continue dividing, immune cells stop shortening their telomeres when they multiply, as cancer cells do, perhaps a contributing factor to their apparent immortality.

Drugs that block the action of the enzyme telomere also show promising results against cancer (although cancer cells can develop resistance).

Bigger question

Given that aging has such a profound effect on our cells and genes—and the effects cited here are just some examples—a much bigger question arises: Why is this happening? Why do we age?

It was believed that aging occurs for the continuous evolution of biological species. But one problem with this idea is that most life on Earth never reaches old age. Most animals die from predators, disease, climate, or starvation, so determining an animal’s life span may not be important to the evolution hypothesis.

Another view is that aging is simply a side effect of damage that accumulates over time due to metabolic processes or exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. We know that genes are damaged as we age, but this has not been shown to directly lead to aging.

Another possibility is that aging may have evolved as a defense against cancer. Since cells accumulate genetic damage over time, they may have developed a process in which cells do not persist in the body for very long; This damage eventually causes a normal cell to turn cancerous.

As we age, some cells in the body enter a state called aging, where the cell remains alive but stops dividing. Aging cells accumulate in the body over a lifetime – particularly in the skin, liver, lung and spleen – and this has both beneficial and harmful effects.

The beneficial effects are that the accumulating cells secrete chemicals that help repair damaged tissues, but in turn over a long period of time, as the number of aging cells increases, they can disrupt the normal structure of organs and tissues. These cells can be an underlying cause of many of the problems we associate with aging. Mice in which senescent cells have been cleared have severely delayed signs of aging.

The author says that we can describe a lot of what happens during aging at the level of what happens physically to our genes, cells and organs. But the fundamental question of why we age remains open. In all likelihood, there is more than one correct answer.

Of course, no one knows whether Bezos will succeed in helping to extend human life. What is clear, however, is that through the study of aging, new and exciting discoveries are bound to emerge.

Aging is unforgiving

And according to a Loops magazine report, many scientists believe that aging is unforgiving. Each species has a constant rate of aging, says Fernando Colchero, from the University of Southern Denmark. “You can’t cheat with age,” noting that the increase in life expectancy in humans, compared to pre-industrial times, is not due to slowing down aging, but to maintaining To the lives of more children and young people.

The author points out that a recent study has set 150 years as a maximum human lifespan that can never be exceeded, so that once the “critical point” between 120 and 150 years is reached, the body will not be able to recover from the stress caused by illness or injury, and then death becomes It is inevitable.

treatment is possible

However, other researchers do not see this fate inevitable, most notably the Australian Professor David Sinclair, who studies genetics and co-directs the Paul Glenn Center for Research in the Biology of Age at Harvard Medical School, USA. The theoretical maximum, which is assumed to be impossible to exceed.

For Professor Sinclair, there is one cause of aging and it is the root of all the others, so that the “nine characteristics” are just symptoms such as wrinkles, joint pain or aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, he says, “There is no biological law that says we have to age, aging is a disease, It is the mother of all other diseases, and separating age from disease obscures the truth about how we came to the end of our lives.”

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