Secret Of Aging Clues Unlocked
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The oldest person in the world was a man from Japan. He reached the ripe old age of 120 years and 237 days. This happened in the year 1986. This old man died after getting pneumonia. It also brought up a lot of questions about the secret of aging. Why is that some people tend to live longer, much longer, than others? Researchers have been looking to unlock the clues to longevity. (See Reference 1)
According to researchers who are studying the aging process, environmental factors, heredity and lifestyle have a role to pay when it comes to living longer. Going back to the Japanese man, researchers wonder if the man had not died due to pneumonia, would he have lived for many more years, or did he have a built in biological limit. Researchers are trying to find out whether there is a maximum period of time that human beings can live for even though they live in optimal environment and have the necessary genes for longevity. (See Reference 1)
Before these questions can be answered, a person should first know why he or she ages. There are many reasons for aging, like genes. According to studies, genes play a role in the aging process and also in longevity. Researchers claim that the maximum number of years that a human can live for is around 120 years, but our genes tend to control our lifespan. (See Reference 1) Researchers have been able to isolate longevity genes that tend to inhibit the activities of proteins known as free radicals. These free radicals are associated with the aging process. However, the proteins produced by longevity genes are known as anti-oxidants and these help to prevent cellular damage by free radicals and thereby prevent the aging process from occurring. (See Reference 1)
However, researchers believe that cell mitosis may have a profound effect on longevity and aging. Mitosis is a process of asexual cell division that occurs in all the cells of the body. However, this process has a time limit and does not go on forever. This could be the reason why people begin aging. (See Reference 1) According to researchers, after the cells undergo a specific number of cell division, they tend to enter into a state known as cell senescence. This is a state wherein the cells do not divide any longer and the synthesis of DNA within the cells is blocked. (See Reference 1) For instance, cells that produce collagen tend to divide around fifty times, and then they stop mitosis. This would explain why skin loses its elasticity and tend to begin showing signs of aging as a person grows older.
In addition, science has also found that people have certain genes that tend to trigger division of cells. These genes are referred to as proliferative genes, and a good example is c-fos. This particular gene contains a protein that controls the expression of other genes that are required for division of cells. (See Reference 1) Also, the body contains anti-proliferative genes that tend to block the functioning of proliferative genes and this blockage prevents the division of cells.
Scientists and researchers claim that senescence is a normal process in cells. However, some cells tend to avoid senescence and continue dividing and this causes the cells to become immortal. However, cells that continue dividing tend to result in tumors. But it is still a mystery how genes promote cellular division and then suppress it. (See Reference 1)
By checking the chromosomes in the DNA, researchers have found that all chromosomes have a tail known as telomere. This tail tends to get shorter as the cell undergoes division. As a cell undergoes cell division, around 50 bases from the telomere are lost. This gives an idea to researchers how many times a cell has undergone division and how many more times will it undergo division before the cell becomes senescent. (See Reference 1) Now researchers believe that telomeres may actually play an important role in regulating the life of a cell. (See Reference 1)
While the clues to aging are gradually being unlocked, science still has a long way to go. Once the clues are unlocked and science knows the secret of aging, steps can be taken to reduce the progress of aging or stop it altogether.
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