Aging Is Reversible

Posted: Dec 16 2016, 9:14am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Aging is Reversible
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  • The Clock can be Turned Back in case of Aging at least at the Cellular Level
 

Apparently, the clock can be turned back in case of aging at least at the cellular level in humans and in lab rats too.

The signs of aging are fairly obvious. Besides wrinkle and pimples, grey hair and crow’s feet are the usual list of suspects when it comes to the longevity game.

Many gerontologists imagine that the inner biological clock can be rewound. Yet it remains a fantasy. However, now scientists at the Salk Institute have found that gene expression at the embryonic level can halt and even reverse the aging process. 

"Our study shows that aging may not have to proceed in one single direction," says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and senior author of the paper appearing in the December 15, 2016 issue of Cell. "It has plasticity and, with careful modulation, aging might be reversed."

This method allowed human cells in a petri dish to look young once again. It was a miracle by any means. Even live lab mice were rejuvenated by the methodology and any signs of degenerative diseases in them were eradicated.

The rodents’ life spans were extended by 30%. This is a study that shows promise for future times. Especially as the song “Forever Young” says it so well, to want to be forever young is a dream of humanity and it has been captured in age-old metaphors and stories such as The Fountain of Youth.  

Aging like the sci-fi concept of time travel is not just restricted to a unidirectional path. It can be reversed. The phenomenon shows plastic behavior and it can actually be not only halted but turned back.

This holds great treasures for humanity since to recapture youth is one of the wildest of cherished desires of mankind. While longevity is indeed possible, the concomitant diseases spoil the fun of a long life. Cardiac disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s are just some of the pitfalls along the way.

Cellular reprogramming is of the essence here. The conversion of cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is where the real game begins. 

This process causes the cells to look younger. The question is whether they can be applied to a real live animal. Yet herein lies the rub. What applies to cells is not applicable to an entire organism.

The rules break down at that extreme level of complexity. The results are organ failure and death. A rare genetic disease called progeria was eliminated in lab mice.

When the stem cells rejuvenating process was applied to the rats, they showed signs of reversed aging. Yet this is a short-lived phenomenon. The conclusion that was reached was that epigenetic phenomena rule the aging process.

An exhilarating look into the rules of aging was lent by these series of experiments. What occurred in mice does not necessarily apply to human beings though. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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