In the past, the science of senescence had a difficult time converting life extending studies from animals to human beings. Fortunately, in this day and age, the progress is accelerating.
Scientists in the early 1990s were able to lengthen the age of a group of Caenorhabditis elegans or mutant laboratory worms to around six weeks. This might not seem long for a normal human being, but the lifespan of roundworms usually last for only a few weeks, so this was an eternity for them.
Cynthia Kenyon’s lab at the University of California developed these worms who acquired mutations in a gene that typically assists in controlling a hibernation-like condition. The cell preserving method protected roundworm larvae when food was limited in the wilderness. However, the protective mechanisms in Kenyon’s worms were activated all through the steady – and suddenly, lengthy lives of these worms.
The scientists dubbed them as the Methuselahs and were considered as a breakthrough in modern science. They were predecessors during a time when medicine were new at manipulating the process of aging itself.
The Life Expanding Diet
Roundworms might be way too different from human beings, but this precedent encouraged scientists to devote the next quarter of a century studying more about the biological work of aging or senescence. These scientists wish to delay a calculation with the disorders that aging usually brings, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer and all indicators of a typical fundamental cellular senescence.
The pursuit to extend lives might have had encountered defeats, but gerontologists claim that their knowledge has expanded greatly and practically. Besides the pharmaceutical interferences, some scientists also employed a different approach.
The co-director of the Longevity Research Program at Washington University in St. Louis named Luigi Fontana believe that low-calorie diets are the reason why cells resort to protected mode, like the Methuselah worms. They conducted several trials to test out different theories.
For one, they evaluated the effect of erratic fasting on obese people who had chronic levels of inflammation. Meanwhile, another trial compared the impact of erratic fasting on individuals who have Mediterranean or western diets. The last one that was done recently included protein limitation to stop the growth of prostate cancer. Although, the majority of individuals will find it hard to adhere to low-calorie diets.
The Life Extending Meal
A developmental biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany named George Soultoukis views foods influenced by developing studies on the part of particular proteins and amino acids instead of entire calories benefited by caloric limitations. He believes that food manufacturers could alter the composition of their products in means that could encourage longevity.
The Life Extending Gene
On the other hand, some scientists decided to study people who got to live remarkably long lives. A part of their study implied genetic mutations that happened to concentrate on centenarians or people who exceeded a hundred years old. The gene variations are concerned about similar methods that control immunity and metabolism that defended cells in sample animals.
The researchers also discovered that the majority of the human life cycle doesn’t just rely on characteristics that people are born with. Rather, it could be related to an array of other aspects, including psychology, environment, relationships and lifestyle.
They concentrated their studies on blue zones, which are regions that house remarkably high amounts of centenarians, such as the inner mountains of Sardinia. In this area, the most noticeable native characteristic isn’t their genetic, but it’s their inclination towards youthful exercise. The shepherds revealed that they usually walked long distances in very sharp terrains when they were young.
Not only that, the blue zones also had common dietary practices. They ate smaller meals and consumed their last meal early in the evening or late in the afternoon. They also ingested plenty of vegetables and whole grains – traditions that are consistent with modern dietary research.
Fortunately, plenty of researches out there focus on the science of senescence. Sometime soon, it won’t be a surprise if they do find a way to lengthen human life span, whether it’s through medicine, lifestyle or meal choices.