Incredible Innovations to Slow Down Aging
November 18, 2008
Nature doesn’t specifically want you to die -- there is no “death gene”. People perish not because of some internal clock counting down to death, but because nature doesn’t bother to promote self-healing past a certain point.
In other words, it is typically benign ignorant neglect, not intentional malice, that results in your life ending prematurely.
There is at least one animal that scientists believe is immortal. The hydra, a microscopic freshwater animal shaped like a squid, does not seem to die from age-related causes. Planarians, a kind of flattened worm, may also be immortal. Among more complex animals, turtles may be immune to the effects of aging. They can die from disease or injury, but do not seem to grow old.
Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge researcher, and chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation, has a plan to engineer immortality for humans as well.
His “strategies for engineering negligible senescence” (SENS) plan focuses on finding the main causes of age-related damage and using science to prevent or reverse them.
According to Dr. de Grey, there are seven major known cases of aging:
death resistant cells (that overstay their welcome)
nuclear DNA mutations
mitochondrial DNA mutations
extracellular crosslinks (which link together molecules that should be kept separated)
If these conditions are treated as diseases with a cure, immortality just might be achievable…