Throughout all ages, mankind has never ceased their efforts of pursuing immortality yet never being able to escape aging. As we get older, the cells gradually function worse, leading to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. The disease associated with aging causes about 100,000 deaths per day. In order to slow down the aging process, billions of investment was put in.

Although the majority believes that aging is a process that cannot be stopped, some believe that we should consider aging itself just as a disease that can be prevented and treated. In the recent broadcast of the BBC's podcast "Tomorrow's World", the moderator introduced some researchers who are studying how to slow down or even stop the aging process.

They pin their hopes on several research findings that physiological aging may be prevented or even cured. From a biological point of view, the rate of aging is determined by genetic and environmental factors. If tiny errors in DNA accumulate, the cells will go wrong and eventually lead to tissue damage. Over time, the severity of these changes can determine whether you will enjoy your old age healthily or suffer from chronic diseases.

In addition, many research centers around the world have regarded the method of anti-aging as a research focus. Animal experiments have shown that we do have the potential to significantly extend the lifespan of a particular species.

Metformin is a common drug used to treat diabetes and it can prolong the life of rodents. In addition, in the early 1990s, Cynthia Kenyon, vice president of the Calico Laboratory Aging Research Group proved that by changing a letter in the locust genetic code, its life can be extended from three weeks to six weeks.

In the podcast "Tomorrow World", Aubrey De Grey, one of the representative scientists of human longevity research, introduced ways to extend human life. According to DeGrey, the Chief Scientific Officer of the California for Researched Negligible Senescence (Sens) Research Foundation that focuses on regenerative medicine and strives to extend the lives of healthy people, they have a goal to develop a specific treatment for middle-aged and elderly people, so that their physical and psychological age is comparable to that of young people under the age of 30. This foundation also aims to "correct the bad changes between the ages of 30 and 70." They believes that cell damage associated with aging is mainly related to seven physiological factors. They are: tissue cell renewal is slow; cell proliferation is out of control (such as cancer); cells do not die at the specified time (also like cancer); mitochondrial DNA is damaged; waste accumulates in cells; waste accumulates outside the cell; the outer matrix is stiff.

If we focus on this, maybe we can defeat the fate of aging. Dr. Grey and his team said that they have found a way to deal with all of the above problems. The stem cell therapy can solve the first problem, that is, the problem of too few cells by providing fresh young cells to the tissue to replace cells that have died during aging. Other problems, such as cells failing to die within a specified time, require more complex solutions.

"We can use gene targeting technology to introduce suicide genes that produce proteins that kill cells," Dr. Grey said. But the point is that these genes must express deadly proteins only when the cell growth model does more harm than good. Yet, it is believed that using these methods alone is not enough to completely prevent aging, but it may extend the life of the patient for about 30 years. In his imagination, the future "rejuvenation technology" can transform the cells of the elderly into a state of youth. Ideally, the physiological level of a 60-year-old can be restored to the age of 30. But because such treatments can't be done once and for all, in 30 years, these cells will age into 60-year-old cells.

Dr. Grey hopes that by that time, people have already launched the "2.0 version" therapy, which can make the patient rejuvenate again. In this way, when the cell becomes 60 years old again, the actual age of the person is already 150 years old. But you must be careful when doing this.

Quite a number of people that aging-related diseases can be cured. Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church said that although many colleagues believe that aging-related diseases are too complicated to treat, he believes that this view is wrong. "If you can control the environment and genetic factors, you can rejuvenate and live longer and healthier." Church said, "In industrialized countries, most diseases are related to aging, and I think this can be solved."

But can we really "eliminate" death? For a long time, it has been proposed to freeze the brain or body that has just died, and then resurrect it when the technology is more developed in the future. Many companies have even provided this service to wealthy customers. But so far, no one has actually died and resurrected.

Dr. Grey said that people are often asked if the technology he is studying is likely to be abused by the power class, or whether the long life expectancy will be tiring. However, he doesn't have time to think about these issues, and believes that artificial meat, desalination, solar energy and other renewable energy sources can increase the Earth's carrying capacity and enable more people to live longer. But all this is premised on unknown technology, and these technologies may not be able to alleviate the suffering of human beings fairly and equally.

The medical development of the past two centuries has taught us that human beings have the power to defeat the diseases that cause us to suffer. And if we focus on this, maybe we can defeat the fate of aging in the future.

Author's Bio: 

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