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Consider how life expectancy has increased over the last two centuries. An average man born in 1800 had a life expectancy of 35 years. In 1900, he would have made it all the way to 47. By 1950, average life expectancy was up to 68 years, and now it’s up to 78.
The trend is definitely favorable. But how far can we take it?
In San Francisco, Professor Cynthia Kenyon is conducting experiments on microscopic worms. Their usual life span is little more than 13 days, but she has been able to get some to live as long as six times that by altering one specific gene.
"And here is the long-lived mutant when it’s also 13 days old," she said, showing Sieberg her handy-work. "But you can see, look at that! It’s still living a productive, active life. I would say it might be heading out to play tennis."
Kenyon believes her work shows that the rate of aging is not fixed. Rather, it can be slowed dramatically.
Calorie restriction research goes back more than 70 years to pioneering experiments on mice at Cornell University. Restricting your food intake does appear to extend life, although no one's totally sure how.
"If we base ideas on calorie restriction, in animals, and even in monkeys, which are relatively close to us, we see that calorie restriction slows down virtually all diseases of aging," researcher on aging at Harvard David Sinclair said.
Eat less, live longer? Easier said than done.
Human Immortality: A Scientific Reality?
From the moment of birth, we begin the battle against death -- against the inevitable. Statistics say that a newborn child can expect to live an average of 76 years. But averages may not be what they use to be.
In 1786, life expectancy was 24 years. A hundred years later it doubled to 48. Right now, it's 76.
"Over half the baby boomers here in America are going to see their hundredth birthday and beyond in excellent health," says Dr. Ronald Klatz of the American Academy of Anti-Aging. "We're looking at life spans for the baby boomers and the generation after the baby boomers of 120 to 150 years of age."
The cause of human aging is now being understood.
Dr. Langmore (University of Michigan's Department of Biology) and his group have been looking inside human cells, at the very essence of human life: the DNA molecule. Specifically, Dr. Langmore is looking at the tips of the DNA molecule - a previously overlooked part of the double-helix molecule - that contain a kind of chain of repeating pairs of enzymes.
Telomeres - programmed to die?
Called telomeres, these molecular chains have often been compared to the blank leaders on film and recording tape. Indeed, telomeres seem to perform a similar function in aligning the DNA molecule during the replication process. Protecting the vital DNA molecule from being copied out of synch, these telomeres provide a kind of buffer zone where asynchronous replication errors (that are inevitable) will not result in any of the vital DNA sequences being lost.
Other scientists use the analogy of the plastic bands on the ends of shoelaces. Telomeres seem to hold the important DNA code intact, preventing it from freying as the molecules replicate over time.
Perhaps the best analogy I have heard is to compare the telomeres to the white space surrounging an important type written document. Imagine that this paper is repeatedly slapped on a copy machine, a copy is made, and then that copy is used to make another copy. Each time the paper is subject to errors of alignment. After enough copying it is probable that the white space will diminish and some of the actual text will not be copied. That's what happens to our cells' DNA and is the reason we get old and die.
Scientists recently noted that the length of these telomere chains were shorter as we grew older. Eventually, the telomeres become so shortened that the losses in replication begin to effect the vital DNA molecule sequence and prevent the cell from being able to duplicate itself. This point, when the cell has lost vital DNA code and cannot reproduce, is called the Hayflick limit. This is why we age.
Originally posted by Raider of Truth
reply to post by The Killah29
I would love to live forever to....but i don't think currently it is possible.
and how do you think you can live forever?
Originally posted by The Killah29
The only reason we die is because we accept it as an inevitability.