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article imageOp-Ed: First ever aging reversal — But will the public ever have access?

By Paul Wallis     Dec 22, 2013 in Health
Sydney - The only people who “like” aging are people who didn’t have lives to begin with. Age is the ultimate added insult. The first ever aging reversal proves that time isn’t unbeatable. The problem is that the public may never get access to it.
The basic theory of age reversal is that improving cellular mitochondrial functions improves longevity. What’s so special about the new research is that improved mitochondrial communication between the mitochondria and the cell nucleus has had the effect of restoring old mice to healthy, younger mice. It is, to all practical intents, the reversal of aging.
Sydney Morning Herald
In the study, the Sydney researchers used mice that are considered equivalent to a 60-year-old human and older mice, equating to a 90-year-old human. A control group of mice were fed a calorie-restricted diet.
The results, outlined in the scientific journal Cell on Friday, were better for the younger mice, which were able to rewind the ageing process within a week. The treatment effectively transformed a 60-year-old into a 20-year-old on some measures, including the degree of muscle wastage, insulin resistance and inflammation.
Rather sadly for such an important event, the Cell site isn’t exactly friendly to first time browsers, and I couldn’t find the paper. (I think there’s a paywall, too.)
Some more information came from
The mitochondria are where all the hard work takes place. All mammals create energy in the way that small molecules are created when larger ones break down, and energy is released. Skeletal muscle respiration is the result of this, and its swift functioning is key to age reversal, researchers explain.
"We have chromosomes that we all know about, we call it our genome, but there's other DNA that we often don't think about - the mitochondrial DNA that we get from our mothers… what we found is that during aging these two genomes, the chromosomes, don't talk to each other,” Sinclair said, comparing the two to an aging married couple.
(Professor David Sinclair, of the University of New South Wales, leader of the study, working from Harvard Medical School)
Redefining nature or finding the problem?
This may be the Holy Grail of anti-aging, but it’s also a massive insight into the realities of aging. At folklore level, for centuries, people have been known to “age better”. They retain their health when their contemporaries start basically conking out decades before they do.
All due respect to Prof. Sinclair, but maternal mitochondrial DNA is very much “thought about” by genealogical researchers. It’s the genetic tracking code, how ancestry can be traced back for generations.
The general theory is that elevated levels of a molecule called NAD promote cell repair, maintaining mitochondrial communications. That raises a few questions, not least of which is how do people maintain NAD levels naturally?
Is it possible that there is a natural method of maintaining or even enhancing NAD levels? There is at least one- exercise. Apparently it forces improved mitochondrial function, a pretty reasonable situation given that exercise = energy = mitochondria at work, communicating.
Manual labor is a form of exercise which has long been considered to “keep people healthy”. In China, there are whole communities of rural centenarians who’ve been doing hard manual labor all their lives.
Prehistoric humans, living in a high energy usage environment, are known to have been super-fit, much more so than modern humans and even with a reduced life span were apparently fit for their whole lives, without a “fadeout” period like modern humans.
Older people playing sports and doing manual work may be slower to get started, but can work and play long and hard using sustained energy when they get going. It is very like the body wakes up, remembers how to get moving, and says “Oh, yeah, right- Energy required, I’ll get right on it.”
The problem is that modern humans, for all their advantages, don’t seem to maintain their mitochondrial communication very well. Aging seems to be as much a result of a sedentary, do-nothing-much lifestyle in which less energy is required.
Maybe finding out why mitochondrial inefficiency is so prevalent goes with the new approach to rejuvenation?
The other problem- Marketing the Fountain of Youth?
OK, now for some “opinion” in this op-ed.
The trouble with scientific idealism is that it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell when confronted with commerce, politics, and vested interests.
The new aging reversal idea will have to find its way through the obstacle course of super-intelligent political, religious, criminal, and commercial idiots.
Let's face it- These irresponsible fools can't be trusted with anti-aging any more than they can be trusted with privacy, human rights, or even delivering basic services which previous generations took for granted.
This is the same nutcase society which has made democracy, prosperity, social cohesion, Western culture and even basic quality of life mere memories of their former selves.
How is the psychotic US Congress, which objects to even the idea of its citizens accessing basic health care, likely to react to a drug which actually makes people better?
The society which has somehow managed to make it almost impossible to see a GP in less than months is expected to welcome real anti-aging?
The pharmaceutical companies, which have a vested interest in as many people as possible being as sick as possible and needing their products and paying ridiculous prices for those products, will react how to this treatment?
The “people” who think producing and inhaling billions of tons of pollution is a good idea will welcome anti-aging?
The “people” who think massive volumes of violent crime, sleaze and poverty and all the other types of unnecessary misery are normal and make money out of them will understand the ramifications of anti-aging?
The Aged Care/Old Peoples Concentration Camps R Us lobbies will welcome a chance to go out of business?
More likely, the process will be so expensive that only a few people will be able to afford it.
What a surprise.
The only way the human race is going to see any possible benefit out of this process in the current environment is to make anti-aging a subsidized treatment by law.
There are a few economic benefits:
It’ll reduce the costs of aging, which are in the trillions and rising.
It’ll reduce the pressure on the health system.
It’ll improve human abilities to fight diseases
People with lives to live may not be so stupid
It may cause consciousness in people running big businesses and commercial agencies allowing them to understand what that pesky "public" has to do with anything.
It could- (drum roll) – even produce some sort of situational awareness in the out of date, mentally expired morons running the world into the ground.
I’ll believe it when I see it. Good luck, Prof. Sinclair, et al.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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