Anti-aging and clues to a long, healthy life

Anti-Aging: Telomeres and Immortality

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

This now debunked quote is attributed to Charles Duell, the commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office from 1898 to 1901. As much as I love the quote, had it actually been said… over 110 years later, this quote is still outrageous.

Chinese symbols for immortal; immortality
Chinese symbols for immortal; immortality

We are still in the early stages of scientific discovery. If you think the advances seen in the field of medicine alone made over the past ten years are incredible, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The science of aging is truly in its infancy.  What we consider ‘life extending’ or ‘state-of-the-art medicine’ today will appear crude and barbaric 30, 50, 100 years from now.

But for the anti-ager, we can only work with what we have today. The best we can do is to live an anti-aging lifestyle to the best of our abilities now in the hopes of living long enough to benefit from future discoveries that will significantly impact the aging process.

Today’s leading edge in anti-aging research has to do with telomeres. These little things are a segment of DNA found at the end of every one of your chromosomes.

Telomeres exploded onto the anti-aging scene in 2009 when three U.S. scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Telomeres Shatter the Hayflick Limit

In 1961 Leonard Hayflick proposed a theory that human cells can only replicate a finite number of times… thought to be 40 – 60 times depending on the type of cell. This translates to a maximum human lifespan of 120 years, called the Hayflick Limit.

The discovery of telomeres and telomerase disproves this theory and just may be the beginning of the science of immortality.

How do telomeres affect the aging process? Next time we’ll dive deeper into this fascinating science.

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